29 March 2007

Patent leather can go the distance

Given patent leather's popularity this year, can I wear it year round at the office? I found a super fantabulous pair of shoes but it is nearing the end of suede season -- is it also nearing the end of patent leather season?

I feel like I missed something here. Is patent leather, like seersucker for summer, velvet for winter, and synthetic for never, a material with an expiration date?

If, as my reader M implies, patent leather is only supposed to emerge during the cooler months, I'm going to have to declare Johanna Law on the ass of this antiquated rule and encourage you to do the same by wearing at least a tiny patch of its gorgeousness every single day of 2007.

Even though I approve of and advocate donning patent leather year-round, I should remind you to take into careful consideration the type of patent leather shoe you're trying to pull off.

As long as your selection is closed-toe and in a classic style ( i.e. not platform, not bright pink, not a 4.5-inch spiked stiletto, etc.), you'll be in the green zone in even the most conservative office or government building. If you're like I am, however, and get a warm feeling in your lady bits when you're firmly atop that line of appropriate and inappropriate, go for the patent peeptoe. In fall and winter, pair them with an opaque or patterned - matte not shiny - tight. As soon as the daily high consistently hits 55, however, go bare. If you can't go bare, go with a closed-toe shoe and sheer hose. Do not, I repeat, do not wear sheer hose with a peeptoe. There's nothing more unsettling than seeing uncared for feet through sheer mesh. Too many women think L'eggs Sheer Energy with Control Top is some sort of invisibility cloak when it comes to hammer toes. The truth is, hose or not, we can still see your corns and the chipped remnants from your four-months-ago pedicure. If you're not maintainin' things down there, please just reach for the opaque tights and completely toe-encased shoe.

If you're still concerned about the novelty of patent leather being too much for the family man with the packed lunch in the cubicle to your left, just overcompensate for your flash with more conservative components. To offset the trendiness of the shoe, avoid the makes-your-rack-look-devastating wrap dress, the brightly colored bolero and the drop hoop earrings. Instead, opt for more traditional pieces like a knee-length black pencil skirt, a crisp white oxford button-up, and ruby studs.

As a final note, please don't think my adoration of and recommendation for patent leather all-day, all-night, all-the-time has anything to do with it being the first big trend of 2007. Patent leather has always been, in my view, one of those rare materials any woman can wear in any setting to achieve a bump-up in her sexiness.

What cruel person would limit that to a particular season?

(note: the red patent peeptoe pump by Brian Atwood was my doing, not M's. That's just me throwing up a gratuitous picture of a shoe I love but can't bring myself to charge on my credit card)


M said...

This red peeptoe is super delightful! Maybe I should start a one-woman protest so that we can start baring our legs in the office.

Anonymous said...

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3341.html Check out these heinous shoes they are showing!

Johanna said...

M - aren't they gorgeous? And only $560! If I had a nickel for every sad face I made after saying "and it's only $XXXX!," I'd be able to afford a truckload of bullysticks for the babypie. Oh well, there are always imposters until we strike it rich in our 30s, right?

anonymous - yowsa, those were such sophomore prom shoes! I couldn't tell if it was a mocking photo or an if-we-could-only-wear-*these*-to-the-office photo. Either way, those things were FUG. Thanks for bringing them to my attention!