My work as a shoe blogger began in 2007 when I was working as an accessories buyer for a woman whose daughter, and a close friend of mine from high school named Tess Russell, told me that she wears a size 12 shoe. Wearing a size 7 myself, I couldn’t imagine the difficulties she must encounter when attempting to find fashionable, sought-after, on-trend shoes that fit her personal fashion sense (which is chic, to say the least). The Grand Mademoiselle Shoe Blog was born of my desire to find a solution to a problem faced by many women, including athletes, models, and tall girls who are constantly searching for up-to-date, in vogue shoes, but who simply can’t find them in their size. While some designers stretch the boundaries and carry up to a size 12, most lack the inspiration and innovation that I’m looking for in a pair of shoes. For years, women with larger shoe sizes have been neglected – not only by the majority of shoe outlets, but by footwear designers as well.
Tess is a lucky girl, since her mother, Karen Williamson, finally decided to do something by founding Barefoot Tess, a company run by women, for women, with one simple goal: to make the world’s best shoes available in sizes 10-15. Karen and Tess were fed up with the small selection that women with bigger feet were forced to choose from – especially those seeking sexy, elegant footwear. Now, I’ve been scouring the internet and have spent countless hours searching through the racks at shoe shops (including Nordstrom, Endless, and Zappo’s) and have never been able to find a selection that comes close to what Barefoot Tess has to offer.
Based on the Fall 2011 trends, here is a sampling of my favorite picks for the season.
Adding leopard touches to an ensemble is in vogue right now, and the Grand M is sometimes wary of going overboard with animal prints (remember the 80’s?). However, there are simple ways to add just a touch of leopard to impart a sophisticated edge to an otherwise staid outfit. Update some classic jeans or a printed skirt and blouse with a pair of Tess by Barefoot Tess “Kenya” flats. I’ve shown them here in brown, but they come in several other hues as well. The high vamp, high heel, and cutaway upper make for a fantastically flattering shape, and the soft PU upper means that these are quite possibly the softest shoes you’ll ever put on. Plus, the leopard print isn’t overbearing, meaning you won’t look like you’re prepping for a safari.
You can never go wrong with a great wedge, and although it seemed like the wedge was out, it’s here to stay (witness Jeffrey Campbell’s latest collection). The new wedge is wood, not cork, and employs leather accents in dark colors to keep it fresh for Fall 2011. The Grand M simply adores anything by Faryl Robin, and the “Thea” wedge in black is absolutely no exception. Wear with a maxi skirt (think Elizabeth & James) or a pair of silk shorts with wool tights and the look is divine. The “Thea” has an elastic strap on the back heel for comfort, and a leather strip across the toe for support (this is a 5” wedge ladies, not for the faint of heart!).
Blush tones are the color du jour for Fall 2011 (think Celine, Missoni, Lanvin, Alexander Wang, and Michael Kors), and the hues stretch from baby pink to flesh to gold, so there’s lots of room for improvisation. The Grand M’s favorite pair of heels to fit this trend is the “Dalt” by Corso Como in Nude. These elegant eyelet platform heels are perfect for pairing with wool cuffed cigarette pants and a printed silk blouse, or a dress in a similar hue with crisp draping. The open toe is perfect for evening, and would pair nicely with tights (not to mention, Corso Como is famous for comfort!).
If you’re looking for flats, look no further than the B.F.T. by Barefoot Tess “Phoenix” flat in Tan. The faux suede upper supports a vegan shopper, and permits an extremely affordable price tag to boot. The fabulous moccasin style is au courant and very comfortable, and the fringe detailing and beading on the vamp are adorable. The Grand M intends to pair hers with a silk jade-colored wrap skirt and bordeaux silk blouse.
So many options! All shoes shown are available at Barefoot Tess.