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Manolo the Columnist: Demi from Coach

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

Dear Manolo,

Can you recommend a pair of office-suitable flats for the impoverished working girl who’s just started her first job?

Erika

Manolo says, as always the Manolo gives the same advice, to not purchase the cheap shoes of suffering and pain, made from the dubious petroleum-and-asbestos-based products that is advertised as being “leather-like”, but to save the moneys and invest them in the high quality shoes of great comfort and super fantasticness. For it is the well-known fact that beautiful shoes that are well-made and fit properly will make you stand up straighter and feel more confident, which will, in the turn, make your bosses recognize you as someone with whom to be reckoned.

And yet, how well the Manolo knows what it is like to be the impoverished young working person. Indeed, when the Manolo began his career in the shoe industry, so many years ago, as the eleven-year-old Second Assistant Shoeshine Boy in the shop of the Mercurio Albornoz y Bahamonde, he was paid in empty aluminum cans, lunchroom leftovers, and whatever spare change fell from the pockets of the customers. (Oh, you should have seen the magnificent scramble whenever the 100-peseta coin struck the ground!)

Thus, the Manolo sympathizes with his friends who find themselves working for The Man for wages that would not support the pigeon who lived rough in the park. Here is the Demi from Coach, the two-toned ballet flat which is on the sale for $99!

demi-from-coach

Manolo the Columnist: Ambre from Mephisto

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

Dear Manolo,

My husband and I are planning a trip to San Francisco and Sonoma County in late September. Between the must-see attractions in San Francisco and all of the wineries and breweries we’ll be visiting, I know we’ll be doing a lot of walking – can you recommend a comfortable shoe for the trip?

Sarah

Manolo says, the Manolo cannot tell you how many questions he receives from the peoples who are travelling to the California to partake of the many and varied delights of the State of Goldeness. For the example, where else in the world can one snow ski in the morning and water surf in the afternoon?

Where else can one listen to the 23-year-old billionaires spouting hours of witless, tech-company start-up palaver in the morning, and then dine magnificently in the evening on the fresh, free-range, sustainable, Tomales Bay sea urchin roe, lightly seared in the peppery, Sonoma estate, small-batch, extra-super-extra virgin olive oil, served on the bed of Salinas County baby frisée endive and Napa hand-grown infant chervil, garnished lightly with the wild-harvested Tule Lake blue horseradish and South Lodi heirloom kumquats, accompanied by the soupçon of Humboldt County abalone foam?

Nowhere else in the world can one do that, nor would one wish to do that. In California all the old rules are out the window, to be replaced by that special California combination of radical casual familiarity and obtuse pomposity, served with the very nice bottles of wine.

Late September is the best time of the year to visit Northern California. The weather will be magnificent, and so the Manolo recommends the Ambre from Mephisto, the super comfortable flat sandal in the finish amusing called “Spice Perle Patent” to be worn with something California and flowy.

Mephisto Ambre

Manolo the Columnist: Sable from Belle by Sigerson Morrison

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

Dear Manolo,

I’ve just read that all the cool kids are wearing Birkenstocks again. Is it wrong that I’m tempted to join them? Please advise.

Debra

Manolo says, this where the Manolo wishes that his computer keyboard had the Grumpy Cat key, which he could push whenever he needed the strongly worded “NO!” to appear on the page. Unfortunately, his computing machine does not have this very useful function, and thus he will have to make his opinions known by plain metaphor:

The Birkenstocks are to the other shoes what the haywagon drawn by donkeys wearing battered straw hats is to the Ferrari Testarossa, which is to say that if you do not mind looking like someone who should be driving the 19th century manure spreader to work each morning, then by all the means, wear the Birkenstocks.

Alternately, if you are the sort of person who enjoys having the people who buy all of their clothing at the Dollar General Factory Outlet Store look down their noses at your poor fashion sense, you should consider the Birkenstocks.

In the other words, if you regard your feet as hateful appendages worthy of being ridiculed by strangers, then the Birkenstocks are the shoe-like things for you.

The Manolo says, even though it is still roasting hot outside, it is now the Fall season of shopping, and thus if one can safely ignore the Birkenstocks for the next few months. With good fortune, by the spring of 2014, this mania will have subsided. In the meantime, here is the Sable from Belle by Sigerson Morrison, the versatile transitional flat that will take you into the new season.

Sable from Belle by Sigerson Morrison

Ecco: The Comfort Shoe That is Not the FitFlop

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has asked him the question:

Manolo, I agree that the FitFlop is an abomination, but what would you recommend by way of comfort shoes for just kicking around the farmers market on a Saturday morning?

The Manolo is the fan of the Ecco, as being the non-loathsome comfort shoe that would work well for the farmers market kicking. Indeed, he has recommended the Ecco shoes on several occasions in the past.

As for what he would recommend at this moment…

Biom Lite from Ecco

Here is the Biom Lite 1.3 from Ecco in the silver and purple, the techno-shoe the Manolo does not hate! Indeed, the Manolo finds it’s futuristic Maryjane-Jetson look to be both amusing and appealing.

This is the sort of shoe that begs to be worn with the yoga pants to the farmers market, where you will buy the half-dozen, $4-each, ersatz cronuts “for brunch on the patio”, three of which you will hurriedly eat by yourself in the front seat of your car while driving home.

The FitFlop, Part II

Yoko Frilly Sandal from FitFlop

Manolo says, the Manolo has been hearing from many of his friends that he should take the FitFlop more seriously, that it is not the mere gimmick designed by the unscrupulous shoe trolls working on the “greater fool” theory, but the actual beneficial shoe-based magic (+2 boot of toning) produced by ancient wizards who live in the enchanted forests of Candyland.

“But, Manolo, the friends say, the FitFlops are soooooo comfortable.”

To which the Manolo replies, “so are the cardboard boxes filled with the goose feathers.”

“But Manolo, look at the Mozimo shoe store, they have many more styles than just the sandals. Take a look at these ballet pumps.”

FitFlop Due Ballet Pumpfitflop-ballerina2

“Perhaps,” answers the Manolo, “it is time for the Manolo to reemerge from his semi-retirement. It appears that his missionary work on the interwebs is not done.”

“Don’t you like it?”

“Like is such the strong word.”

“So, should I get myself a pair of FitFlops, Manolo?”

“Only if you regard your feet as the hateful appendages worthy of being shamed by whatever pieces of colorful flotsam are currently au courant.”

“Soooo, that’s a yes?”

“Yes.”

Manolo the Columnist: Katherine 3 from Isaac Mizrahi New York

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

Dear Manolo,

I’m a brand new teacher of middle school students, so I need some comfortable, yet affordable and stylish shoes to wear to work. Please help.

Lauren

Manolo says, oh how the Manolo admires the young, idealistic new teachers filled with hope and the indomitable spirit. They are so eager to get into the classroom and start teaching, so convinced that the World will be theirs for asking.

Unfortunately, the World has other plans for our new teacher, plans which mostly involve wrestling her into submission right after homeroom, giving her the noogie, and taking away her lunch money.

Yes, it is true, the World is both the poor student who never learns and the terrible bully who causes all sorts of trouble. Indeed, over and over again, the principal has sent letters home to the World’s parents . . . letters which went completely unanswered. And, who can forget that one time the school district suspended the World for his bad behavior? He just waited outside the gate of the schoolyard, glowering through the chainlink fence at everyone whom he felt had wronged him.

Happily, most of us who reach the age of the middle have learned how to manage with the World, but for the new teacher of middle schoolers, well, we can only wish her the best.

Here is the Katherine 3 from the Isaac Mizrahi New York, the cheery blue ballet flat suitable for the new teacher.

Katherine 3 from Isaac Mizrahi New York

Manolo the Columnist: Mirielle from Circus by Sam Edelman

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

Dear Manolo

When I got up this morning, the weatherman was shouting about our big heat wave, which makes me think I want to move to Juneau, Alaska, or maybe buy myself some new sandals. Please advise

Lisa

Manolo says, among the many things about the modern world of which the Manolo does not approve, the melodramatic hysteria of the broadcast weatherpeoples ranks just below the peoples in the seats in front of you who are texting commentary on the movie you are watching to the peoples who are sitting in the seats behind you.

Sadly, nowadays, our weatherpeoples announce the slightest increase in the temperature and humidity as if it were the existential crisis, instead of typical summer weather in the District of the Columbia.

“Well, Kelley, you see here on the map, that over the weekend a widespread Mongol horde will move into the tri-state area from the east, bringing with it a pretty heavy concentration of looting and pillaging. Saturday afternoon we can expect the living to envy the dead. But by Sunday, things will quiet down, although look for pyramids of skulls appearing outside most the majors cities.”

“Looks like a rough weekend ahead, Biff. How’s it gonna be on Monday?”

“By Monday afternoon, the Mongols should have moved westward out of the area, trailing a string of captives, but you might still run into scattered raiding parties during the AM commute. So, pack a sword, just in case.”

Look! It is the Mirelle from the Circus by Sam Edelman, the super cute beaded thong sandal that is perfect for the hot days in the big city.

mirielle-circus-sam-edelman

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: 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

Manolo the Columnist: Ventura 2 from Bass

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

Dear Manolo,

My lovely daughter will soon be graduating from the 8th grade from a Catholic school. In keeping with tradition, all of the girls will wear the same style white dress. It has a fitted bodice, wide straps, and a full skirt, and has been lovingly and meticulously designed to look awful on every body type imaginable. The dresses will all be hemmed to the same length from the floor, which for my daughter, who is tall and willowy, will be just below the knee. The shoes must be white, and the maximum heel height is 2″. Can you recommend shoes that will pass muster with the Powers That Be, while also being fun and flirty enough that she might actually wear them again?

Nancy

Manolo says, this is the most exciting time to be the Catholic, what with the new pope from Argentina being elected in the Vatican, on the platform of greater pastoral care for the poor and free tango lessons.

For the Manolo who loves both the ancient traditions and the pomp and the circumstances of any sort it has been the gloriously entertaining few days.

Think how much better the recent American presidential elections would have been if we had forced the Barack Obama and the Mitt Romeny to dress up in red silk gowns and parade around the Capitol Mall while exhibiting pious humility and wisdom.

Indeed, as the Vatican has proven, the entire world would be the better place if we all adopted traditional medieval costumes, say doublets and stockings for the men, and bejeweled robes for the women.

As for the shoes, the Manolo thinks that for the 8th grad graduation something fun like the white oxford, or perhaps the white loafer, would be both suitable and likely to be worn again. Here is the Bass Ventura 2, the traditional loafer that would also later look good with jeans.

Ventura 2 Loafer from Bass

Manolo the Columnist: Expressed from Naughty Sandals

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

Dear Manolo,

From the depths of Snowmageddon 2013, I implore you to show me some fun, sunny, light-hearted shoes to make me feel better. I want to see shoes that will reassure me that the weather will soon get warmer, and that spring will arrive on time. Please help!

Jessica

Manolo says, ayyyyy! It is always like this in the Washington, D.C. when the biggest snowstorm of the year finally arrives, and the city is plunged into chaos and despair.

As some wag once said many centuries ago, D.C. is the city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm, the statement that is never more true than during the snow emergencies, when the mere four inches of white flakes turns the entire town into the sort of dangerous, post-apocalyptic, Ice Age wasteland.

Not only do all ordinary services cease, but those few pedestrians who are brave enough to venture forth from their poorly-heated caves are continually in danger of being crushed to death by the mammoth SUVs that
are skidding off the unplowed street with shocking regularity.

Happily, joyously, it is already March, and the spring, which is by far the best time of the year to be in Washington, is just around the corner, and we will soon be freed from our dreary cold weather wear, and will once
again walk in the sunshine.

Here is the Expressed from Naughty Monkey, the fun, light-weight, spring sandal that will make you think that everything is proceeding according to divine plan. The Manolo is especially fond of the chocolate colored shoes.

Naughty Monkey Expressed Sandals

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