Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Reptile House

Shoes with snake, croc, or other reptile prints are perfect for the summer-into-fall transition, because they incorporate the irreverence and fun you want in a warm weather shoe with a bit of serious that's appropriate for autumn. (Actually, this is sort of bullshit. I just felt obligated to write some sort of intro to this post about snake and croc shoes that I want to buy.)

As always, I want every single shoe Old Navy has produced in the last four months. Sidenote: why is it that Old Navy is knocking it out of the park, footwear-wise, but Gap has nothing but boring old flats and some fugly $70 platforms that they claim are European? These faux-croc slingback sandals, $19.50, have a great minimalist shape but come in really fun colors, like this vibrant turquoise and a non-flashy gold. I also really like how ON adds a baby heel to their flat sandals, which makes them easier to walk in and more comfortable.

J.Crew was making all sorts of two-tone ballet flats last season for like a hundred bucks, and Old Navy is ripping them off for $24.50, with a crocodile print instead of the Crew's suede. The contrast color toe cap on these faux-croc ballet flats add a lot of fun. Ballet flats can be a bit dull, but the embossing and great colors make these very fashion forward. I'm a big fan of the "purple drama," but "homespun" (tan and salmon pink) and "earl grey" (charcoal and mustard) are extremely cute also. My only concern is that in some photos the toe caps look a little haphazardly attached, and if they start to peel off these shoes will go from cute to cheap-looking very fast.

These reptile t-strap heels, $34.50, show how these prints can be fierce as well as cute. You don't fuck with a girl in red croc-embossed t-straps with stacked heels, because she will stomp all over you. Also, the cut-outs across the bottom will help when she feels showing a little toe cleavage will let her get her way.

Here's another shoe that's not for the meek: Colin Stuart Croc-Print Platform Pump, $72, at Victoria's Secret. The 4 and 3/4 inch heel and platform sole will make your legs look about ten miles long, and you'll be able to look down on all your poor short friends in flats. Just make sure you take these for a spin around your home first, to make sure you won't be taking any unplanned tumbles.

If you're looking for something a bit more subdued, Lauren by Ralph Lauren has the perfect shoe: Brinley, $98, a peep-toe Mary Jane with a subtle black snake print. It's a classic shoe in a classic color, but the addition of snakeskin gives it just a touch wild. Only those who looked closely would know that you're secretly a jungle lover in addition to a librarian.

I personally believe that any snakeskin clothing should be a color that does not naturally occur on a snake, like dark red or bright purple. These pointy-toed pumps almost break that rule, but I think they're just gold enough to be acceptable. From Rampage, the Maria pumps, $29.99, are called "tan" but it looks like there's more than a hint of metallic involved. Also, I like how high-quality the snake skin looks--I hope it's smooth when you rub one way and rough when you rub the other, just like on a real snake. But, let me make this clear if I haven't already, I would not approve of having real snake or croc skin on your shoes. That's just tacky. And I could never afford it.

If I were to rank my favorite metallic colors, I would say: Gold, silver, bronze, and pewter last. Pewter reminds me of pipes, but I think these Chinese Laundry Attitude shoes, $39.99, might change my mind. The color is a very grown-up take on metallics, so you don't look like a J.Lo impersonator when you want to be taken seriously. And also, I always dig a hidden platform.

Do you notice how shoes in online stores are usually not modeled by an actual foot? I've also suspected it was a ploy to avoid web traffic from foot fetishists, but who knows. I do know that this shoe makes me want to paint my toenails a nice tangerine color. From Banana Republic, the Genevieve lizard-embossed sandal, $68, has a rather original "V strap," as opposed to the more common T-strap. The snake print is very understated, so it's more like a cherry on top of the sundae that is BR's signature classic design.

Target has a boatload of reptile print shoes right now, for less than $30 bucks and in some great metallic colors. I'm particularly enamored of "wine snake," a sort of silver-y purple that would never occur in nature. The Merona Michelle pumps, $24.99, are rather classy for Target shoes. The pointy toe is just about the perfect size: big enough to hurt if you were to kick someone in the shins, but small enough that you don't look like you're wearing elf shoes.

These Xhilaration Sharon peep-toe pumps, $22.99, are more playful, with the double, oversized Mary Jane straps and thick, stacked heel.

If the wine snake is too muted, Target has you covered with its claret snake color. Your feet will get a remarkable amount of attention when you're wearing the Mossimo Versie peep-toe pumps, $26.99. The crossing straps over the toe are rather flirty, and the mid-height heel is a nice, sensible contrast with the slightly-disco color. I do have to admit, though, that I own a pair of purple heels and I don't wear them as often as I like because they don't really go with anything. Even a basic black dress doesn't look quite right with purple heels.

I realized that when I was ranking my favorite metallics I forgot copper, which is the real color that should remind me of pipes. But I love the color "copper snake" on these Vida Peep-Toe Pumps, $26.99, because it adds touches of purple and gold. And the shape of this shoe? Does not fuck around, to say the least. It's all curves and height, plus an unexpected extra glimpse of skin through the cut-outs at the heels.

I own two pairs of Xhilaration sable ballet flats, a basic black and a light gold with an understated sheen. The soles of the gold ones are starting to peel away from the toes, since I wear them constantly and they were 14 dollars. So I was going to buy another of the same gold pair, but now I'm thinking it's time for an upgrade: gold snake ballet flats, $14.99. The color is a lot deeper, so they might be more difficult to match with any outfit that isn't dark wash jeans and black cardigan. Luckily, like 80% of my outfits are dark jeans and a cardi. If I really wanted to commit to this look, I could buy $195 gold croc London Sole flats. They would last about 8 times as long, and probably wouldn't get that strange smell the Target flats get when I wear them all day. But I could get 8 semi-decent pair of Target shoes for the price of these flats, so it's rather unlikely I'll be investing in London Sole anytime soon.

I'm not positive if I like this fashion-forward take on the wedge. The Verdi wedges, $26.99, are a feat of engineering as well as a shoe, and more power to the women who are edgy enough to pull these off.

No comments: