Tag Archives: leather

Tranky Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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GET IN MY CLOSET

So I basically can’t keep up with all the swing dancer-focused shoe companies popping up right now – the latest company to grab my attention is Tranky Shoes, which Jessica Bullock mentioned in response to a shoe question Gaby Cook posted on Facebook.  Their Facbook page is in Italian, Google translate has failed miserably to translate the text, and Facebook translate fared only slightly better, so I’m interested in hearing more about this shoe company.  Here’s what I can surmise from their Facebook page:

  • Based in Italy
  • There are green double strap Mary Janes that need to come home with me (sans the velvet bootie – can that happen?)
  • They are being sold at a bunch of European events
  • Handmade, leather upper, leather soles
  • For more information email trankyshoes@gmail.com

Tell me more, peeps!  Have you tried these shoes?  I want to hear all about them. 🙂

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An array of styles and colors.

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Some Tranky Shoes men’s footwear designs.

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Simon James Cathcart Review: Spectators and Deco Polo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I had already backed the Kickstarter for the navy/cream spectators and ordered my Deco polo when I started to see the Simon James Cathcart apparel on others, first the polo on Nicholas Centino while vintage shopping in Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend, then on Glenn Crytzer on Facebook, and then on just about every vintage-loving gent I ran across in person. That the Deco polo was so prevalent and widespread so quickly speaks to its necessity. Vintage clothing isn’t always about being dressed up for fancy affairs, we want to look sharp in casual-wear, with all those nice vintage details that are missing from modern clothing.  Unfortunately, not a lot of vintage knitwear survived, so we’re lucky SJC decided to do something about it.

My navy spectator shoes arrived in the mail week before last, so of course I have gigs all weekend and then it rains all week so I can’t wear them. I had already seen their glory on Facebook, through SJC’s posts of customers who shared their first ensembles with these glorious shoes.  It was so inspiring that I couldn’t help but plan an ensemble of my own. Who am I kidding, I already had my outfit planned out, maybe three outfits…

The first sighting of the canvas and leather spectators in person on another person occurred at Classic City Swing in Athens, Georgia – a pair in acorn/cream on the feet of Augusta, Georgia dancer Keith Beckman. He came over to show them to me, I squeed a bit, he thanked me for posting about the shoes, and he had good reviews for their danceability – the leather sole is top notch, you can tell just by looking at it, but Keith was worried about the small rubber bit on the rear outside of the heel. What he discovered is that the rubber didn’t get in the way of his dancing, spinning, or sliding, but he could use the rubber as a stopper depending on how he distributed his weight. Of course they looked impeccable, I had already spotted him across the room in them before he came over to talk to me, because they are SHARP AS HELL.

I finally got to wear my navy and white spectators this Friday, with navy trousers and a striped shirt.  It didn’t take long to break them in and by the end of the day they felt comfortable, even though I had worn them at my standing desk all day and walked around downtown during lunch for about 20 minutes.  They are men’s shoes, but they fit well – my heel is a regular size, but the ball of my foot and toes can err on the side of wide and I had plenty of room in the toe box without feeling like I was wearing shoes that were too big for me.  I wear a 7 in women’s U.S. sizes and I took a size 4 in SJC’s U.K. men’s sizes.  I received several compliments on my shoes during my lunchtime walk and some dude in the parking deck was definitely checking out my shoes when I got out of the car that morning.

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On Saturday I went out to lunch at Monuts in my green Deco polo, which was perfect for a fall transitional day – it was a season-appropriate color and matched my 1940’s Wild West scarf, but it was also good for the weather, which was sunny and 80-something degrees.  It was comfortable and easy to dress down with jeans and Keds, but I have seen this paired with jackets for a more dressy look.  I really struggle with that sort of in-between look that so many Americans seem to gravitate toward, not dressy, but not too casual – it seems I’m either in a fancy dress or in my pajamas, so the Deco polo is filling a bit of that in-between niche in my wardrobe.  For sizing reference, I typically wear a U.S. women’s size 10 and I took an XS in the SJC polo.  I’ll leave you with this description of the polo from the SJC website:

“Beautifully tailored and made from the truly remarkable bamboo plant.  It is circular knitted in the old school style and thus very slubby giving the shirt a distinctly raw 1930’s look.  Super soft feel and at 230 grams these polos have a nice weighty feel about them.”

I am so pleased with my Simon James Cathcart purchases.  It’s important to remember that these items are limited batch specialty items and some are based on Kickstarter/pre-orders, so it doesn’t give you a lot of time to ponder, “Do I need this?”  The spectators and polo were an easy choice for me because I almost never find good navy shoes (much less vintage two-tone navy flats) or green shirts and these are things I want in my wardrobe. There are only the acorn/cream spectators left on the website and some of the Deco polo colors have sold out, so be sure to act swiftly to secure what you like.

I can’t wait to see what SJC comes up with next, he seems to have a knack for finding these “holy grail” vintage items and then reproduces them for us to enjoy today.

Oldfield Clothing – British Sportswear and Accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A postcard from the UK that reads, “Wish you were here with all this tweed…”

Every time I turn around, I hear about a new vintage reproduction company in the UK, which seems to be where I want to spend my dollars-into-pounds lately and the retail climate appears to be thriving for vintage-inspired clothing.  Swing bandleader, guitarist, and dancer Glenn Crytzer tipped me off to Oldfield Clothing, “purveyors of fine British sportswear and accessories for ladies and gentlemen,” when he picked up a pair of their 1930’s workwear trousers, wanting something in a heavier weight for loading band equipment in and out at gigs.  The Oldfield Clothing collection looks well-suited to incorporating its pieces into modern wardrobes, with vintage takes on standard clothing items like trousers and sweaters.

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The trousers really shine – they offer five different cuts, ranging from the most vintage 1920’s golf knickers to the Keaton trousers that look like a standard pair of front pleated trousers (slightly lower rise than their other pairs, but probably higher rise than modern trousers, if you just want to dip your toe into the wading pool of reproduction trousers).  There are a range of fabrics, from linen to corduroy and wool, so you can shop and dress seasonally.  The workwear trousers Glenn picked are really special, not only for their durable fabric, but also for the details – buttons for braces, button fly, fish tail back, and cinch strap and buckle, to name a few.

Women’s offerings are limited to knitwear (specifically – but knickers, see above), but some really good pieces, like solid sweater vests and beautiful Fair Isle vests and a sweater.  Other items that could be unisex include caps, leather goods, and a classic cream long sleeve polo shirt with two collar options.

Here are some of the goods:

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“The Ralph Trouser” – 1930’s style linen, the trousers you need right now in this Northern Hemisphere heat

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Lady dandies, it’s never a bad time to shop for fall – grab one of these cashmere camel slipovers/sweater vests

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I love the chevron/starburst effect of this Donegal tweed herringbone cap.

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Polo shirt, available with either traditional collar or vintage collar – “ideal for sport, but smart enough to wear with a tie.”

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Some of the details on the workwear trousers.

SJC Spectator Crusade: Women’s Sizes & Small Men’s Sizes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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As you may have read in a post earlier this week, I wept tears of infinite sorrow that there were no Simon James Cathcart spectators in my size that I could order through SJC’s wonderful summer shoe Kickstarter, BUT THROUGH THE MAGIC OF THE INTERNET I have spoken with SJC and he has offered to make this shoe available to us sizes 7-8 US women’s/sizes 5-6 US men’s/sizes 4-5 UK men’s (I wear a US women’s 7) on one condition: he needs 8 of us to back the shoe at each size in order for it to be cost-effective for the factory to produce this size as a part of this run.

I wasn’t sure if could rustle up enough support from people wearing these shoe sizes, but this is such a quality, unique shoe that I thought there might be enough lady dandies or gents with smaller feet that we MIGHT be able to pull this off.  It can be any of the three colors, we just need 8 people to back the SHOE at each SIZE.

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Can I find 16 people who love this shoe and need it in their lives?  I know you’re out there!

A few more details on this marvelous shoe:

  • They are made by hand in Northampton (the shoe capital of England) on 1930’s lasts, so the shape is there from the start.
  • They will last a lifetime. How? They are “Goodyear Welted” (the gold seal of quality) which means as the soles wear out they can be easily replaced while the shoe remains totally intact.
  • The shoes are lined in soft calfskin for comfort, with a super comfortable cork footbed so your feet breathe.
  • They come in three gorgeous shades; Navy, Oxblood and Acorn – order whatever color you like, we only need 8 people to order a particular SIZE.
  • The real bargain here is they are going to be 2.5 times this price out in the real world and if we don’t do this, the real tragedy will be they will never be in our size.  NEVER AVAILABLE TO YOU EVER AGAIN.

As per usual Kickstarter, you don’t pay until the end of the project and you only pay if the project is funded.  If you are ordering a size 7  US women/ 5 US men/ 4 UK men OR for size 8 US women/6 US men/5 UK men, SJC has added a special early bird spectator reward/pre-order option just for us – you can see it if you scroll down “Lindy Shopper Deal” – click HERE if you want this shoe as much as I do!

 

Simon James Cathcart Spectators

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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SJC spectators in acorn.

I keep seeing Simon James Cathcart pop up in my newsfeed and in Facebook groups and everything I am seeing is just fantastic, not only for classic menswear in general, but also for swing dancers.  In September I blogged about his 1930’s jeans, something that dancers could wear for everyday and for a more casual dance look with or without vintage styling.  All of his stuff presents as carefully crafted, quality goods and I am all about those things!  How fancy is SJC?  This fancy: “For the past 12 months SJC has been quietly delighting dedicated devotees and attracting new fans from far and wide with limited edition runs of hard to find, high-end, vintage inspired pieces. More than a brand, this is a movement made up of over 200 of the earth’s most discerning menswear’ collectors. Led by Simon James Cathcart we have moved forwards with the meticulous design and construction of otherwise unobtainable pieces.”

We’re here to talk about these glorious two tone spectators, which are presently being sold through a Kickstarter (only 23 days left!) along with some equally sweet reproduction boots.  I’m going to lead with the fact that SJC has made these spectators in a wide range of sizes to fit both men AND some women (but not quite small enough for my feet *weeps*). UPDATE:  My size, US women’s 7/men’s 5 and US women’s 8/men’s 6 will be available – read the post here and then select the Lindy Shopper reward to get these sizes!

But why Kickstarter?

“Your pledge is going to help fund the production, materials and tooling costs involved with bringing back to life these historical classics. In return, you receive footwear at easily half of the retail price and will walk away wearing hand-crafted pieces of British footwear history.”

The price for these spectators via Kickstarter is around $223 USD (depending on the exchange rate) and that’s only slightly more than Remix and less than those holy grail Allen Edmonds you’ve been eyeballing.  Retail price is quoted at $600.  JUST LOOK AT THEM, this is a beautiful shoe.  I’m wiping away the drool from the corners of my mouth right now.  And can we talk about how you can never find a good looking navy shoe?  It’s kind of like the shrimp and grits rule, if the stellar navy shoes are on the menu, you get them.

To be clear, this is a summer shoe – the cream portions of the shoe are canvas, with the most of the rest of the shoe (including the lining) being made from leather.  The canvas is treated with Scotchguard to prevent marks.  Though, now I’m thinking of how cool it would be, once a pair of these did get scuffed up, to get an artists to custom paint the canvas portion of this shoe…a life and an afterlife!

I’m going to post a bunch of gorgeous photos of these shoes now – enjoy, and don’t forget that the Kickstarter ends soon!

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Saint Savoy Dancewear – A Swing Dance Shoe Company

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Saint Savoy, in technicolor!

Saint Savoy, in Technicolor!

I love a sale and I love it when I find new products tailored for swing dancers – here, we have Saint Savoy Dancewear, a swing dance company founded by Rani-Patricia Dirnhofer, a Vienna-based dancer who grew up in Spain and uses her connections there to collaborate with Alicante shoe manufacturers to create this line of men’s and women’s dance shoes – from oxfords to t-straps, flats to heels, brogueing to cutouts…there’s a lot of variety here! Additionally, Saint Savoy is running a sale until November 30, 10 Euros off any pair of dance shoes…

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…but what about these shoes, you say? Let’s take a closer look:

It seems all dancers struggle with finding that perfect pair of shoes – Rani-Patricia shared this struggle: “While hunting for stylish dance shoes, we searched through countless websites from all over the world. The meagre array, several bad buys, and a lot of research brought us to the idea of starting our very own company.” What is remarkable is that people are actually doing this, starting companies and making these shoes – clearly there is a demand!

So if you could come up with a dance shoe company, what specs would you include? Saint Savoy touts the following:

– Jazz age and swing-era-inspired designs

– Product testing by international Lindy Hop superstars such as Jo Hoffberg, Kevin St. Laurent, Isabella Gregorio, and Pontus Persson

– Sustainable production: “We hold the manufacturing methods of our products to high ethical standards, and select the materials used according to durability and sustainability. We proudly ensure that our shoeboxes are made from recycled paper, plastic packaging is minimized, leatherwork follows German PCP Regulations, and working conditions for our shoemakers are fair – more ways in which we join traditional and contemporary.”

Options for leather or synthetic soles

Sales/vending at European events

Here are some favorites from the Saint Savoy line of shoes for men and women (ladies, note that there are flats and low heel options) – don’t forget to place your orders before November 30 to get the discount!

Rugcutter burgundy cap toe oxford

Rugcutter burgundy cap toe oxford

Suzy Q t-strap flats

Suzy Q t-strap flats

Lurve these light gray wingtips

Lurve these light gray wingtips

Jitterdoll low-heeled oxford

Jitterdoll low-heeled oxford

Charlie Stone – Swing Dance Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I can thank Raleigh dancer Tiffany Linquist for the tip about Charlie Stone Shoes, which is presently a placeholder “coming soon” website, but the corresponding Facebook page for this business indicates that this is a swing dance shoe company – “Swing dance shoes designed for comfort, support and good old fashioned style. Online store coming soon!” Further inspection of the Facebook page shows a single style of footwear – a flat t-strap shoe with cutouts/overlays at the toe, in either black or red/cream. A new dance shoe company for swing dancing that makes flats is very promising news, indeed!

Via Tumblr, I find that the company is is based in Australia and Singapore and run by a dancer named Samantha Szetu, who also has an adorable blog called Style and Swingouts. Charlie Stone is set to launch in September/October 2014, with the signature t-strap style – check out the specs on this sweet dance shoe:

– Free shipping worldwide (what what!)
– Handmade with 100% quality leather
– Hidden heel elevation
– Wide bottom sole for maximum traction
– Soft leather bottom sole
– Supportive insole

One of the most common shoe questions I get is where to find dance flats that are dressier than Keds – I think Samantha had a similar issue, based on this statement from the FB page: “I love lindy hop and adore fashion, but often the two don’t get along, particularly when the songs are fast and the night is long. So I decided to make a shoe that worked for me, so whatever the floor type, my fashion choice, song speed or time of night, I would always feel confident and comfortable.”

Check out this video of some of the Singapore dancers giving the shoes a test-run (or test-swingouts!). Looking forward to the launch! If you’ve already tried a pair of these kicks, please leave us a review in the comments section. 🙂

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Summer Deals: Men’s and Women’s Aris Allens on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I haven’t done a post about Aris Allens on eBay in a while, but if you aren’t doing regular searches for these shoes, then here are some great deals for some used, some barely worn, dance shoes on eBay:

Red wedges, size 6, starting bid $10 - the listing says “used only once as I have no sense of rhythm” - my heart goes out to her!

Red wedges, size 6, starting bid $10 – the listing says “used only once as I have no sense of rhythm” – my heart goes out to her!

Brown and white wingtip oxfords, size 10.5, starting bid $40

Brown and white wingtip oxfords, size 10.5, starting bid $40

White mesh oxford heels, size 9.5, starting bed $19.99

White mesh oxford heels, size 9.5, starting bed $19.99

Black and white wingtip oxfords, size 10, starting bid $29

Black and white wingtip oxfords, size 10, starting bid $29

Herringbone Mary Jane wedges, size 9.5, starting bid $5

Herringbone Mary Jane wedges, size 9.5, starting bid $5

The Year of the Oxford at Urban Outfitters

If you’re a dandy, lady dandy, or you just want a pair of really stylish shoes, it looks like this is the year of the oxford (featuring the wingtip) at Urban Outfitters. They are offering an array of styles, price points, and an unparallelled offering of color. Here are my faves (and I’m only scratching the surface here):

Men's J Shoes Foxton Oxford - love the navy canvas and brown leather combo

Men’s J Shoes Foxton Oxford – love the navy canvas and brown leather combo

Women's Sam Edelman Jerome Oxford - these are just screaming at me...available in two other colors, available in peach-coral-silver-ivory combo and...

Women’s Sam Edelman Jerome Oxford – these are just screaming at me…available in two other colors, available in peach-coral-silver-ivory combo and…

...gold, bitches!

…gold, bitches!

Men's Feathers Canvas Stentorian Oxford - this shoe skirts that line between dress shoe and canvas sneaker.  I love the canvas (won't show dirt too terribly) and that the sole is resin - the reviews say that this shoe doesn't have much grip, which means it should be great for dancing. :)

Men’s Feathers Canvas Stentorian Oxford – this shoe skirts that line between dress shoe and canvas sneaker. I love the canvas (won’t show dirt too terribly) and that the sole is resin – the reviews say that this shoe doesn’t have much grip, which means it should be great for dancing. 🙂

Women's F-Troupe Butterfly Oxford - just...adorable.  I am sad the sole is rubber, but sueding is always an option, no?

Women’s F-Troupe Butterfly Oxford – just…adorable. I am sad the sole is rubber, but sueding is always an option, no?

Men's Florsheim wingtip oxford in this juicy color combo of cream and black.  This shoe is also available in 5 solid colors: gray, maroon, black, berry, and brown.

Men’s Florsheim wingtip oxford in this juicy color combo of cream and black. This shoe is also available in 5 solid colors: gray, maroon, black, berry, and brown.

Women's Dolce Vita Orina Cutout Leather Oxford  - the cutouts are so dreamy and I love the low heel!

Women’s Dolce Vita Orina Cutout Leather Oxford – the cutouts are so dreamy and I love the low heel!

Men's Ben Sherman tweed and leather cap toe of awesomeness

Men’s Ben Sherman tweed and leather cap toe of awesomeness

Johnston & Murphey Holbrook Linen Cap Toe

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

BEHOLD! I give you this glorious new shoe from Johnston & Murphey – the Holbrook Linen Cap Toe! I can’t think of many other shoes more worthy of a linen or seersucker suit. Gents, this is one snappy shoe.

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Men’s Wingtip Tennis Shoes at Aldo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

On those rare occasions that I set foot in our local mall, I sometimes see things that catch my eye, like these wingtip and tweed tennis shoes in the Aldo window display. For those who may be hesitant to give up their sueded sneaks for a pair of hard soled shoes, perhaps these could be a dressier alternative? $70.00, available in black and brown.

A Vintage Sole

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Aside from Re-Mix Vintage Shoes‘ retail location, I was not aware of a retailer specializing in dead stock shoes – until now. I happened upon A Vintage Sole and was delighted to find an entire website devoted to dead stock shoes from many eras, including the swing era. I was immediately awash with questions of “how…?” “where…?” “what..??!” Just amazing.

This site is also a haven for irregular widths – it is apparent that the buyer found whole sets of stock for a certain shoe, sometimes in multiple colors, and almost always in multiple widths. You can search their inventory by size, width, and color. The only criteria missing would be decade. 🙂

So, back to my questions – thankfully, there’s FAQ page to satiate my curiosity:

Where do you buy your shoes? We find people with vintage shoes to sell. If they are in mint condition, we’re interested. We’re pretty open-minded when it comes to our sources. Keep in mind that all of our shoes are still in the box and have never been worn.”

The owner, Libby, sounds like a kindred spirit – “A Vintage Sole began with a love of shoes. From there it grew into a bit of an obsession. I searched high and low for authentic vintage shoes. One pair became two. Two pairs became four. Four pairs became eight until I had so many shoes I had to pass them on to you…Growing up in the Midwest, I also loved the thrill of spending weekends driving around the many small towns filled with antique shops hiding vintage gems. Have you ever been to a garage sale, second-hand store, or antique shop and found something that was so amazing you had to get it even though it wasn’t quite right for you? When you picked it up you thought, “My friend would love this!” That’s how I feel. I know you’ll love what I’ve found for you. Who wouldn’t love an authentic pair of gorgeous, vintage shoes? The shoes I sell have never been worn! It’s time they had their moment in the spotlight because they are too beautiful to stay boxed up forever. a Vintage Sole offers footwear in limited quantities that enables your shoes to be as unique as you are. We celebrate individuality and flair. Love for great shoes is a passion to share. From me and the rest of the staff of a Vintage Sole, we hope you truly enjoy your shoes!

There’s also a standing 15% discount if you elect to donate 10% of your order to the P.E.O Educational Loan Fund or Interlochen Arts Academy Scholarship Fund – you save money and help A Vintage Sole make a difference.

Now for the shoes! Here are some favorites from A Vintage Sole:

Princess – 1930’s heel, looks narrow but some sizes have regular and slightly wide widths!

Licorice Whip – mid-1940’s shoe

Narcissus – late 40’s shoe, also available in black and white combo

Irene – early 40’s shoe, also available in black

Beatrice – black suede early 40’s shoe

Joyce – mid-40’s shoe

Mimi – late 30’s heels, also available in brown

Missie – early 40’s shoe, also available in black

Jacqueline – early 40’s shoe

Dot – late 30’s heel

Brown Mesh and Leather Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you can’t wait for Dancestore.com to come out with their mesh and leather oxford, here’s an original specimen on eBay in size 10.5! These would look great with…just about anything this summer. 🙂

Narrow-Footed Wonders

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’m going to begin chronicling pairs of shoes that I would shell out lots of money for, if only they were wider than 2.5 inches at the ball of the foot. I don’t know what sort of lives these 1920’s women led, but they must not have taken a step barefoot in their lives, have subjected themselves to foot binding, and been carried around in a sedan chair.

If you have narrow feet, for the love of everything wonderful, please start buying all these amazing vintage shoes!

I have three pairs in desperate need of reproduction this week (Re-mix Vintage Shoes, I hope you are taking notes. 😉 ):

Black leather Mary Jane, with two straps meeting in the center before crossing the top of the foot, and the cutouts are just screaming AWESOME. Cutouts from the top, cutouts from the side, this shoe looks good at every angle.

There’s no one angle that really captures the awesomeness of this shoe, but I’m a sucker for green two tone heels and this pair is really unique in the way that the two shades work with the straps and curvature. This would look awesome in purple, too.

View #2 – check those straps!

GAH! These are just too much, the snake skin, velvet, stitching, cutouts… *passes out*

Newsflash: Aris Allen Mesh and Leather Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Since I didn't snap a photo of the Aris Allen prototype, here's a version by Allen Edmunds, their "Strawfut," to give you an idea of the mesh and leather combo, but with a $300+ price point.

This past weekend at DCLX, amidst discussions of trumpet skirts, Dancestore.com owner Gay Santelmann showed me
her prototype of an Aris Allen
mesh and leather oxford, set
to go into production and be available for purchase in, approximately, 4 to 6 months. Excited! I’ve been looking for
a vintage pair for my husband and it’s just not happening…
but now it is!

I’m a big fan of the Dancestore.com mesh and leather heeled oxford for its comfort, flexibility, and breatheability. I can imagine that the same concept will translate well into an oxford for men. Kudos to Dancestore.com for picking up on this functionality.

Did I think to take a photo of the prototype? No, of course not, but the shoe I saw was two tone, with dark brown leather and tan mesh, and was copied from a 1940’s pair of the same coloring. Gay said they would also be available in black leather/white mesh, and possibly a black and navy combo.