Monday, July 21. 2008
I recently discovered a brand of affordable shoes called White Mountain. You may have heard of them, but they were new to me when an alert reader called them to my attention and even sent me a couple pairs to test drive. What better way to butter up a gal than to send her free shoes, right?
All jokes aside, I was really impressed with the quality and pricepoints this brand has to offer. Not all the styles suit my taste - some are a tad old lady - but many are seriously cute, like this pair of White Mountain leather slingbacks (above). They have a cut-out design with top-stitching on the toe that gives them a Southwest flair, which happens to be pretty popular right now (think of all the fringed shoes and bags you've been seeing lately, the return of the moccassin, and the resurgence of feathers).
To top it off, the cushy footbed is amazingly comfortable, as is the soft pliable leather. They have a short heel, which gives you some height, but they're still easy to walk in (they passed the dog walking test - not the dog run, but the morning jaunt). The best part is the color: The nude leather almost matches my skintone (I am paler, I know), so when I wear these with shorts or a skirt, the overall effect is leg-lengthening. Oh, and the price ain't too shabby either, they're just $54.25 at QVC.com.
Here are just a few more cute styles from White Mountain:
- White Mountain "Natasha" Bronze Gladiator at Piperlime.com, Was $45 Now $19.99
- White Mountain Patent Flats at QVC.com, $36.50
- White Mountain "Selma" Wedge Slide at Macys.com, Was $39.99 Now $20.99
A Marc Jacobs ad campaign by Juergen Teller. Ok, not really. Just my wee homage to the duo.
I finally made it to the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Damen Avenue in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, and in a word, it is heavenly. In true Chicago style, I take pride in the fact that MJ chose to house one of just a handful of Marc by Marc Jacobs stores right in my own backyard, just blocks from my last apartment, no less. Speaking of which, I can not believe how much the hood has changed but I won't bore non-Chicagoans with that speech.
The Marc by Marc Jacobs Chicago storefront
The shop is stunning. The clothing - arranged by color - handbags, jewelry and accessories are presented like artwork in a gallery (not uncommon for fashion boutiques, I am aware, but just setting the scene). Exposed piping and the dark denim blue and gray color scheme suggest he took clues from an Army Surplus store (think Urban Outfitters, for lack of a better analogy). The window displays featured huge photographs of Marc by an artist whose name escapes me at the moment...again adding to the whole artistic vibe.
View from the entrance
This is a place for creative types to dream. I wasn't at all put off by the fact that I couldn't afford anything. I was content to look, get ideas and just admire Marc's talent. It took me back to a warm and fuzzy place back in the '90s when grunge was cool, and Starbucks hadn't yet invaded the Belmont and Clark intersection where hipsters and punks once reigned supreme. Marc is just so desperately needed in fashion. And here's the budget part: There are bins of cheap trinkets and baubles and trashy kitschy junk for as little as $1 - and I LOVE it! I scooped up a pair of fingerless gloves for $5 and an adorable fuchsia quilted wristlet for $23.
View from the rear of the store
And did I mention the friendly staff? One of the employees called me out on the Forever 21 Marc knockoff I happened to be wearing that day (gulp!), saying it looked just as good as the real thing. Not sure her boss would feel the same way, but I appreciated her down-to-earth attitude. She even offered to take my picture in the store when she realized just how obsessed I was. Yeah, I felt like a tourist but who cares? I got my photos, got my little "consolation prizes" and left feeling happy and inspired. I suggest you pay the store a visit next time you're in the Windy City, too. Take the Blue line towards O'Hare, get off at Damen, walk north to 1714 N. Damen.