Thursday, April 21, 2011

Espadrilles: The sole of summer

Love them, buy them, toss when grungy. Squash down the heels and wear like mules. Choose oddball colours. Have another panachée. Unbutton the extra button, wear hibiscus polish, take a siesta.

Welcome to espadrille time, the attitude for lighthearted leisure or very casual workplaces (though I find them more office friendly than flip-flops.)

Not shoes for all day sightseeing– though they do have more sole than paper-thin ballerinas. If you want to espa-up in your fresh pedicure, pick open-toed ones. They stow well in a bag, live happily on a boat and best of all, you can choose your colours from a variety of vendors.

Boho Bernarda

Bistro dinner: The Bernarda from Espadrillesetc. Just enough height for dresses, and look at that merry stripe! Price, $56 plus s&h.

Mariola in blue

Trip to the market: Mariola, shown in blue denim, comes in a bouquet of hues, with a slight (1 1/2 inch) wedge; price, $32, from Espadrillesetc.

Simple classic denim

Game of bocce: Simple flat espadrilles from Ropey Soles, a UK site. Shown, their simple model in "jeans", price, £11.99. I've had excellent customer service from this company.
Peep-toe pinks

Lawn party: Open-toe two-inch wedge in orchid, from Ropey Soles; price, £24.99.

Tropical turquoise

For the entire family: With sizes up to EU48, another UK firm, Espadrille, puts casual chic on everyone's foot. This classic turquoise pair is £18.

Jazzy jute

Jazz bar: Hand-painted espadrilles produced to your specifications by a Barcelona cartoonist and artist, Kookookookie. Contact Mr. K. for prices and see his site for inspiration. 

Insouciant, inexpensive, eco-friendly: the signature of summer in a little canvas shoe. I like its American cousin, the Converse, too, but espadrilles are definitely more feminine in their flirtier varieties. 

I'm preparing an order, to summon the glorious season just over the horizon of a cold, sleety spring.

16 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

I love the look of espadrilles, but haven't worn them in ages due to the usual lack of arch support. May have to just give that up and snag a pair for Palm Springs and poolside. These are all so darn *pretty!*

Duchesse said...

Pseu: I've also seen "fake espadrilles" by Stuart Weitzmann, basically wedges with rope trim around soles. If you wear them poolside, support not as important.

dana said...

They *are* lovely. And JJill has a few nice pairs this spring, also. However, I gave them up years ago, because I never can seem to coordinate my wear with a completely dry day. One raindrop, and they're through. So yes, cheap is essential!

We're leafed out here and tulips are blown, but my friends in Montana and Michigan are still experiencing snow. Hang in there, dear Duchesse.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Wearing these beach and pool worthy shoes must surely guarantee great weather, Non?

I haven't worn a pair since I was in my early 30's...
I think I'll look for some they look like a mood shifter.... Uplifting and a height enhancer:)

Thank you Duchesse!

Hostess

Mardel said...

I adore espadrilles and need to refresh my summer supply. Thank you so much for the fabulous resources.

Duchesse said...

dana: Though it might depend on the construction I have had excellent results drying mine on shoe trees in natural air (porch). We have sleet today, need all the encouragement I can get!

hostess: Not a beach person so wear mine to lunch or dinner- really anything but walking for miles.

mardel: I ordered from RopySoles, and two pair for Le Duc.

Belle de Ville said...

I love the denim espadrilles. It's time to start shopping for this summer's poolside wardrobe.

Susan said...

I enjoy my Toms, which are not as pretty as these espadrilles, but support enough to running around town.

Duchesse said...

Belle: Funny, never think of them as pool shoes, probably b/c do not have a pool.

Susan: Toms have very similar uppers as the classic espadrille.

LAM said...

I found beautiful espadrilles at Zappos from Vidorreta and Eric Michaels. I'm on my second season with them, in Seattle no less, and they are still in great condition. A little pricier, but a lot of variety with color, heel height and fabric with both brands.

LPC said...

And they bring back so many memories of fun things like France, and youth, and the seaside:).

Duchesse said...

LAM: I looked at the shoes on Zappos. Eric Michael's "Jake" is a classic espadrille, made in Spain, for $93. Seems pricey compared to sources I've shown (but you do get frees shipping) and companies like Espadrillesetc. offer many colours. The Michaels shoes shown on the site this season are not espadrilles, but have rope sole trim.

LPC: Even a parcel in the mail from Spain, France etc. makes me happy.

abetterme said...

I totally get that espadrilles are the hot fashion item for this summer, but have too many bad memories about these shoes. The rope soles make the shoes inflexible and heavy; the canvas uppers do not stretch and can cut into your skin or rub blisters. If I were to get into this trend, it would be with a rope-trimmed sandal or wedge heel shoe with a leather upper.

Duchesse said...

abetterme: Hot fashion- are they?! They've been around forever, with the limitations you describe but the jute soles are now coated with a thin layer of rubber. They are a retro shoe, definitely.

Marguerite said...

Duchesse, I know you are a fan of Arche shoes. I bought wedge sandals with a criss cross strap across the vamp in a lovely taupe nubuck. I found the Paris store near Place Madeline and felt like a kid in a candy store. I have two other pairs ordered on line last year. Just love them. I have the dreaded high instep problem with slip ons. Tried on Repetto ballerines, but no way. Totally unwearable for me, paper thin soles and zero support. Ah well. I remember espadrilles as a college wardrobe staple. Thanks for the sources!

Duchesse said...

Marguerite, I'm glad Arche works for you. Some seasons the styles are better than others, but *anyting* has more support than the Repetto ballerine. Cole Haan make a ballerina with an arch.

The best feature for me is that the nubucks are washable (in a mild solution such as Ivory). I brush them with a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) and dry naturally with shoe trees in them. Look like new!