Sarah L.
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Ears to the Street: Summer’s Hottest Footwear

Clockwise, from top left: Ankle boots via Planet Blue; Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast; ankle boots courtesy of Oracle Fox; another page from Planet Blue's Coachella-themed look book; Forever 21 gliter oxfords; another shot from Planet Blue's lookbook

When I was a freshman in college, ‘Sex and the City’ author Candace Bushnell came to my campus to give a speech on – what else? – her hit series that had achieved cult classic status. As soon as the tickets were available, the girls on campus naturally clamored to listen to Ms. Bushnell’s wise words and we were all eager to learn – myself included – how SATC came to be, and how it had eventually blossomed into a smash HBO hit. I’ll never forget Candace walking across the stage – a slender, strawberry blond woman – taking the mic and looking into the crowd, her eyes gazing downward, and  gasping, “flip flops! I can’t believe you’re wearing flip flops!” Until then, my plastic flip flops had been a staple in my closet. They were easy, comfortable, and affordable – and until that moment, I had never seen a problem with them – but that was likely because I was a sheltered 18-year-old whose view of the world was limited to meal plans and frat parties.

Call it a style epiphany of sorts, maybe the beginning of my shoe obsession, but I took to investing in other forms of footwear. I’ll admit, I never totally gave up flip flops, but they definitely don’t hold the divine status they once did. Fast forward six years from my brush with Bushnell: flip flops have become my around-the-house (read: tiny apartment) footwear and I’m an obsessive shoe fiend on a tight budget. These days, I shop only for things I can wear the hell out of – especially when it comes to shoes. And alas, I am much more partial to autumn and winter appropriate footwear than I am to sandals. Which works perfectly for summer 2011, because I’ve noticed that amongst the stylish set, flip flops and sandals have taken a back seat to ’90s grunge-esque utility boots and Oxford flats. I love the idea of being able to wear my winter boots straight into spring without looking like the 21st-century version of MTV’s Daria – and I’m not the only one, either.

Let’s take a cue from one of my favorite style bloggers, Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast. I call her out quite often, more than likely because I love her SoCal-boho-hippie-chic style, but also because of her ability to mix-and-match high- and low-end pieces, and her penchant for any sort of ankle boot. Residing in Southern California, Rumi knows a thing or two about dressing in the heat – but judging from her posts, I’ve yet to see the girl in flat sandals, much less flip flops. She’d much rather don a pair of snakeskin ankle cowboy boots, or the Alexander Wang boots she’s sporting in the image above.

Speaking of the West Coast, Cali-based retailer Planet Blue’s latest look book – Style by Stage – is all about how to appropriately adorn yourself for Coachella. Again, ankle boots are the prominent footwear although trusty Chuck Taylor’s make an appearance as well. I also can’t ignore the suede moto boots called out by Amanda of Oracle Fox – swoon!

So enough about ankle boots. Even if you’re not loving the style for whatever reason – I swear, some pairs make me look like I have cankles – it doesn’t mean you’re without options. I have to admit that I’m crushing hard on Forever 21’s Sequin Oxfords ($24.80) – and come on, when was the last time you had a pair of glitter lace-ups that you weren’t being served a Barbie birthday cake? I’m also a HUGE fan of Osborn‘s shoes – I love the crazy patterns and am especially lusting after the Pink Quetzal Denim Boot ($185). (Side note: I also love the fact that the Desert Boot silhouette is gaining popularity on the women’s side!)

Have any suggestions or feedback on any other non-flip flop summer footwear? The MISS fam would love to hear it!

Images via Fashion Toast, Planet Blue, Osborn Designs, Oracle Fox

Graphic layout: Feesh

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