Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day Thirty-Five: Little Red Shoes and the Well-Dressed Nun

Before I get into Monday's ensemble, I wanted to address J.T. Ellison's reference to red shoe rules. There are very few hard and fast rules about fashion here in the waning days of western civilization, but people still like to have guidelines--especially when highly visible trends pop onto the scene.

I first started noticing red handbags in the department stores about two years ago. I bought a deep red one, not usually being a fan of candy apple or fire engine red when it comes to adults' clothing, etc. It was an odd purchase for me. Changing purses is such a pain in the butt. I tend to like having one good handbag for winter and one for spring and summer, and carry evening bags when necessary. So I buy sturdy, expensive bags. Long ago, it was Dooney and Burke, then it was Coach--my latest crush is on Brahmin bags. I use them for at least two years each, so the cost-per-use is actually pretty low, even if the bag is in the $300-400 range.

Then last year it was red shoes. I looked for some red pumps for my book tour, but I didn't find any that I liked. So I settled for a red dress. That was fun.

But this whole Walmart thing has left me pining for interesting accessories since I've had to stick primarily to basic clothing colors like off-white, black, gray, and denim blue. Thus the Norma Kamali shiny red shoes ($20) I wore this past weekend.

I knew red shoes would be kind of an issue, which is why, I think, I hesitated last year. As with most questions, I went to the Internet.

Here's what I learned: A lot of people think red shoes should only be worn by children and hookers and would never put them on their own feet. Red shoes + red purse = A LOT of look. The most cogent opinion I found was that red shoes are so noticeable that they tend to be the thing someone will notice first when the wearer comes into the room--and few women want to have their feet noticed first.

If you wear them: Don't wear red hose with them. Be sure to wear something else with a bit of red in it, to keep the shoes from looking too noticeable. A bracelet, scarf, or jacket detail will make you feel put-together instead of conspicuous. So, wear. Enjoy. Just don't go all Bozo the Clown.

Monday's Ensemble:

Seriously--I don't know what was going through my mind when the camera went off. At least I wasn't grinning like a corpse!

Monday was one of those days when I just wanted to get dressed, dressed even though I wasn't going anywhere. It's kind of a nunnish, preppy little outfit that makes me feel all 1980, and like I should be carrying one of those little wood-handled handbags with the changeable button-on covers. (You watch. They'll be back if they aren't already.)

Cable and Gauge sweater, Cotton, Nylon, Spandex (Says to machine wash and dry. Don't think so.): $19 (Sam's Club); Miley/Max gray cami: $6; Faded Glory black corduroy skirt: $10; George tights: $4; Norma Kamali black ballet flats: $20; That Damned Necklace $7; Earrings$7   Total: $73

Tomorrow: Chainsaw 101!


P.S. Go and buy Loretta Lynn's album Van Lear Rose, if you don't have it already. It came out about 5 years ago and it's her collaboration with Jack White. One of the songs is Little Red Shoes. Here's a link to someone's very unofficial video to go with it.


  1. Thank you for the primer. Why don't you take a blow up of that adorable bracelet you were wearing, for the subtle look.

  2. Hey, sweetie. What a good idea! Though I want to do a comparison jewelry post about the things I'm missing and what I replaced them with. I definitely will keep that bracelet.

  3. Hey pretty,

    Love the red shoes! I like your advice about them -- I don't think I own any, but I'm sure I will before it's all said and done. Probably something subtle like Dorothy. :) Love the Loretta cd you mentioned -- Jack White can be a total nutcase, but he can produce a good record!