This series of polar vortexes has left me very disgruntled and cold footed. I need a pair of winter boots, and I need them right now. Can you please recommend something serious but with a little flair.
Manolo says, the Manolo has noticed that, thanks to the omnipresent hunt for the television ratings, we now live in the era of weather hysteria, when every dip or rise in the temperature, every summer shower or light snowstorm is greeted by the telegenic weather peoples as if it were the impending asteroid strike. The worst of the lot is the Weather Channel, which used to be the boring but sensible provider of climatological information, but is now in the mass panic business, to the point that they are giving names to the ordinary winter storms as if they were the hurricanes.
“Tonight as winter storm Attila the Death-Bringer hammers the area with up to two inches of concentrated white murder, and howling winds of fifteen miles an hours, temperatures will dip into the extinction event zone, falling below the point at which water, itself, ceases to flow, turning the tri-state area into a colorless wasteland of ice and death.”
So, you get up early the next morning, eager to greet the end of the world, only to find that it is 26 degrees, and your neighbor Murry, who is so nice, has already swept the light-dusting of concentrated murder from the sidewalk with the push broom.
Here is the Cate the Great Deco from Sorel, the serious sassy winter boot that, for some reason, makes the Manolo smile.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of young women wearing flannel shirts and short lace-up boots. I love this casual look. Do you think that a woman of a certain age (me, in this case) would be able to carry this off?
Manolo says, it is true what the Manolo has long said, that the beautiful young peoples would look good in the Gareth Pugh burlap sacks and the Birkenstocks (which is indeed the recent trend). This is the one of the key principles behind the fashion show; that even the worst article of clothing, designed by the most untalented fashion hack, still looks good when worn by the super model strutting down the catwalk to the pulsating techno music.
But, do not be deceived. Those 1980s, retro-Madonna bib overalls, with the one shoulder strap artfully undone, which you saw being worn by the fetching gamin on the H Street are not for you, Respectable Lady of the Certain Age. For you, the instant you put on the stone-washed Big Smiths, and unbuckled the strap, you would look like one of the minor characters in the touring version of Li’l Abner goes to Washington, perhaps Aunty McMutton, or some such.
And this is why the Manolo cautions against adopting the trend of the short boots and the flannel, as appealing as it may seem. It is better to go with the more sophisticated lace-up, one that will better withstand the vagaries of fashion. Here is the Prance from the Donald J. Pliner, the tall croc-patterned riding boot with the lace-up fronts, something that would look smashing on the beautiful mature woman of taste.
With the arrival of fall, I find I need some new rain boots for my weekend outings in the country. What do you recommend?
Manolo says, there is nothing more satisfying than going out in to the world properly shod, which is why the God invented the shoe closet, because the properly dressed person of style needs many, many shoes for the many, many different occasions and conditions.
By the Manolo’s estimate, the well-dressed lady needs at the least 237 different pairs of the shoes and boots, although if one does much travelling or entertaining, then the number goes up the few dozen. Which is why the task of shoe shopping, like the grocery shopping, is never at the end.
Of the course, one can make do, if one must, with the far few pairs (say, 178) but only if one is prepared to show up at the various events improperly shod.
Happily, when it comes to the wellingtons, the Manolo believes you can get by with only the fifteen or sixteen different pairs. Although, if you absolutely must make do with only one, then there is only one that is worth the recommendating: the original tall boot from Hunter in the original green color. When it comes to standing outside in the rain, generations of horsey-outdoorsy-aristocraticy English women cannot be wrong. Hunter wellingtons are the best.
Thanks to Congress and the President, starting this week, I have a lot free time on my hands. I’ve decided to go shoe shopping. I especially need new tall boots for fall. What do you recommend?
Manolo says, Ayyyy! To listen to the congress peoples shouting about the government “shutdown”, it is as if the mega-major-super disaster had struck the nation, such as the tsunami, or the big earthquake, or that the volcano had violently erupted in the courtyard of the Smithsonian, burying the entire Capitol Hill in hot lava. (Although, according to the recent opinion poll, the Pompeii-ization of Congress enjoys the hearty approval of 97 percent of the American peoples.)
And this is why the Manolo is the monarchist, because the worst king is better than the best gaggle of politicians.
Imagine how much more pleasant the United States of the America would be if, instead of the incessant politicking, we could all relax, safe in the knowledge that our sovereign was, like Charles the II of England, primarily interested in hunting, wenching, and amateur theatrics.
No longer will we need pay attention to our odious political class, always shouting for our attention and insulting our intelligence. Instead we will have the dignified pomp and circumstance of proper leadership.
And yes, the Manolo has the perfect candidate to be acclaimed our first king; Jay Leno. He is tall, sufficiently genial, and already possessed of the impressive Hapsburg chin. What more is needed?
Here is the Loden from the 10 Crosby Derek Lam, the dramatic, over-the-knee boot that will be the perfect feetwear to usher in our new golden age. Manolo shouts, Long Live the King Jay the First!
My brother’s first cousin, a lovely and quirky woman, is getting married in a “steampunk wedding” (the invitation looked like a P.T. Barnum broadside). We’ve been encouraged to “dress in the spirit of the occasion”. Please help.
Manolo says, the Manolo is of the two minds about the “theme” weddings. On the one of the hands, if the simple and heartfelt ceremony featuring the groom in his best suit, and the bride in the tea-length gown of modest cut was good enough for your grandparents – who have been blissfully wed for more than fifty of the years – then why is it not good enough for you?
And yet, on the other of the hands, if dressing up like the Captain Kirk and the green-skinned Alien Space Princess, and convincing your Presbyterian minister, Reverend Bob, to pronounce you “successfully beamed aboard” in the fake Scottish accent is your fondest wish, then who is the Manolo to stand in the way of happiness?
So, how does one “dress in the spirit” of steampunkery, which the Manolo sees largely as the cockeyed Victoriana accessorized with superfluous brass gears and top hats. To which the Manolo replies, just because you have been invited to the cannibal feast does not mean you have to wear the loincloth. Perhaps, all that is actually needed is the pair of retro-inspired shoes, yes?
Here is the Lover from John Fluevog, the mid-calf boot that is sufficiently outrageous so as to meet the requirements.
I’m turning thirty the first week in October and my sister has booked an all day trip aboard a double-decker sightseeing bus for my family and I to celebrate the occasion. I normally live in sneakers but since I will be wearing a dress, I’ll need something that’s comfy yet durable with a feminine edge to it. Any suggestions?
Manolo says, ayyyy! Thirty is the new fifteen! Time to put on the party dress and the big girl, grown up shoes for the Quinceañera!
The curmudgeonly Old Man Manolo remembers when being the grown up was considered the desirable thing, seen by the teenagers as the magical time filled with such adult delights as the cocktail parties, black coffee and cigarettes, wearing the tailored suits, and talking knowingly about the Italian movies with the long and confusing dream sequences.
Now, all of the grown ups want to continue to be the teenagers, wearing the cutoff shorts, flipity-flops, and Justin Beiber t-shirts well into their sixties, swooning over the latest release of the Grand Theft Auto, and texting their homies down at the senior center about the Miley Cyrus twerking debacle.
“OMG, U SEE DAT, BRO?”
The Manolo says, it is time to grow up. Time to embrace the joys of adulthood! It is fun to be fifty, and it is the most fun of all when you are just eighteen!
Here is the Borders from the Rachey Comey in the shadow croc finish, the sexy grown up bootie, perfect for wearing on the birthday party bus.
Let us pretend for a brief moment that money is no object for me. What would you recommend in the way of ultra-chic booties for the fall?
Manolo says, oh to live in the world where the money is not the object! Where every morning you could be gently awakened by your ladies maid, O’Brien, Ph.D., quietly clearing her throat as she puts the diamond-encrusted tray containing the civet cat coffee from your hillside estate in Sulawesi down onto the solid platinum table by your carved ivory bed.
You would sit up, take the little sip, and then, eager to start the day, arise, throwing aside the brocaded duvet made from the single piece of natural silk, spun over the course of three years by your own silk worms, laboriously trained by your staff entomologists to work as the team of tiny weavers.
“What to wear, what to wear,” you would ponder as you stood at the entrance of your 17,000 square foot drive-in closet.
“Might I suggest, ma’am,” says O’Brien, pushing in the top drawer of the Louis XIV bombe chest where you keep nothing but the extra buttons that come with your custom-made clothing (and which was actually made by Louis XIV), “that you consider mink.”
“Brilliant idea, Jensen, but white or black?”
“Brown, I should think, ma’am.”
“Make it so, O’Brien,” you shout, and seconds later Dr. O’Brien is bringing you your three-piece, brown mink Galitzine tunic and pant set, the one with the beading at the ankle, not the other one with the subtle stripes.
And if the money were the no object, and you wanted to be wearer of the most au courant, super fantastic booties, then you will need the Scarlett from the Isabel Marant.
With fall fast approaching, I’ve begun to think about what I’m going to wear, specifically, I need a pair of fun boots for the weekends. Please recommend something.
Manolo says, it is never too early to think about what to wear for the coming season, or the coming year, or even the coming decade. Indeed, thinking about what to wear in the distant future is one of the Manolo’s favorite hobbies, right next to reading the frivolous novels and taking the long naps in the late afternoon.
Although the Manolo is the unusual, quasi-obsessive case, thinking about what you will wear in the time of twenty years hence should occasionally be on the mind of every adult person of any good sense. This is especially true when the adult person is doing the shopping, when one must ask oneself the question, “Will I still be able to wear this thing in two decades?”
This is the two-fold question about the style and the quality. Is this thing classic enough to withstand the vagaries of fashion, and is it well-built enough to withstand the vagaries of time and usage?
Of the course, there are the categories of things for which this does not apply. Some things are meant to be worn the few times when you are young and lissome and then forgotten forever, such as the micro-miniskirts and the teeny bikini swimsuits.
Still, thinking about what to wear in twenty years time is generally the good practice.
Here is the Mannie from the Kate Spade New York, the classic ankle boot that will undoubtedly still be wearable in the year 2033.
What else? The desert boot, also know as the chukka boot.
This is the Branch from Base London, the smart-looking, leather dessert boot that will not only cover your man toes, but make you look like the respectable adult human, rather than the over-grown-adolescent couch surfer.
Here is one more choice…
This is the Gobi from Ikon, in the olive suede that the Manolo finds both handsome enough to wear around town on your various manly, grown-up adventures.
Both of these, and many, many others like them are the sort of comfortable, casual shoe that the man can feel good about slipping on in the morning and wearing through out the whole day.]]>
This piece of retro-Victoriana is the Vivianna lace-up, side-zipper bootie, from the Hush Puppies.
The Manolo found this at the Shuperb site, and is now showing it to you, not because he especially admires it, but rather because it is the powerful evidence that the old dogs can learn the new tricks.]]>