Letter of Rec: Spring shoes under $500
The subjective best according 2 me
If historical precedent is to be trusted (debatable), the dark of winter is lifting, which means that in addition to the tiny delights that present this time of year: birds that chirp to each other over an unseasonal flurry storm, strangers staring up at the thawing sky while their faces attempt to reconfigure the direction in which their lips hang on their face, tulip bulbs starting to bud in the shit-filled squares that line the sidewalks and the sheer thrill of inhaling fresh air without feeling the pain of its frost pass through you, the collaboration between pants and shoes doesn’t have to suck as much as it has over the past 6 months.
As far as the forecast goes, it’s been a pretty good 72 hours in New York.
Here are the best recommendations I could make for shoes given what’s out there. They’re broken down by category, not to be confused with Scattegories, which is not the same as Wordle.
An alternative to ballet flats
Great if you’re a regular wearer of straight-leg jeans/pants that are not especially baggy — the high vamp on the shoe (part that covers top of your foot gives u sum edge). Double great if you tend to wear these pants with blazers. (Alison Roman, if you’re still looking for a black blazer, here, try this.) What happens with a regular ballet flat is that often the triple-threat combination of “French” wardrobe staples (straight leg jeans! blazer! ballet flats!) turns out looking very prescriptive, ridding you of the chance to show off your PERSONAL STYLE.
An actual ballet flat
Loeffler Randall Leonie flats, $295
These fuckers, I love. Where a pair of Repettos or Chanel ballet flats might register too rigid like my hips, these are nice n flexi, like my schedule.
They carry a vague Miu Miu energy but that’s mostly because Prada was among the first to citify actual ballet shoes. These r great with something short — like I’d wear them with grey socks and a pair of cut-offs or a very tiny mini skirt. You might choose a longer denim skirt if you don’t particularly like minis. Another idea I just had: cycling shorts with a mini over ~per last week’s NL.~ They’re good w jeans too. I’d just omit the blazer and go for something either collarless or button-to-collar (like this) instead.
A kitten heel loafer
12 Storeez kitten heel loafers, $204
I’d be remiss to leave it out after the hoopla last week. A slingback might be your preference (looks better with short things though a closed back is no doubt more comfortable, so really it depends on what you’re doing in your shoes — e.g. walking long distances or just having sex). I chose these ones because they’re a bit more all weather. I’d like to see you in them with some trousers and a teeny tiny white cotton tank top.
Sneakers for recreation
Salomon XT-6 sneakers, $190
These are for a walking expedition, but not the kind that specifically caters to physical fitness — more like one you might take on one of the early Spring days that make it seems like a crime to be indoors. My preference with a proper sneaker is something pretty feminine up top. A dress like this, a skirt like this. (Or, I mean.) Fun socks. Not no to the trousers and tank top mentioned w kitten heel loafers here either.
Blastocyst heel loafers
Scarosso Monica loafers, $325
What the actual fuck is a blastocyst heel? Well, I thought about calling this the cat heel, then realized cats are the mothers of kittens and that the reason kitten heels r called what they are is because they’re baby heels. What comes before the baby tho? A blastocyst! Maybe henceforth that thing where you’re not wearing shoes at all can be called “mere twinkle in his eye” heels.
Anyway, these come in 3 colors, but my vote’s for brown suede. I wouldn’t recommend them with the blazer and jeans from the first option lest your hair is down wild free and you’re wearing giant pearl and gold earrings (the best part of dressing like an Italian gentleman is when you also embody an Italian matriarch). They’re refined in the front, which will make them good w baggy things, but they’re still loafers, you know, so socks and short shit here too. My favorite way as a general rule to wear loafers is with the girliest dresses I could find. Think Rebecca Taylor for archetype, Cecilie Bahnsen for redefinition and Ulla Johnson for somewhere in btwn (and best looking imo right now).
Ridiculous wild card
Easy Spirit Traveltime clogs, $69
I know it looks crazy but hear me out. Or really, see me out. It takes approximately 6 months for me to integrate some new idea that The Row is proposing — in this case, that Prada Sport mules are due for a refashioned comeback. 6 months after I’ve integrated the idea, it usually takes another 6 months for other ppl to stop thinking I’m crazy. So, you might not be on board just yet, and maybe you’ll never come around to it (which is fine! There is such a thing as taste and sometimes taste says IDKABTYOU) but in the event that you are intrigued, I offer up these pseudo clogs to wear with the same feminine dresses as indicated for the blastocyst shoes. Good with something short too, I think. Like I’m envisioning running shorts, fine socks and a tweed jacket.
Another wildcard, but not at all as ridiculous
All winter I saw this woman walk up and down Maidson Avenue in the upper 80’s wearing a long-ass fur coat that swung out at the hem with leggings underneath and very chunky socks (Elder Statesmen style). She had on a red baseball cap (no mention of making anything great again, just reinforcing her allegiance to Martha’s Vineyard) and khaki boat shoes. The way to wear them (the boat shoes) when it’s warm is to acquaint yourself with a European seaside sensibility — think Ibiza, St. Barths. They’re too literal the American way. I’ll break this down sometime soon, but in the mean good thought starters exist as mere reflections of her personality on Blanca Miro’s Instagram page.
If it’s going to be sandal, let it be this one.
Raz Aterlier wedge slides, $350
Probably informed by the same euro sensibility as above. Great for all pants — can’t think of a single pair that would fuck them up. Less inclined to wear around a city with short things
The expensive ones
These, from Gabriela Hearst, $990
A lemon squeeze’s worth of personality for jeans and a t-shirt, a good companion for a mini skirt, midi dress or retired gym teacher-style walkings shorts and perhaps mostly notably: the physical manifestation of the marriage between Sperry’s topsiders and the European sensibility detailed above.
Last spring I started to feel like Spanish beachside was the direction in which some collective sensibility was heading. It started with fisherman shoes that launched me towards crochet cover-ups, more primary color combinations and beaded raffia things, but by now I’m eager for a bit more polish. I like these because they’re easy to wear now w basically anything else you’d wear in this weather, will easily transition over to proper summer clothes and when you’re by a beach, or under any circumstance that calls for no clothes, they’re an unexpected outfit maker. Also, a bit more structured than these from last year.
Questions? Comments? Advice for cracked heels?