The Deal Divas talk shoes

Designers: Y'all have some 'splaining to do

Dear Steve Madden, Jessica Simpson, Nine West, Aldo, Bandolino, Kenneth Cole and other Makers of Shoes,

On behalf of homosapiens everywhere (you know, people with feet), I've got a bone to pick with you. Here's the deal: I need a new pair of brown heels. Simple, stylish, unadorned brown pumps that don't cost a fortune.

Crazy, right?

Well, apparently all of you think so. Because on my recent shopping excursions, I haven't found a single pair of this wardrobe staple that met my needs.

Instead, I've seen rows and racks of snakeskin, round toes, patent leather, embellishments, flats, kitten heels, 4-inch heels and other assortments of looks I don't want. Some of them, I don't have a problem with (yes, Nine West, I did buy your pretty camel wedges with the buckle detail, above, for $79). But a girl can only have so many kitten heels and snakeskin shoes in her closet.

I prefer a mid-range heel, and an open-toe would be nice for the summer. Instead, I nearly got motion sickness wading through a whole lot of ugly on two trips to DSW. There are hundreds of shoes at that store! How in the name of all that is good and wearable can I not find one measly pair of suitable brown heels?!

Good for you if you want to go gladiator again this season. But I can't wear many of those sandals to work, don't care much for the style and am convinced that all those straps and cut-outs must lead to one wacky foot tan.

Here's to hoping this is just a temporary funk. And that maybe in future brainstorming sessions, you give a little more consideration to fashion-inclined, mall-trolling women who don't want to look like hookers, Egyptian goddesses or those poor runway models who tip over when they walk. — Deal Diva Colleen Jenkins

Feeling 10 feet tall in nude pumps

I'd like to take a moment to big-up my new best friend — nude pumps!

I snagged a pair of taupe Mossimo Virginia pumps, below, at the Gateway Target in St. Petersburg last month for the low-low price of $7. And I LOVE THEM. They're super pretty and mostly comfortable (although I did have to suffer through a couple blistery days to break them in). They are a true neutral and go with everything. I've swapped them out in place of black shoes this week as a lighter alternative for spring.

But here's the best part. For people who are negative 5-foot-20 like me, a nude shoe is the easiest way to make legs look longer. Why do you think figure skaters hike their industrial-strength pantyhose over their skates?

I'm a Pasty McPasterson, so the pumps below are the perfect shade for me. If you have darker skin, get the same result by opting for a darker shoe (this isn't brain surgery, folks). Check out the Mossimo pumps in caramel and brown Veanna platform pumps. Both are $29.99 at target.com.

Just one tip — keep a Handi Wipe handy because nude shoes track a lot of dirt. I can already see spots on the back that I can only assume are from pressing the clutch and stomping on the gas, something any respectable woman must do in heels. — Deal Diva Stephanie Hayes

Hooray for low heels!

A revolution is under way in the shoe department, Vogue has declared. Deadly 6-plus-inch heels are so last decade. Now designers are embracing the soft and cuddly kitten heel.

For once, my wardrobe is ready.

My last dance with high heels involved a bronze, sling-back Steve Madden peep toe. (Sorry, Steve, but I know you're wrong about comfort and your high heels.) After a few hours of meet and greet at a rehearsal dinner, I was ready to scream.

I know expensive high heels are supposed to be kinder, but $1K Louboutins are outside my universe. My options: go low or suffer for beauty. I'll pluck and tweeze all day long, but feet can only contort so far.

Finally, the fashion world concurs. Vogue says designers are embracing lower heels and concealed platforms, which add height but have the look and feel of pumps. Of course, platforms and stilettos still have a place in our closets, but trend-setters are smitten with the effortless style of Michelle Obama's smart (and highly mobile) Jimmy Choo kitten heels.

Is low the new high?

— Deal Diva Letitia Stein

Shoe of summer: D'orsay sandal flat

Last year it was all about the gladiator sandal. This summer, I predict the d'orsay sandal flat will reign supreme in the shoe game.

I love this sandal because of its versatility. The right pair are classy enough for the office, yet fun enough to wear on the weekends and stylish enough for a girls night out. And they go with all the clothing trends of the year like leggings and tight mini-skirts.

A couple of my favorite pairs: The pair of patent leather d'orsay flats, above, are dainty and wonderfully priced at $24 at newport-news.com. And a Stuart Weitzman sandal available at shop.nordstrom.com costs $158. That's a little steep, but sometimes you've got to treat yourself. — Deal Diva Nicole Hutcheson

Time for a spring splurge?

For most of us, this was a winter of empty pockets. Everyone was trying to save their coins. And rightly so — with an economy this dismal and skyrocketing unemployment rates, anyone with half a brain would be doing the same.

But there comes a time in a fashionista's life when she must splurge. In that breath, I present to you Gucci's Marola jelly, above. It comes in coral and black and retails for $150 at Saks.

Now I'm not saying this will be my splurge. Buuuuut, it's one of those things that is the opposite of practical and would make all your sundresses a little more high-fashion this year.

I must admit I like the non-traditional Jelly shape, and the fact that it has the signature gold Gucci G's on the front. I mean, if you're going to buy Gucci, you might as well make sure folks know it! — Deal Diva Nicole Hutcheson

The Deal Divas talk shoes 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:12am]

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