By Emilie Medland-Marchen, February 7 2017 —
When was the last time you thought about your shoes? They’re not just an accessory but an important point of reference for your style. A good pair of shoes can make or break an outfit — they can make a boring look pop or tie together an exciting top-bottom combination.
Despite their frivolous connotation, shoes also play an important role in our cultural milieu. From Cinderella’s stray glass slipper to the illustrious closet of Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw — who skipped on rent to fill her Manhattan apartment with $40,000 worth of Manolo Blahniks — footwear plays an important role in fashion.
Picking the right pair of shoes is important, but don’t break the bank and purchase yourself a discount pair of Miu Miu’s. Also, don’t do the Calgary equivalent and visit your friendly neighbourhood Little Burgundy’s to drop $300 on a pair of Jeff Campbells.
Here are a few tips to help you out the next time you can’t decide what pair of shoes should be given the privilege of travelling outside your front door. Based on current trends in high-fashion and on campus, here’s our advice for putting your best fashion foot forward this year.
1. Heel stability:
Let’s stop pretending any of us can walk in stilettos. Beyond being uncomfortable and terrible for your posture, spine and general health, heels are not the be-all-end-all of your outfit. It’s hard to deny that the added height makes you look leaner and sharper, but that benefit doesn’t have to come at the cost of comfort. The trick is finding a height, shape and style that works for you and refusing to let the current trends of the day make you stray from that.
The kitten heel is having a moment right now, which is great news for those Zooey Deschanel look-alikes still rocking a heavy bang, bright tights and flouncy skirts. For the rest of us, the kitten heel is a little outrageous and it’s hard to pull off without oozing eccentricity. A kitten heel can be great with a short skirt, chiffon dress or colourful tights, but it’s a tough look to pair with denim, leggings or trousers.
Instead of going with the trend, play around with the width, height and platform of your shoe. A thick heel will speak to your inner it-girl while also taking some of the strain off the balls of your feet. Any sort of platform will add height without putting unnecessary stress on your bones. But remember — the higher you go, the harder it will be to walk and the more support you’ll need around your ankles and toes. Opt for a covered foot or thicker heel to add stability.
In Calgary, stability is the only way to go. A thin heel in the middle of winter will most likely result in campus security peeling your frozen corpse off the sidewalk after you slip on a slick sheet of ice. Nourish your pride and invest in some weather-appropriate heels that you can actually walk in.
2. Strap ‘em on — shoes, that is:
Get inspired by Anastasia Steele’s saucy jeté into the world of whips and chains and opt for some shoes with straps. Big buckles, string, lace-ups and ribbon are all the rage right now.
You can add some do-it-yourself flair to your footwear by adding your own embellishments. You can easily convert a simple black heel into a sexy lace-up with a glue gun and some black lace. A plain, heeled bootie can look brand new with black ribbon detailing. Shoes are meant to be the flashy and fun part of your outfit — try something new and experiment with your sewing kit. You can easily hide mistakes with an elongated pant leg.
If you want to buy your way into the world of fashionable footwear, take the black, blocky cutouts from yesteryear and translate them for your shoes. This is a style that is probably not going to last, so it’s best to let your wallet do the talking and purchase a brand new pair. That way, you can flip them on a swap and shop group once you’ve had your fill of the bondage trend.
3. Good boots:
Beautiful boots are truly a blessing. But do not wear your heavy-duty winter boots anywhere other than in knee-deep snow while hiking up a mountain. If you are in Banff, this footwear is appropriate — but not anywhere else
Leave your all-weather, wool-lined, lace-up-to-the-shin eyesores at home and invest in a tasteful pair of boots. You have many options to choose from. If you want a cool look, try a leather zip-up bootie with a chunky heel from Zara. Or for an “I-roll-my-own -cigarettes-and-woke-up-like-this” aesthetic, purchase yourself a nice, hearty pair of Dr. Martens in a unique material like floral print or suede.
With so many comfortable, warm, tasteful styles to choose from, there’s no reason that the Calgary cold can stop you from looking stylish with your footwear. Find what works for you and work it.
4. Pumped up kicks:
A clean pair of Nikes adds instant taste and style to any outfit. They’re comfortable and easy-going, but very high-maintenance. Committing to a good pair of kicks comes with a commitment to kneeling in the bathtub with a toothbrush and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser scrubbing the crap off of your shoes. You will also start to become extremely conscious of the status of your sneakers.
Sneakers are cool, but keep in mind that they will end up being very costly to maintain. You will need to alter your commute in order to keep your kicks in the best shape. Out-of-the-box fresh is impossible to maintain forever so tread lightly here.
5. Power clashing:
If you’re too nervous to try a bold new style in your wardrobe, your footwear is the perfect place to experiment. A boring, all-black outfit can be instantly glamourized with a bright pair of shoes. Leopard print, velvet, polka dots and fur gain style points as they travel further and further down the body. Take notes from Alexander McQueen and experiment with fabrics, patterns and textures. Your feet will thank you.