The Shoe That Saved Us

For years, women have been sacrificing either function or fashion when dressing. It seemed impossible for designers to create pieces that married both of these aspects. However, in recent years, fashion and function now happily co-exist in multiple garment types. With the rise of athleisure, the marriage of fashion and function is even more prevalent. According to J. Holland (2017), athleisure is “sporty clothes and shoes that people don’t necessarily wear to play sport – grew by a staggering 42% between 2008 and 2015, according to Morgan Stanley research.” Additionally, this clothing type is not just reserved for the gym, to the contrary, “it’s a conscious style choice. It’s not just what you throw on to play with your dog in the garden” (Holland, 2017). Specifically in athleisure footwear, one shoe type certainly saved us all—the slip-on sneaker.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

From busy Millennial moms and comfort-focused Baby Boomers to trendy college students and fashion-forward children, the slip-on sneaker knows no age limits and has infiltrated the fashion industry. “Whether you want a leather-bound slip on or an embroidered floral lace-up pair, your everyday shoe game just got stepped up,” says T. Stephan (2017). In addition to the variety of choices, the slip-on sneaker can often just complete an outfit. When throwing on jeans and a loose v-neck, I always reach for one of my three pairs of slip-ons. However, a few years ago, my choices would have consisted of booties (the more dressy option), sandals (the more summery option) or boots (the cold-weather option). Therefore, slip-on sneakers certainly make life easier and also transcend seasons, upholding the advent of “seasonless dressing.” According to E. Stalder, seasonless dressing functions by this philosophy: “instead of limiting yourself to pastels in spring, brights in summer, and vampy shades in winter, wear any palette you want, no matter the season. Ditto for fabrics.”

A pair of Steve Madden gray suede slip-ons in July? Why not! Pairing Circus by Sam Edelman’s motif slip-ons with black jeans in December? Heck yeah! No matter the weather, the season, the occasion or your mood, it is always safe to reach for a pair of slip-on sneakers. Have yet to treat yourself to a pair? Check out some of my favorite styles!

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References

Holland, J. (2017, October 6). Are tracksuits and trainers the future of office attire? BBC. Retrieved from bbc.com.

Stalder, E. (2016, December 15). What Is ‘Seasonless’ Dressing, and How Could it Improve Your Style? StyleCaster. Retrieved from stylecaster.com.

Stephan, T. (2017, July 25). 19 Next-Level Platform Sneakers That Don’t Feel Basic. E! News. Retrieved from eonline.com.

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Must-Have: Mules

Everything old is new again! Whether you are excited for this must-have shoe trend or still experiencing deja vu from 2007, mules have officially made a comeback. Interestingly enough, the resurgence of trends about every ten years is often a topic of discussion in my “Trend Forecasting and Analysis” course; therefore, it is no surprise to me that designers have drawn inspiration from the mid-to-late 2000s to re-create the mule.

However, prevalence of the mule extends far beyond the 2000s. According to S. Marshall (2016), “The origins of the word mule lie in Ancient Rome, where it was mulleus calceus (a red or purple shoe worn by the three highest magistrates), but the contemporary appropriation refers to a shoe that is backless and usually closed-toed.” Additionally, Marshall (2016) adds that “when Comtesse d’Olonne, the risqué society beauty, wore a soft red pair of mules to church in 1694—daringly peeping from beneath her richly-embellished skirt—it paved the way for the style.” Continuing into the eighteenth century, mules “went on to become popular within the French Court, both Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette donning variations” (Marshall, 2016).

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Although fashion often incorporates innovations from past styles, why it is that mules are popular again right now? According to K. Abel (2017), Manolo Blahnik may have profound insight in assigning the state of our world as a contributor for the mass-consumption of mules. “It’s extraordinary that the times are so terrible and people buy these stupid shoes. Maybe they want joy for five seconds,” Blahnik claims in his new movie, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards. Perhaps the mules’ unique shape, opportunity for creative designs and wide acceptance by the fashion cycle draw various consumers to the product.

“With the changing seasons, it’s time to pack away our sandals and flip-flops in favor of some sturdier choices. And while chunky boots are fall must-haves, sometimes we just need the cozy-cool feel of slip-on shoes on our feet” (Sirera, 2017). Although many believe that mules cannot fully translate into the cooler temperatures of fall, I beg to differ. While a pair of opened-toed chambray mules (see my pair pictured above) may edge more on the summery side, other pairs of mules are designed for the latter-part of the fall season, or potentially even into the winter. Also, with the rise of “seasonless” dressing, mules can certainly be incorporated into various ensembles, regardless of the month. Seasonless dressing provides an opportunity to pull “together pieces from across your wardrobe, regardless of whether they were designed for now or later,” to generate “more creative looks,” E. Stalder (2016) claims.

Looking for the perfect pair of fur-lined mules to carry you into the fall and winter? On the hunt for a a unique pair of heeled mules to pair with tights? Well, you’re in luck! Take a look at a few of my favorite pairs; all under $100!

Steve Madden Hugh Embellished Mule

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Sam Edelman Yumi Bow Mule

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Sole Society Caribou Mule Bootie

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Free People Butterfly Faux Fur Lined Mule

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TOPSHOP Villain Beaded Platform Mule

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H&M Powder Pink Satin Mules

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Seychelles Commute Heels

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NANETTE nanette lepore Madeline Ruffle Slingback Mule

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Betsy Johnson Embroidered Mule With Striped Heel

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Target Soho Cobbler Dhyana Woven Suede Block Heel Mules

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Enzo Angiolini Gillian Mule

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References

Abel, K. (2017, September 8). Why Manolo Blahnik Will Be Closing His Eyes During the Premiere of His New Movie. Footwear News. Retrieved from http://footwearnews.com.

Marshall, S. (2016, May 10). A Brief History of the Mule. AnOther Mag. Retrieved from http://www.anothermag.com.

Sirera. L. (2017, September 27). 13 mules that will take your fall footwear game to the next level. Hello Giggles. Retrieved from https://hellogiggles.com.

Stalder, E. (2016, December 15). What Is ‘Seasonless’ Dressing, and How Could it Improve Your Style? StyleCaster. Retrieved from http://stylecaster.com.

Fashionable & Functional: Flatform Sandals

Looking for a summer sandal that is both fashionable and functional? Look no further! As the proud owner of multiple pairs of flatform sandals, I can confidently say that these shoes are my “go-to” for almost every outfit. Whether at a family dinner where I am chasing my niece (who recently learned to crawl) or a night out in downtown Athens with my friends, flatform sandals give the illusion of a trendy wedge, with the comfort of a flip flop! Another amazing aspect of the summer’s hottest shoe? There are a variety of options, with several pairs priced below $100. To shop this look, click below!
Flatform Sandals

 

Now on summer vacation, I have been spending much of my days shopping. I stumbled upon a pair of MIA Elisha Gladiator Sandals in silver at TJ Maxx last week (shop other colors here) and I absolutely adore them! Go ahead and treat yourself to a pair of this summer’s hottest sandals; your feet will thank you!
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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017. 

These Wedges Were Made For Walking

Whether with a pair of jeans for a night out or a sundress for a Sunday brunch, these wedges compliment any ensemble. These Off The Beaten Track Bushnell Wedges (sold at retailers like Nordstorm, Zappos and OTBT’s own website) are the perfect combination of style and comfort. The Bushnell features a large platform, moderate incline and stretchy, making them incredibly versatile. In addition, the shoes are made of durable yet comfortable materials. The wedges come in multiple colors- I have the gold and am considering purchasing a second pair.

Mary Kate Donahue, 2016.

 The only negative thing I have to stay about the OTBT Bushnell Wedge is how quickly the platform became damaged. Granted, I have worn my wedges quite a bit since I bought them in Jaunary, but I was disappointed to see them splitting at the sole after only five wears. Thankfully, I purchased my Bushnell Wedges through Nordstrom, who sent me a new pair free of charge, after I sent back my original pair. Overall, the OTBT Bushnell Wedges are certainly an investment- a trendy, versatile, comfortable investment!

Sam Edelman & The Perfect Party Platform

While perusing the aisles of TJ Maxx (something I do almost weekly), I stumbled upon the most amazing pair of shoes. At first glance, I admired the unique beading and fabric appliqués and then realized that i probably could never pull of these platforms. But of course, I tried them on and Sam Edelman stole my heart once again.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2016

Sam Edelman’s Mel Platform Sandal, which retails for up to $189, was a steal for only $50 at my local TJ Maxx. The platforms come in a multicolor and black & white style, but I only found the black and white at TJ Maxx. The approximately five inch heel, leather wrap around laces and intricate appliqués make these platforms so unique.

Believe it or not, this shoe is also quite comfortable. I wore to my sister’s rehearsal dinner the night before her wedding (pictured below) and I never found myself thinking of my feet or feeling any pain. Who knows how long this 1970s inspired, platform shoe trend will last; but as for now, I’m taking full advantage of it!

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2016

Gallavanting in My Gladiators

Looking for the hottest summer 2015 footwear trend? Look no further! Aside from the ever-classic Jack Roger sandal and a pair of fun wedges, gladiator sandals are this season’s hot shoe! From heels to flats, a few ankle straps to laces to the knee, a variety of gladiators will be seen on fashionistas everywhere. Personally, I am still on the hunt for a pair of knee-high gladiators, but I have an adorable pair of both gladiator heels and sandals.

© Mary Kate Donahue, 2015

On the left, the Vince Camuto Kamella Leather Strappy Open-Toe Sandals in nude are perfect for any summer occasion that calls for a bit more formal attire. I wore these comfortable and stylish heels to my Prom in April, and received several compliments. As an afforbale yet upscale brand, Vince Camuto is my go-to footwear collection.

© Mary Kate Donahue, 2015

 As the newest addition to my closet (I just purchased them today!), the Isolá Matia Flat Sandal in oatmeal will be my go-to sandal this summer. When I feel like straying from my beloved Jack Rogers, these sandals will look great with sundresses, jean shorts, pants, and more! Cute and neutral, I am excited to pair these sandals with my whole wardrobe!

© Mary Kate Donahue, 2015

Remember, shoes always fit!

Remembering Vince Camuto

“I’m passionate about creating a product that women really want…infusing great style comfort and unparalleled value, for every stage of her life.” -Vince Camuto

Every time I open another gray and fuchsia Vince Camuto shoe box, that eloquent quote graces the lid. Unfortunately, Camuto, age 78, recently died peacefully in his home as a result of prostate cancer. Despite this tragic loss, Camuto certainly left a mark on the fashion world. According to Famous Fashion Designers, Camuto co-founded Nine West in 1978, and became the creative director of the label. Later, in 2001, Camuto launched the Camuto Group which “provides services like design, production, marketing and sourcing to retail store owners” (Famous Fashion Designers). By 2005, Camuto had introduced his own footwear collection under his own name- Vince Camuto– the brand we all know and love today.

© Women's Wear Daily

© Women’s Wear Daily

Camuto remains renowned for his beautiful footwear, but he was also never afraid to take a risk and stray from shoes, creating handbags, jewelry, apparel, fragrances, and much more. “Although, [Camuto] specializes in the art of shoe making, he explored new areas of fashion products in order to give full satisfaction to his female customers. His concept about design involves style, innovation and excellence” (Famous Fashion Designers). Personally, I find Vince Camuto shoes extremely comfortable, fashion-forward, and affordable. In fact, I have three pairs of his fabulous footwear in my closet at the moment. Take a look!

© Mary Kate Donahue, 2015

© Mary Kate Donahue, 2015

 Tavi Zipper Boot in Lead / Carlotte Suede Heels in Bright Blue / Fantasia Knee High Boots in Brown

Aside from Camuto’s achievements under his own label, he also helped fellow designers create beautiful products. For example, in 2006, “he partnered with Tory Burch to launch her footwear collection, collaborating with Burch to create the iconic ‘Reva’ ballet flat” (Camuto Group). Without the genius of Camuto, my shoe collection would certainly be lacking!

© Camuto Group

© Camuto Group

Cheers to a successful empire, Camuto! You will be missed!


Works Cited

“Vince Camuto.” Famous Fashion Designers. Web. 26 Jan.  2015. www.famousfashiondesigners.org

“Vince Camuto, (1936-2015).” Camuto Group. Web. 26 Jan. 2015. http://www.camutogroup.com

Hoppin’, Skippin’ & Jumpin’ … In My Jacks!

That adorable slim yellow box with a turquoise lid arrived on the doorstep the other day. This can only mean one thing: my new Jack Rogers have arrived! A girl can never have too many shoes, and she can certainly always use another pair of Jack Rogers’ fabulous sandals!

As a loyal Jack Rogers customer, I tend to wear nothing but the classic (and comfy) Navajo sandals all summer long. Although, as a girl who loves herself a bargain, I have tried several “knock-off” Jack Rogers-esque sandals. From Target to Palms and even Steven Salario, the real Jack Rogers are worth every penny. Even Jackie Kennedy would attest to that!

The “Evolution of My Jacks” (photo below) proves their durability and worth. Although my oldest pair has seen better days, I love them no less than my newest pair. If you haven’t already fell in love with these fabulous sandals, I advise you to channel your inner online shopaholic and order a pair! After all, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world”- Marilyn Monroe.

©  Mary Kate Donahue, 2014

© Mary Kate Donahue, 2014

#lovemyjacks