Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Booties ... Who Knew?

Some of you may know that I can often be found lurking around the JCP shoe department, and that I really love my footwear. All summer I've been delighted with the pretty, less chunky shoe silhouette that I find more flattering for my short-stockiness than the sky-high, thick platform sandals that past seasons have offered. I've crushed especially hard on very delicate, strappy, single-sole heels, that are about as minimal a shoe can be and still function as a shoe.

But, for the last couple of summers, I've also been fascinated by women and girls of all ages sporting lots of what I think of as cold, wet-weather footwear with their tissuey dresses and summer pants of all lengths. Docs, moto-boots, hiking boots, western style ankle booties, and sleeker, cropped dress-booties ... all kinds. And they look really good a lot of the time. I haven't been able to make it work because it's just sooooo hot, and I couldn't think about my feet shod in darker, heavier shoes or boots, no matter how cute they might look.

Those of us who pay attention to such things began seeing ads in the glossy magazines a couple of years ago, featuring lovely windblown models in long, sheer dresses standing romantically alone in wild and rocky settings, often in the craggy landscape of the American southwest. They also featured footwear much more traditionally appropriate for hiking or heavy construction than accessories for a chiffon maxi. Who IS this woman who has apparently chosen this outfit and what is she doing out there?

Did she parachute out of a plane after stealing a pair of work boots in her size? (Presumably the abandoned parachute is just off camera.)

Did her car break down and she wandered into the desert looking for help instead of staying with her vehicle? (She had her Docs in the trunk.)

Or is she just such a serious fashionista that she really needs to dress up to go hiking on the weekends?

It's never clear. But I'm pretty sure not one woman I know is ever going to find herself alone in the wilderness in a floaty evening frock and rock climbing boots. Then why would anyone encase their steaming, sweaty little tootsies in footwear whose shape and functionality are designed to keep them warm and promote more sweatiness? Our boots and booties are often well broken-in and go-to footwear during the cold weather months, but not so comfortable during summer, so the answer is clearly not in comfort alone.

I think we just love our boots. Fashion footwear designers love their boots, too. Part of the reason for all of the above phenomena has to be that we all just hate to put them away in the spring. And I think we love them because they speak to us about adventure, and power, and aspiration.

For those of us who care about how we attach meaning to what we wear, boots have special fashion-narrative potential.
Tell me honestly that when you see thigh-high boots you don't think of Jack Sparrow or Inigo Montoya ( as played by Mandy Patinkin in the Princess Bride ..."Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." )

Cowboy boots, tall or booties? Think of any cowboy or cowgirl hero you ever had. Too many to name. And the smell of horses or a cute ranch-hand, or both, depending on your age.

Doc Martins or any of their ubiquitous knock-offs? The street-wise cool of any Punk, Grunge or New Wave band or associated celebrity. They always make me think of art school.

Tight, knee high Go-Go boots from 60s and their modern stiletto-heeled descendants? Mucklucks and Uggs? Motorcycle boots? Victorian style Granny boots? Equestrian boots and Wellies? They all have their own referential stuff - fantasy food going for them.

Even the recent shooties, stiletto booties and oxfords with high heels would have been right at home in the 1930s and 1940s. I instantly think of evolved versions of Ginger Roger's dance shoes or Betty Grable's shoes she wore on stage while singing for the troops with the USO .

Whether we are conscious or unconscious of the narrative, there's so much glamour and so many potential adventures! No wonder we love our boots and booties and don't want to give them up even in warm weather.

 Remember I mentioned my habit of haunting the JCP shoe department? Since the start of this spring-summer season, a dark and elegant little pair of booties nestled quietly among the perky sandals and rainbow-neon pointy-toe pumps. At first I just assumed they were a leftover from winter, or that JCP was doing some serious gun-jumping to the coming fall season. Nope. They were meant to be some of the summer stock. And I noticed the little boots every time I shopped the department, but was focused on more traditionally summery items. I just couldn't imagine needing them for summer.

Last week, I finally gave in as they called out to me and would not shut up. (Shoes don't talk to you sometimes? Seriously? Huh. ) They finally got to me with a nasty comment. " Ahhh, never mind. Go on. You're not cool enough to wear us anyway!"

Best buy of the summer. Their attitude immediately changed the minute I bought them. I wore them home and got a gushy compliment on them from a saleswoman in another department before I even got out of the store. They have generous padding in the insole, are well vented and are soft as a house slipper. They also only weigh 7.5 ounces (each shoe, of course) as opposed to my similar but more substantial and completely enclosed winter booties at 11.5 ounces each.  I love 'um.

If the print in this shirt looks familiar, I have one from the
same Prabal Gurung for Target collaboration collection ... 
same print, different design!

But what do they "say'? What's their narrative? They say that I may be a little country mouse here in the middle of nowhere in the midst of southern summer-hell season, but part of me is a skinnier, cooler city mouse, and my heart and mind are already in an urban winter somewhere in the year ahead.

That's what they say.

I'm joining the Always Cool Patti at her Visible Monday Party ... join us.


  1. I love those! They look more like a modified peep-toe pump than a bootie to me, which may be why they are tolerable in late July. They are absolutely gorgeous on you! I think we love boots so much because they cover up a multitude of flaws like thick ankle and spider veins.

    I'll be doing a JCP post in the future. I can understand why you're hanging out in the sale racks ;-)


  2. VersatilestylebytraceyJuly 30, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Love them! I have grey and black similar to these without the peep toe portion that make me feel like a rock star! Okay for nighttme but not summer heat we have here...

  3. Dawn @ AlterEgoFashionistaJuly 30, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    I adore your little summer booties!!! They are stylish and sleek, unlike some of those "work" boots that the models wear...and look cute in. (I don't think I could pull that off.) And yes...shoes speak to me all the time! maybe we're the normal ones...!

  4. Seriously, how awesome are you?! I love the look of these! Shoes have spoken to me before too trying to tell me I'm not cool enough for them, and then I show 'em who's boss.

  5. Those booties are SEXY! I love how they dip down in the front with a tiny bit of toe showing. Very hot.


  6. Your summer booties are the boss of this outfit! I just bought some also and they go with just about everything. I love boots and this is a clever piece of writing about your love of footwear. Pretty top with your great fitting black pants.

    Our websites just are not up to par. Mostly our business is done person to person. Take a look at my husband's site--Dean Lucker.com. All of his sculptures move in intricate ways.

    blue hue wonderland

  7. They are to die for! Such a sexy shape, really, really sexy.

    I have a hard time wearing shoes in the summer. If I paint my toenails, I want them to be seen. And I don't want to wear socks. But I think I would have heard those booties calling.

  8. HappinessatmidlifeJuly 30, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Love the style of these boots!! I think the peep toe makes it a lot easier to wear in the summer. I bought a pair of taupe short boots that I have been wanting to wear with a floral dress or some cute shorts but never had the courage to do it just yet.


  9. Very cool and sexy boots, Jan! Love their open design, it is a cross between shoes and boots. They are really made for those who miss wearing boots at summer.

  10. Now you see, I am not really a shoe person. There, I've said it - can we still be friends? I have shoes, and boots, obviously (I do like my boots) but they don't make my heart beat faster, not like a great dress or fabulous coat! I am the opposite of you, I never even consider, slim-heeled, dainty, strappy shoes, I have big wide feet which wouldn't even fit in those kinds of shoes!
    Oh the lack of logic or sense of the average "high fashion" photo shoot... Though it's fun to try and conjure up the scenario that brought the model to that location, in that bizarre combination of clothes...
    I like your new shoes very much (Shoes? Boots? Booties? I dunno - told you, not an expert) and they look great with your fabulous outfit. What do they say? Err, I'm getting sassy, sexy, smart, good in heels.
    Btw, thigh boots speak of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as well as pirates! xxxx

  11. love how you're sporting that summer booties, you look sassy and elegant!.
    I would not be able to wear that kind of shoes, my fussy feet are always the limit when choosing shoes!, and that crazy fashion nonsenses are becoming usual: summer booties, winter sandals, etc!

  12. Patti_NotDeadYetStyleJuly 31, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    we do, we do, we love our boots! these are fantastic. they say "my owner is a stylista with fine taste and sass." thanks for sharing with Visible Monday!

  13. These boots are adorable and perfect for a San Diego summer and will transition into fall quite well. I still like my strappy heels, wedgy sandals, or flip flops for summer though ;-)


  14. Tamera Ferguson WolfeJuly 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    OK--Jan they are totally KICK_ASS!!! I could see you rocking them with a pencil skirt!!
    I love my boots in winter. My biggest drawback in acquiring MORE are--need a wide width and be flat!!

  15. Boots are not my favorite item; they remind me of winter. I do love the switch- around- the- season thing, and I have a few of the shooties for those switches.
    Love these that you have on! xoxo

  16. Oh Jan! Look at you! This is one sexy look! Those boots are GORGEOUS - they make your legs look fabulous! I have to say that here I've been known to pull out winter boots in summer out of necessity from plunging temperatures rather than a desire to add some sass to a floaty summery outfit. Great purchase!

  17. Oh yeah Inigo Montoya - best one liner ever and ranks up there with Adam Ant and Jack Sparrow as my pirate fashion icons!

  18. Oh my, do these booties speak attitude or what? I believe they screamed across the store to you and I can't believe you ignored them the first few times they tried speaking to you, (yes, I know shoes can talk). Just like you said, putting them on added some power and aspiration to your look. Good choice! By the way, I love the way booties/boots make me feel, in fact I would probably be the woman who had a pair of Doc Martins in her trunk,

  19. I do agree that thigh highs and knee highs in dead heat of summer would be ridiculous (who wants sweaty feet?) but other than being comfortable - buy those shoes that talk to you and walk out of the store with that attitude and swagger you most definitely have. LOVE IT!!!

  20. Dang, they say "I'm cool and sexy and know who I am". Totally in love with them. And boots in summer? Not in Texas. That just speaks all kinds of yuck.

  21. Totally hot booties! And I mean hot in a sexy way not hot in a sweaty feet kind of way! They are fabulous...I'm glad you gave into their taunts and bought them!
    Debbie :)

  22. Gorgeous! I love how we have nearly polar opposite taste in shoes and I can appreciate how fantastic heeled toeless booties look on you (which should tell you your choice is extra fantastic.)

    In my area it is always 50-55 degrees so it is chunky boot weather all year long. :D Also I'm not sure if it's weird ventilation skills or what, but no matter how hot the day or how long the workout, my feet and hands do not sweat so my concern is always keeping them warm. It's probably because I have not experienced a Southern summer.

  23. Mrs D from Hello the MushroomAugust 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Lovely booties I must say! I can also see them with coloured tights!

  24. *You say a shootie, I say a bootie ... let's call the calling off off ...*
    Did you set me up for that, or what? (And now it occurs to me that you might be to young or hip to know that song ...) Wore them yesterday, all day in the Big City, and they were pretty good in the moist 90s. I especially love that they're so light weight. Makes a diff.
    I don't have particularly thick ankles( nor particularly thin ones, for that matter) and no spider veins (yet!) but yup ... I can go with your reasoning. They also can make a shapely leg more shapely!
    Besides price and a certain modernity they've embraced lately, I'm sad to say it's one of only two decent department stores here. I hope the recent restructuring won't take JCP back to the domain of the dowdy. I was getting a kick out of finding a store with affordable prices and items I actually wanted.
    Really looking forward to your post ... you always have lots of insight!

  25. I need shoes that make me feel like a rock-star. The only ones that come close are my lace-up, lug soled, high-heeled Ralph Laurens I got a couple of winters ago. Not really a rock-star, perhaps, but maybe a rock-star's granny. Probably time I forgot about resembling a rock-star, anyway.
    Thank you for saying sweet things! I think it's the light weight and the peep toe that makes these okay for our miserable south-central heat and humidity.

  26. Thank you for admitting to being able to hear them .... I was beginning to wonder if it was just me! And for your nice comments! I had a good time in them yesterday, all day.

  27. Yeahhhh. We show 'um.
    I think they have our number, and know how to push our buttons. Who knew leather and a last could come off as manipulative!?
    Thanks for your very kind comment ... always glad when you drop by!

  28. Hmmmm. Sexy really is all in our heads, huh? I see these as a little aloof, actually. Well, there goes my attempt at cool, then. I've liked heels since I became aware of how much better my tiny little mom looked in a pair of heels ... taller and more proportionate.
    Really glad you like them, 'cause I like your taste!
    Thanks for all, especially for dropping by.

  29. Whoa! Ann! You and your husband have some AMAZING work! I have to show these to Dan ... he's a big fan of anything Rube Goldbergian. These have a slightly eerie note to them, and I love that especially. They must be astonishing when they move! Thank you!
    And thank you for your kind comments. I always feel like a low-end-retail mess, but once in a while I get a little confidence from an article of clothing or footwear ... most often it's a boot.

  30. Hmmmm. Second sexy comment. I didn't see that, but I hope it's a good thing! 'Preciate it!
    I've just never gotten in to painted toes ... looks great on women with pretty feet, and I have admired your twinklers. There's something about nail polish (even with the most industrial grade base-coat) that makes my otherwise creamy colored fingernails turn extra yellowish. Any suggestions?

  31. Thank you, Olga ... I had the best time wearing them all day yesterday with pink and charcoal black.
    So glad you're safely back from your travels. Looking forward to seeing what you wear for fall and winter there!

  32. Use a base coat, it reduces the yellowing effect though doesn't take it away altogether. Lighter coloured polishes do it less, I think.
    Sorry to butt in - can't help myself! xxxx

  33. Wanna know a secret? I'm shoe-obsessed only in fits and starts. There are times when I go *off* them, depending on what's available. When shoes generally start getting too round or chunky, I just do the best I can with what's around. Availabiltiy is so much of a driver here in Nowhere! The more women I talk with about shoes, the more I realize that besides the huge bump on my nose (that I never let anyone see in profile!) I also got good, sturdy, easy-to-fit feet from my mother. Some people got cheekbones and lush lips and tall statuesque-ness ... I got feet.
    Besides inheriting the farm from Dad, between the two of them I'm able to stay out standing in my field. Badum-bump!
    I obsess about particular silhouettes in dresses and separates, and particular pant styles. Handbags get to me, too. I don't show them much as I have very pedestrian tastes there ... not much to look at, usually.
    You are always very kind to read what I have to say when I go on about things that don't particularly speak to you or ring your chimes. I appreciate it. Style interests are so varied. I just like to know why women wear what they do. Learning more all the time ... and am the better for it, I hope!
    Nice of you to like my silly shoes. I suspect they talk about me behind my back, though. Urk.

  34. Sassy? That's me. A teacher once called me that, and he was right. But he didn't mean it in a good way! Glad you liked them and I appreciate it. Thrilled that you stopped by to chat!
    Gracias, Señora!

  35. Awwww ... you always say the nicest things, Patti ... and succinctly! I never will be good at that. Thanks, again, and for all.

  36. Will shop for a better one than said industrial grade than I've tried ... perhaps wood varnish? Or not ...
    Butt in any time.

  37. I so wish I was in San Diego to wear them there! Yup ... wore the booties all day yesterday were lots of fun, but I still have stappy sandals to wear ... we've not seen the worst of our summer yet here!
    So pleased you stopped by, and thanks so much for your kind remarks.

  38. Wow! Thanks. Seriously, I do want to be able to kick ass sometimes. Hope these help! Pencil skirt this winter ... of course! With colored tights that Mrs. D suggested.
    I know so many women who are looking for wide shoes ... you'd think manufacturers would get the point. Not just width, but design that would look beautiful with a wider last!
    So sweet of you to drop by, Tamera ... always love what you have to say.

  39. So kind, Paula! It seems I'm never happy with the season ... I yearn for summer in the winter and visa versa. I really need to stop that. Wasting some perfectly good time wishing for what will arrive inevitably anyway.
    Shooties are a great development.
    Thanks for chiming in!

  40. Sure wish our temps here would plunge! Its more about the temp than the season, anyway. Glad you like these ... part of their appeal is that they are so light and soft, and I like the unusual shape. Thank you for all ... and I'm always so happy when you stop by.

  41. Adam Ant ... he's recording again, or so I hear. I'll be interested to see how he presents as a much older rocker!
    Funny how much more memorable old Inigo was than the Dread Pirate Roberts. Blonds may have more fun, sometimes. but I think brunettes ARE more fun.

  42. See? Another generally sane woman who hears shoes. Good.
    Thank you for the sweet compliment, our Trina. Boots and booties always seem extra appropriate for time when one is unsure about what's going to happen. Weather-wise or other--wise. I often have more than one pair of shoes in my back seat, actually.

  43. Swagger ... gotta get me some of that. That may be why I like them so much. I need swagger. Short women don't typically swagger well.
    Glad you liked the post, and you are always so welcome here!

  44. Maybe not your part of Texas, I know several Tejanas who don't wear much else ( in terms of footwear.) But they're all real cowgirl types, and you still have some of them around your parts, I believe.
    Naah. I know what you mean. No fashion boots in humidity.
    So glad you like these ... means a lot from one of my more youthful style icons! Thanks so much for stopping in ... always pleased to have you here!

  45. Thanks, Debbie! They really have been fun, and I'll continue to wear them through fall with the right outfit. Will be nice for that transitional time when it's not quite fall but when I'm sick of summer!
    Good to have you here, as always!

  46. I'd still want to swing a sword if the right fantasy incarnation were to present itself! But not to be, I fear. So many women, from all decades, really lean in to that part of the lure of boot-wearing. It's a kind of empowerment that translates from fantasy to street reality. And from boardwalk to boardroom ... that makes it even sweeter.
    Thank you for your consideration ... happy you like my choice. There are always styles that other women wear that I can only admire. Love the look of little point-toe flats, and flat casual boots, but they just don't work well for me.

    And avoid a southern summer as long as you can. There are those who enjoy them, but try one before you fall in love with a southerner! On second thought, if you don't sweat much, you might do well here. Not a thing to commit to without trial, though!
    Happy you stopped by ... interesting thoughts!

  47. I thought that the minute I tried them on! I'm not much for socks, but I like solid, dark tights in the darkness of winter. These little guys will get to go out a lot this year!
    Thanks for all, and glad you are home safe from your vacay!

  48. What a great post! I understand what you are saying about wearing dresses with boots. But, I have to be honest. I am one who wear boots with dresses. I don't do it, thinking I might be discovered. It's because I don't know how to walk in heels. I'm Frankenstein on stilts. From the ankle down, comfort is my number one goal. I've worn heels here and there but I just can't get used to them. I can wear boots, tennis shoes and flats, for the simple reason I'm a klutz.]
    I admire and love heels from afar. For instance, I love these booties you purchased. They look great on you and goes perfectly with your outfit. I love the dip front. They would go great with a pencil skirt too. You look great!

  49. Akk! No... I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. Boots and dresses are classic. Filmy dresses and casual boots are modern. (I don't do it well, would like to, and admire it in those who do.) But filmy couture and high end dresses, hiking boots and women stranded in the wilderness ... (as I've seen so often in the glossy mags that the image is almost a meme) ... puzzle me. Just a lead in to talking about narrative. It's not about boots and dresses. It's about how much we love our boots, and the romantic ideas they represent for modern women.

    You are one of those who pulls off easily what I cannot! You are one of those women who could wear trash bags and still look amazing.

    Heels or no heels .... you look divine. You're kind to like mine, and I thank you for your sweet remarks!

  50. I couldn't count the number of young women I saw wearing Uggs, and ugly Uggs, with short, summery dresses or shorts last summer. I haven't seen so much of that this year...but it would always give me a, What are they thinking, moment. I kinda wonder if women that embrace boots in the summer are those that don't have to wear them all winter long. You know what I mean? Some climates demand winter boots for several months, either snow, or for me, rain...and honestly, as much as I love my boots, I can't wait to get out of them. Ah well, it does give me something to look forward to come autumn.

    Now, your sweet little booties are heavenly! They look butter soft. I'm heading into the city today. All this chat about footwear may lead to a new purchase. I'll thank you personally if I score a new pair of shoes or booties.

  51. I imagine you're right on the money here ... we sometimes have to wait until deep winter to break out the boots. And as much as I like spring, I hate to put my faves away.
    Thanks for your kind compliment on my talking booties! They do feel a lot like house slippers, even with the heel.
    Always so happy when you drop in!

  52. Well, I am glad you succumbed to the booties (or shooboots/shoeboots?). They have such an elegant shape.
    I miss my ankle boots, it feels too hot to wear them at the moment. But I do quite like the floaty-dress-and-boots look.

    I love that you put the boots straight on. I did that recently with some skinny jeans, worn under a dress. I had tights on that looked and felt wrong, and left the tights behind in their bin, and sashayed out in the skinnies!

  53. I love your summer booties, Jan. And the clever narrative that led up to their place in your shoe closet. Boots will always have a special place in my heart. I'm already yearning to get them out of their boxes for early fall adventures. Maybe I can get them out now!

  54. Jean at Dross into GoldAugust 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    I know I'm late to the party but I had to weigh in as this is a topic that I'm obsessed with. I've been looking for the perfect pair of summer boots for awhile now. Mine would be a light color leather, probably perforated or woven, with a lowish heel. They would be mid-calf-ish to hide my scrawny ankles. I saw a picture on Advanced Style a year or so ago of a woman wearing tall woven flat boots and I've craved them ever since. I love yours, too. XXOO

  55. Hi,
    the shoes a great. I really like the colors of your blouse. Pure summer... fresh... a nice print.
    Have a good time

  56. Oh, those are right up my alley. It's just a little too hot right now...those will come in handy in about a month. Love the your outfit also!


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