Heels & Picks: Hurricane Fashion 101

Aug. 12, 2014 | 0 Comments


BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It’s been a hell of a week here in Hawaii. Our state was faced with two hurricanes: Iselle and Julio. While widespread damage statewide was avoided by the general awesomeness of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island, there are a number of people in the Puna district who continue to be affected by last week’s storms.

Residents saw albizia trees snapped like toothpicks, blocking many of the roads and taking down power lines in the process. Now they’re asking for help to clear roads, provide food and drinking water for those forced to evacuate their homes and general assistance to get that part of the island back to normal as quickly as possible.

On Maui, 100-year-old eucalyptus trees were uprooted in upcountry Ulupalakua, an area I have been to and enjoyed the nature and ambience of many times.

Our hearts, and helping hands go out to those who sustained damage, and we are all thankful that the storm wasn’t worse than it was. The initial projections indicated the potential for massive, island-crushing damage. I’m thankful my boyfriend, pups, friends and colleagues are safe.

Of all the various ways this storm has been chronicled — on local TV news, CNN, even those relentless (though I really do think well-intended) memes parodying beloved local weather anchor Guy Hagi — I can’t help but notice hurricane fashion has been vastly overlooked.

I am a hopeless fashionista, after all.

So, let’s get to it. Here are my top five fashion items one should consider having on hand during a potential disaster situation. Some of these may seem like common sense to the fashionista, but let’s go through the list to make sure we are all prepared.

Water first, fabulosity second, as they say.


I can’t take credit for this idea. One of my best friends on Maui posted a photo of herself in the most fabulous of hurricane shoes — crocodile strappy stilettos.

COURTESY ERIN SMITHThe author's emergency preparedness gear setup for last week's hurricanes.


The author’s emergency preparedness gear setup for last week’s hurricanes.

Upon seeing her Facebook post, I looked down at my spiked-heel ankle boots with zippers and thought, “Well, Sammy and I are both prepared.”

Sammy’s hurricane shoe post inspired many women to post about their hurricane shoes. And while this may seem like silliness and poorly timed to some, when faced with impending disaster or any problem in life, it is best to have a little fun. Nothing gets better from nonstop worry and a sullen attitude.

Though perhaps running in said shoes (especially for Sammy and I, who both seem to end up wearing matching walking “boot” casts for broken ankles at the same time), is not ideal, hurricane shoes ensure fabulousity no matter what the weather may bring.


No one wants to get caught out in a storm wearing hurricane shoes that don’t match the snorkel you’ve chosen for impending flood.

But how does one know how to pair the two? Is it taboo to wear patton leather pumps with a matte plastic blue snorkel?

I find the best way to choose your snorkel and shoe combo, is to lead with the snorkel. These days, options for snorkels are not so broad, and let’s face it; no one is bedazzling these things.

With these limitations in snorkel options I’d say keep your snorkel neutral and let the shoes be the focal point. Nobody wants to look like Punky Brewster and have the snorkel and stilettos vying for attention! (Well, I basically always look like Punky Brewster, but that’s another story.)

If you happen to stumble upon a purple cheetah print and gold lined snorkel, a black patton leather pump is fine.


I know how you all feel. A feather coat or vest seems like it’s calling your name when it comes to hurricane fashion. Something about all of that air moving really brings to mind the light airiness of the faux-feather jacket in your closet.

But let’s be realistic here. When a bird gets wet, its feathers can handle the moisture. When a woman in a feather coat gets wet, she looks like her theme song is the opposite of Lenny Kravitz’ “Fly”.

So, I would suggest skipping the feathers and going for faux fur. It will keep you warm and dry in unseemly conditions, it may inspire the kind of running that a cheetah may do, if needs be, and even when soaked through, you still look fierce.


I’ve had this conversation many times with women leading up to impending storms. Mermaid-print leggings, are they too literal?

Though some would say yes, I feel the scaly print really sits well with the vibe. If a woman wants to feel like a mermaid, visualizing the part through the purchase of mermaid-print leggings, or perhaps a skirt, really helps to feel the part. And it potentially makes you a stronger swimmer!


Let us not leave out the gentlemen. My boyfriend, a fashion-forward kinda guy himself, chose a black blazer with a leather lapel for the impending hurricane.

Why? Mostly, just because it played.

But let us not forget another look for men in times of impending doom. And when I say popular, I mean with the ladies. The casual hero look — jeans and a T-shirt — never fails to impress.

But you must pair this look with the ability and strength to throw you girl over your shoulder and get her to safety. If you cannot carry your girl, firstly you better work on that, and secondly this outfit may not be for you.

Also of note, the jeans MUST FIT. Don’t give us any of that saggy bottom, droopy-drawers. How can we check out our hero’s butt while we’re thrown over his shoulder if the jeans don’t fit? Exactly.

I’m lucky; my man has carried me out of many dodgy situations, including a broken ankle at the Mokulua Islands. Swoon. Jeans fit? Check.
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.

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