Tag Archives: lk bennett

secret style envy & the search for cute, comfortable shoes

caro issa lk bennett

|  Caro Issa for LK Bennett…aka, the ones that got away (image via Natacha Steven)  |

We all have one, don’t we? That style we secretly admire over and over again out in the world and wish we could wear, but for whatever reason, we’ve absolutely-positively-100% ruled out. Maybe it’s skinny jeans, or mini skirts, or floppy hats or spaghetti straps. For me, it’s a great pair of heels.

Now, a lot of women get heels wrong. Horribly wrong. They clop through a parking lot in pumps that are clearly too big, too tight or too high, wincing and flailing their bodies about in a way that is, well, decidedly un-stylish. And yet. When they’re done right? The air of confidence, authority and – yep – sex appeal they immediately convey…it’s undeniable. Also, they’re so preeeettttyyy. The shoe department at Neiman Marcus is like visiting my favorite museum. Those gorgeous colors, the luxuriously soft leather, a contrast heel here, a light smattering of beads or intricate embroidery there…everything is so sculptural, so ornate, so available for purchase. Truly, I think 75% of the reason I watched Sex and the City was to see Carrie strut so effortlessly through the streets of Manhattan in pair after pair of jaw-dropping $500 heels.

Yes, whenever I clap eyes on a gorgeous pair of 4″ Manolos (don’t click…I’m warning you…), I get positively weak in the knees….and the hips and the ankles too. For no matter how much I adore them, no matter how much I want to strut through Union Square in a sky-high stacked heel sandal or a bejeweled stiletto, my newly arthritic body rebels (ah, this autoimmune nonsense just keeps giving and giving). My joints these days are an aberration, much better suited to high tops than high heels. Even wearing ballet flats is a treat for me now, and I’ve lately found myself veering toward that dark, spooky corner of the shoe department typically reserved for grandmothers and the stylistically oblivious.

This very week, in fact, while I should be celebrating the advent of spring the way God intended – by binging on Easter candy – instead, I’ve been torturing myself with a little sandal shopping. Where in years past, I’ve been willing to throw on the cutest thin, flat sandal I can find, this year, things are different. The joints are worse. And though I’m loathe to admit it, I find myself combing through page after page of, cough, “comfort” shoes. Let me just say, friends – it’s a bleak business. In my next life, I’m coming back as a shoe designer, and so help me, I’m going to design shoes with soles and arch support that don’t make me look like your Great Aunt Ethel, freshly rejected from a Portlandia casting call.

At present, there are a hilarious number of shoes headed my way for audition purposes – oh, my poor UPS man. While I haven’t made my way through them all yet, I thought I’d share a few of the styles that…well, at least came as close as possible to chic, without resorting to Birkenstocks (well, okay…one pair…).

But in the meantime, friends: what’s your secret style envy? Come on…I know you have one.

|   COMFORTABLE SPRING SANDALS THAT AREN’T (TOO) UGLY   |

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asked and answered: job interview attire

Friends, last week I asked for reader questions, and boy, did you deliver! I have so many great questions (and hopefully some good answers) ahead…I think it should make for some quality programming.

I hardly knew where to start, but this question from a sweet reader who’s headed off for a job interview got first dibs, just because her interview is tomorrow!

Hi, Becki! I’m a loyal follower of your blog, and I have a wardrobe challenge/question for you. I’m interviewing at an environmental non-profit and meeting with “senior management.” The atmosphere is very different from my current corporate job. I went to my last interview dressed in a suit and was met by the hiring supervisor in jeans and a sweater. I need a professional, non-suit outfit that reflects me. Are you up for the challenge? ~ EB

Oh, you know I am! It’s tricky, to be sure. Unless you’re looking for work at a law firm or a bank, the reality is that most business dress codes have taken a step down in recent years. Personally, I don’t think a great suit ever does you a disservice, but there are definitely interviews for which you’ll want to put a slightly less formal foot forward. The bonus here is that it’s also a great chance to show off a little bit of personality, as well as your ability to embrace a casual dress code with class.

The trick is to still be the best-dressed woman in the office, without looking like you’ll be woefully out of place if they give you the job. My favorite option for a non-suit environment is a classic silk shirt with a great pair of trousers in a straight or wideleg cut (no skinnies, please). I’m always more likely to embrace solid colors for an interview – prints are highly subjective, and you never know what little detail will turn an inteviewer on or off.  To accessorize, skip big earrings and scarves in favor of a necklace that adds a little bit of personality (nothing too long or too bold). Add a great pointed-toe flat or kitten heel and a classic tote, and you’re set.

Madewell silk shirt, $80 / Alberta Ferretti trousers, $300 or Gap trousers, $60 / Dahlia dress belt, $3 /
Madewell necklace
, $33 / Loeffler Randall Quinnie flat, $250 / J.Crew bag, $328

The other way to go, if you’re after a more ladylike look, is a dress. Steer clear of wrap styles (you’re just asking for a wardrobe malfunction), and instead look for a sheath or a classic shirtdress. If the fabric is dressy enough, it’s definitely work-appropriate, but still reads a bit more casual than a suit. Make sure it’s not too body-conscious, at least knee-length, and if you go the shirtdress route, steer clear of shirttail hems. With a dress, keep jewelry minimal, just a simple belt and a classic pump (3.5 inches or under!) will send you straight to the head of the class.

Talbots Sash dress, $160 / Talbots Olivia dress, $150 / Ann Taylor belt, $30 / Graf + Lantz tote, $229 / LK Bennett pumps, $250

So, E, I hope this helps…and I’m crossing my fingers that you get the job!

Got a pressing query of your own? Tell me all about it: editor{at{shoppingsmycardio{dot}com!

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get gifting: in style

A guide after my own heart – no wonder it’s the longest one. This is for the girl who waits by the mailbox when it’s time for Vogue to arrive, is a walking encyclopedia of what’s “in” this season, and is always on hand to lend style advice for your latest sartorial dilemma. No wonder you two have so much in common.

    1. Infinitely more chic than the slippers she’s wearing now, but every bit as toasty warm. Bel Esprit velvet slippers, $98
    2. From the bright red hue to that distinctive basketweave detail, this luxe wallet will make her heart sing (and never get lost in the bottom of her bag). Leela continental wallet, Botkier, $195
    3. A practical coat that’s this chic? Impossible. Bonnie jacket, LK Bennett, approx. $245 (order online or call their Chicago store).
    4. One of those things we never splurge on for ourselves: truly luxurious socks. These are thin but warm, silky soft, and actually stay up all day. Bouton mi-bas socks, Phillipe Matignon, $23
    5. A cozy cardigan is a no-brainer, especially a bargain like this. I love the nod to tribal style, and the colors are so neutral, she’ll wear it nonstop. Wrap cardigan, Quiksilver, $108
    6. Carine Roitfeld is a serious player in the world of style icons. This gorgeous tome will get her one step closer to the sartorial perfection she craves. Irreverent, by Carine Roitfeld, $62
    7. Lingerie can be a tricky holiday gift, but this lighthearted polka-dot chemise strikes the perfect balance between sexy and sweet. Muse chemise, Blush Lingerie, $68
    8. If you know a girl that would love this awesome tote, you’ll know it instantly. I can think of at least three (not including myself). “I Am The Shit” Tote, Maude & Tilda, $45
    9. Call it a British invasion, but these mod green tweed driving gloves are my latest obsession. Tweed driving gloves, Shepherd England, approx. $118 (20% off sitewide through 12/14)
    10. There is positively nothing better than a classic striped sweater, and there is positively no one who does them better than CARDIGAN. Marielle striped sweater, Cardigan by Lynne Hiriak, $80 (on sale!)
    11. A gorgeous rendition of a classic Angela Adams print, this scarf will brighten the greyest days. Haven lambswool scarf, Angela Adams, $75
    12. More gloves, I know. What can I say…I’m freezing! These fingerless gloves are so soft and light (not to mention iPhone-friendly), I almost never take them off. Cashmere fingerless gloves, vkoo by INHABIT, $168
    13. I’ve wanted a minaudiere all season, and this one is my absolute favorite. Pop a pair of tickets to The Nutcracker inside, and your holiday work is done. Kingston minaudiere, J.McLaughlin, $175
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    designer 101: lk bennett

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a die-hard Anglophile. High tea, the Parliamentary system, Alexa Chung…I love it all. But I especially love the fashion (hello, Burberry and Alexander McQueen!). Fortunately for us mere mortals, Brit style goes far beyond runway-only fare. There are a bevy of special, yet accessible, brands based in the UK that we get no part of here in the States. Fortunately, one of my favorites has changed all that.

    LK Bennett is getting loads of attention lately for being a favorite brand of a certain Duchess of Cambridge (she wears their shoes almost daily), but my fascination began long before that. This brand, a long-time favorite in the UK, is one of my top picks for impeccable cuts, classic and timeless styles, and some of the most divine shoes you’ll find anywhere.

    lk bennett

    Clockwise from top left: Tina dress, $360; Rhian Jacket, $475; Cordua blouse, $215; Christa dress, $315; Helen Coat, $555; Greek Shoe Leopard, $280; Sledge Patent leather heels, $280; Bank Shoes, $360.

    Fortunately for my obsession, LK Bennett is hopping the pond, and is now available in the States. I couldn’t be happier! Their pieces just have a way of making you instantly look and feel two inches taller and ten pounds lighter – I don’t know how they do it. They add curves where there were none, nip and tuck like nothing else – the tailoring truly is a wonder to behold.

    If you buy nothing else this season (the horror!), update your standard-issue black dress with LB’s signature “Tina” dress (far left, above). I put it on, and honestly, had no idea where all of those racy curves appeared from. I think they must have arrived with the dress. This beauty brings the “little black dress” myth to reality. There is literally no way you could help but feel amazing wearing it. The body-conscious silhouette reminds me of something from Victoria Beckham’s line, but the strategic ruching and pleating does what years of dieting hasn’t: works wonders to make your body look simply astounding.

    And, okay, while you’re at it, you should get a pair of shoes. There’s a reason these shoes are beloved by everyone’s favorite new royal. They are as beautifully made as any of my hyper-expensive shoes, though considerably less pricey (though by no means a steal, I realize). The construction and attention to detail are flawless, the fit is impeccable – everything from their classic platform pump to the party-only stiletto, are perfection.

    Buying from these UK brands I so adore can be tricky, unless you want to pay an astronomical international shipping fee. But, I’m never one to let anything stand in the way of fashion. So, I have solutions! First, LK Bennett has a few pieces available at Nordstrom (including that amazing Tina dress) – doesn’t get much easier than that.

    See anything you can’t live without?

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