Neutral Heels

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This post should wrap up the topic of spring shoes. NEUTRAL is the way to go with most outfits so you are elongating the leg line. I’ve tried to show a variety of heel heights and even included some height for all you high heel lovers out there.

 Neutral choices are the perfect complement to all the bright colors  this spring. You might need a couple of pairs in various heel heights.

All photos are from Nordstrom.com. Be sure and scroll over the photo to get the brand and style name to make your search easier.

What do you think? Will you be adding more neutral heels or wedges this spring?

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Cute and Comfy

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As much as I have written about shoes, I probably get asked about this topic more than any other. Everyone wants comfort withouth having to give up style. Flats just don’t work on many women’s feet including my own. Most of the wedges are too high. The heels are even higher. The intent of this post is to introduce you to brands you may not have heard of. The link and source is listed below the photo.

I have tried many of these brands. I first found Fidji 3 years ago. The heel is lower, but I have to add a cushioned Dr. Scholl’s insert. Helle Comfort is still one of the best on my foot. Pikolinos is a favorite along with Eric Micahel. Earthies, Naya, and Everybody are options I’d like to try.

Comfort does not come without a price. If these are out of price range, you will need to watch sales. All of these brands DO come on sale. Find your favorite shoe websites and put them in your favorites so you can check back frequently. What do you think? What catches your eye?

comfort brands

Earthies high heel shoes
$159 - nordstrom.com

Pikolinos wedge heel sandals
$150 - yoox.com

Earthies espadrille shoes
$169 - lordandtaylor.com

Eric Michael wedge shoes
$120 - nordstrom.com

Everybody cut out shoes
$219 - nordstrom.com

Eric michael shoes
$120 - nordstrom.com

Earthies wedge heel shoes
$159 - lordandtaylor.com

Fidji rubber soled shoes
$186 - nordstrom.com

Pikolinos wooden heel shoes
$160 - yoox.com

Naya cork shoes
$145 - nordstrom.com

Helle Comfort python sandals
$195 - nordstrom.com

Flat strappy shoes
$179 - shoostore.com

Perforated shoes
$189 - shoostore.com

Fidji shoes
$155 - zappos.com

Helle Comfort arch shoes
$172 - zappos.com

 

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Spring Shoes Part 2

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My last post featured this season’s popular flats. A question came up in the comment section that I meant to address in that article. What if your foot just feels better with socks, when in reality we know the look is a bare foot?

If you’re like me, my feet can swell a bit and almost “stick” in a closed shoe without a sock. They don’t seem to breathe. I don’t think my feet necessarily sweat a great deal, but it just feels better to wear something like this.

The first view shows a very low cut sock with the toes cut out. This will allow you to wear a peep toe with a “sock”. The other view shows something that covers the toes. The only thing I can say for this is DON’T LET THE SOCK SHOW if you have a flat that is cut low on the sides. I’ve seen this and it’s not a good look. These are available in hosiery sections of most stores.

Now on to some heels. This year the wedges are high and low. (remember to scroll over the photo for the brand/style name to do your search)

The last one makes me laugh a little bit. There is no way that most of us could wear that, BUT, those type of wedges are out there in full force. I do think a wedge with a bit of a platform is an easier heel for most women to wear.

So what do you think? Will you be adding a fun flat and a wedge this spring?

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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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Things I Love: Wedges

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I totally forgot to announce the winner of the Zumba Giveaway last week. Congrats to Ann, comment #1! Enjoy the Zumba classes!

Wedge shoes are everywhere this season. They are not a new style, but we are seeing more and more variations this year. Wedges are actually pretty comfortable on my feet because they often have a platform. I can get by wearing a much higher heel than normal. Recently I received compliments on these shoes. I had lost track, but I believe I’m on season 5 with these metallic wedges from Born. The red ones I’ve had almost as long.

This year I’ve found many more and thought I’d share. Most are pretty affordable too. I’m showing varying heel heights and many neutral colors. I can’t emphasize enough how much more natural these look and visually increase the length of your legs where a black shoe can “cut” you off when wearing shorts or a skirt.

From Nordstrom:

Tom’s, Franco Sarto and Athena Alexander. All are available in a variety of colors and the Franco Sarto style comes in Wide. If you like the Tom’s, I’d go online and order NOW. They are selling out at most Nordstrom stores. Many of the colors are sold out online as well. I’ve been watching for them to come back in this gray/taupe color, but unfortunately they do not work on my feet–just a little too narrow. They are exclusive to Nordstrom.

From Macy’s

Naturalizer (comes in a variety of colors/patterns and Wide Widths) BOC  I’m really into orange this spring which you’ll see in a couple of weeks. These are fun.

From Zappos:

Clarks Fiddle Scroll   Naturalizer Lyric I’m going to try both of these and have some hope since they both come in Wide.

And then I found a brand I’ve never heard of (rare!) and the reviews are aweseome. Introducing: Earthies

What do you think? Are Wedges a reasonable, comfortable look for you?

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Shoe Reviews

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I did a guest post for another blogger and thought I’d share it with you!  Both pairs are worth every penny–that comfortable. I have literally tried dozens of shoes and boots this fall and these passed the test. I find myself going to only 3-4 pairs of shoes in my closet this fall. My obsession with boots continues because they are so much easier to fit than shoes for me. This may lead to the next question… exactly how many pairs of boots do I own? The answer with a photo will be coming in a future post with recommendations for sale items. I’m still on a quest for the perfect pair of gray boots. I’ll let you know what I find!

I think you will enjoy Barking Dog Shoes–a blog only only about shoes! She focuses on comfortable styles and does a really thorough job of reviewing each one. Kirsten finds many things I’ve never seen, and I really have learned a lot by reading these past few months. I would love it if you’d make a comment at Barking Dog Shoes AND Style by Karen.

Coming Tomorrow: Splurging on one item–cutting corners on the rest.

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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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Amenity Shoes Giveaway

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It’s not every day you “stumble” upon a store like Amenity Shoes. Last fall I found a quality shoe store in the Beaumont District of Portland. I love finding places off the beaten path and Amenity is just that. Always on the hunt for comfort/stylish shoes, I was surprised to find such a large selection of fun shoes. For me it’s about a 15 minute drive across the bridge at 3430 NE 41st Avenue, Portland, Oregon.  www.amenityshoes.com and on Facebook (Click on the link to “like” and become a fan to receive updates.)

There on the shelves were all the brands I love: Sofft, Fidji, Pikolinos, Eric Michael, Hispanitas, Born and others that were new to me. There are selections that are a touch more dressy, and others very casual. At first glance from the website, you may find a different look– “edgier” styles that may not be your personal taste. I encourage you to glance at the website, but visit the store. There is so much more inside that can’t be featured on the site. You will also note that they carry men’s shoes, jewelry and handbags!

Owner, Liz Page is very knowledgable. She knows her stuff. I had such an enjoyable time talking shoes with her and sharing my opinions on different brands. Having a narrow foot herself, she totally can relate to all of you with those type of fit issues. However, even with my opposite problem she understood immediately and is very sensitive to each customer’s needs. When something didn’t work for me, she was very patient (and one has to be with my foot) and persistent to find the right solution. I love the great customer service and personal attention that a shop like Amenity shoes provides.

Liz loved the blog, was eager to partner with Style by Karen and do a Giveaway. I couldn’t be happier to promote such a fine business!

Now, here is the best part. This week is their Anniversary Sale and select styles will be on Sale–15-40% off through June 18th! And one lucky Style by Karen reader will win a $30 Gift certificate! Make a comment and you will be entered! First take a quick peek at some of the styles Liz sent in recent photos:

And two pairs I found at the store in recent months:

Fidji pair–softest leather I’ve ever worn. They are made in Portugal. Pikolinos: Conformed to my wide foot perfectly. Go visit the store this week and tell them I sent you!

Post your comment by Wednesday @ 9 pm PST to be eligible for the drawing.

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