These Boots are Made for Walking

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Now that boot season is fully upon us, I thought it was time to post some of my favorites. There is a wide variety of price ranges and I used the most important criteria: Quality, Comfort and Style. All of the choices are from Nordstrom.com.
(You may recall Nordstrom and Zappos are the only places I will purchase because of the return policy.)

I own the Pikolinos and they are wonderful!

The Frye Jackie Button is a new style and I was attracted to them because they have a zipper unlike the popular Melissa Button which is the pull-on style. I REALLY like the look of this boot.

As you can see, the riding boot style is extremely popular. I know many who own the Enzo and love it. It’s also a great price at $169.95. It has a wider circumference if you have a wide calf. The Steve Madden and Vince Camuto are other great ones to try if you’re looking for a low heeled riding boot.

The Corso Como is a great choice if you are looking for a little dressier boot with a lower heel, yet don’t want the buckles and details of the other styles.

The Ecco brand is known for comfort and this one does not disappoint. If you like a bit of a heel, it’s perfect.

The Aquatalia, which is completely waterproof, comes in at the highest price. The quality of this brand is superior to many out there. I have read dozens of reviews and it is even a favorite of Kate Middleton. I ventured out to our Downtown Portland Nordstrom a few days ago specifically to try these on and was so impressed. I do not have wide calves, but these are definitely a snug fit. If your calves are on the narrow side and your legs seem to be swimming in all the other boots out there, these might be a good one for you.

There are way too many choices out there to begin to list. Let me know if you have a favorite, and I can feature it in another post.

 

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Boot Sale and Consultation Giveaway

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It has taken me a bit longer to publish this post that I promised last week simply because there are so many options this time of year!

I’ve narrowed the search for you with these links: Nordstrom  Macy’s and DSW.

When you click on these links it will take you directly to those on sale. Zappos still had over 3000 on sale so I was not able to narrow that further.

Here are a few of my favorites. I listed the brand and style name in case you want to Google for price comparisons.

         Born   Delphini   $129                    Naya Dalia $166.90

 

Miz Mooz                                       Born Jailyn      $129.90                          

Vince Camuto: 159.90                              Via Spiga: 188.90

If you would like a little more info finding the right boot for your height and leg length, check out my friend Missy’s recent post.

By this time, some of you may be overwhelmed. Let me help. As a Giveaway, I’m offering TWO VIRTUAL BOOT CONSULTATIONS. Two winners will receive a FREE phone appointment. I will help you weed through the options while we’re both online and help you find the perfect boots.

 Make a comment by Tuesday, January 24th @ 9 PM PST and the winners will be chosen on Wednesday, January 25th.

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Boots and Shoes: My FAB Finds

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I haven’t written about this topic in several  months so it is TIME! First, I want to share my fab finds this season. Next up, I’ll find some killer deals for you. Later this week I’ll show you a new trend in shoes.

After trying a number of retailers–both online and in store, I have decided to stay loyal to my favorite two sources for shoes: Nordstrom.com and Zappos.com. I’ve purchased elsewhere–trying to branch out. However, when it comes to customer service, return policies, choices for ALL feet, these two win HANDS DOWN! Let me remind you of some of the benefits:

-generous return policy. It’s 365 days for Zappos (even if worn) Anytime for Nordstrom–no questions asked. It is helpful if you have a tag, receipt or date to look up transaction.

-thousands of shoes to choose from in a variety of sizes and widths

-shoes that are in stock! If something isn’t available on Zappos, you can request an e-mail to be sent when they’re back. At Nordstrom, they will search all stores in the system. Even if it appears sold out online, write down the six digit number, call the store and a sales associate can look and do the sale over the phone!

-FREE SHIPPING BOTH WAYS! (If a Nordstrom store is not convenient they provide a PP label and return shipping is deducted from return) Read the small print. Recently I ordered elsewhere. So accustomed to Zappos I missed FREE EXCHANGES not FREE RETURNS. I was charged return shipping on a number of transactions.

These are my two sources and I’m sticking to them. I realize that readers with normal feet have many more choices. You will also be able to find some real shoe deals out there–Macy’s, DSW, Nordstrom Rack just to name a few.

Because of my foot issues, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I find something that works. I needed to replace my black boots and it was not easy to find the right thing even when that is the most common choice out there. I wanted comfort, style and something that could be worn with skirts AND with jeans tucked in.

I’ve never liked the chunky look of a Dansko! Hats off to all those in the medical profession who have to wear them for 12 hour comfort. But, honestly, just not my style.

Then I found the Dansko Brinkley . It was love at first try! I tried them on after a day on my feet (the best time to shop) and I was hurting. I put this boot on and instantly I was feeling better head to toe! They passed the 8 hour test. I can wear them all day and still feel great. They are on sale now at Zappos. Nordstrom also carried them, but from time to time, things temporarily are off their site and then come back. Also, did you know that if you see the same item on sale somewhere else, Nordstrom will always honor the price? Just ask!

Next I found these Softwalk Mika clogs by reading another blog. It would never have been something I would choose. I LOVE them. They also pass the 8 hour test

Last I found the Munro Veronica and ordered in WW (Horrors!) All three pairs fit my criteria:

-low heel but not a flat to fight off any heel pain

-roomy toe box to accommodate my bunions

-cushioned footbed and/or platform to keep pressure off the ball of the foot

So now I have black and gray outfits covered. I’m still struggling to find brown shoes I love. I love the challenge.

By some standards, I may have sacrificed my style a bit, but my feet are happy and that is important.

Next up: Boots on Sale

Let me know if you have found a killer deal you are willing to share with readers.

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Boots: How do you choose? Pt. 2

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Congratulations to new reader, Diane who was Comment #4! Thanks for all your comments. In addition to the Giveaway, Connie is offering a special for ALL Style by Karen readers:  3 Sessions for $99. Take advantage of this and try it out. Personal training can make all the difference for you. Contact Connie at oljar@comcast.net for more information.

Yesterday I promised to follow up after sharing the boots I own. What do I advise for women just starting to get into boots? Take advantage of the sales. They are everywhere! First you want to carefully evaluate WHAT you presently own that calls for boots. Do you wear a lot of skirts? Do you have jeans you can tuck in? Don’t get caught up in the boot trend if you’re not going to get full use from them. I hope that I can convince you that skirts are not just for women who dress up everyday, but that’s a topic for another post.

1. Choose a black and brown pair. If your budget limits you from purchasing both, then choose the color that will coordinate with most of your clothes.

2. When going through your clothes decide if you would do better with a dress boot or a casual boot. Perhaps your brown pair is more casual and your black pair dressy.

3. If you begin to love boots as much as I do, you’ll want to vary the styles and color. Add a pair or two slowly by watching the sales.

To help you out a little, I went on a virtual shopping spree as though I were starting from scratch. My favorite sites are: Zappos, Endless, Amazon and Nordstrom. There are MANY more.

First, for all that goes with black. Nice feature: The buckle adjusts so if you need a little bit more room in the calf it expands. (there is also a wide calf option) Because of this feature, along with the total look, this style works with skirts and jeans. I’m waiting for them to go on sale as this might be the replacement for my black pair. Calvin Klein from Nordstrom.

With Gray being the hot color this year, it would be great to add this casual pair with a lower heel. Gwyneth It becomes the run around boot that goes with all gray/black casual outfits.

Brown Dress from Born

My sister and niece think a pair of Frye boots is a must have. I tend to agree. These are on sale at Endless. Because of the low heel and the comfort of Frye (so I’m told) along with a lighter color brown, these are the perfect complement to the dressier chocolate pair.

There you have it: 4 pairs with two being optional. This is what I would pick for myself. If I were helping you, I’d listen to your wants/needs and determine what styles you’re drawn to.

If you felt the above heels were too high, there are lots of options. Another tip…I purchased the black booties I showed yesterday a half size larger. Then I popped in some inserts from Dr. Scholls. I was so pleased I bought more. Consider this if the foot bed is not as cushioned as you like. They’re available at any drugstore.

I have heard a few people say that shopping Zappos or Amazon is just too much. Searching online websites can be overwhelming. That is where I come in.

I’ve been watching the sites pretty closely and have some great suggestions for you. If you would like a consultation, I’m offering a special Style by Karen rate for my readers. $25 for a 30 minute boot consultation! You’re at your computer, I’m at mine. It doesn’t take long. I can help you find some great deals you’ll be very pleased with. CONTACT me and we’ll set up a time.

So yesterday I “fessed” up on my boots. So what about you? Have you been adding more or happy with 1-2 pairs? If you don’t have any boots, did this post cause you to re-think that?

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Boots: How do you choose?

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Remember to make a comment to be entered in the Personal Training Giveaway. Contest ends tonight, February 3  at 9 PM PST.

With the flood of boots on the market lately it can be very difficult to choose. I write about boots frequently. I’m often asked, “How many boots do you have?” Well, I don’t own everything I show on the blog. I think almost all have been featured; now you will see it in one post.

I am thrilled by the trend of recent years of “tucking in”. Boots have many great details now that need to shown off. They add texture and interest to your outfits. I wear boots like shoes. They are much more comfortable to me because for starters they cover the entire foot. I don’t need to worry about the cut and where it might rub. Boots are often sized a bit wider. If I choose the right heel, I’ve found the perfect mix for me personally.

So here we go. I’ve had this Born pair for years. They really need to be replaced, but I haven’t found the perfect pair so it will wait until next year. These will stay in my closet because when it’s pouring down rain and I’m dodging puddles, they are a great choice. The cushioned foot bed even 4 years later is like a slipper. You will note that they are not a real high boot and are tighter around the calf. I actually like these better with a skirt but they work for both!

 

Two years ago I decided I wanted to try tucking in my jeans and towards the end of the season I found these at The Rack. I can’t even find a brand name in them. For $60 they were a steal. These are mid-calf. That scrunched look is great with jeans or leggings.

 

This fall I added a bootie. It’s just a little more dressy and works with outfits that need something a step above the other two. Belvedere by Soft is still available in Black or Brown.

Last year I wanted to add a casual style in brown that looked good with skinny jeans/leggings and long sweaters or coats. These from Naughty Monkey fit the bill. Search this brand and you’ll see more styles–all under $100.

This year I added the brown “riding” style from Clarks called Lyme Grass–also available in black. I paid full price and they are worth every penny.

Can I wear these two with skirts? Some yes, others no. I’ve had a problem with a tall brown dress boot too detailed for this post. Suffice to say: I made some poor choices. Zappos bailed me out of one buying mistake. Another is sitting in my closet perfect for long boot skirts. While that look is still very much in, it is not a flattering style on me personally. I have a couple of dresses and one skirt that calls for that dressier boot. Now I see the current trend of a more generous calf circumference and more room around the ankle which allows room for tucking. However, I like a higher, more fitted boot with a dress/skirt. Just my personal opinion

And then… yes, they are BLUE! I never would have thought of wearing blue boots. I had seen this same pair from Eric Michael in a boutique for $250 in brown. My price: under $100 last spring at Endless Shoes. I guess others thought blue was weird. The color is great with denim and brighter outfits I wear in the spring. (We could wear boots in the Pacific NW until June). Complete strangers come up to me and say, “I love those boots!” Along with the Clarks and the black Born, these are 8-hour boots.

And finally, from the Nordstrom sale rack, a taupe bootie by Vince Camuto. Macy’s also carried them in chocolate and black. These are my “going out” boots as the higher heel prohibits anything beyond an hour. Great for sitting in movie theatres and restaurants!

 Final Count: 7! My motto that comfort and style mix is evident here.  So would I choose the same things if I had to start from scratch? Do YOU need that many boots?  The answers coming in a follow-up post tomorrow.

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What’s Your Splurge?

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Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were wonderful. Wishing you and your family all the best in 2011.

I’m back to blogging and have many ideas to share with you the next few weeks and months.

If you’re like me, you may have fashion items you’re willing to splurge on and other areas where you want to cut corners. Of course the word splurge means something different to all of us. My goal is not to pay full price. I rarely like to pay over $100 for one single item. I think it’s good to have your own personal bench mark dependant on your own budget. I believe it helps keep you on track when shopping. Here are my benchmarks–the numbers below indicate the HIGHEST amount I’m willing to pay for an item

Clothing items: $100

Coats: $150

Shoes: $175

Boots: $250

Handbags: $200

As you can see, my splurge would be shoes and handbags. Comfort and style are priorities to me and many times this means I have to pay more. I’m also a firm believer that shoes/boots can “make” an outfit. I’ve seen way too many women splurge on some items and then buy shoes that are not well made, or crafted with man made materials. It cheapens a nice outfit so quickly. There are plenty of non-leather shoes out there that look fantastic. You have to be choosy.

I’m very partial to real leather when it comes to my feet. It gives, it breathes, and as one of my clients pointed out, it keeps your feet warmer in the winter.

And a quick note about handbags: I have purchased too many inexpensive purses over the years that fall apart. I don’t need to spend $500, but I do want quality materials that last.

Before the holidays I was a guest blogger for Barking Dogs Shoes. I would like to share a post from this blog that definitely struck a chord with me. It’s the perfect example of cutting corners in one area to spend a little more someplace else.

So I’d love to hear from you. What’s your splurge? Where do you like to cut corners? Do you have a “weakness” when it comes to a particular category?

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Boots & Booties Part 3

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It’s been great reading your comments. I intended to cover this topic in two posts and announce a winner for the virtual consultation. However, there are just so many great things out there to share that I found it difficult to be succinct. I’ve decided to extend the deadline for the FREE consultation. You may comment on any of the posts: Part 1, 2 or 3 to be entered. Winner will be chosen Tuesday, October 13 @ 9 am PST. If you aren’t interested in winning, but would like to make a comment, feel free. If you are chosen and want to pass, I’ll choose someone else. Your comments make it a lot more fun so keep them coming!

I purchased ankle length boots in black or brown 4-5 years ago. Although they had fun detail, I covered them with boot-cut jeans which I was into exclusively, and so was everyone else. The shorter option was great with jeans and very practical in the rainy weather.

Now enter booties and “shoeties”, the name I like to use for the hybrid. It’s not a shoe, it’s not a bootie. Shoetie is appropriate. Here are some of my picks with photos. I tried to vary the brands to expose you to some you may not know, as well as the familiar.

Tracy Reese Summer           Sofft Belvedere  I own the Sofft pair, and they run a little small. I tried them out today for the first time with my black pencil skirt, patterned tights and red coat. I honestly forgot to take a photo. I will get better at this!

Cole Haan Air Talia             Franco Sarto Stage  Oh, how I wanted the Franco Sartos to work for me. I loved the zipper on both sides–a classic style with a bit of an edge. I bought them in burgundy at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. They are still available in Black, Gray and Burgundy and are now on sale for 59.90. They have wide widths, but the 3.5 inch heel was just too high for me. My feet were killing me after one hour.

Naya Ana                                   Naughty Monkey Turn Out

Oh! Shoes                               Kenneth Cole Silver Spoon Talia

Clarks Mocha Java                Everybody Slope

Me Too Labella                        Fergie Lotto

I even threw in a couple above the ankle. Mid-calf length is also popular. Are you getting the idea? There are a lot of boots on the market. I know some of you may be curious on how to wear all these styles. I’ll be sharing this occasionally during the fall so you can see how to wear all styles with skirts and dresses, boot cut, straight cut and skinny jeans! I have much more to share. Stay tuned and please pass on my blog on to a friend who may be interested!

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Boots: Part 2

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Moving on in the boot department…$300+  I cannot do a post on boots without mentioning FRYE. I love these boots. Everyone who owns them talks about the comfort. They are so well made and classic in style they will last for years. Most tend to be a pull on style. If you have high arches (like me) this may cause difficulty getting them off/on. I wish Frye made more choices with a zipper.

Frye Jane, Tall Jane and Shirley  Note: You can fold down the taller boot for a cuffed look.

Another brand that deserves some attention is La Canadienne. These boots are very well made, waterproof and those of you in colder climates will appreciate them. Read the details about this company and you’ll be impressed. Note the circumference–on the narrow side.

La Canadienne Ramona, Dorina and Mazy

Please know that I don’t forget all of you who have narrow feet and calves and am fully aware that you have your own set of challenges when it comes to footwear. Two brands I love for narrow feet are Sofft and Cole Haan.

And just one more I found while searching from Naot. The reviews on these are phenomenal.

Naot Illusion

Now it’s time for me to share what I’m looking at this fall. These are boots I already own. I’ve either had them for years or purchased last spring on sale (a really great time to get boots!)

Pikolinos Turin (they look gray but are really taupe) Eric Michael Liat I got in NAVY. Yes, Navy blue-great with jeans. La Canadienne Tahra. The most I’ve ever spent on a boot EVER but probably the only thing in my closet I can wear for 8 hours or 4 hours standing.

Born Navi. On my 4th season. They are still available when I Googled. 4 hour+ boot

Naughty Monkey from last season. This may take some searching to find.

As for this season, I’m still in debate mode as I want to add a pair of black or gray and a brown riding boot style. Flat shoes/boots are a challenge for me as they do not have as much arch support.

 

Do I go with the Fergie Ledger in Graphite which Nordstrom cannot keep in stock OR the Nine West that gives me the option of over the knee look?

Will it be the Born Gwynne that came highly recommended from another blog I read OR the Clarks Lyme Grass which are sitting in a box in my living room in brown. They’re in/out of stock on Zappos. This tells me something. Note the heel is similar to a a cowboy boot which takes the weight off the ball of the foot so I’m told. Perhaps this is why Frye boots are so comfy.

I need a new cell phone… I’d rather have a new pair of boots.

So are you convinced there are a lot of choices out there? Believe me, I haven’t even scratched the surface. Don’t forget to make a comment to be entered in the drawing for a FREE 30 minute Virtual Boot Consultation!

Coming up: Booties and “shoeties”

 

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Boots & Booties Part 1

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I have had a love affair with boots for years. The last couple of seasons we’ve seen more and more styles. Many women are embracing the tighter jean/legging look and tucking them in. Now we have even more reasons to wear boots. This fall the “over the knee” look made it’s way to the US. In my opinion, a girl has just got to have more than one pair of black or brown boots!

Need help? As a special for Style by Karen readers, ONE LUCKY reader will receive a FREE 3o minute Virtual Boot Consultation. I will help you find the right boots while we are both online. Make a comment and you are entered. If you do NOT win, and would still like this offer, please CONTACT me. For just $35 you will receive 30-45 minutes of my time finding you the perfect boots. If you are overwhelmed with online sites, hate shopping the stores, I can help save you time and money! Contest Ends Saturday, October 9th at 9 AM PST.

Karen’s TOP  Reasons to wear boots:

1. Comfort! It’s all in finding the right pair.

2. Perfect combo with skirts. Many women complain about the low rise jeans. Put on a casual skirt and a pair of boots and you’ve got comfort! Skirts generally sit a little higher and this helps “reign” in weight around the middle.

3. Practical Outerwear. In the NW we can wear boots from September to June. There is no better option when it’s pouring down rain and you have to dodge puddles.

4. If you do not like your legs, worry about wide calves, hate wearing hose because your work requires it. Put on tights, boots and be happy!

There are so many choices this fall, it was really hard to limit what I showed. Boots are all over. What do you look for? If price is your criteria over comfort, start with options like Kohl’s, Target, Payless Shoes. Check the materials. Many lower priced shoes/boots are made from great faux leather. They don’t necessarily look plastic. On the other hand, leather breathes, it gives and lasts for years. Consider your feet and CPW when choosing.

DSW is a great source. Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx will give you some great name brands for less. I enjoyed shopping with a client at DSW recently. Their site is VERY user friendly. I was pleased to see wide widths and you’ll even see WIDE CALF options. When shopping online you will see reviews as well as all the details from materials to dimensions. The circumference numbers are VERY important if you have wide or narrow calves– not all sites list this. They also have a good mix of man made materials for lower prices and leather that is reasonably priced.

Franco Sarto Torch, Naturalizer Brightly, Blowfish Jasper. All under $100 at DSW.

Next I’ve  shown boots in range of prices. I’ve varied the style, heel height. My recommendation: Google search the brand name/style name I have listed. Then choose the store or site depending on your personal preference and availability. It’s also a great way to price compare. My allegiance is to Zappos and Nordstrom because of shipping/return policies. Be sure and read the fine print on the site before you order.

Under $100:

Steve Madden Candence, Naughty Monkey Detective 

$150-$250

Fergie (specially designed for Nordstrom) Eric Michael Liat, Sam Edelman Naharra

Matisse Thea,  Enzo Angiolina Saylem, Pikolinos Brujas

Corso Como Randy,  Naya Juniper, BCBG Generation Sanji

Born Kamryn, Calvin Klein Logan (wide calf) Miz Mooz Jasmine

And finally… A girl can dream can’t she? I’ll never be wearing anything like this in my lifetime due to price or heel height, but it’s sure fun to look!

Stuart Weitzman($695) and Martinez Valero Tonya (4 inch + heels)

Coming Tomorrow: Higher End Choices, My Personal Finds including “over the knee” and a few Booties! Don’t forget to make a comment or CONTACT me. I would love to help you. I know my stuff when it comes to boots!

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