Miss Meghan, Fashion Advice

March 8, 2006



did you see Kristin's fab article? she always knows how to make things sound fun! and FYI i was shopping at MACY'S BY APPOINTMENT today with the fabulous Zelda, and If ollowe dmy own advice. picked out some fierce black patent peep-toes for the tour next week! fun!!

Shoe wardrobe's magic number: 5
These basic styles a must for the well-shod woman

By Kristin Larson
Special to the Tribune
Published March 8, 2006

You don't have to be as wealthy as Imelda Marcos or as fashion-obsessed as "Sex and the City's" Carrie Bradshaw to love shoes. Many women are a little crazy about them.

"They're instant gratification," says Lori Andre, owner of Lori's Designer Shoes in Chicago. "It's not like shopping for bathing suits. With shoes, you don't have to worry about those 5 pounds you gained. There's something about putting on a new pair of shoes. You just feel different."

Perhaps that's true, but if you find yourself always buying the same style of shoes, such as black flats or black pumps, you may need some fashion intervention. At least one shoe maven insists every woman--whether a stay-at-home mom or working professional--needs five shoe styles to complete her wardrobe.

So before blindly falling prey to another shoe sale, make sure you have your basic five needs met, says Meghan Cleary, author of "The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You" (Chronicle, $12.95).

"These five styles are the place to start and are the foundation of a good shoe wardrobe," Cleary says. "They address every possible scenario, from going on a date with your husband to running around with the kids on a Saturday to commuting to work."

So what are these magic five?

To start, Cleary suggests having a black stiletto or, for those who prefer a lower heel, a kitten-heel pump. She likes Steve Madden, Stuart Weitzman and Nine West brands. Versatile and polished, heels can go from office to cocktails and from suit to jeans, she adds.

"The reason they're so important is because they're the shoe that makes you feel important and have more of a presence," Cleary says.

Second is a cute flat, such as a ballet flat or loafer, and Cleary likes London Sole, Nine West and Delman for fashionable and casual styles.

"This is the shoe you want to wear when you're booking around town and you have to get things done but you still want to look chic," Cleary says.

The third must-have shoe is a brown or black knee-high leather boot with a heel or flat, Cleary says.

"Boots are practical and stylish," she says. "In the winter, they give you warmth and look great with jeans or a skirt and tights. They're classic and can go from year to year."

Next, even if owning a pair of glamorous metallic heels seems impractical, you should have a pair, Cleary says. "Every woman needs a shoe they just feel so glamorous in as if it's their red carpet moment, even if the red carpet moment is just going on a date with your husband to the movies."

For these, Cleary says, think bejeweled, strappy and metallic to make them feel like dress-up shoes. And it's not necessary to spend a lot. Look to such stores as Payless and Nine West for flirty, affordable styles.

The fifth must-have shoe is a sneaker that's more stylish than a workout shoe.

"These are for the times when you really need to get things done but still want to look good," Cleary says, who loves the streamlined look of the Puma "Mostro" sneaker ($100, puma.com).

Although Andre thinks you can never have too many shoes, she agrees that these five shoes are a good starting point, and would like to add a sixth must-have shoe to the list: the shoe of the moment. She recommends picking up the season's hot style because, well, it changes every season.

This spring's hot shoe, for instance, is a wedge or platform shoe, she says.

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