Fab Four: Wearable Midheels for Fall

Ah midheels, after a decade of skyscraper stilettos, the humble midheel is not only a sensible choice, but a surprisingly fresh one.

The mustard suede Salvatore Ferragamo Dalia has an elegantly balanced Louis heel and is on serious sale for an investment shoe.

The Maris from Paul Green is an easy schlepping around town heel, when one wants a bit of style to go with the schlep.

Although they’ve moved their manufacturing to China, Frye still offers great American classics like the  Regina Pump. Wouldn’t it be nice if they still made them in the USA?

King of the fabric shoes Badgley Mischka  offers the Monika. Remember, formal events, especially in the evening, require fabric, not leather shoes, and these fit the bill without being too bridal party.


Manolo the Columnist: Frye 12 R W Engineer Boots

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

Dear Manolo,

Yesterday, after five days of Derecho-induced darkness, the power in my neighborhood was finally restored. The first thing I did, after turning on the air conditioner, was boot up my computer, check my email, and look at your blog. My question is, after spending almost a week without power, what sort of shoes would you recommend for societal collapse?


Manolo says, that is easy! Whatever you can loot from the burned out shell of Neiman Marcus!

In the post-apocalyptic future, the Manolo expects the survivors to be exceedingly well-shod for the first few years, after which, we will have to make do with old Birkenstocks and burlap bags. It will be like living in the Middle Ages again, only without the benefit of people who are handy with tools.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, much more likely than total collapse will be the sort of disaster that will cause localized damage, short-term panic, and disruption for the few days or weeks. Things like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornados, unexpected visits from Lindsay Lohan.

For this you will need to have the pair of kick-butt boots to protect your feets as you go about your business of rebuilding your neighborhood. (And, if the worst should happen, you need something to help you crawl over the burning wreckage to get at the Neiman Marcus shoe department.)

Here is are the classic Frye 12 R W Engineer Boots, the perfect thing to wear with your post-apocalypse, Mad-Max shoulder pads and leathers.

Frye 12RW Engineer Boots, Perfect Post-Disaster Boots


Shoemaker Saturday: How the Frye Boots are Made

Manolo says, the only problem with this video is that it is far too short to be fully satisfying.

Frye Smith Harness Boot

The Frye Harness boot, like the Levis, the motorcycle jacket, and the white crew neck t-shrt, is still one of the great American classics.


Manolo the Columnist: Campus Shearling from Frye

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

Dear Manolo,

This past weekend’s early snowstorm has made me realize that I need to get going on my winter wardrobe. Specifically, I need some new winter boots, preferably not black. I find that when I dress in dark colors, I’m more depressed. Please help.


Manolo says, yes, it is true, unless you are the tuxedo-wearing bandleader, the brooding French grandee, or the vampire, newly wakened from the grave, somber black is not always the most flattering color.

Ayyyy! The Manolo has just had the perfect idea for the hit movie: the undead, aristocratic French vampire, who falls in love with the big band music! Think of it as the Count of Monte Cristo meets the Count of Dracula meets the Count of Basie!

Scene: Midight. Alleyway behind the Transylvania Club:

Count Dantes, the brooding and conflicted vampire, having just finished leading his group through the smoking set of big band standards, strides through the rain-slick alley dressed in the black overcoat, the black jeans, and the black cowboy boots. Next to him is Megan Star, the beautiful mortal he has recently hired to be his torch singer. Our heroine is dressed in the fawn-colored clothing, covered by the long shearling coat.

It is the study in contrasts. He, the loping black wolf. She, the innocent, possible prey. And yet, it is clear that the romantic attraction is growing between them.

Look! Here is the Frye Campus 14G Shearling boot, the perfect thing for dealing with possibly bad weather and possibly bad men.

Campus Shearling by Frye


Manolo the Columnist: James Wingtip from Frye

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

Dear Manolo,

My husband is the owner of a very large (well, 13) pair of feets. I want him to buy one of those new pairs of casual, weathered wingtips, but am having a hard time finding them in his hugenormous size. He also keeps telling me they are dorky, so I would like to convince him that he won’t look like a tool when he wears them. Help!


Manolo says, to the Manolo, who believes that one should take great care of the shoes, with the frequent polishing and the regular treeing, and who finds pleasure in the process of restoring the elderly shoe to the state of newness, the rise to fashionability of the pre-weathered shoes for the men is puzzling.

The Manolo wonders, like the husband of the Niffy, why would one wish to look like the hobo when one is not the hobo? Or, more accurately, why would one wish to look like the dorky tool, when one is suavely untoolish?

But, like the weather, the fashion is unpredictable. One minute you are pushing the sleeves of your pastel Miami Vice jacket up the forearms, and the next it is hailing. And, just as one cannot change the weather, one cannot change the currents of fashion. One can only complain about the conditions and dress appropriately.

Here is the James Wingtip from Frye in the distressed brown. It is of decent quality and reasonable price, and available in the ginormous size 13.
James Distressed Wingtip from Frye

Manolo the Columnist: Heath Tall Riding Boot from Frye

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

Dear Manolo,

I feel left out. I seem to be the only woman in DC who is not wearing a pair of skinny jeans under riding-style/flat boots this winter. I have taken your lessons to heart and am no longer interested in buying cheap shoes, but I don’t want to invest in a trend that will look dated in two years. How can I buy a pair of boots that will be on trend right now but also classic enough to wear for years? (non-black is probably best.)


Manolo says, to quickly answer this question: the riding boots have never been out of the style, and will never go out of the style. They are the fashion perennial, and every woman should have the pair in her closet.

Yes, today, the girls are wearing them with the skinny hipster jeans tucked into the tops. And the day before yesterday it was the jodhpurs and hacking jackets. And the day after tomorrow, it may be the tie-dyed bubble skirts and tube tops. Who can say, except that the riding boot will still be the useful and attractive part of the wardrobe.

As for the matter of trendiness, the Manolo reminds you that personal style is not dependent upon trendiness. Historically, the most stylish peoples are those who have forged the distinctive and attractive personal look, which may or may not accord with the fads of the moment. And so, the Manolo would tell you to seek out your own personal style and not worry overly much about what the hipster girls are wearing this season, or the next.

Here is the cognac-colored Heath Tall Riding Boot from Frye that is certain to become one of your favorites.

Heath Tall Riding Boots from Frye


Frye Rider Spur Boots for the Friday

Manolo says, it is Friday, and all week you have been thinking about what to wear for the weekend, and now here it is and you have still not decided.

At first, you thought that perhaps it was time to give into the return of the 80’s preppy and dig out your pastel colored Izods and sweaters, but they you remembered that back in the day, you were not the prep, but the sort of artsy nerd girl with the off-kilter fashionable pretensions (which you expressed mostly by frequently wearing the same torn Clash t-shirt).

But then, maybe you thought, you should go glitter, like the rest of the beautiful peoples. But, really, your main event of the weekend will be the trip to the pumpkin patch with your nephew, and frankly, you are not the Martha Stewart.

Allow the Manolo to now suggest something traditional: riding boots from the Frye!

Rider Spur Boots from Frye

Perfect for all of your weekend needs, be they pumpkin based or preppy influenced. And the price, for boots of such durability and versatility, it is quite reasonable..

Manolo the Columnist: Betty T-Strap from Frye

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

Dear Manolo,

I’ve been invited by my boyfriend to spend Thanksgiving with his family in rural Kentucky. This will be my first meeting with his “kinfolk,” and although I know he is exaggerating when he describes their country ways, as he himself is quite urbane, I’m still worried. What should I wear?


Manolo says, the Manolo is sorry, but whenever he hears the words “kinfolk” and “Kentucky” he thinks of the movie entitled Next of Kin in which Bill Paxton, Liam Neeson, and the late Patrick Swayze play three hillbilly brothers from deepest Appalachia. (Even the Manolo, whose English is not so good, could tell that everybody was faking the accent. )

In any event, the Manolo takes away two important lessons about rural Kentucky from watching this piece of cinematic flapdoodle.

The first is do not mess with the kinfolks, lest the hillbillies come after you with their antique shotguns, crossbows, Bowie knives, and rattlesnakes.

The second is always be polite to the rural people, or as the great Monday Night Philosopher, Hank the Bocephus, Jr, says about the country boys, “We say grace and we say ma’am and if you ain’t into that we don’t understand.”

As for what to wear, the Manolo suggests the Betty T-Strap from Frye, as being the shoe sturdy enough for the country road, and yet not inappropriate for Thanksgiving dinner or the church on Sunday.

Betty T-Strap Pump from Frye  Manolo Likes!  Click!


Manolo the Columnist: DT Leilani from Island Slipper

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

Dear Manolo,

I have a lovely warm cruise on my schedule this winter. I’d like to find a unique pair of sandals to take but I want them Made in the USA. Any ideas?


Manolo says, happily, there are many American companies who continue to produce first-rate feetwear in American factories from American materials.

Sadly, at least for the person who is looking for the stylish sandals to wear on the cruise, most of these high-quality American feetwear companies specialize in boots, and not just the cowboy boots, either.

The best and most rugged work boots in the world are produced in America by such companies as Frye, Wolverine, Whites Boots, and West Coast Shoes, the nearly century-old, family firm in Oregon, who use American leathers to custom make the world’s best pole climber, forest ranger, and motorcycle cop boots, in other words, serious shoes for serious occupation.

There is, however, one American company that produces exactly the sort of fun-in-the-sun sandal the Manolo’s friend desires, Island Slipper, the Hawaiian based firm that has been making casually fantastic thong sandals in Hawaii for more than sixty years.

The Manolo’s favorite is the sweet DT Leilani thong, available in three different colors, which you can order directly from the company’s website: http://islandslipper.com

DT Leilani from Island Slipper


Manolo the Columnist (From the Archives of the Manolo)

Manolo says, the Manolo did not have to write the new column for the Express of the Washington Post this week, so here is something from two years ago.

Dear Manolo,

Could you suggest a nice pair of tall leather boots for winter wear?


Manolo says, the Manolo has the single commandment about the boots and the shoes for the men: you cannot wear the shoes that would potentially appear in the closet of the Argentine tango pimp.

You know the sort of the shoes the Manolo is talking about, with the overly pointy toes, and the bizarre details like the maltese cross cutouts, shoes which have weird colors and are made from the exotic leathers like the wildebeest and the pit viper and the Vietnamese pot bellied pig.

Men’s shoes must be of the traditional cut, color and materials. It is the quality of the workmanship and the fineness of the details which should distinguish the men’s shoe.

Of the course, the exception to the rule is the choice of sneaker, where the man may go as wild as his infantile heart desires. Do you wish new sneakers with the hydraulic springs in the heels and USB port in the toe? Do they come in lime green with the purple laces and the Linux operating system? The Manolo says, go for it.

As for the boots for winter, the Manolo recommends the Brando Engineer boot from Frye, for its classic styling and durable nature.

Frye Brando Engineer    Manolo Likes!  Click!


Frye Boots for the Tuesday

Manolo says, it is Tuesday and your long personal nightmare is over…the kids have returned to school.

Allow the Manolo to be the first to congratulate you on this milestone of sanity and to recommend that shoes may be the best way to celebrate the return of the comparative freedom.

And look! Here is the Andrea tall boot from Frye, the swashbuckling boot fit to express the return of your rambunctious, wine-guzzling, two-fisted, love of life, indeed, fit to express your inner Porthos!

Andrea by Frye     Manolo Likes!  Click!

Tug them on, and raise some Hell…until 3PM this afternoon.


Manolo the Columnist

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

Dear Manolo,

The Fourth of July weekend is next week, and like most people I plan on spending it outdoors, at a picnic with my family and friends. Can you recommend some casual but chic, summery sandals?


Manolo says, oh how the Manolo loves the Fourth of July! It is one of his favorite holidays; the magnificent patriotic festival of fireworks and freedom and frankfurters.

Indeed, how can one not be enthusiastic about any holiday that traditionally begins with the mass consumption of cheap hot dogs, warm lemonade, and Mom’s potato salad, and culminates in John Philip Souza and giant explosions?

To be American is to know the manifest joys of cherry bombs and whistling petes, of eating slightly-off coleslaw, and watching the home team lose to the Yankees in the ninth inning.

Truly we are blessed to live in the country where lawn chairs and giant coolers filled with Budweiser have not yet been outlawed, where we are free to get as mosquito-bitten, food-poisoned, and sunburned as we like in the celebration of our traditional liberties.

America! Long may she wave to us!

Here from Frye, which is appropriately the longest continually operated shoe company in America, is the Mary Harness Thong, the snappy sandal perfect the day of celebration.

Mary Harness Thong by Frye   Manolo Likes!  ClicK!