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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Flats That Work As Hard As You Do


Flats that will work as hard as you do

  • The search for comfortable work flats can be a real struggle, but the solutions are too
  • New York’s women speak up about the three styles of ballerinas, loafers and clogs

If you are a woman who works, chances are you have struggled with footwear.
Maybe you have commuted in one pair and then changed into another when you got to your desk. Maybe, over the years, you have built a collection of not just shoes, but also tiny socks of different shapes and sizes—socks that barely cover your toes, that aren’t supposed to peek out of your shoes but inevitably do, that are like tiny little stockings, or with a glue bit on the cuff to hold them in place. Maybe you have stared at the feet of the women you see on the subway or in your office and wondered, “Did she actually walk here in those shoes?" Maybe, like me, you have actually stopped several of these women to ask them that question, and if the answer is, “Yes, these are comfortable enough to walk in and they look good with my professional attire," followed up with another inquiry: “Who makes them? Would you spell that, please?"
Climbing the male-dominated corporate ladder is hard enough on its own. It’s even worse in bad shoes.
Women looking for the right pair have no shortage of options. The US women’s footwear market was $33.9 billion (around 2.4 trillion) for the 12 months ended April, according to the NPD Group/Consumer Tracking Service. The most growth is coming from the sport leisure category—but even fashion, which had been declining, is now levelling out, thanks to those brands incorporating comfort.

So what brand is doing it best?
There is no single answer: For every woman who swears by her Rothy’s, there is another who bemoans the $125 wasted on yet another pair of toe-scrunching, back-of-the-ankle-tearing shoes. While some women are willing to go through the pain of breaking in a pair of Everlane Day Gloves, others don’t have the patience.
We spoke, emailed and DMed on Twitter with dozens of women, including fashion experts, lawyers, journalists and an array of other professionals. There were few consensus items, but plenty of passion. Here are some in three broad categories that get rave reviews.

The Ballerina
There is a reason Chanel flats have been ubiquitous for so long. If you are ready and able to spend $700 on a single pair of shoes, no one style comes more roundly recommended than the lambskin. The supple leather makes them comfortable right away, without the dreaded rubbing that can happen with the fashion house’s other styles and leathers.
For those not looking to spend quite that much money, Attilio Giusti Leombruni (or AGL) also makes a ballerina flat, though some breaking in is to be expected.
If the rounded toe shape isn’t your style, try the pointier-toed Barneys New York Suede & Mesh flats, recommended by Marina Larroude, vice-president and fashion director at Barneys New York. “The mesh of the ballerina is very soft in the feet, super comfortable, and light, especially during the summer," she says.
The snakeskin CC Corso Como skimmer is one of Nordstrom’s most popular stylish and comfortable flats, says Kate Bellman, director of Nordstrom’s fashion office, though it’s available in many materials and colours.

The Loafer
No shoe quite says “ready for business" as a loafer does. The classic Gucci menswear style is recommended by Erica Russo, vice-president and fashion director of accessories and beauty at Bloomingdale’s. “I love this style because the leather will give over time, making this a great fit," she explains. Every Gucci loafer-wearing woman that Bloomberg spoke with praises its immediate comfort as well.
For something a little more fashion-forward, try the Noelle loafers from The Row. “The soft suede makes them really easy wearing, right out of the box," says Rati Levesque, chief operating officer of luxury consignment site RealReal.
Many women also said they were major fans of the Cole Haan brand, which offers several loafers.

The Clog
Clogs are not always flats, but they are comfortable enough to have migrated from nurse wear to streetwear and stayed put for some years. They are not suited for long walks, says Adam Farber, owner of comfort-focused, independent shoe store Mark Adrian Shoes in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but they are a good choice for anyone who logs many hours on their feet. Farber likes Dansko best, but brands such as Swedish Hasbeens, No.6 Store, Nina Z and Rachel Comey offer a range of colours, styles and heel heights.

The Secret to Finding the Right Fit
When it comes to shoes, many women don’t realize that, as with the rest of their bodies, sizes can shift.
“Feet change over time; they get larger, wider and longer," Farber says. “It’s really important not to be married to a number." That means that even a shoe that fits one year might not work the next.
“People are constantly fitting themselves incorrectly, and the fit is almost as important as the structure of the shoe itself," he continues, recommending that shoppers get fitted by an expert and try everything in person as much as possible.
Nordstrom’s Bellman agrees: “It’s important to know the shape of your arch and work with a certified shoe fitter to identify the best support for your foot" (the service is complimentary at the retailer). “Foot pain often comes from improper arch support, but there are many shoes available that provide architectural arch support technology that alleviates discomfort. Lastly, a flexible sole will encourage proper movement and gait."
The right fit means that there should be a thumbnail’s worth of space between your toe and the front of the shoe, felt by someone else, says Farber. A little bit of heel slippage at the beginning is to be expected. A snug fit is not the goal.
For those logging the most miles, a slip-on flat is not the right choice. “You want a ‘seatbelt,’ something that’s going to keep the shoe on your foot so you are not scrunching your toes up to keep the shoe on," he says. That can cause heel pain known as plantar fasciitis.
In addition, he cautions, even the best shoes aren’t necessarily perfect for you right out of the box. Farber says a good shoe can take as much as a week to break in. Start with an hour on Day 1, 2 or 3 hours on Day 2, and so on.
Remember, most retailers won’t accept the return of a shoe worn outside. So choose your store with its return policy in mind and wear a shoe indoors before you take the leap into the great outdoors.
With assistance from Kim Bhasin

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Victoria Beckham Recreates One Of Her Most Iconic Photo Shoots

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With London Fashion Week just around the corner, we're anxiously awaiting spring 2019's more anticipated highlights: Riccardo Tisci's debut at Burberry after 17 years under Christopher Bailey; the first fashion week to be totally fur-free; schedule first-timers Alexa Chung and RIXO; and, of course, Victoria Beckham's homecoming.

The designer's brand is coming to London for its 10th anniversary, having shown in New York for the past decade, and is hosting what's expected to be a blockbuster of a show at Mayfair's regal Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Beckham's new collection will be available for select clients to purchase straight from the runway at the brand's flagship next door. Today, though, Beckham announced the launch of a piece you can nab for a reasonable(ish) price.

Remember back in 2008 when, amid naysayers doubting her move from pop star to designer, Beckham teamed up with legendary photographer Juergen Teller and Marc Jacobs? Beckham, showing self-deprecation and a sense of humor about her public 'no smiles, please' persona, was shot with her legs emerging from a giant Marc Jacobs-branded shopping bag.

Now, 10 years later, she's recreated the campaign for her own brand, marking both her label's anniversary and her journey as a designer. Wearing a pair of soon-to-be-released white stiletto Victoria Beckham Eva pumps, the photos are just as playful as they were the first time around. Taking to Instagram, Beckham wrote:

"This season marks the 10 year anniversary of my brand! When Marc Jacobs featured me coming out of a shopping bag a decade ago it really was just the beginning of my journey into the fashion industry. So what better way to illustrate the story of the past ten years than by revisiting the creative? So excited to share this campaign with you shot by the brilliant Juergen Teller."

In the third photograph she posted to her feed, Teller can be seen peeping from inside the oversized shopping bag, snapping Beckham while she poses with one of her clutches. "Juergen appearing in one of the images was really important to me," the designer wrote. "Collaborating with him again was incredibly special and I wanted to be sure to document it."

The brand's campaign — the first in which Beckham herself appears — will be printed on a limited run of T-shirts, available to buy after the fashion show on September 16. A collector's item for sure, the tee costs $150, and, if you get to the Dover Street store in London in time, you'll be served by the designer herself, who will be behind the register once she's taken her post-show bow.
Whether you're most thrilled about watching her emotional homecoming, seeing the new collection, or getting your hands on this collectible slice of the brand, there's no doubt that excitement is mounting for Beckham's return to London. Safe travels, VB.
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