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Manolo the Columnist: Diema from Calvin Klein

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

Dear Manolo,

I’m a junior in college, and for the past few weeks I’ve been interning at a high school counseling office. The problem is that my supervisor just told me that I have to look like a “professional adult, and not like a high school senior.” I’m on a really tight budget, can you help?

Olivia

Manolo says, oh, that the worst of the Manolo’s problems were that he looked too much like the high school senior. Indeed, the Manolo has always had the opposite problem, that even when he was in the junior high school, at the Our Lady of the Flaming Spleen Country Day School, he looked like the little old man.

Perhaps it was not the wisest decision to always wear the three-piece suit and the fedora while others were wearing the blue jeans, puffer vests and puka shells, but tossed about on the stormy sea of pubescence, the formality of the old man clothing was the sort the life preserver for the young Manolo.

While all the other kids were trading hastily scribbled notes about the crushes and the grudges, the Manolo would hook his walking stick onto his arm, gallantly doff his hat and present his calling card. Often the response would be less than generous, and more than once the Manolo found himself on the receiving end of the noogie, or the wet willie, or the dreaded atomic swirly

Still, despite the rudeness of others, the Manolo believes, then as now, that the old-fashioned etiquettes and social graces are still the best.

Here is the Diema from the Calvin Klein, the sophisticated kitten heel that will see you through the transition to adulthood.

Diema from Calvin Klein

Manolo the Columnist: Ashton from Allen-Edmonds

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

Dear Manolo,

My engineer husband needs a new pair of shoes. He has had the same pair of black wingtips for the last twenty years, which he wears to every function that requires shoes more formal than sneakers. Can you suggest something brown?

Rebecca

Manolo says, it is true! The engineers have the well-earned reputation for the unworldly practicality; the very people who invented and wear the convertible cargo pants with the legs that zip off.

“Bob,” says the Mrs. Engineer, “you can’t wear those to your uncle’s funeral.”

“What’s wrong with them? I’ve put the legs back on.”

The simple fact is, the world needs the engineers more than the engineers need the world. Without the engineers, and their ancient predecessors building the ziggurats and the aqueducts, the human peoples would still be living in the caves and eating the raw carrion.

Of the course, for whatever reason, the world of the 21st century has decided it is the good thing to neglect the engineer, preferring instead to heap it’s affection on the hucksters who have given us the ability to express our deepest thoughts in hashtags and emoticons. (By the way, be sure to please follow the Manolo on the Twitter @ShoeBlogger)

Let us resolve this very day to be nicer to the peoples who keep our sewage systems and power plants functioning, so that we may enjoy the manifest benefits of indoor plumbing and modern life.

Here is the Ashton from Allen-Edmonds the brown in-between shoe that would be suitable for both the place of engineering employment and the more casual affair involving the pants whose legs are firmly attached.

Ashton from Allen-Edmonds

Manolo the Columnist: Prance from Donald J. Pliner

Manolo says, here is the recent column of the Manolo from the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

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?

Amy

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.
Prance from Donald J Pliner

Manolo the Columnist: Classic Wellingtons from Hunter

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

Dear Manolo,

With the arrival of fall, I find I need some new rain boots for my weekend outings in the country. What do you recommend?

Alison

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.

Hunter Original Tall Wellington

Manolo the Columnist: Vino from Elizabeth and James

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

Dear Manolo,

A recent promotion has convinced me that I need to upgrade my professional wardrobe. The problem, however, is that I have no sense of style. My parents were hippies (sort of) and I find most of the stuff I see in fashion magazines ridiculous. Please help.

Stephanie

Manolo says, much more difficult than developing the distinctively personal fashion style is developing the distinctively personal fashion style that is suitable for the place of employment.

For the example, the jet black, asymmetrical, knee-length, leather jacket from Gareth Pugh you wore to your friend’s art opening (her primary medium is pudding… pudding and Etch-a-Sketch), might not work for your day job as the paralegal in the Law Offices of Stuffy, White and Bois.

Unaccountably, unless you are yourself the artist, or work from home as the independent blogger, as the Manolo does, clients, bosses and co-workers take the dim view of those who dress too far out of the ordinary. It is the sad truth that, in the world of working, the square nail that sticks out gets hammered down into the round hole.

Still, if one has the time and energy, and is devoted to the project, one can develop the personal style that is both exquisite and appropriate to the situation. It is the matter of training one’s eye, by looking closely at the peoples on the street, the clothes in the shops, and the pictures
in the magazines. Like anything that is worthwhile, learning how to dress with style is not easy. Go slowly at first and invest in the quality pieces.

The Manolo says, start with the shoes! Here is the Vino lizard-print leather pumps from Elizabeth and James, sharply distinctive, yet suitable for wearing to the office.

Vino from Elizabeth and James

Manolo the Columnist: Loden from 10 Crosby Derek Lam

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

Dear Manolo,

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?

Amy

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!

Loden from 10 Crosby Derek Lam

Manolo the Columnist: Alicia from Aquatalia by Marvin K

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

Dear Manolo,

Thanks to my job, I’m on the road three weeks out of every four, logging hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles every year. Worse, I’m in the unenviable position of often having to go straight from the airport into a meeting with a client. Please recommend some shoes that will see me through this ordeal.

Kathryn

Manolo says, call the Manolo old fashionedishy, but the Manolo believes all the business travel should be done exclusively by the locomotive and steamship. Was the world not already sufficiently interconnected in the year 1878, when the great cities of Europe were the mere two weeks away, and places like the Newark International Airport existed only in the dystopian parts of the Jules Verne novel?

As the Manolo’s friend has said, travel is now the ordeal, especially for the business personage, who must cram all of her clothing and toiletries into the tiny rollaboard suitcase, and shove her way through the teeming masses of airport troglodytes in their velvet tracksuits and plastic flip-flops.

How much better it would be if our young commercial traveler could have the porters carry her commodious steamer trunk to her small but clean stateroom, while she takes herself off to the dining saloon for the light repast. Meanwhile, down below, the dock agent is directing the people in the novelty t-shirts and booty shorts into the cramped and dimly-lit section of the boat known as coach class.

Here is the Alicia from Aquatalia by Marvin K. the suede wedge pump that is both comfortable and suitable for businessing.

Alicia from Aquatalia by Marvin K

Manolo the Columnist: Lover from Fluevog

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

Dear Manolo,

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.

Marissa

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.

lover-fluevog

Manolo the Columnist: Borders from Rachel Comey

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

Dear Manolo,

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?

Elizabeth

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.

Borders by Rachel Comey

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

Manolo the Columnist: Scarlet from Isabel Marant

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

Dear Manolo,

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?

Nan

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.

Scarlett from Isabel Marant

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