Manolo the Columnist: Nealla from Pour la Victoire

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

After four years of hard work, I’m finally graduating next week with a degree in Renaissance Studies. Happily, I have already managed to find a lovely job that starts three weeks after graduation. (Yeah me!) Can you recommend a pair of shoes for the graduation ceremony, something fun?


Manolo says, it is the time of the graduation, when the adult peoples don the ridiculous medieval gown and cap, and listen to the speeches about boldly seizing the future.

“Today, as you go forth from this place to boldly seize the future, remember what you have learned here in this institution, both in the classroom and out of it. Indeed, some of you will never forget what you learned just two weeks ago, during the aftermath of Fraternity Row’s Monster Spring Bash and Riot.

“And now, let me take a moment to give a special welcome to our official guests sitting among you in the audience, the sheriffs deputies, parole officers and bail bonds men, whose recent tireless efforts have made this joyous occasion possible.”

Ayyy! The life of the mind!

As for what shoes to wear, because your graduation outfit will be covered by the black gown of drabness, you will need something that “pops” as you walk across the stage, the statement shoes that that will help you boldly stride into the seizable future.

Here is the Nealla from Pour la Victoire in the bold lilac. It is also available in coral, and taupe for those who may be more timid.

Nealla from Pour la Victoire


11 Responses to “Manolo the Columnist: Nealla from Pour la Victoire”

  1. long island Says:

    Back in my day we wear strongly encouraged to wear shoes that matched our gown or school colors. Oh and closed toed.

  2. Ari Says:

    psst… whose

  3. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    Ayyyy! The Manolo has fixed this error. Many thank yous for catching it out.

  4. Comfort Shoe Lady Says:

    A degree in Renaissance Studies AND a job? AWESOME! I think you should buy yourself TWO pairs of wonderful shoes to celebrate the feat of studying a fascinating “impractical” subject and still nabbing a job. Long live following one’s passions!

  5. Charlotte Allen Says:

    I’m with Long Island. An academic gown is business-wear. It’s the equivalent of a judge’s robe or a doctor’s white coat. Granted that at least here in the U.S., students and professors aren’t required to wear gowns on a daily basis, but we still maintain the fiction on graduation day. Men should wear suits under their gown, and women should look dressed up but not in party-wear (I recommend dark colors). The proper color of shoes to be worn with an academic gown is black for both sexes. And no open toes–sandals look dreadful with an academic gown. Those lilac sandals are darling, but should be saved for the after-party, the before-party, or any of the other numerous parties and outings that typically accompany a graduation.

    That said,congratulations, Marielle, not just for making it to graduation and having a job waiting for you, but for majoring in Renaissance studies. People probably kept asking you, “What are you going to do with that?,” but you chose a major that was fascinating for its own sake.

  6. Bronwyn Says:

    Where did you get the idea that academic gowns are business wear Charlotte? In Oxford and Cambridge (where they originated) they are worn as formal wear, and by students. At one point (not very long ago) they were worn every day by students over whatever they happened to be wearing. They no longer have to be worn all the time, but must be worn at formal dinners, graduation, and exam times, over the clothing appropriate for each event. At graduation the hat is added to the gown making full academic dress, which is again worn at formal occasions over whatever clothing is appropriate to the event. I can assure you, you do not wear business clothing with closed in black shoes to a gala dinner!

  7. Azulao Says:

    Those are some awesome shoes. I love them. But, please do wear nice sober black closed toe shoes with the gown or you’ll look ridiculous walking across the stage…also, make sure your skirt is slightly shorter than the gown! It looks silly to have your skirt poking out of your gown.

    And, yay Marielle!

  8. Charlotte Allen Says:

    @Bronwyn: I probably should have said “professional wear”–in that an academic is the professional attire of an academic, just as a judge’s robe is the professional attire of a judge. Although students like to (or perhaps used to like to) throw their gowns over just about anything from jeans to cocktail dresses, it’s technically not proper, because the gown is a signifier of the dignity of the chosen profession. You never see Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan or Ruth Bader Ginsburg sporting blue jeans or evening shoes under their robes–because they’re dressed for serious, dignified business. It should similarly be the case with a graduation gown, even if it’s worn for a couple hours and never donned again. It’s the sign of a milestone of entry into a community of degree-holders who have completed serious academic work. It looks just plain stupid for guys to have their cord trousers and sneakers hanging out from under their gowns–especially when thousands of eyes are turned upon them as they walk across the graduation stage–and the same goes for girls. As Azulao says, you want to wear “nice sober black closed toe shoes.” Then, when it’s all over, you can go crazy!

  9. Bronwyn Says:

    I think you might find that a female Supreme Court judge at a gala dinner would wear formal clothing, including fancy shoes, under her gown. Academic dress is rarely worn over casual dress these days, but it is worn over “black tie” or even “white tie” if the occasion demands it.
    Whether or not a graduation ceremony is considered “business dress” or “black tie” is up to the institution. At my own graduation I wore more or less business clothing (I was in the minority), but I changed into something more resembling black tie for the reception afterwards – still wearing my academic regalia over the top, as is traditional at my university.

  10. Marie Says:

    Having just attended my umpty-ninth graduation ceremony (I am a professor), let me tell you that the faculty hold their collective breath in fear that every bright young thing who is wearing stilettos and/or platforms will trip and fall as she teeters up the stairs, across the stage, down the stairs. They’ve been wearing sneakers and flip-flops for four years and they aren’t skilled at wearing shoes like these. We do not want the wonderful Marielles of this world to end their lives before they’ve begun them. Congratulations on the degree and the job, Marielle!

  11. Charlotte Allen Says:

    @Bronwyn: The idea of a Supreme Court justice–or any other judge–wearing his or her black robe to a gala dinner struck me as so odd and out of place that I googled around to see if I could find a photo. I came up with this one of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg taken at a black-tie event at Columbia, her alma mater.

    As you can see, she’s wearing black, but it looks like a black dress with maroon trim and a maroon scarf. The one time I’ve ever seen Justice Ginsberg in person–at a funeral–she was also wearing a black dress. Justice Antonin Scalia was at the same funeral, wearing a dark suit. A judicial robe over a tuxedo? I don’t think so! Judicial robes are worn only for judicial business, some of which is ceremonial, to be sure. And I’m almost dead certain that the same goes for college faculty with respect to their academic gowns. I’ve never seen a professor wearing a gown off-campus.

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