Both of them invest in quality shoes. And both of them often mix their fabulously expensive, fantastically eye-catching, and high-quality footwear with thrifted, cheap, or otherwise commonplace clothing.
Nubby is in Vintage lederhosen, Old Navy sweater, F21 scarf, and Dries Van Noten wedges. Jane is in a lace shirt from F21, green silk skirt from Anthropologie, vintage belt, Alex and Chloe deerhorn necklace with an old cross, American Apparel hat, and Givenchy wedges.
In both cases, these ladies have assembled chic and unusual outfits utilizing pieces from low-end stores and vintage shops, but anchored them with truly breathtaking shoes. And in both cases, the shoes serve to elevate the entire ensemble.
Nubby is in an F21 zipper dress, DKNY tights, an F21 scarf, and Marni wedges. Jane is in a thrifted polyester sundress, Lucky brand ombre cardigan, wrap belt by unknown designer, and Emanuel Ungaro branch heels.
Now, I buy a lot of shoes. And I buy many pairs of relatively spendy shoes. But I don’t own ANY actual designer shoes, and have never spent as much on any single pair as either Nubby or Jane. Nevertheless I am still delighted to take a page out of their collective book, and can advise you all to do the same: Interesting, beautiful shoes can elevate an outfit comprised of cheap, boring crap. Well-made shoes will last for years and years and years if you care for them properly,and can truly be a worthwhile investment. There are several wardrobe staples that are worth investment, but shoes will always top my list. A great pair of shoes will convince onlookers that EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ON is noteworthy, even if you nabbed it all from Goodwill for under a buck a piece.
I realize that few of you can afford Marni, Givenchy, and Dries Van Noten. Similarly, few of you can prance around in 4-inch heels or towering plastic wedges. Mistake me not! Your personal great shoes don’t have to be expensive, and they don’t have to be unwalkable or lifestyle-prohibitive. They just have to be interesting and unusual. And that can mean well-designed, eye-catching, made from unusual materials, in a dazzling color, with creative embellishments, or any combination of these. While well made shoes are worth the investment IF they are a style that you’ll stick to for ages, you may have other more pressing investments to make right now. If that’s the case, just err on the side of cheap-but-mesmerizing.
Next time you’ve got a few extra minutes in the morning, try swapping out the shoes you were gonna wear for your most outrageous, bright, unusual, or sexy pair. Compare the overall look and feel of your outfit as worn with each pair. Even if the shoes are catastrophically inappropriate with the outfit, you’ll get my drift: Most outfits hinge on shoe choice. So choose wisely.
And don’t be afraid to branch out! Next time you’re considering a new shoe splurge, seriously consider something that isn’t black or brown, isn’t flat or squishy-soled, and isn’t going to go with 90% of your wardrobe because it’s so plain and practical. Treat yourself to some elevator shoes, and see if they don’t put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
P.S. If you check out Jane’s blog, Sea of Shoes, you’ll see that she has access to a mind-blowing array of designer duds. It ain’t all F21 in her world. But I’m still most amazed by her ethereal ensembles crafted from low-end clothes, and elevated by enviable footwear.