Step into Summer Style. It's in the Bag.
Square toes. Pointy toes. Round toes. Twinkle toes. The shoes this spring and summer are a study in contrasts where opposites attract and the possibilities are limitless. Footwear is fun again, so get that pedicure and start shopping now. Here are the shoe trends you’ll want to slip into right now:
1) Satisfy your hunger with sliders. From plastic pool slides to jeweled mules, these are the ultimate comfort shoes for spring and summer. Dozens of styles range from casual athletic looks to tailored menswear loafers to bedazzled cocktail party shoes. Pick your slides carefully. Some of these slip-ons this season have paper-thin soles and don’t offer much support. Featured shoes by Andre Assous, available at Palmettoes in Sea Pines Center.
2) Shine on. Metallics have become a fashion neutral in accessories, and shoes are having their shining moment too. Slip into some silver loafer slides, shiny purple slingbacks or satiny pink midi boots, and lighten up warm-weather wardrobes. Featured shoes by Corkys Available at The Blue Parrot, Village at Wexford.
3) Go for something extra with embellished footwear. These are the fun shoes. Extra details are the icing on the footwear this year. Think embroidery, appliqued flowers, fruit, pom poms, tassels, crystals, pearls, feathers and bows. Asian prints abound and feminine details flourish. If you have a special occasion coming up, look for shoes that have something extra going for them. They’ll make your outfit. Featured shoes by Volatile, available at Island Girl in Coligny Plaza.
4) Rise to the occasion with platforms and flatforms. There are plenty of Lady Gaga-like sky-high platforms out there this year, but there are also lots of ways to come back down to earth. From mid-high thick soles to flatter versions called flatforms, these wedge shoes are a trendy way to pump up the style volume and give your wardrobe a youthful attitude. Floral prints and rope trims are making the buy now list. Just make sure you can stay grounded and keep your balance with all that funky fun. Featured shoes by Charleston Shoe Co., available at Cocoon on Calhoun Street.
While you are Shopping around... check out these trends, too!
Dig the heels. It’s all about the heels this season. From low to high, kitten heels to midi heels to stilettos and from clear acrylics to circular geometrics, heels are making a major mark on footwear trends. And opposites attract: choose from chunky silhouettes to ladylike slim styles.
Think pink. Put away the black boots and treat yourself to delicious colors this spring. The pastel candy colors are a perfect way to put some spring into your step. From pretty hot pink to subtle blush to even more subtle nude hues, the sophisticated shoes of the season come in everything from slides to stilettos.
Tie one on. Heels may be one focal point of fashion footwear this spring, but ankles may tie for second place. Ankles are wrapped and laced for added visual effect. Try a pair of strappy sandals in flats or heels tied up with ribbon for a walk down the red carpet or even down the beach.
Sneak into spring. Sneakers have come a long way, baby. They’ve gone high fashion, and we all can appreciate the level of comfort that athletic-inspired footwear has to offer. White is still a springtime favorite, but bright colors are popping up everywhere. And how about slithering into a pair of python sneakers? And if sneakers aren’t your thing, you can still go sporty with a pair of utility sandals or moccasins with lug soles. Supplement your trusty gym shoes with a new pair of these updated comfort shoes and wear them every single day.
Just because you’re still slushing through the rain in your trusty Wellies doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about sunny days ahead. You can always get a head start on the season with a new handbag that will carry you through until you’re ready to step out and bare your toes. Here are the best bags the season has to offer:
1) Top it all off. Top-handle bags may be your best bet if you want a handbag that will last you for years. This ladylike classic has been reinvented in boxy shapes (Hermes’ dark green alligator is the ultimate); camel saddlebags (Michael Kors); twisted rope straps (Vuitton) and geometric squares and circles (Celine). And the newest way to top off a new handbag? Grab onto the handles, hang on and swing right on into summer. Featured bag available at Worth New York in Tanger Outlets One.
2) Let's get small. Tiny bags are back in a big way and the perfect size for stashing your small stuff like lipstick, cash, credit cards or phones. These little purses are even better when they have long maxi shoulder straps that leave your hands free for more important things than keeping up with a clutch that may not be the best dance partner around. The enameled crossbody cases from Valentino are super sophisticated. The camera bags at Marc Jacobs are for the cool crowd. You can always tuck these tiny bags into another handbag. Featured bag by Hobo, (removable strap not shown), available at Pretty Papers & Gifts in Village at Wexford.
3) And whimsical prints. From Picasso-inspired artwork in Marc Jacobs’ accessories collection to mod pastel florals at Tory Burch to bold Asian chinoiserie at Loewe and optic patterns at Prada, prints pack a powerful punch on purses this spring and summer. If you’re tired of the same old, same old basic bag, then invest in one of these fun statements. Literally, you will find lots of handbags embellished with expressive words. It may be the only fashion update your wardrobe will need for a new season. Featured bag by Spartina 449, available at Spartina 449 Flagship Store on Calhoun Street, Lettrs on Main Street, Fresh Produce in Coligny Plaza, and Gifted in Village at Wexford.
4) The really big bags. Extra large handbags are a necessity on many occasions and we all know that there are times when we need a lot of stuff. Check out huge bucket bags with drawstrings, oversized shoppers with single straps and slouchy duffel totes. Whether it’s for work or for travel, the big bags are getting more attention this spring in eye-popping technicolors. Featured bag by Hammitt, available at Copper Penny in Shelter Cove Towne Centre.
And don't forget about...
An even more whimsical shape. You know designers are getting their creative juices flowing when they send out handbags that borderline on the bazaar: Plexiglas robots at Chanel, teddy bears at Moschino, wicker monkeys at Kate Spade, dachshund dogs at Thom Browne, pianos and guitars at Dolce & Gabbana. These are the bags to buy if you really have more money than you can stash anywhere else.
Sporty backpacks. Backpacks may have started out lugging books to school and climbing equipment up mountains, but this year they are hiking everywhere from city streets to party city. There’s a size for every occasion. Hunter has rubberized mini backpacks in pastel hues. Marc Jacobs embellishes his backpacks with larger-than-life graphics. There are even fanny packs making a style comeback with big name labels like Stella McCartney and DKNY giving them stylish cache like they’ve never had before.
Then it's time to get exotic. Another exciting way to give your whole wardrobe a little pizzazz this spring without getting too weird with lions and tigers and bears, is to go with shimmer and shine. Metallics, once reserved for special occasion dressing, give daytime clothes an extra dose of glamour in colorful handbags ranging from the ever-popular silver to reds, blues and bronze tones. Handbags also get the exotic treatment with snakeskin textures and faux furs.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.