Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let's Bring it Back: Unisex Footwear is Forever

photo taken from the

Unisex Footwear is Forever

This fall, the freshest fashions are making their way from L.A. and New York to the Midwest. Autumn trends are sleek and sophisticated, ageless, and—amazingly--androgynous.
After all of summer’s focus on women sporting menswear—masculine vests, fedoras, neckties, and suspenders—equal-opportunity footwear feels like a novel concept.
Stepping into style is a no-brainer—invest in a pair or two of classic, everyday shoes. These timeless footwear styles are universally appealing to both sexes, and the juxtaposition between an outfit and its unexpected footwear easily combines to add a hip, modern-day kick.
Check out this short list of retro footwear before hitting Mass Street or raiding your mother/brother/boyfriend/girlfriend’s closet:

Cowboy boots ain’t just for Cowboys…
Frye Boots: In the 1960s and 70s, The Frye Company reissued their “Campus” boot—revamped 100 years later. This boot quickly became an American staple and, in part, its high-demand can be attributed to its time-tested, chunky heel and sleek aesthetic appropriate for men and women. Levis, work-shirts, cotton tees, and Campus boots were the wardrobe.
Wear it now: Warm days and cool nights are inevitable in the fall, and cowboy boots are the perfect autumnal accompaniment during this transition.
-Extend wear-time of summer dresses and shorts by slipping on a pair of boots with stockings or leggings.
-Dress down an ostentatious, expensive suit or dress for more casual gatherings or daytime activities with comfortable boots that can’t help putting off friendly, hometown vibes.
*My personal favorite: Campus 14L in “Banana.” This smooth, rich shade is unique. It presents a spin-off of the more traditional brown-colored boot without being overly flamboyant.

Sports Enthusiasts, Hipsters, and Nerds Unite…
Converse Tennis Shoes: Converse has been pumping out shoes since 1908, and their ridiculously popular “All Star” tennis shoes are undoubtedly a wardrobe staple. The All Star was designed in 1908 as the company’s premier basketball shoe, but even non-athletes can appreciate the orthopedic shank that makes these babies comfortable. Converse shoes have become a personality statement; sharpie designs always give away the artsy, ADD college student, and grass stains and grungy scuffs point to the proud hard-worker. Or, there is always the pristine, novice phase every Converse wearer must shamefully endure—“Man, I wish my shoes would get dirty already…I look like such a poser.”
Wear it now: Converse shoes are uni-sex, but never uni-season. These shoes can be worn comfortably in most temperatures.
-Again, dress down a fancy outfit with an unpredicted pair of shoes. For example, by lacing on a pair of All Star tennis shoes, women’s trousers and men’s fitted jeans look “in style” instantaneously.
-Not only are Converse sneakers as versatile as a Chameleon, but they are also widely appropriate for all age groups. Don’t be afraid of looking too young!
*My personal favorite: Chuck Taylor All Star, Optical White, Hi, Canvas. You can’t go wrong wearing the original Chuck logo patch and unchanged hi-top design.

Moccasins—House Slippers and Shoes in One…
Clark Wallabees or Desert Treks: “Authenticity, Simplicity, Comfort.” In 1950, Nathan Clark achieved major strides for England’s footwear industry. Originally intrigued by the shoes pervasive in every multifaceted bazaar in Cairo during World War II, Clark recognized the need for a functional, comfortable shoe in England. Its selling points include the high-quality products utilized to manufacture each pair—from it’s plantation crepe outsole, soft suede, and full-leather uppers, purchasers are reassured their footwear is quality. A patented foot bed was designed to keep the feet dry, and a roomy toe was purposely employed to promote a natural toe-spread. Lance Clark later introduced the Oxford Wallabee and the Desert Trek, formulated off Nathan’s former design concepts that similarly promote a natural, functional foot comfort. Although Clark’s were originally looked down upon by fashionistas, the shoes soon became an England classic, embraced by both the studious and the mod. Even Italians, known for their hip, stylish, genuine footwear adopted Clark’s for themselves.
Wear it now: Clark’s are the ultimate fall and winter footwear. These shoes are the sure-bet for keeping your tosies toasty.
-Whether you are wandering downtown or kicking it with friends around
a campfire, throw on your Wallabees or Treks for an ultimate cozy attitude. Clark’s are the best accompaniment to jeans, sweaters, hot coffees, and cold brews. Don’t be nervous about looking like your Grandfather, because looking back, you will realize Grandpa had it right all along.
-Although you may get some strange looks if you sport your Clark’s with a skirt or dress, wooly tights or bunched leggings can easily refocus a night’s outfit, sending out trendy, warm vibes. Choose a low-top Clark for the most versatile wear.
*My personal favorite: Clark’s Desert Trek for Women, Beeswax Oily Leather. The top-seam is classic, and the simple, old-school, 2-eyelet lacing design hit perfectly at the ankle—making me wonder why anyone ever bothered with a full-lace-up shoe in the first place.

Boat shoes make a splash…
Sperry Top-siders: “Because the Earth is two-thirds water, there is Sperry Top-sider.” Paul Sperry developed the Top-Sider in 1935. Intrigued by his dog’s spry mobility on even slick, wet surfaces, Sperry went to work and engineered the “Authentic Original” with a simple penknife and a pair of old tennis shoes. Sperry was an active outdoorsman and sailor, and he recognized the need for a comfort shoe that would assist this lifestyle. And so, the Top-Sider was born. The Top-Sider is a versatile shoe utilized by renowned institutions, like the United States Naval Academy, along with ordinary active men and women across the world.
Wear it Now: Sperry Top-Siders are comfortable and adaptable.
-Go sock-less! Top-Siders are foot friendly. Don’t be wary of rubbing or blisters; the Top-Sider is made to endure moisture, and its interior is sure to treat your feet right!
-Because Top-Siders are a low-top shoe, they look great with shorts and trousers. Also, they are available in many neutral colors providing maximum versatility.
-The Sperry company not only manufactures the Top-Sider, but also offers an array of dress shoes, rubber boots, Mary Janes, and boat shoes. They make a winter-friendly wool shoe so that you can wear their comfortable kicks year-round. Because Sperry shoes have become an American Classic, you will always be in style and up-to-date.
*My personal favorite: Women’s Pelican Wedge Sadie Tall Rubber Boot in Navy. This shoe is perfect for tromping around town in the fall. I welcome the damp leaves and puddles common in the October and November months, and the Pelican Wedge’s waterproof construction and Wave-Siping ensure I won’t end up on my rear! Plus, the classic navy shade and the detailed, anchor snap make me feel like a sailor’s wife!

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