Sunday, February 26, 2012

How To Buy a Pair of Fluevogs

Oy, i felt like a walking stereotype a couple of Sundays ago! Mr. E and i went to San Francisco, where we spent almost an hour in the Union Square Fluevog store (San Francisco is one of two cities with a double helping of Fluevog stores - worldwide!). My dashing husband had spotted a divine pair of shoes on sale and thought they might make a nice Valentine's Day present.

They did.

After my purchase, stylish bag in hand, we walked the streets looking for a bite to eat. (If any SF residents can give us a recommendation for a reasonable, decent cafe in the Union Square/Financial district which is open weekends, we would be much obliged!) On our way to a sub-par dining experience i spotted a likely spot for a gritty urban portrait. Mr. E obliged and snapped a couple of pics. By this time, i couldn't feel more predictable. "Style blogger on the rampage for shoes made by 'it' designer John Fluevog, illl-clad for the weather, was photographed by her husband in some type of edgy, public setting yesterday........" Good grief! Well, you can't be eccentric all the time, though we try.

I hope you don't lose any respect for me, but i'll understand if you do ; )  On to the advice! I've read innumerable blog posts gushing over the incomparable divinity of Fluevog souls. Now that i've got my hands on a pair, having tried on 20+ different styles in the process, i'd like to share some what i have learned with you. A lot of this information applies to shoe buying generally, but much is specific to Fluevogs.

Edited to add: Patti's put up her Visible Monday post - ooh lala! That woman wears a leather skirt! Go check out Patti and all the VM ladies! If taking self-portraits in my carport next to the washer and dryer doesn't make you feel visible, i don' t know what would. Back to Fluevog:

Do a lot of online research before you go to the store! I cannot emphasize this enough. The Fluevog company puts out a lot of very unique styles. This has practical ramifications. When we went to the store, there were around 80-100 different styles of shoe on display (i didn't count, just estimating) There were shoes on every flat space, including the floor and benches. But i didn't see these Cascades anywhere, though they were listed on the website. I had even called a couple of days earlier to see if the store had any in stock, and had been assured that they had several of each color in my range of sizes. I approached a sales associate to inquire. She went in the back and brought out six boxes. If Mr. E hadn't found them online and i hadn't called ahead and i hadn't asked the associate about them when we were in the store, i would have left empty-handed. Research online beforehand, make notes/print out pertinent pages/bookmark shoes on your phone, call ahead, and ask for what you want in the store.

This is especially important if you want to get shoes on sale. It only makes sense that the staff will feature the newest stock if space is limited. Pricing of new Fluevogs can be intimidating. But their sale prices are excellent, and there is always a lot of stock on sale. You just have to know what you are looking for when you go to the store in order to take advantage of this pricing. on edit: Mr. E informs me that Fluevog has sales every January and July.

 Try on many different sizes of any shoe in which you are interested. Again, Fluevogs are unique. Different shoes are made on very different lasts (the 'mold' around which the shoe is created). Many of these lasts are handmade, and some are even vintage. As a result, the sizing of the line is not standardized, as it is in and even between many popular brands. These Cascades fit me perfectly in a 9. But I tried on a number of boots a few weeks before this recent trip and found one pair that fit like a dream in size 10.5. I overheard staff saying 'The sizes are all over the place' about once every 10 minutes the whole time i was in the store. Not only is the sizing non-standard, but the way different shoes fit and support your foot varies wildly.

I was pretty determined to get these Cascades as soon as i saw them in the mirror. But, with a 3 1/2" slender heel, i predicted they would be your basic 'sit in a chair and look amazing' shoes. I normally take a size 9.5  in US women's shoes. I have not been able to get my foot into a size 9, much less walk around in any, since i was in junior high school (possibly not even them! Correct me if i'm wrong, mom). I was leaning towards going with the 9.5s when i decided, "we're here, who knows, just try the size 9 for the hell of it". The difference in comfort level was phenomenal - like wearing an entirely different shoe. The sales associate said, "Look! You're prancing!" She exaggerated, but still. Make certain to try one or two sizes up and down from whatever size you think is the best fit. Because of the uniqueness of the various styles, you can't really take a lot of information from one shoe to another. Better to over-investigate.

Try on many different styles of shoe.  Fluevog creates shoes which not only look very different from other shoes on the market. Individual Fluevog shoes are shaped very differently from other shoes in the Fluevog line. Because of this, they also fit very differently. When i first visited the Fleuvog store, i tried on about 6 pair of boots. Some fit my feet terribly (i couldn't even get into a size 10.5 in one style), others were okay but not great. Then i tried on these Amazing boots and they were beyond comfortable and supportive. It really surprised me! However, i have nothing to wear with them so i passed. These leads to my last point:

 Do not give up! If you really want to acquire a totally unique, beautifully made, flat out awesome pair of shoes Fluevog is a fabulous resource.  But chances are excellent that you will have to be patient, do a lot of online research, call stores, and try on a lot of shoes. I look at it this way. Anyone can go to a high-end department store and buy the 'it shoe' of the moment. They only have to have the cash. On the other hand, acquiring shoes that seem made on a cloud by harp-strumming angels solely with you in mind, shoes that blow your mind (rather than your wallet) -

it's only fair that you put in some effort. I hope this information helps you start living with the shoes of your dreams.

Blouse and Skirt: own design
Belt: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: Miracle Cascades by John Fluevog
Watch: Fossil

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"That" Look

 I wore this outfit to tromp about the neighborhoods of Berkeley with Mr. E last Sunday. As much as people love to catch liberal northern Californians in various hypocrisies, in my experience it is in truth quite a tolerant place. Frankly, most people seem to have plenty to think about without needing to be scandalized by the neighbors.

However, i did receive a few down the nose, disapproving looks towards my feet during the day. They all came from ladies looking to be in their late fifties - early sixties, with varying amounts of interest in comfort vs. style (to judge by their outfits and grooming). As i had plenty to think about without needing to be scandalized by the neighbors, i didn't engage any of the 'look-givers' in a conversation to determine if i read them right and if so what their problem was.

Was i 'too old' to be wearing such high heels (even if they're uber-chunkay)? They didn't care for cropped cargos in winter? Too many strings hanging around? Really, sometimes it's difficult to figure what will get up people's collective nostril. Not that i care, which doesn't help.

I made this jacket out of cotton/poly sweatshirt material. It's a copy of this Free People hoodie, with longer sleeves and hem. It's very warm but boring to wear. I do like it better in pictures, though, and it's coming in mighty handy when it's cold and i don't want to look like i'm free of all stylish considerations.

To make up for a lack of sartorial, sociological, or even common-sensical insight in this post, and to highlight the major ankle action of this look (another candidate for the intemittent disapproval), i took a couple of videos of the look in movement. Speaking of looking stylish, you may want to avoid extended gawking at your own feet. When my ranch-grown grandfather would go to town , his mother would admonish her sons "Stop looking at your feet! You look like a bunch of hicks, watching out for snakes!" And they were, since they didn't have shoes most of the time.

We do have snakes here, but they tend to be little racers, gophers, and the incredible California King Snake - so named for it's immunity to rattlesnake poison, allowing it to kill rattlers and eat them. King snakes were always a welcome sight around grandpa's ranch, and they are around here as well. But the snakes around here have more to fear from my stomp-a-delic heels than i do from them!

I do love taking these videos - it is delightfully easy for me to imagine all of you reading this blog and my getting a chance to say 'hi!'. I really enjoy thinking of all of you there in the camera - heaven knows why. At least it's only a minute or two of wasted life if you decide to watch!

Any of you get these judgmental looks from other people? Have you come up with any insight about possible motivations, or discerned some rhyme or reason as to who or when? If so i'm curious to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bombing Around

Hi! Well, a generous neighbor has given us WiFi access and a generous parent (I love you Dad!) has lent us a WiFi network adapter. Result? We're back online. DH is researching various internet access options and i'm starting to feel vaguely caught-up with 'the world wide web'. Of course real life is pretty hectic, but what can you do. I do have to say that being forced to use our new phone as my only online access for a couple of weeks made me learn a lot more about it than i ever would have otherwise.

On Edit: i actually planned on linking this to Visible Monday, hosted by the gracious and gorgeous Patti at Not Dead Yet Style. But i'm out of practice posting and forgot to mention it! Go on over there and take a look at all the other participants to give your week a stylish start. I hope the connection between a bombshell look (especially at 'my age'!) and visibility is obvious.

There was a big controversy a week or so ago over at YouLookFab about bombshell style - is it a personal style, a style of dress, how is it defined? *** I personally love to 'bomb out' on occasion, and realized i hadn't in awhile. So i whipped up this look.

Yes, the shoes are new. A while back i saw a YLF Forum member drooling over these Fossil Savanas, and realized that my thirty-year-long quest to acquire my own pair of heeled oxfords had a distinct possibility of coming to fruition. I had Christmas money, they were available in my size, "someone" had internet access at work so they could be ordered online (too fussy to do over the smartfone even for "someone" - who found them for 27% off).......oh yeah, baby - come to momma!

Ay carumba, this heel is as high as i can ever go. But do i love these shoes! And wearing them makes clothing designers' love of sky-high heels ridiculously obvious. Add an extra half foot to any reasonably built person and proportions become a snap. You have a lot bigger margin for error, and precision dressing is a thing of the past. In other words, you can be lazy and not worry about detailed restrictions imposed by an individual body; you're much more free to pursue flights of fancy. My two cents.

DH has also been rabidly shopping for a new pair of spectacles. He's found a gorgeous pair and they are on order. In the meantime, while dragging along to all these opto stores i found a beautiful pair of sunglasses - while wearing this very outfit.  As it happens, with our current coverage and my anal obsessive care of my day to day specs (resulting in scratch free lenses at date of publish) i will end up with my first-ever pair of Rx sunnies! I am beyond thrilled, and since i already have cataracts sun protection has more than one attraction.

In other developments, after almost a year of expensive and unsatisfactory haircuts at salons, Mr. E has agreed to give me a whack at cutting his hair. As he puts it, he has plenty of hats and if it's too completely horrible he used to shave his head.  I like to think that, complaints to the contrary, my own tonsorial efforts have been noted. Wish me luck!

So - what's been going on with you? What's happening around here anyway? Any tips or links you can point me to so i don't seem hopelessly out of it? Thank you for your input - it is nice to feel not completely cut off from the larger world.

*** To read the bombshell conversations in order:
"Is this a 'bombshell' pencil skirt combination?"
"In defense of bombshell"
"More style musings...."

Jacket: YMI lets UBU
Blouse: Bobeau
Skirt: own design: get Hot Patterns Slouchy Fly Front Skirt to make your own
Over The Knees: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Fossil Savana