Kat’s Shoe Hive Faves

Kat (left) has worked at The Shoe Hive for a while now. She goes to college on the West Coast, but always pitches in when she’s in town. It was thanks largely to Kat that Christen and I were able to spend extra time with our families this holiday season. So, we asked Kat to give us the details on her current Shoe Hive favorites before heading back to school in a few days.

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The Franklin by Sam Edelman is my new prized possession. Aside from being super comfortable, I always get compliments on them. I look for excuses to wear these out. Normally I wear them with pants or jeans tucked in and I love the way they look on.

Sam Edelman Franklin

(Purchase online here.)

My favorite shoes to throw on and kick around in are definitely my Cotu slip ons by Superga. I have them in black, and wish I had every color they’re made in. Worn casually with pants or shorts, these are my go-tos. Although Supergas tend to run a little big, the slip ons are pretty true to size.

Superga Slip On

Sam Edelman must know they way to my heart. The “Colleen” is a nude pointed toe flat that I’m crazy about. Although I haven’t made these beauties mine yet, I have tried them on and they’re super comfortable, not to mention adorable. And don’t forget they come in black and a nude with a little gold flake look to it!

Colleen

In a few months it’ll be my favorite time of the year, country concert season. The Billy Pull On by Frye is the original cowboy boot that I am a huge fan of. If you’re looking for cowboy boots, these are definitely your answer. Brown leather with traditional stitching, these are a “must have” for my inner cowgirl.

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The Majorca by Tory Burch is another personal favorite. Break out the warm clothes and sundresses, this ivory espadrille is the perfect shoe to complete your cute Spring and Summer outfits!

Majorca

A Feature from DC Style Factory

A few days ago, Rosana of DC Style Factory asked me to join four other DC-area fashion professionals in putting together a holiday look. Friend and blogger, Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen is one of the other contributors. This is the look I sent and it is typical of my style. Neutrals in luxurious feeling fabrics and gold jewelry. To read about it and to see the other ensembles, visit DC Style Factory’s original blog post here.

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The Secret to Wearing Heels, Part Two

by Ruth Barzel

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I’ve always loved heels, but even when I was younger I had a hard time wearing them. Whenever I put a pair on, I’d instantly feel like I’d gained 30 pounds and all that weight was bearing down on the balls of my feet. If that wasn’t bad enough, heels always squeezed my toes, causing them to throb, grow numb, and develop blisters. I’d end up feeling like a crippled elephant instead of the graceful gazelle I wanted to be.

Fast forward two or three decades, and—guess what? Not only have these problems failed to miraculously disappear; they’ve also worsened. To add insult to injury, I now have bunions—that scourge of middle-aged feet—and while they aren’t terrible, horrible bunions, anything that presses or rubs on them can easily ruin my day or evening. Plus, a couple of pregnancies and years of gravity have resulted in my shoe size going up half a size and my feet becoming a bit wider.

Still, I’m nowhere near ready to give up heels. Flats are great for everyday wear, but I think it’s virtually impossible to look truly elegant without some sort of a heel. So, I’ve devoted quite a bit of time and effort to figuring out how to make heels work for me. Christen’s post from a couple of weeks ago about the secret to wearing heels gave me the idea of sharing my hard-won wisdom with you. I love her suggestions, but she hasn’t been on the earth quite as long as some of us and therefore lacks firsthand experience with the trials and tribulations our aging feet have suffered! So, to add to hers, here are a few more tips for successful heel shopping for those of us whose 40th birthday is but a distant memory.

1. If the shoes aren’t completely comfortable when you try them on, don’t buy them. Do not under any circumstances succumb to the delusion that you will be able to “break them in.” They will become less comfortable, not more so, when you’ve been standing and walking in them for a while.

2. Wear the shoes around indoors for a few hours before going out in them. If they bother you, bring them back to the store and return them or exchange them. (Check the store’s return policy before buying.)

3. When in doubt, size up. Heels push your feet toward the toe of the shoe, so if the shoes are even slightly on the small side, they will hurt.

4. Choose soft materials. Suede is my friend when I buy heels. Soft, high-quality leather is also great. Stay away from stiff leather or scratchy fabric.

5. Go for quality over quantity. At our age, when it comes to heels, that “steal” might actually not be. I’ve wasted more money than I care to think about on “bargains” that ended up sitting in my closet unworn because they killed my feet. It’s better to buy one or two fabulous pairs that you can walk in than five or ten that you can’t.

6. Look for support. As Christen mentioned, more support is better. It helps distribute weight evenly instead of concentrating it all on the ball of your foot.

7. Stay away from super-thin soles. As we age, we lose fat from the soles of our feet. So we need to make up for that with more padding on the soles of our shoes.

8. Don’t go above 3 inches. Christen mentioned that she can wear 5-inch heels if they’re the right ones, but, at my age, I do better with lower heels. Besides, let’s face it, those super-high heels ones looked so cute in our 20s are a bit ridiculous on us now.

9. Embrace platforms. There are so many great platform styles available now. Some don’t even feel like heels at all. And even a small platform on the front part of the shoe gives you height without a steep angle, making the shoes much easier to walk in.

10. Immediately purchase at least two rolls of Nexcare waterproof athletic tape,  one for home and one for your handbag. There may be other products out there that work as well, but I haven’t found them. If spots on your feet are tender (like my annoying bunions) or blister-prone, put tape on them BEFORE the problem begins, or, at the very least, right when you first feel it. Trust me, this will change your life.

I hope these tips help you enjoy your best years while looking elegant and feeling comfortable in a gorgeous pair of heels!

Love,

Ruth

The Secret to Wearing Heels

by Christen

There was a time when I was never seen in flats. At 5’3, I enjoyed the extra height and it came at little cost because I worked in an office setting and sat most of my day. My lifestyle has changed significantly since then, and now that I find myself on my feet much more especially in Old Town I own (and wear) more flats than I ever dreamed I would.

Still, over the years, I developed a theory on what I think makes a heel wearable. Wearability (a combination of comfort and walkability) does not solely rest on the quality of the shoe. Of course, well made shoes are always preferable but some of my most comfortable heels were relatively inexpensive. Nor does wearability depend on the height of the heel. In my opinion that is a total myth. I have owned 5-inch heels that I could wear longer, were more comfortable and easier to walk in than some of my kitten heels.

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Velmah by Vince Camuto

No, what makes a heel wearable is ankle support. If your ankle is supported, you can wear a six-inch platform just as easily as you could a two-inch kitten. Ankle support keeps you from wobbling around in the shoe. It prevents you from slipping forward, or slipping out. What makes heels difficult to walk is not that the shoe is balancing on the ground, but that you are balancing in the shoe. If you remove the balancing act by stabilizing the shoe on your foot, you can wear anything.

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Patchuli by Melissa

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t wear pumps. They are classic and likely more flattering than some ankle-supporting styles. But if you steer clear of heels altogether because the height intimidates you, try on a pair of cage heels next time. Or a high-heeled bootie. Or really anything with an ankle strap. Just try it and let me know what you think! You can thank me later.

Red Barn Mercantile’s Annual Holiday Unveiling Party

Join Red Barn Mercantile and Nole Garey of Oh So Beautiful Paper on November 7th from 6-9pm for their annual holiday unveiling party. The event will provide sweet treats, a signature cocktail, prize drawings, and discounts of up to 30%. Nole will also bring her new selection of curated greeting cards, which will be available for purchase. As the holidays hit full swing, be the first to see all of their holiday merchandise and gifts.

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Hunter Outerwear: A Worthwhile Investment

by Tess

With Winter officially on its way, I have started to retire my tank tops and am looking forward to cowl neck sweaters; though, there is one item I have hunted for for quite some time: a stylish yet practical down jacket.

When I was seven, my mom bought me a silver, short, puffy down jacket from GAP that I referred to as my “marshmallow coat.” I have retired that silver gem of a coat, but I proudly wore it until there were holes and it turned slightly brown. Now that I am twenty-three, and I am not sure how to pull off looking like a marshmallow, I have struggled with finding the right balance of warmth and style when it comes to Winter jackets.

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That being said, I was ecstatic when I walked into The Shoe Hive earlier this week and discovered that they were now carrying Hunter jackets! I am a huge fan of Hunter’s rain boots that have kept so many of our feet warm during the dead of Winter, so it made perfect sense that the popular brand would make such efficient and good looking outerwear.

Although somewhat pricey, this is an investment that I can have for quite some time. Like my silver GAP puffer jacket, it is something I will wear until there are holes, and I don’t have to worry about it turning brown. Plus, look at that fur trim hood, how could I say no?

Anniversary Re-Cap

By: Tess Mackey

Last night The Shoe Hive celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a bash that brought out some of the city’s finest, including Mayor William Euille, and shoe lovers alike. I met Elizabeth six years ago on a whim while birthday shopping with my parents. She sold me my first pair of Shoe Hive shoes that happened to be patent leather, royal blue, Tory Burch Reva flats. When I walked into her store I always knew it was going to be a great experience, which made me visit frequently, and save for my favorite shoes each season. A decade has transformed The Shoe Hive into the premier shoe boutique in Alexandria, with more Reva flats to account for and countless other trendsetting styles that have given local women a step into the right fashion direction.

The night was filled with familiar faces as well as local bloggers and reporters such as Holly Thomas from Refinery29. Guests sipped on a signature cocktail, Bee’s Knees, and indulged in beehive cake pops and cookies. The raffle was a huge hit and will continue throughout the weekend on the 10 of every hour. Lucky winners will win prizes including an Ali Ro jacket and Hunter boots, depending on the drawing.

As I looked around at the buzzing crowd last night, I felt a sense of community support for not only Elizabeth but for Old Town itself. Growing up in Alexandria, I have been fortunate to watch Old Town grow into the successful town that it has become. Elizabeth is largely to thank for this due to her dedication and drive to make small businesses recognized and well received. To this day, I think of Elizabeth every time I slip on my flats, and how far she has come since her store on South Royal Street. Congratulations to The Shoe Hive and here’s to another ten years.
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