Heels & Picks: The shoe situation
BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser
As usual, I made a fabulous entrance at Ala Moana Center’s “Fall Fashion Event” on Oct. 5. I sashayed onto the red carpet, immediately got caught in it’s deep, luxurious cushioning and had to catch myself before I fell over completely.
Welcome to me, while walking — and to my life in general.
Don’t worry, Ala Moana, I don’t plan to sue as a result of my clumsiness in the wake of your impeccable stylishness. Rather, it illustrates that although I do believe in the idea of the taller the heels, the closer to God, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to bite it at almost every bump in the road.
But that’s life, right? We fall down, we learn, we get back up and we keep going. Still, there are important things to consider while choosing the shoes I’m about to wear while potentially falling down in the middle of the mall.
And so, in this week’s column I’d like to discuss a pressing issue in my life right now: heels versus ankle boots.
When I say it’s a pressing issue, I realize if these are actually my problems, then my life must be pretty cool. I have other problems, like sand in my white bikini bottoms I can’t seem to get out and the eternal debate over how high my sunscreen’s SPF should be. But this heels or ankle boots thing is really on the forefront.
I have a deep love for heels. I will pair them with anything. Though I’m tallish to begin with, they kick things up a notch and help elongate a woman’s leg. They are versatile and you can get almost any print and color you want, for any event, mood or meeting/performance. In my closet I have everything from camouflage heels with gold spikes to a pair of pink faux crocodile heels, many of which were picked out by my boyfriend. (I managed to wind up with a man with a knack for fashion!)
Though heels are still welcome in my world, I’m working with a team that’s adjusting some aspects of my look prior to the release of my upcoming solo album. One of the biggest changes has been the introduction of the ankle boot, aka the high-heeled shoe’s rock ‘n’ roll cousin.
My first thought on the ankle boot was “Well, I’m not so sure about this. It cuts your legs in half.” Old habits die hard, as they say, and it’s important to be flexible to new ideas while maintaining your vibe.
So let’s talk ankle boots. To try them out, the first pair I bought was from Forever 21 to complete my look for a recent Neiman Marcus performance. I picked up a black, gold-toed pair with a gold zipper on the side and wore them with a pair of black leather shorts, a black tank top and black- and white-striped blazer. At the event, the Jam Island crew bought me a lovely pair of hanging earrings, and I wore a spiked silver rock n’roll cuff as well. The look worked.
Flash to last weekend at Ala Moana; after nearly falling on the runway, I headed to Bebe to check out some of their new fall looks and see what ankle boots they had.
I love Bebe, I really do. One of their sales reps, Ashley, and I have now become buddies and she always pulls great looks for me. She pulled me a pair of ankle boots without my even asking, which is how I know they are “in”.
I opened the shoe box she had placed in the change room. Black faux crocodile, platform, five inch spike heel, buckled straps around the ankle, a cutout at the heel and easy to walk in. Okay, I kind of love these.
I took a selfie and texted it to my boyfriend T, short for “Trouble.” T and I live in Kailua, but the man was born and raised in New Jersey and you just can’t take the love of a high-heeled shoe out of a Jersey boy.
“Baby, you look gorgeous, but I think maybe those ankle boots cut your leg in half, love.”
I texted the photo to my sister, a lawyer who lives in Toronto.
“Those boots are incredible, I don’t know what you’re talking about with this leg-shortening thing.”
So we are at a tie. A fashionista impasse, if you will.
Let’s settle things by taking a look at celebrity trends. Rihanna often wears ankle boots, and they look great. Though you may think of Rihanna as not often wearing much in the way of clothes at all these days, she is often spotted in high fashion outfits and the boots totally work.
And she’s not alone; Kate Bosworth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Bar Rafaeli have all been seen out and about wearing ankle boots. When I see the photos of these singers, actors and models, I’ve got to admit I like the look.
When I left Bebe, I sat by the runway to catch the Juicy Couture fashion show for Hawai’i Fashion Month. The DJ kicked in and parasol-toting models walked in a slow, steady, serious-faced precision down the runway. As much as I admired their off-the-shoulder sweaters, metallic jeans and hair tied up in a high-fashion version of the local-style high bun, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of their feet.
Were there ankle boots in the styling of this show? Yup. Front and center, a model in a short black dress and ankle boots.
Sometimes it’s best not to think of things as change, as much as adventure, a fusion of looks and ideas and a giant step into exciting things to come. I watched the end of the fashion show, tripped over the red carpet again and headed out for the drive back to Kailua. They’re only shoes, anyway.
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.