Monday, October 28, 2013

Boooooo-tiful Shoes

In the spirit of dressing up for Halloween...let's not forget the most important accessory, the shoe.

Here are a couple of fun shoes to spice up your costume or wardrobe this year!

Cuing Dorothy....There's no place like home...


Who doesn't love a good skull and bones?

Here kitty kitty....

Now you can view the actual damage that is done to your bones while balancing on 4 inch heels:

A comfortable pair of zoo shoes:

And for those of you who are vampire followers, these will fit the bill:

Here's to wishing all of your Halloween parties and trick or tricking is filled with candy...and amazing shoes!

Happy Halloween...from the World of Cha Cha Shoes...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Online Shopping - A Click and a Box

Oh, the feeling. Waking up early on a Saturday morning. Cup of coffee in hand...mind fresh, and fingers and wrists ready to go.

You open your computer screen while sitting in your most comfortable sweatpants and slippers (need slippers, check out this blog). The feeling of soft sweatpants, warm toes and hot coffee slip you into a state of ease. You see "buy Fall/Winter shoes" on your to do problem.

As you enter your password, you feel as if the internet is your shoe oyster. No black heel can escape your googling expertise. You can conquer the shoe world. It is at your fingertips.

Oh, how I love online shopping. Many a day the fed-ex and ups drivers greet me by my first name, and thank me for my patronage. Too much, you may say? No, its never too much.

Today's blog is all about online shopping. When I did the pro's and con's...many fell into the pro category. The ONLY con I see is not being able to see things in person, and see how they fit. But, with the new technology of seeing the shoes close-up and in video, buyer reviews, and just knowing which brand you like - you can overcome this fear. For those of you that are pros at online shopping...have no fear. For those of you who are newbies to online shopping, hold my hand as we click together in love and harmony...

First, my top ten favorite shoe sites, in order:

1. Shopbop
2. Yoox
3. Neiman Marcus
4. Zappos
5. Net-a-Porter
6. Zara
7. Piperlime
8. Outnet
9. Nastygal
10. Farfetch

Some of the best finds this week are:

Sometimes before I peruse those sites, I use ShopStyle to get an idea of prices (if I have a particular shoe in mind) - or to get ideas by narrowing the filter functions for price, color and style.

I click on shoes, then narrow down from there...

Boots - check
Brown - check
Price - slide to under $300

Now I browse through...checking out the boots that I like. The great option here is you can click on the heart next to the shoe, and it marks it as your favorite. Even better is the sale alert. Click on the magnifying glass withe plus sign, and you can create a sale alert emailing you when it goes on sale.

Frye boots...I will be watching you!

I admit, ShopStyle doesn't have the entire shoe universe, but it is a great way to explore shoes and get an idea of prices.

Shopping online can be a bit overwhelming, but nothing that you can't conquer. Some quick tips to remember:

1. Check the shop's return policy.
2. Look at shipping costs...AND return costs. Sometimes a website will charge you up to $11 to return, so make sure to factor this in.
3. If it seems to good to be true (Christian Louboutin's for $100)...then it probably is. Make sure your online site is reputable.

So...we didn't check anything off the list today...but we have one more shop to conquer...ebay.

Stay tuned for how to shop on ebay.

I give you the tricks and the World of Cha Cha Shoes

Monday, October 21, 2013

Brick and Mortar Shopping - Outlets

Shopping in stores has pros and cons. Pros are:

  • In person - you try on the shoe in person, and see the color, feel the fit. Immediately, you know if they match up to your targeted list (make sure you have it nearby - it is easy to stray).
  • Shoe strolling - now don't go off the carpet, but you can take your shoes for a spin around the store. Saunter around the bank of chairs...and see how those shoes feel on your feet. 
  • Time - walking into a store takes time. Calculate the drive to the store, parking, and the time it takes to try on shoes in store and checkout.
  • Shopping overwhelm - take a look at the pictures below. This can be overwhelming to most - and really requires you to focus your efforts, and not get caught up in the red "clearance" signs.

Shopping in stores also has cons:

Remember your list??

Do you see blue high top tennis on your list??

 They are only $69....

 Step away. Step away.

Here are the five steps to handling outlet shopping:

1. Needs vs. Wants - don't forget what you need, versus what you want. If you need something, and it's on that list of yours - you may pay more than a shoe that is simply a want. Have your list in hand and be able to identify needs vs. wants in the store.

2. Sale Psychology - don't give into all of the sale psychology. Ok yes - you are in an outlet, so everything is on sale. But, make sure you aren't in the sale fog where you buy things that you really don't need - just because it is on sale.

3. Take a 10 Minute Time-Out - put them in your basket (you don't want them stolen from under your nose) - but take them on a 10 minute stroll. Your shoe high will have worn off by this point, and you can make a clear minded decision.

4. Google It - oh yeah - I Google shoes to see if I can find them at a better price somewhere else. I prefer to use for my shoe comparisons.

5. Take Your Friends - friends can be great arbiters of shoes. Make sure they know you want their honest opinion, and take all friends comments into consideration. Friends don't let friends buy bad shoes. Trust me - I have some awesome arbiters myself.

So let's take this five step plan and conquer outlet shopping:

Black Pumps:

 Hmmm...nice enough. Black and the right heel height. $59?? I think I can do better. Moving on.

Oh...these are cool. $80?? I show my friend...she frowns...I move on.

Let's check out this bank of shoes....

Lot's of options here. I see some cool yellow shoes, some funky boots and some plaid sandals?? Plaid is in, I think. Why not get them in a sandal form? Need...want....need....want....I move on.

Ok, I find a fabulous pair of Vera Wang open toe patent leather pumps. I try them on...take them for a spin. They feel good, are on my list, and they are feeling good on my feet.

Ok...I take them in my cart and walk around for 10 minutes.

Check out the price again...
 Yep, these are a great investment (I do a quick SIC calculation). I then Google (I realize they are not the higher end lavender label, but still in the right price range).

I turn to a friend...she is smiling approvingly. I take them.

I then turn to these shoes...silver...perfect for the upcoming holidays..and who doesn't love a d'orsay  pump?

And, the price is right. I quickly run through my 5 step list, wait ten minutes (leading to the purchase of some hanky pankys in a camo color)....and then I head to the register. I cross off "cheat pair" from my list. 

Ok - good success this trip. One thing to know about outlets...they are hit or miss. Some trips you will leave empty handed, but you should still celebrate this excursion. That means you followed the 5 step plan, have done the SIC, and you made a rationale decision to not buy shoes. Yes folks, I applauded not buying shoes.

And other times, you will end up with some steals, like me.

The last shoe shopping horizon we cover is Ebay. Ebay is a whole different animal. It requires patience, research and trust. If you do it right, you can have amazing success. Done wrong, and you end up with a high price pair of knock-off Manolos.

Stay tuned for Ebay shopping...In the World of Cha Cha Shoes...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brick and Mortar Shoe Shopping

Here we go...stepping into an actual brick and mortar store. I have my list:

Now, it's time to execute.

I pick two stores, Target and Macy's. Macy's first.

I have to say, I have quite vivid memories of walking up to a Macy's store. Back in the day, this was THE place to shop. I usually had my budget from my parents, and I got to scavenge the store finding the perfect wardrobe for a 4th grader. I remember one year using almost all of my budget on a "must have" LA Gear jacket.

Man, I was cool back in the day. I remember going through every rounder at Macy's trying to find that perfect must have, marked down piece of clothing or shoes. It was like the Thrill of the Hunt (see my previous blog on shoe hunting here). I mean, I loved to shop.

Today was different. Blame it on age. laziness or lack of time - but I was dreading my Macy's trip. As I walked through the doors, a feeling of anxiety came over me. Blame it on the blasting music, overpowering Jennifer Lopez perfume wafting towards the juniors section...but I was starting feel my palms sweat.

What was happening to me?? This used to be one of my favorite all time activites. I mean, I was such an active shopper, I burned at least 200 calories every shopping trip (I used to calculate this).

As I walked around the corner to shoes, my chest began to tighten and began breathing rapidly. This was what I saw:

At one point of my life, this would have got blood pumping in a good way. Today, I felt on the verge of a panic attack. How on earth would I follow my list with such shoe stimulation? Luckily, I pulled out my list, sat in a somewhat comfortable chair and focused on my shoe needs.

I decided I would focus on:

  • black pumps
  • updated boots
  • paycheck shoes
 I found the helpful sales person, and we were on our way. I ended up trying on a pair of grey Frye boots, red suede heels (ok, not black, but still work appropriate) and my paycheck purple shoes by Jessica Simpson.

Unfortunately, they didn't have the right size in one shoe, another hurt my feet, and the last I was so so about...and the 20% sale didn't even sway me. So, I left empty handed.

I did come across this sign next to some incredibly....something shoes. Impulse, how apropos.

Ok, now off to Target. Target is a dangerous place. Sure, you can find the best priced ziploc bags, trendy pillow from Nate Berkus and some piece of clothing you didn't know you need. Walking into Target gave me the opposite feeling of Macy's...I am not sure if it was because I cross things of my "to do" list in one shopping stop...or the ability to breathe non-Jennifer Lopez perfumed air. Either way, I felt much more comfortable.

I bee-lined towards the shoe department, and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, these shoes aren't 100% Italian leather - but they are cute, and will last 1 if not 2 seasons. I find the following:

I walk out of the store having checked off two updated black boots, and a pair of trendy flats. 

My main lessons learned from my hiatus from in store shopping:

1 - Come with a strategy. If not, you will get overwhelmed and likely end up walking out with things you don't need.

2 - "Sale" is a bad word. Sure, I like getting things for a cheaper price, doesn't everyone?? But, don't let the red "sale" sign cloud your judgement on what shoes you really need, versus saying "but it was such a good deal..."

Speaking of deals...the next post tackles outlet shopping. Done right, shopping at outlets can be a wealth of fantastic shoes. 

Done wrong, you end up with shoes like this in your closet:

Yeah, they are Prada...but these guys aren't making an appearance in public any time soon.

So, tune in for outlet shopping the World of...Cha Cha Shoes

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Offline vs Online Shopping

Now, your shoe shopping strategy should be in place. I prefer writing down a list on paper prior to entering the store, or pressing the power button on my computer.

By creating a list, you can continually remind yourself of those important shoe needs you have, and hopefully to help you if you get off track trying on shoes like this:

(Unless you have black furry boots on your list...find them here)

So, the question shop online or offline (brick and mortar stores). 

There are pros and cons to both options...some are easier on the front end (damn you amazon one click) - while others are easier on the back end (running to the UPS store to try and meet their 5:30 close time can be challenging).

Personally, I have turned to the online world for the past couple of years. Part of this is due to my lack of time to enter into the stores - and the other part due to the huge availability when you shop the world's boutiques. 

But most recently (thanks to this shoe blog) I have entered back into the offline world...thanks to Neimans, Macys and Barneys Outlet, my shoe closet is a bit fuller. 

There is something about trying on the shoe in person that helps you envision where you might wear them, how they look on your leg, etc. 

But, you also have to deal with a parking lot full of cars, not so efficient sales people, and the oh so dreaded sales pitch for the (fill in the blank) new credit card. (really, don't make me say no to your high interest credit card 5 different ways. The answer will still be no.)

Everyone is different - and the pros and the cons may tip more to one side than another.

The next three blogs will take you through how to shop online, and offline. And for offline brick and mortar shopping - I am going to give you two blogs. One for traditional stores (think Macys, Nordstroms and Target) and another for outlet shopping (Nordstroms Rack, Marshalls and Barneys Outlet).

Stay the World of Cha Cha Shoes.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shoe Strategy

strat·e·gy: a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal. Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited.

Shoe strat·e·gy: a careful plan or method to achieve a balanced, appropriate, and infallible shoe closet. 

The first part of your shoe strategy is to determine your fall shoe budget. 

Once you have determined your budget, you must then take an inward look at your feet, and really think about what type of shoes you wear most often. And, by inward look at your feet, I mean inward look at yourself. 

If you only wear crazy high heels once a year at Halloween, you have to reduce your "paycheck shoe" budget accordingly. (If you plan on being Miley this year, don't spend much on your will NEVER wear them again).

With that in mind, here is my five part shoe strategy for this fall:

1 - Black Pumps
If you have to invest 60% of your shoe funds, do it here. Plan on these shoes lasting you at least 5 years, so go for a pair that has 100% leather upper and lower. Find a good cobbler, and re-heel and sole as needed.

Options this fall include:

And here (yes, these are not 100% black, but great quality and will last you 5 years).

2 - Trendy Flats

You have to love Target for always being on trend, for reasonable price. These flats will last you at least one season, and are a great buy.

3 - Classic Flats
Depending on your style, a high quality pair of flats will last you forever. I prefer black, but these Tory Burch flats will ease you into fall and winter. 

4 - An Updated Boot

I LOVE these DV by Dolce Vita wedge boots. They are hip and fresh, but still classic enough to last you a couple of seasons.

Had to give you a second option....I HEART Oscar de la Renta

5 - Paycheck Shoes

No explanation needed.

I actually had these for dinner this week instead of food. Hence the term "paycheck shoes".

My final thoughts are shoe strategy are these:

Wear what you love, and work what you wear.

When developing your own shoe strategy, abide by the following rules:

1 - create a budget 

2 - list your top 3-5 shoe needs

3 - be realistic about where and when you need different shoe types

4 - go with your gut. If you can't name 5 places you will wear them this fall, put them back.

5 - once you buy, you must apply. Once you pay for those shoes, wear them. Don't save those special or expensive shoes for a special occasion. Shoes are mean to be worn, so put them on, wear them out (literally and figuratively).

And then..go forth, and shoe strategize.

In the World of Cha Cha Shoes
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