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Satin Stiletto Peep-Toe Pump for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, greatly ungruntled about the impending nuptials of your semi-best friend for never, the soon-to-be-thricely-married Marjorie.

“Well, at least I still believe in love,” she is given to saying whenever anyone so much as hints that maybe it is time for her to give it the rest, “I’m still out there trying.”

Yes, Marjorie, she is still trying, this time to the balding, 64-year-old domestic beer distributor who drives the red Corvette, has recently taken up the salsa dancing, and frequently refers to himself in the third person.

“So, when it came to this little lady right here,” the groom-to-be said at the engagement party, pulling Marjorie close in to his Hackenlooper Budweiser polo shirt, “Ole Bob Hackenlooper vows to spare no expense,” by which he meant spending the honeymoon on the seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise to the Cancun.

Three weddings and you will have been the bridesmaid in all of them, the first time in 1988 to the infamous Todd, the second eighteen years later to James who looked like the aardvark and worked in something to do with insurance, and now this one, which is why your are unhappy, and why you are looking through DressFirst website for the reasonably priced, mostly attractive bridesmaid dresses in red.

“To match Bob’s Corvette.”

It is not the good sign, when the bride is worried about whether or not she will be able to upstage the groom’s car.

Well, at least the day is not the total loss, for you have decided that you will wear these red, satin, stiletto heel, peep-toe platform pumps no matter what happens.

dressfirst

Yes, they are not the most expensive shoes, but you appreciate the modest price, because you still have the last pair of Marjorie bridesmaid shoes sitting your closet. They are lime green.

Manolo the Columnist: Dazzling from Bernardo

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


Dear Manolo,

In August I am going to a three-day training workshop in Philadelphia that will be attended and taught by senior people in my field from around the country. The dress code, according the information packet, is supposed to be “casual, shorts, sneakers and sandals are appropriate.” Can you please help me interpret this?

Monica

Manolo says, the Admiral Manolo, standing on the bridge of his imaginary star cruiser shouts, “It is the trap!”

It is the well-known fact that the “casual business attire” is never casual, nor very good for doing the business. What it is very good for, however, is proving that you are someone whom one can do the business with later, after the casual thing has ended

For the example, if you were to take this admonition to casualness at its face value, and showed up at the opening breakfast breakout session wearing the dirty running shoes and the tighty bicycle shorts, rocking your favorite, faded “Actuaries Probably Do It” novelty t-shirt, it is unlikely you will be considered the serious person.

This is why the Manolo usually recommends the modified preppy-wear for the important out-of-the-office outings. One rarely goes wrong with khaki and cotton tattersalls, as long as the Prep-o-Meter is not turned up too high (which the Manolo defines as asking other people to refer to you as “Muffy”.)

If you wish to wear the sandals, the Manolo recommends the Bernardos, which were good enough for the Jackie O, and thus good enough for anywhere. Here is the Dazzling, the aptly-name classic strappy sandal from Bernardo.

Dazzling Sandal from Bernardo

Manolo the Columnist: Zuriel from Pedro Garcia

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


Dear Manolo,

I took my summer vacation in June, and now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, I realize that I’ve got nothing to look forward to until Labor Day. Can you recommend some fun sandals to get me through the dog days of summer in DC?

Natalie

Manolo says, it is summer in the District of the Columbia, and you are now paying for all of those glorious spring days filled with the cherry blossoms and the beautiful, clement weather.

As the temperature rises and the humidity soars towards the one hundred percent, the days become unbearably long and the tempers fray. It is like living in the sauna except you are not allowed to go about naked unless you are one of the crazy peoples who lives in the Metro stations. Instead, since you cannot shed your clothing, you must shed your dignity by scurrying like the cockroach from the air conditioned apartment to the air conditioned car to the air conditioned office, and back again in the afternoon.

Happily, there is the consolation, which is that after the first of July the summery shoes begin to go on the sale, and we may find many bargains that will lesson our suffering.

For the example, here is the neon pink Pedro Garcia flat sandal called the Zuriel that is both wonderfully fun and selling for $200 off the usual price at the Zappos. Similar deals may be found this time of the year at other online shoe stores. Go look for them!

Zuriel from Pedro Garcia

Manolo the Columnist: Kork-Ease Ava

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

Dear Manolo:

Recent events in Bangladesh have me upset. I don’t want to buy shoes made in China anymore! But are any cute shoes for work made in the US — or somewhere else where a child isn’t sewing them — anymore? This may be your greatest challenge yet, but I don’t want to turn to making my own shoes from fair-trade coffee beans or something.

Nell

Manolo says, it is true that we live in the world of the wonders, where the long distance trade fills our shops with things from the faraway lands.

Unfortunately, we know little (and perhaps wish to know even less) about the sometimes deplorable conditions under which the peoples who produce these goods labor, even as we must always remember that the inexpensiveness of the items we purchase does not absolve us of our moral duties.

Just because the thing is cheap and stylish and you wish to own it does not mean you should always buy it. Your responsibilities to others extend beyond the limits of your closet and your pocketbook.

What then is to be done? Firstly, we must buy only from those producers whom we know to be ethical. Secondly, we must work to expand the number of ethical producers worldwide.

The poor Bangledeshi ladies who make the inexpensive shifts deserve to work for reasonable wages under safe conditions. If such conditions can be achieved, then it would be fine to purchase the goods made there.

In the meantime, you may safely enjoy the retro-fun of the Kork-Ease Ava in brown, shoes that have been made in the U.S. of the A. since the 1953.

Kork-Ease Ava

Vertbaudet for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, happily surfing the interwebs, clicking on the links and looking at the funny cat pictures, when you suddenly remember that you have to be buying the gifts for the teeny peoples of your acquaintance.

Ayyy! So many children needing the gifts, with so little time to get them.

Why, just in the past year, alone, your hipster friends have had the babies with such trendy names as Atticus, Annabel, Brooklyn, Clementine, Dixie (reserve her the spot in the roller derby team of 2031), Hopper, Juniper, and Otis.

It is almost too much, these trendy names.

Whatever happened to the old-fashioned, traditional names, like those the people of of the last generation gave their children, such as Alexis Carrington Jones, Sonny Crockett Smith, and Remington Steele Johnson?

Now it is all Lulu and Rufus, Leopold and Maisie.

Ayyyy! Look! The Verbaudet is having the end of the season clearance sale!

Vertbaudet  End of the Season Sale

Here are the super cute baby slippers

Cute Baby Slippers

These are exactly the sort of thing that any mother, however hipsterish, would be happy to put on the feets of her precious Sadie or Max.

If the shoes are not the right gift, then how about the nursery bedding from Vertbaudet, or….

Pink Donkey Teddy

The pink Donkey Teddy!

Manolo the Columnist: Alto Disco from Clark

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

Dear Manolo,

I have a shoe dilemma. Our family is traveling to Disney World this summer and I have absolutely no idea what shoes to wear. I like to wear summer dresses with cute sandals but I do not think any of my current sandals will survive days walking around the parks and will stay on my feet while I go on roller coasters with my little nephews. I need a stylish, incredibly comfortable pair of sandals?

DeeDee

Manolo says, Ayyyy! The Manolo loves the Disney World Land, with the giant walking mice, and the spinning tea cups, and the various and sundry princesses in their wigs and evening makeup! Indeed, who could not love this place where the little children are treated like royalty, and the adults are happy to pay for it?

The Monolo has compiled some of the little known statistics about the average family visit to the Disney World Land. During the one day visit, alone, the average family can expect to walk 17.1 miles, wait in the line 294 minutes (88% of which will be for the Space Mountain), and spend $3249.27 on souvenirs featuring the anthropomorphic animals and talking teapots. Tiring and expensive, no? But it is all worth it, no, to see the smiles on the faces of the Disney Corporation shareholders.

Here is the Alto Disco from the Clarks, the sort of deceptively plain, super comfortable walking sandal that actually looks great once it is on your feets. The Manolo likes the navy blue, but it is also available in beige, teal, white, and black.

Clarks Alto Disco

Manolo the Columnist: Salinas from Aerin

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

Dear Manolo,

My husband owns a small company with 25 mostly blue-collar employees. Every year we host a company picnic at a local park, complete with hotdogs, hamburgers, potato salad and assorted games for the kids. I usually wear a summery sundress, but this year I’m having trouble picking out a pair of sandals. Please help.

Marissa

Manolo says, the annual company picnic is, together with the company Christmas party, one of the most dangerous events on the corporate calendar. There are so many things that can go wrong at the company picnic, such as injury, permanent humiliation, intestinal distress, and the long-term unemployment.

Happily, as the boss’s wife you cannot be fired in the usual way. Unhappily, you will instead be the sort of grande dame, required to arrange for and preside graciously over the festivities. If everything goes well, your husband, who will spend the picnic handing out beers, telling jokes, and slapping backs in his role as Lord Bountiful, will get all of the credit. But, if the burgers are undercooked, the potato salad over warm, the sack race disorganized, or even if the rain comes, you will bear the blame for it.

Worse, you will have to do all this while looking better, but not too much better, than all of the other women present.

Here is the Salinas from Aerin, the simple, flat sandal with neon red patent leather trim that will be perfectly appropriate for your boss’s wifely duty.

salinas-aerin

Manolo the Columnist: Air Talia Wedge from Cole Haan

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


Dear Manolo,

I’ve got this great summer internship at cable news network helping in the newsroom . I’m supposed to dress professionally, but since this is my first time in a professional setting, I’ve got to buy some new outfits. Can you please recommend some shoes that are not too expensive?

Emma

Manolo says, it would have helped if the Manolo’s friend Emma had mentioned for which of the various news networks she was interning, as it would have made the difference in what the Manolo would recommend. For the example, at the MSNBC the Manolo imagines that it is all sweaty people with bad haircuts in bulky sweaters and sensible shoes, while at the Fox News it is puffy frat boys in bowties and icy blonde beauties with big hair and cultured pearls.

Of the course, the Manolo could be completely mistaken, and that in fact, the production of the cable network news is more like the making of the tofu, in that it all comes out of the same unappetizing vat of flavorless bean goop. Only at the very end, do the crazy chefs add the little bit of flavoring and tons of the MSG to produce the All-American Fox News Tofurkey, or the Progressive MSNBC Vegan Hotdogs.

In this case, the Manolo would imagine that the same people work behind the scenes at both places — likely dressed in the sweat pants, tattered novelty t-shirts, and hairnets — as they go about the business of scooping out our daily ration of heavily-spiced, meatless news substitute.

Here is the Cole Haan Air Talia Wedge in the very becoming maple sugar color, perfect for the summery office work.

Cole Haan Air Talia 40 Wedge

Manolo the Columnist: Kimi from Munro American

Dear Manolo,

Now that Memorial Day is officially here, I can finally wear white shoes again. Please recommend something casual. By the way, I should mention that I wear a size 12.

Antonia

Manolo says, have you not heard the news? The ancien régime has been overthrown, and the Jacobins of fashion are busily marching the most honored of traditions straight up to the guillotine.

For the example, who today (except for the Manolo’s friend Antonia) cares about the old rule that mandates the wearing of white only between the days of Memorial and Labor? Even the Manolo, who is so stodgy that he occasionally wears the four-piece suit to the beach, has given up on trying to care about the white clothing rule. It is the vestige of the era of no air conditioning and ladies maids, and is best left behind with the corset and bustle. And so the Manolo says, if it is April and the weather is warm, feel free to wear the white shoes upon your feets.

Speaking of no corsets and white in the summer, now that the magnificent Baz Luhrmann has revived the Great Gatsby, perhaps it is the time to bring back the classic tennis outfits of that 1920s: drop-waist pleated knee-high skirts, sleeveless tops, cotton pullover sweaters, all in glorious summery white. Frankly the Manolo is tired of day-glo booty skirts and spandex bandeau tops.

Here is the Kimi from the Munro American, the smart-looking white driving moccasin that goes all the way up to the size 13.

Kimi from Munro American

The Decadant Phase: Diciannoveventitre Ultra-Distressed Sneakers

Manolo says, Slave! Peel the Manolo the grape, bring him his Diciannoveventitre Ultra-Distressed Sneakers, and order his palanquin brought around to the front. He is feeling like the man of the people today.

Overdyed, ultra-distressed high top sneakers with pre-rusted metal eyelets and dye-splattered rubber sole.

Diciannoveventitre Ultra-Distressed Sneakers

Diciannoveventitre-Ultra-distressed

Cost? The mere $1,975

Manolo the Columnist: Gale from Sam Edelman

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

Dear Manolo,

I love your shoe recommendations, but unfortunately, I’m just a poor working girl who struggles each month to get by. Can you recommend a pair of summery sandals for me that won’t cost and arm and a leg?

Christina

Manolo says, as always the Manolo recommends saving your monies and buying the high-quality super fantastic shoes, because nothing provides as much pleasure as wearing the beautiful, well-made shoes that fit properly and last the long time.

Still, at the same time, the Manolo knows what it is like to be poor, indeed so poor that you must fashion your own super fantastic summer sandals out of the moldy corks and castoff foil you have scavenged from behind that trendy wine bar next to the yoga pants store.

And so, because of this, the Manolo has much sympathy for the poor working girls that live in the 400-square-feets studio apartments where the oven of the two-burner stove must also serve as the dirty laundry hamper. (Remember the time you pre-heated your camisoles and that hunky fireman who showed up and laughed at you? Sadly, it not the good kind of “ho, ho, ho, you are so cute and ditzy” laughter, but the “ha, ha, ha, wait til I tell the guys at the station about this” jeering sort of laughter.)

Here is the Gale from Sam Edelman, the kicky thong sandal with the beaded accents that will be perfect for your summer wearing needs. And look, it is on the sale, less than $60!

Gale from Sam Edelman

Manolo the Columnist: Eleni from Pour la Victoire

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


Dear Manolo,

For the past month, my husband has been in California working on a business project in Silicon Valley. At the end of next week, I’ll be joining him for a week long vacation in San Francisco and Napa Valley. I’m not really sure what to wear. Please help.

Monica

Manolo says, for the Manolo, who is of the certain age, whenever someone says they are going to San Francisco, the Manolo thinks “be sure to wear some flowers in the hair.”

But then the Manolo remembers that putting the flowers in the hair to go to the San Francisco is like dancing the Lindy Hop, or wearing the coonskin cap to watch the Sunday night television programming; the artifact of the distant past, poorly remembered, and perhaps better forgotten. (Ayyyy! The Manolo just looked it up!, That song came out 46 years ago this week, in 1967, when the earth was still young and nubile. )

Now the days, when one thinks of San Francisco, one is more likely to think of the unpleasant, shallow-chested billionaires–the plague of the modern era–who believe they should rule the world from the front seat of their all-electric Google cars.

If you are going to Silicon Valley

Be sure to vest some options in your stock.

If you are going to Silicon Valley

You’re going to meet some awful people there.

Undoubtedly, you will want to wear the sandals on your feets. Here is the Eleni from Pour la Victoire, which will be sufficiently and defiantly bohemian.

Eleni from Pour la Victoire

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