Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

Shiny Indian Party Shoes/ Slippers April 19, 2012

Over the last year I have been attending a number of family functions. Across IndiaCalcutta, Delhi and Mumbai. Thats a lot of locations for a lot of family gatherings. These have ranged from full blown weddings to smaller-key dinners or festivals.
Now, while for a wedding it is mandatory to have a shiny slipper, or at least one that matches your ornaments (read red, gold or silver), for a family dinner or small festival like Rakhi, the footwear has to match your clothes. Which is to say, they have to be smart, a little shiny to respect that its an ocassion, but cant be over the top. In comparison it is easier to buy a pair of crystal studded footwear for the shaadi!

Wearing a plain sandal of course can be a recourse, but one that will put you on the lower rungs of family fashion. Especially in Punjabi families.

Here, I struck gold. And Im quite smug about it. I found a perfect pair of slip-ons while browsing through the shoe-shops of Colaba (Mumbai) with my poor tired husband. I liked them. He asked me if I needed them. (I vehemently nodded yes) He asked if we can sit somewhere and eat after that. (I vehemently nodded again) He bought them. Joy!

My Every Occasion Shiny Indian Slippers

The Heel

These slip ons have a small heel. THis is very important. A very high heel is invonvenient when you have to stand around for ages, or walk through roads that are less than perfect. The last thing that I want to do is stumble and fall, or be tired when it is my maiden visit to meet relatives. A flat shoe looks less than perfect, because then, somehow, the churidars look shorter, the saris look inelegant, and well… in general the look seems incomplete.
Thus enters short heels. This awesome slipper has a heel of an inch. Perfect!

Style of Shoe

This slipper is not just a slipper. A typical Indian slipper is backless, with the straps ending under the arch of the foot, and divided in front through the thumb and the rest of the fingers. Though a decent enough design, it is rather common, and tends to slip out as well. Also, the shoe glory ends with just the front bit of the shoe.
This particular slip on is more like a slingback. The back is elasticized, making it easy to slip it on while also ensuring the foot doesnt slip out. The design also, therefore extends for most of the shoe, except for the back of the ankle where the elastic resides.

Indian Slipper Shoe for Formal Evenings

The design

The shoe has a leather base, self embossed with flowers, so that when I take it off, it still looks pretty. The top of the shoe is decorated with sequins, beads and a large-ish crystal. The sequiins are a dull copper colour, and therefore even when they are ‘sequins’ they look understated. Especially in combination with the muted off-white beads. The crystal in the center is. in-silo, rather large. However, stuck between all those beads and crystal its kind of hidden, and adds that pop of ‘Look Im a party wear shoe!’ look to it. The whole look it ‘party’ but at the same time, the colours are versatile enough to be worn in any combination. This looks good with my green, blue, red and of course black clothes.
The toes remain fully uncovered in this shoe, and as a result this gives me ample opportunity to show off any nailpolish or toe-rings I might want to sport. With most of the foot visible, mehendi, if applied is also visible for display. Of course, since the ankle is free, wearing a payal is possible, though I havent yet worn it.

This shoe has also been of help in recent times for office wear. It is muted enough to be worn with staid, work-suitable ethnic wear, and often I wear it with my cchuridars to bring in an aspect of colour into otherwise dull surroundings.

Shiny Indian Slipper Shoe

In short,this is become my go-to footwear for any occasion which involves being a little dressed up, in ethnic wear.
I would suggest you go out and get something like this soon, I promise you it will remove the headache of wondering ‘which shoe will match this suit best’.

 

My Tryst with Red Shoes: at Work & Elsewhere April 24, 2010

I really like your shoes. And you. I admire people who can wear red shoes I think they are very difficult to carry off

My colleagues comment left me speechless. A little flattered, but surprised as well. You see, shoes are the one thing that really don’t need confidence. They are just…worn.

Porphyra - A Beautiful Red Algea

Porphyra - A Beautiful Red Algea

I love the colour red, like almost all Indians. However, though keep few reds in my cupboard, I wear them with caution, and not usually to work. With shoes, it is a different matter altogether.

I have always had a pair of red shoes in my cupboard. Ever since I can remember, I have liked to pick up red shoes. Its a pity I did not take photographs of my shoes before this, else I could have given a nice series of photographs – vintage, really – of my ‘Red Shoes Through the Ages’ or some such thing.

They started off more as fun in college, and now I have these that I wear to office.

At the moment though,  I have two pairs, one rather dull red, and the other a shiny patent red. I am a little particular about the shade of red when I choose the shoes. I sincerely believe that red is a beautiful colour. However, it can look so very awful if the shade of red selected is

a) not suitable to the skin (warm shades and cool shades) or

b) not suitable to the occasion

Once I had red flats, with red sequins holding down the toes. They added zing to my dull blue jeans for a casual evening out with friends. I however, could not imagine wearing them to office.

Red Leather Peep Toes

Red Leather Peep Toes

To start with, are my red leather peep-toes. The design of these shoes are not exactly subtle, but the colour and the overall make of them, thanks to the leather, the stitching, etc., makes them my favorite for office wear.

They are not exactly from a fancy shop, but something I saw and was love at first sight. The toes are covered quite well, and the ‘peep’ is just enough to show a hint of nailpolish. And it covers the feet quite well from all angles. The leather scrunches up as it ends near the foot, to give a nice feminine ruffled look.

The heels are around 2 inches, comfortable and of  dark wood-like substance.

Red ShoesI wear this pair pretty often with either dull coloured skirts, or with a black and white outfit.

It brings in a splash of coliur to the black and white, without drawing attention to itself.

The leather itself is patchy in shades, and that brings its own angle into the shoes.

Red Shoes in Office

Red Shoes in Office

They go pretty well with jeans as well. The heel height helps in cigarette leg jeans, and the red colour adds to the glam look of the outfit.

However, I still like to reserve it for office wear. It is the bit of daring in formal wear which can make a day brighter.

The next pair of red shoes – and I must confess, I recently got them from Singapore – are anything but subtle. In design they are as formal as can be, but they are a bright red, made of patent leather-like material, shining and definitely drawing attention to themselves.

Shiny Red Shoes

Shiny Red Shoes

I got these shoes from a URS & Inc shop, and they fit like a dream – and I simply could not resist the sassy red.

The design, as you can see, is a very staid moccasin look-alike, with a bit of steel buckle for show. But the red is tomato, yet in certain light looks maroonish.

From Office in Patent Red Shoes

From Office in Patent Red Shoes

The heel is pure wood, and gives a nice hollow ring when walking on solid stone floors (marble or granite), which is nice to hear in its own way.

The sole is well cushioned, and in short, wearing this pair is a joy unto itself – and most of it is due to the colour!

Red Shoes with BeigeSo I pair this with my dullest trousers (photo above: shirt: Fab India, Trousers: G2000, Dirty room with tangled computer wires: mine!) The design of this pair of shoes is good for trousers, I dont think I will wear this with skirts, or even Salwar Kameezes.

In trousers as well, because of its shiny nature, it does not go very well with pure black, and thus I reserve it for camel, beige and brown trousers. It then adds an interesting aspect to the complete look, especially when sitting down – as then the shoes become really visible.

Red Shoe

My suggestion – on a Monday, when you have the Blues, there is nothing likea pair of Red Shoes to chase them away.

Try it, the next time in office. But do take care that the shade suits your feet, and complements your clothes. Red shoes need to be worn with care, and you dont want people pointing at your feet because the colour is so garish and bright, it robs the shoe and the wearer from any style quotient!

The colour red is known for its energy, its sanctity (in India and China) and its power. Feel free to dip into this reservoir and make a bleak work day some fun!


(Photograph courtesy Flickr)

 

My Gladiators and Singapore March 26, 2010

After a lot of deliberation and cancellations, a last minute plan landed me in Singapore. Due to the last minute nature of the trip, which involved a couple of days in office, I took with me shoes for office (heels), my sports shoes and a pair of gladiators for miscellaneous wear.

Singapore is one of those city(-states) that believe in dressing well. All you see around you are well dressed people. Really well dressed.

In their midst wearing sports shoes was not the best choice. But then I was the tourist. So I persisted. My faithful pair helped me through the day of walking around the famous Sentosa beach island-bit of the city-state/country.

But. (and its a very large but) Singapore weather is slightly worse than that of Mumbai (check out the humidity levels on that link!). At least it was while I was there. Sweating in sports shoes are not the best thing. So by evening when I took off my shoes in the late evening, I found my poor foot abused.

From that day on I wore only my breathy gladiators out of doors. Was I glad I had taken them along!

Singapore Botanical GardenThe beauty of gladiators, like Ive mentioned earlier is, they can be teemed with most things. So my uniform for the trip became skirts and gladiators

The shoes were comfortable for long walks. Flat, they did not strain any undue muscles of my legs. Also, the multiple straps held the foot firmly in place ensuring my foot never slipped.

At the same time, the thin strips left enough place for my foot to breathe. The sole was also thin enough that my foot-sole could be comfortable.

Gladiator close upThe gladiators I have now are black, with faux stitch marks on each strap giving the impression its made of leather. It is however, not leather.

They are a comfortable height upto my ankles, and therefore can match with most clothes, irrespective of the height.

There are a lot of colours to choose from, but I took a basic black since it can match with almost any coloured clothes. I even wore it with a pink dress. My last pair of gladiators were pure leather, of skin tone. That is another colour which looks good but then it does not dramatise its presence.

The heel is slightly supported, so it is not absolutely flat. This really helped since I did a lot of walking around. Perfectly flat shoes can strain the foot and make one tired easily.

All in all, I say, when you are traveling, carry a pair of gladiator sandals. They do not occupy much space, are lighter than most other shoes and are rather versatile while being comfortable!

Gladiators Rule

 

My Shoots – the black shoe boots January 21, 2010

It has been a long time since I wrote anything – shame on me! So 2010 started and the first 20 days are already over as well. And what do I have to show for it? Nothing but a pair of shoots that I took out after a long time. It being winter. So here are the shoes that I wrote about last time.

Nice, arent they? Pretty comfortable to boot (pun intended hehe)

I though my last post did not have enough shoots photographs on them. So here are a few of the pair I talked about.

the velvet lined shoots

This pair is from Catwalk, made of faux leather and velvet lining. Regular wax polishing helps its shine, wearing a pair of socks makes it easier for feet to breathe and to slide the shoe on and off.


Shoot(s) for perspective

Trust me. Get a good pair of shoots and you will be able to wear them not only in winters, but whenever you wish. They are easy to wear, comfortable, stylish and go with almost any outfit.

Get something with lesser heels if that suits you. This is perfect for a night out, to party, an evening out with friends or just lunch.

Shoots are the best choice for round the year boot lovers. Get a pair!

(I’ll show you my denim boots one day, but before that I promise a nice juicy post! Thanks to you readers I have a few ideas brewing)

 

Boots! Boots! Boots! Buy Boots for Winter and Shoots December 29, 2009

Alright, so enough. I have been away for simply too long. I must admit I started on a post, but then work caught up and it still lies unfinished. However, I think it is an interesting post and I will soon finish and upload it. It is about shoes you want to have for an Indian Wedding. Yep, its important. And if you know more than 3 Indians, its a must-have. There is bound to be at least one wedding you need to attend every year.

Boots Time!

However, we are sitting in December, post Christmas and pre-31st. This is the time most of the world population is experiencing cold. And this is the perfect time to take out your boots.

Since man invented footwear and since the time there have been winters, Boots have been worn by Men and Women, and I dont see them going anywhere away in the long term future either. They are way too wonderful to vanish!

Those lovely creations that cover up all of your feet and sizable parts of your legs yet look great. Yup, Boots are In.

Till recently all you needed was a pair of Ugg‘s and you were as hep as Britney Spears or <insert name of celebrity here>. However, times have moved on and it is time to update your shoe closet with something prettier.

The word of Boots is so large that I really do not know where to begin. So I will begin with me.

Boots for Hot India

I am in Bombay. And this place is probably worse than Australia when it comes to December chills. The temperature varies anwywhere between 30deg Celcius and 40 deg Celcius. Whee! What fun isnt it? I hate it. I hate having no winters. No chance of taking out the wollens, the boots, covering yourself up, snuggling up with hot coffee and putting my feet out to warm in the pale golden sunrays.

So, when I went to Calcutta recently, I prepared myself for a fun Winter Vacation. Even though its almost pleasantly cool there (between 10 to 15 deg celcius)

Considering where I live, I have invested in a pair of boots that dont necessarily keep me warm. They are made of Jeans. Very cowboyish but not really. They have a nice long pencil heel and pointed toes. They also have brown threadwork on the sides of the blue denim calf-length boots. Rather sassy. And very wearable. In any weather. From? A UK brand I cant remember now.

Ive always wanted leather and fur boots though, but since Delhi is probably the only place I can wear them without seeming daft, I have stayed away from them since I left that city. So instead what I did was get a pair of shoots (shoe boots). They are faux leather, have a not-too-high heel, and fold down near my ankles like elve’s shoes, exposing an inner lining of velvet. Yum!

What are Shoots? (Shoe boots)

Peep toe Shoots

Classic Black Shoe boots

They are basically shoes, but look like boots. So, they end somewhere near the ankle and have the shape a boot typically has for the foot. So, they give the convenience of shoes, but look like Boots. They can be worn with anything from midi-length dresses to jeans. They keep your feet warm enough and yet keep your ankles and legs free. A convenient addition to your wardrobe.

Boots for Winters

If you are getting boots to wear for colder climes, one of my favorites of course is the black leather look, with a bit of fur and lots of heel. Be careful though, because not only is it a difficult style to carry off with elan, its also a difficult one to get without being sleazy. Be careful about the loops and buttons and studs on such a boot! And of course, the shine factor. Try it out with what you would probably wear it with before purchasing it. You dont want to look like a slut, and neither do you want to look like a Ninja!

Length is personal choice as far as boots are concerned. Longer they are, cooler they look. Of course, the most standard length for a good boot is calf length. Its convenient and yet its boot-ish enough.

Thigh High Boots

If youve got the thighs for it, try one that reaches above your knee cap.

Flat Boots in soft leather

Heel height is also a personal preference. If you can walk with stillettoes, go in for high heels. But remember, with boots there is restricted leg mobility. So whats easy in a pump can be a little difficult in a stiff boot that covers up your shins, restricting movement. So try on the shoes and walk keeping in mind the kind of floor you will be on! Block heels also look good on boots, so dont you worry. Try out wedge heels for your boots as well.

There are flat boots apart from Ugg’s. And these too look pretty decent. I, however find them a tad difficult to walk on since the length of the boot restricts my calf and shin bone mobility. In case you want to go in for a flat boot, try one made of velvet or of a soft leather, which probably crunches up into confortable wrinkles all the way up your leg. Try some with ribbons and buckles in that case. Way cool.

What I would thoroughly recommend

This season shoots are in, in a major way. They can be worn with slim fit jeans and look great – just like the high heel pumps with ankle length jeans. So try and get a pair of warm comfortable shoots. Boots of course are classic and will make a re-entry every year for the wallet conscious. For the fashion conscious, the world is open!

And a word for Men:

There is no season for Boots for you! Men in boots always look good 🙂 Go get a good pair, probably tan leather?

Where to shop?

There is no dearth of boot and shoot sellers. However, if you need a guiding hand in India, follwing are some shops that I have seen with good designs. I wouldnt say collection, because they stock only 3-4 types, but the designs are decent without being OTT or sleazy. Remember, its my top-of-mind recall here, and not necessarily the only, or the best. Also, I dont have any tie-ups with these shops or their owners or anybody!

If wallet is no constraint, you know where to go. Sky is the limit and there is no lack of designers catering to your boots-whims!

Otherwise, Look out for boots and shoots at –

Premium Shops:

-Aldo

-Charles & Keith

-Nine West

-Catwalk

Medium Range Shops:

-Metro

-Regal

-Mochi

-Inc. 5

-Levi’s

Multi-Brand outlets:

-Lifestyle

-Marks & Spencer

-Shopper’s Stop

Happy Boot Shopping! Have a WONDERFUL 2010! One New Year resolution for you?

Get a bigger Shoe Closet! 🙂

(PS – Thanks to the many many websites I accessed for the photographs! I forgot to keep your links, but some are:

http://twistedphysics.typepad.com, http://www.shoemall.com, http://styletips101.com, and of course, the mighty Google)

 

Clarks and Future Group JV for India October 21, 2009

In October 2005 when Clarks first entered India, they had grand plans. As per this press release, they planned opening about 300 stores by 2006. It does not take an in-depth study to know that this did not happen.

In the light of this failure to expand, it is heartening to note that Clarks has entered into a joint venture with Future Group, India.

Future Group is an extremely successful retail group controlling impressive retail chains like Pantaloons and Big Bazaar, shopping malls like City Center, clothing brands like John Miller, and even consumer finance and insurance under Future Money.

The JV plan seems to be to roll out the brand in 2011. So there is still a wait before the shoes are available more easily in the country. They plan to make it a premier international footwear label. From the press release it seems like the design range will increase, and more ladies sandals will be available. Also, the manufacturing might be outsourced to some local names.

“There are some excellent manufacturers in India making this product and we are excited about working with them”

-Andrew Martland, Head International BD, Clarks

However, I just hope that the original designs remain along with new ones, and the strict quality specifications and customer care practice of the footwear company dont change much when launched by the Indian-UK JV.

 

Dressing Casual (Delhi Vs Mumbai), Shoes for Short skirts September 30, 2009

Yesterday, while switching channels on TV I chanced upon an interview of Sonam Kapoor talking about ‘dressing up’ in Delhi. I agree. While Bombay takes the charm out of going out, in Delhi every outing is a definite occasion. I agree that it is really comforting to go out wearing whatever you want, but really! If you are out partying, might as well dress up that way, right? Otherwise whats the point of going to an expensive place?

Casual yet dressed

Casual yet dressed

So while in Mumbai one can walk into any pub/disco/eatery in flip flops and torn jeans, no makeup or jewellery, in Delhi, it is nice to see men and women put in some effort while going out. I would have thought it human instinct (but then I guess that is a little lacking in Mumbai) to want to make a one-off ‘going-out’ an occasion to warrant a little more dressing up than going to the store. Albeit, in Mumbai the ‘going to the store’ look is also crafted carefully.

However, what is important and needed is a look that makes you look dressed up, yet not too casual. Something that makes you perfect for an evening out with a few friends while not looking like you stepped out of home wearing what you wore last night, or that you spent hours dressing up.

If you are one of those people who want to dress up but don’t really know what to wear so you fit in seamlessly with either of the crowds, I would suggest wear anything you want to, dress up as you want to, and don the right pair of shoes.

Rihanna in short skirt

Rihanna in short skirt

It is depressing to see the number of women in Mumbai who wear really chic skirts and have obviously spent time on their face and hair, and then wear a pair of flip flops. The end result is so casual, I wonder why they even put in the effort for the hair and face. Short skirts and flat chappals is not a combination I would suggest, unless you want to roam around home after a tiring evening.

So, many Indian women are placed in a quandary when it comes to footwear to go alongwith short skirts. The last thing they want to wear is something that will make them look slutty, but the last thing I would suggest in lieu of that is bedroom slipper lookalikes which make them look like they have been lounging around home. (Its Ok if you are on the beach, but most times its not the beach).

So, what do they wear?

Platforms and gladiators with skirts

Platforms and gladiators with skirts

Shoes for Short Skirts – Casual Dressing Style

Here comes in the importance of sandals. Remember those footwear one used to wear as kids? With a little heel, yet not too high? Well, for adults they make the same thing, only more suave. Of course, one can go ahead with the Indian impulse and wear something strappy, but I prefer blockier designs.

Block heeled shoe with short skirt

Block heeled shoe with short skirt

Sandals basically give the foot around an inch of height from the ground (at max) and come in various designs. If you want to make it a little more dressy than plain old sandals, kitten heels fit best. They keep the delicate feminity of the look, while emphasizing what short skirts are meant to.

Kitten heels

Kitten heels look classy

Sandals can be covered or open toed. Block heeled or pencil, plain slip-on with a strap holding down toes only, or ballerina styles or even gladiators. For a casual evening out, I would suggest a heel type that makes it comfortable for you to walk around as much as you want – platforms (cork heeled look great), wedge or square heels usually fit this bill. Pencil heels automatically increase the oomph quotient of the attire, especially slingbacks.

Short platforms with Skirt

Short platforms with Skirt

Now to the top of the shoe – ballerina styles and open toes look good, but again they become a tad more evening-ish than say, something with a buckle near the ankle and a strap covering the toes.  Practical, yet stylish without becoming dressy or slutty.

Sneakers with Short Skirt

Sneakers with Denim Short Skirt

If of a sporty kind, the personality then screams sports shoes, with ankle-length socks.  Nude shoes are also OK. This is one of the few things allowed to women and extremely well dressed men who know what they are doing.

So there you have it. A tutorial of how not to get totally ‘just-out-of-home-as-I-was’ look everytime you are out. Yet, not going the whole hog and look like you are off to a glamorous evening affair.

Shoes may not be noticed by men, but they can make or break an outfit. The right shoe can make a simple dress look glamorous, just by virtue of the being on your feet. Shoes force the way you walk and your body posture. I would say, stay away from flip flops as far as possible – they can make you waddle. And no one is allowed to waddle!

Me traveling all over in comfy shoes and skirt

Me traveling all over in comfy shoes and skirt

Confident in short skirt and heels

Confident in short skirt and heels

So try and get shoes that improve how your legs look. A little heel will help your calves look better, so if you have stocky legs, try not to go for the sneaker look. Flat shoes are great for slender women with long legs, not the usual Indian figure. But if you must wear flats, try to make them covered ballerina style shoes or stylish sandals rather than flip flops.

So go out, this festive season grab yourself some neutral, convenient sandals which you can wear anywhere you want to!

Me in Skirt and Kitten Heels

Me in Skirt and Kitten Heels

Suggested shops:

High budget:

  1. Clarks
  2. Nine West
  3. Charles & Keith
  4. Catwalk

Medium – Low Budget:

  1. Bata (perfect for the casual yet trendy look!)
  2. Shoe shops in malls like Pantaloons, Westside, Lifestyle
  3. Metro/ Regal/ Mochi
  4. Khadims/ Liberty (if you really don’t find anything elsewhere)

One thing I however ask you to stay away from are extremely chunky black sandals. They will steal the look away from your entire outfit, and truly speaking look a little dowdy. Skin coloured and light coloured sandals look best. Preferably if the sole is either leather or rubber-plastic.

Indian Sandals

Indian Sandals also look good for a casual look

PS – if you want to look glam, I suggest a pair of boots(!) or even stilettoes. Try those ankle length shoes with care – they can make you look short AND your legs calf-less. And like mentioned, flip flops are ultra-casual, but if you want a casual look, I would still suggest ones with a little heel, like Indian Sandals.

Short skirt and Boots

Short skirt and Boots