09 December, 2010

Shod For Paris

Dear Alice,

I have been faithfully following your blog since I discovered it this summer (courtesy of New York Times) and I was just tickled to learn that you will be in Paris for Christmas. I'll be there too, with my husband and 3 kids. My eldest daughter is finishing up her semester abroad and we thought it would be a great time to take the family. Anyway, my dirty little secret is that for months now I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time planning my ultra-chic-but-practical and pared-down Parisienne wardrobe. After lots of online shopping (and returns) I pretty much have everything I need, except for footwear. Living in New Orleans, boots are mostly a fashion statement, with very little need to consider warmth, comfort etc. I test drove a great looking pair of riding boots a month ago when I was in NYC for the weekend but ended up with blisters that almost ruined my feet, not to mention the weekend. I need something black, somewhat weather-proof and very comfortable. And chic, of course. Any suggestions? I need to wrap this up so I can concentrate on the sightseeing and shopping itineraries, Hermes definitely being on the list! The girls and I have decided that we need a few of those enameled bracelets. My husband has taken care of all the restaurant reservations and I have been eating my very low-cal version of your "Big Salad" any night we are not out so that I can totally indulge upon arrival. Oh, and I have another question concerning my husband's outerwear. The most he ever needs down here is is his Barbour jacket. I just don't think that will cut it. Ugh. I guess he could wear his black cashmere overcoat. It seems so business-like though. What do you think? Looking forward to hearing from you!


Well Heidi, I am in no way any authority on how to be properly shod in Paris annnd my taste in footwear runs pretty pedestrian. Ya lost me at boots being a fashion statement (all my boots being for foul weather and barns). But, I do plan on tooons of walking in Paris and feel confident culling from my experience turbo shopping the means streets of Manhattan. The testing grounds; from Bergdorf's to Ralph Lauren and back with lateral Pucci, CK Bradley and Serendipities stops multiple blocks in either direction...

The velvets are a different story but, the Stubbs and Wootten needlepoint loafers get very high marks for comfort and only get better with age. And, how apropos are the recently resurrected Napoleonic Bee pair?

I had these leopard Stubbs and wore them with everything. I was eventually forced to hold a self intervention cuz I was too dependant on the darn things and passed them on to a friend...

While not quite as versatile as the first two pair, the Cuenca Blue are a close second. At least with my winter wardrobe heavy on black, navy and purple...

You can not go wrong with an all black suede Belgian Shoe. When I had to shod my swollen, injured Achilles foot and gimp to my Ortho appointment yesterday I grabbed the softest, most worn in Belgians in my closet. They're like wearing slippers. An exclusive club slipper...

I also have the black suede with grey trim pair on my wish list after spying a cute UES gal in Calypso sporting them. Très chic...

Orrr just maybe, you and your Cinderella sized foot will get lucky and find a pair of the wait listed black quilted velvets in stock...

Now, although I have not yet test driven a pair of the Bloch ballet flats myself, I have it on veeery good authority that these are off the charts comfortable and blister free for big city walking. This pair being particularly good for strolling past 31 Rue Cambon...

If black is your preference, I've been eying the Disco Ballerinas. Not too crazy but, as RL would say, they've got a li'l juuuzzzhhh...

My favs of the line, Serenade, are being somewhat elusive so I am calling all scouts in the field to report in with any sightings...

I also highly recommend the old school suede Gucci loafers which my friend recently scored at an outlet. You can, and I have, walk for miles in those things. Jury's still out on the Roger Vivier flats but, considering Jessica Biel wears them to the gym I'd say the odds are in our favor...

For my evening swank, I am hoping to purchase my inaugural pair of Loubs while abroad. And, although I have big girl dreams of this pair...

I will more than likely chicken out and leave with a more Allie friendly pair like this...

As far as outerwear for the hubbies, Babe is getting the Patagonia Better Sweater for Christmas which will not only serve as a great warmth layer but, can also stand alone...

And, going from a pic of Babe, his brother and father in Paris a few Christmases ago, all in Barbour, I'd say that is indeed a good jacket to take. Buuut, after taking into consideration the recent US mag Parisienne pic of the Brangelina brood in parkas, this Patagonia Down Sweater is also under consideration. All this virtual shopping has me thinking I'm going to need a new, bigger T. Anthony. Ce la vie...

Kindness of Heidi Friedler for her delusion of faith in my ability to help with her Parisienne shoe wardrobe. I hope we cross paths Heidi. You'll recognize me by my shoes and orange bags...XXOO

ps... keep your eyes peeled for Ina Garten sightings cuz she'll be there for the holidays too!


  1. Have not been to Paris in Winter (only in August) but I go to NYC for Fashion Week twice a year, usually necessitating multiple shoe changes including Loubs, Manolos, Diors and Pradas. February 2010 involved Snowmageddon and I wore only one pair of Frye Dorado Riding Boots in black: they looked great with skirts, riding pants and I even made them work with a knit LBD (with a Hermès carre 90, natch.) Of course you're going to wear tights with these but they are comfy, chic and warm. I would highly recommend them and because of Zappos quick shipping (including a return if needed) you could try them and see if you agree.

  2. Alice, Paris is on average colder than London... If you wear those flat's your little feeties will freeze off in Paris at winter time!!! It also might be a bit wet at times and you don't want to ruin your pretty Belgians... Just wanted to give you the weather report from this side... if you're willing to freeze your toes off you

  3. hit send by mistake... computer malfunction - was trying to say if you don't mind freezing, your choices are SUPER chic!!!

    That's all - sorry for wonky unfinished commenting! haha

  4. Totally agree with Frye boots. They were great when I lived in NYC and now that I am on my feet all day they are my go to work shoe. Also love La Canadienne boots. They are not exactly chic, but they are the most comfortable and warmest "okay" boot that you will come across.

  5. Thank you for posting this- I am going through the exact same hunt right now!! My husband is in Paris for his job and I was there for Thanksgiving and going back for Christmas- but I did not have the right shoes or coat when I was there last month. I have been despreately searching for a good pair of boots and the proper coat (as I am typcially a Barbour girl myself!) It is freezing there- and with all the walking, shoes must be warm, comfortable- AND most importantly chic! If anyone has suggestions- please post them as I only have 15 more days to find the right ones! I would love coat suggestions too! Besides the waredrobe issues- Paris is magical and I can't wait to be there for Christmas!

  6. One quick boot suggestion - check out La Canadienne for tres warm, super comfortable yet adorable (and waterproof!) styles. Don't let your trip be ruined by frozen tootsies..we've all done it...and Paris will be even more beautiful if you are properly shod!

  7. Oh how I dream of just one pair of S&W!!!!

  8. From a fellow NOLA girl (currently living in the frozen tundra of the Midwest), I have to echo the calls for La Canadienne. They're incredibly comfortable, warm, and waterproof. The simple styling makes for a versatile boot - great for traveling - that is decidedly non-clydesdale. Me, I can't wait to leave my trusty boots at home for my annual Christmas pilgrimage to New Orleans (& Galatoire's).

  9. Oh, yes. La Canadienne are the bomb!

  10. I have the S & W wasp (or bee) in velvet. Allie is right - they are so incredibly comfy and just get better with age. They make so many designs - the fox head is probably my favorite as well as the needlepoint leopard shown above. Have fun!

  11. I spent a week in Paris in February a few years ago, and walked everywhere. My feet were toasty warm and blister-free in Tod's black, riding-style ankle boots. I've since added Dr. Scholls inserts to all my boots, and would really recommend that. I echo others, and guarantee that you will be miserable if you wear loafers or flats in Paris. There's just too much walking, and it's too cold and wet. I wore Tod's loafers to walk around the Paris in May, and was miserable. All I could think about was my feet and band-aid application. Please, please do yourself a huge favor and wear comfortable shoes.

  12. Definitely LaCanadienne boots. There is a pair that's been advertised in the NYTimes for the past couple of months that might be really great. They are soooo comfortable and your feet will not get wet or cold. I've worn the same pair now for 3 years in cold, 15 inches of snow and ice and never thought once about my feet.

  13. Alice, Lord knows I love ya but S&W flats will get trashed...you need a good water proof shoe. I will be in Paris with my Babe..aka the Cuban sandwich. My goal is to meet you and post a pic on FB (no, I'm not a stalker)

  14. While on the Patagonia topic, could I get a second opinion regarding a gift for 20-something male?

    What color do you think looks best of the "Retro-X" jackets?


    I have settled on getting one for my boyfriend, but cannot for the life of me decide between the Narwhal Grey, Backcountry Green, or Natural. I am **leaning** towards the Green.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated!