Les Chaussures | Shoes

February 21, 2017 (052/365)

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." - Marilyn Monroe

I believe Marilyn is right. I'm packing for Paris and the hardest part is deciding on shoes. There's so much to consider: weather, comfort, Parisian style. I'm limiting myself to three pairs since I'm only taking a carry-on -- good thing my feet are small. These on-trend suede, pointy-toed flats by Pour la Victoire are great for days when I want to dress up a little.  They feel very Parisian and the mesh detail reveals just a glimpse of toe cleavage (ooh là là)! I also love the little glossary of flirty French adjectives -- in the feminine form of course (albeit sans appropriate accent marks). C'est chouette, n'est-ce pas?


February 19, 2016 (050/366)

"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them." ~ Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird. 

RIP Nelle Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 - February 19, 2016)

All is Calm

February 18, 2015 {49/365} "Calm"

In 1939, the British government created a series of propaganda posters featuring the slogan Keep Calm and Carry On.

The posters were designed to raise the morale as the British people were threatened with massive air strikes during World War II. Although 2.45 million copies were printed, and although the Blitz happened, the poster was hardly ever publicly displayed and was little known about until a copy was rediscovered in 2000. Since then the original slogan and several variations have appeared on everything from posters and t-shirts to journals and coffee mugs. So I wasn't at all surprised to see these tea tins at our local market this week.  

As cliché as the motto has become, it did get me thinking about the wisdom behind the idea and what I do to maintain grace under pressure and to decompress when stressed...

French Friday: Repetto

I've put quite a few miles in high heels this week, and since it's Friday, it's time to dress down -- soyez plus relax.

So, in the interest of comfortable, fashionable footwear, today's French Friday feature is a flashback to one of my very first posts on this blog: A Tribute to Repetto.

Like most women, I'm addicted to shoes! Since I'm only 5'0" tall, I almost always wear heels. Yet once and a while, I feel like being more grounded. When I'm not perched precariously on pumps or wedges, my go-to flats are ballerinas.  Heels became popular at the court of Versailles, but quickly went out of fashion when Marie Antoinette wore them as she walked to the guillotine. In her book, The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Should Own, Nina Garcia, Marie Claire editor and Project Runway judge, ranks ballet flats as #5! She affirms that they are chic and timeless, simple and elegant.

Although ballet flats are available in nearly every clothing and department store, my favorite ballerinas are the incomparable Repettos. Before she became an iconic film and fashion star, Brigitte Bardot was a trained ballerina. She always purchased her point shoes in a small shop at 22 rue de la Paix in Paris, just blocks from the Garnier Opera House, home of the Paris Ballet. When she was chosen to star in Roger Vadim's 1956 film, Et Dieu Créa la Femme, Bardot asked Rose Repetto to create a pair of ballet flats for her to wear in the film. She desired a slipper "qui dévoile la naissance des orteils" (to reveal her toe cleavage!). After ballet flats were worn by Bardot in And God Created Woman and by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1957), ballerines became de rigeur.

Under the crystal chandeliers on low round tables are the shoes that every woman can wear. Each shade of Repetto ballet flats is displayed in circles of complimentary hues. I'm always tempted to choose a different color. I've considered the pale pink that might make me feel just a bit like those lovely ballerinas...but then I worry that they'd be too delicate to wear on the dusty Paris cobblestones. What about red? I love what red accents add to a neutral outfit. I'm partial to navy and gray, yet despite numerous visits and hours of browsing, I always seem to choose classic black.

Everything about a new pair of Repettos is enchanting, starting with the beautiful black box, lined in wispy pink tissue. What is it about the combination of pink and black that feels so French? Inside the cover is the story of Rose Repetto's lovely shop and shoes. The final lines are a promise: Vous venez d'acquérir une paire de Repetto, objet de tous les soins, garante de souplesse et de confort. Un pas de deux avec Repetto pour une promesse unique de grâce et de légèreté.

"You've come to acquire a pair of Repettos, object of all cares, guarantee of suppleness and comfort. A "pas de deux" dance with Repetto for a unique promise of grace and lightness." Repettos are indeed weightless. The lambskin leather is so soft, and the grosgrain ribbon trim and tiny bow allows the wearer to customize the fit for optimal comfort.

Logically, I know that when I'm wearing my Repettos, I'm less than statuesque. Yet, I stand a bit taller and walk a bit lighter, channeling my inner ballerina. I love the whole Repetto experience and I make it a regular stop on my strolls through Paris. The lovely little shop on the rue de la Paix is a treasure reminiscent of my little girl's jewelry box with its tiny pirouetting ballerina. The shop window, lined with theatre lights, is always beautifully adorn with delicate tutus or piles of pink toe shoes. As soon as I step inside, I feel the music and almost wish I'd continued the ballet lessons I began as a child. But then, I as I mentioned, at a diminutive 5'0", my dream of being a ballerina would never have been realized. Still, I revel at the blush-colored tulle and the satin bodices of the tutus hanging near an entire wall of cubby holes filled with every size of pale pink point shoes. Sometimes I am lucky enough to see ballet dancers or little girls trying on new shoes or costumes.

On a practical note, if you decide to invest in a pair of Repetto ballet flats, purchase a size larger than your regular shoe size. The do run a bit small. You can buy Repettos at Saks Fifth Avenue and even online, but if you ever have the opportunity to visit this magical shop at 22 rue de la Paix, Paris 75002, enjoy the enchanting experience!


October 7, 2014 Photo (280/365): "Orange"

"It's too easy to say that orange is happy and black is sad. To me, black is perfect. You can fill it with the emotion you want to express." - Ann Demeulemeester, fashion designer

Yesterday, I alluded to the fact that orange is not my favorite color; in fact, I've avoided the fiery hue since adolescence.  I'm naturally attracted to neutral, cooler colors: blues, grays, taupes, sage or mossy green, chocolate brown, black, and white. Cool shades are prominent in my home and my personal style; however, I do play with warmer, seasonal accents of pink, yellow, purple, and even red (cooler, berry reds). But the one color that never makes an appearance in my fashion choices and only appears in my home in October (see yesterday's post) is orange. I contribute my contentious relationship with the color orange to growing up in the 1970s when "earth tones" -- harvest gold, avocado green, and orange -- were de rigueur. (My mom still has these Corelle dishes.) As a Catholic school girl, I wore red, white, and blue plaid jumpers and skirts, white button-downs, and red or navy cardigans and knee socks everyday for years. Actually, I still like the idea of my own grown-up version of a uniform: various straight skirts, classic trousers, or dark-wash jeans, black and navy tops and sweaters, all accented with scarves, minimalist jewelry, hosiery, and footwear. I could write volumes about my passion for shoes -- in fact, I probably have! But in those days, on weekends and special occasions when I could choose what I wanted to wear, I faced a closet full of hand-me-downs from my older cousins and sweaters, vests, and scarves, knit or crocheted by my Grandma Dodo.  I was so blessed to grow up in a multi-generational household and loved that my grandma lived with us. "Dodo" (Dorothy) was a very talented woman who played the piano, baked amazing bread, sugar cookies, and coffee cakes, and created beautiful clothes with her arsenal of knitting needles and crochet hooks. Unfortunately, being the stylish woman that she was, she always chose those iconic '70s colors --especially orange. I had so many orange sweaters growing up that I believe that Dodo cured me of the color for life!

Yet somehow, just this fall, I've begun to warm a bit the vivid hue. Although I'd never choose it for myself, I have recently enjoyed creating websites and posters for other teachers who have requested orange as part of their palates. This morning, I actually found myself attracted to this brilliant, fallen leaf. Perhaps I'm making progress... Just don't expect to see me sporting an orange sweater (ever)!


August 7, 2014 Photo (219/365): "No Place Like Home"

Tonight Oconomowoc celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the world première of The Wizard of OzIn 1939, MGM was skeptical about the groundbreaking film (one of the first to use color). The studio was worried about the competition from other successful 1939 films, including Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, so rather than rejection by debuting it in Hollywood, they decided upon Small Town, America -- namely Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Meinhart Raabe, the "munchkin" that played the coroner who declared that the Wicked Witch was dead, lived in Okauchee Lake, so he suggested Oconomowoc as an appropriate location for the official world première.

Tonight the town was transformed into the Emerald City as lights glowed green and shop windows displayed tributes

Oconomowoc City Hall

Around the Mulberry Bush

August 29, 2013 Photo of the day: "Mulberries"

The first time I wore my new shoes, I avoided my usual shortcut across the school lawn, fearing the morning dew would ruin my suede flats. Ironically, the sidewalk was covered in fresh preserves that stained my soles crimson. The tree above my head was heavy with glossy black, red, and peach berries. I was tempted to taste one, but decided it was more prudent to take a picture. Research revealed that these lovely mulberries make delicious tarts, jams, wines, and tea.  Oh well, better safe than sorry!

J'adore les chaussures!

August 10, 2013 Photo & mini-French lesson 
of the day: "J'adore les chaussures"

Every August, just in time for Back-to-School shopping, Picardy Shoe Parlour holds its annual "Blowout Sale." All shoes are discounted 30-70%! What I love best about this boutique is that it carries a few small sizes that are often still in stock during the big sale. Last year, I found adorable Kate Spade slingbacks. This year, I chose these on-trend suede, pointy-toed flats by Pour la Victoire. I love pointy-toed flats for days when I want to dress up, but plan on being on my feet a lot. This pair's mesh detail reveals ample toe cleavage (ooh là là)! They feel very French, and in case you want to channel your inner Parisienne, the shoes come with a handy Parisian glossary! All of the flirty French adjectives are in the feminine form of course (albeit sans appropriate accent marks :-/). C'est chouette, n'est-ce pas!

Spring Forward

March 8, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Spring Forward"

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead tonight.
Daylight Saving's Time begins at 2:00 am.
My tootsies are ready to "Spring Forward!"