Courtesy of Crimsom Mim
The glittering metallic finish on the Lulu shoe by Jean Michel Cazabat makes it special for wearing on a wedding day.
It's a sad reality for brides that the very day of their lives that they get to look their most glamorous, they are forced to spend hours and hours on their feet. Walking down the aisle is just one small step for the marrying kind. There is also posing for photographs, making the receiving line, dancing with both sets of fathers and all your uncles, circulating to greet your guests and standing, standing, standing.
The last thing a bride needs is sore feet, yet it is not an uncommon occurrence. Most women are focused on looking stunning when they choose their ensemble. Love does not just beckon from the lips of the betrothed. It also cries out from impossibly pointed beaded shoes, 3-inch-plus heels, sandals with straps that leave marks and little darlings just a half-size too small that make our feet look like a nymph's.
If pain happens, women just smile brightly and bear it, having been taught for generations that looking one's best often involves suffering.
Nonsense, said Christine Campbell, who owns Crimson Mim in downtown Los Altos. The store's specialty is making high style comfortable.
"That is one of the things that is really important for me," Campbell said. "We don't have many shoes that are unwearable and uncomfortable. We can find something to fit for everyone."
Campbell's two favorite shoes for brides are both made by Jean Michel Cazabat, a French designer with Charles Jourdan who has had his own line for about eight years.
"He is known for his use of color," she said. "He makes very feminine, colorful shoes. These shoes are silver and they are beautiful shoes to wear as a bride because they are not white - they are something extra."
The Lulu design ($495) is a pump with a strappy sandal soul. A fully constructed heel tapers into an elegant three-strap peep-toe design that makes the shoe dressy. The lower heel keeps the shoe from forcing the foot forward, so it is comfortable to stand in. A glittering metallic overlay on leather transmits aspects of blue and pink, making the shoe special.
Cazabat uses tricolor metallic leather for his Luna ankle-strap sandal ($495). The straps meet at the toe in a circular design of silver, white gold and pink leather to form a fairly sturdy toe box that makes walking a breeze.
One of the best things about these shoes is that they are not super-white pumps that you would not be caught dead wearing after the vows. "You can totally wear these again," Campbell said.
Campbell advises brides to stay away from spiked heels that may nail the bride to the lawn at an outdoor wedding and what she calls "limo shoes," shoes 3-1/2 inches or taller that allow walking only from the limo to the dinner table.
Depending on the gown, a platform shoe might be smart for some brides and attendees as it provides height without the pitch that places your entire weight on the ball of the foot. Wedges can allow easy walking for women attending outdoor weddings.
Many customers have come to Crimson Mim this summer for a dress, jewelry and shoes to wear at a wedding, Campbell said. No one wants to upstage the bride, but weddings are one of the few occasions left in this dress-down world to go all out.
"If you are going to a wedding, don't be afraid to try something different," Campbell said. "What you wear is an expression of yourself. It's fun and exciting."
Crimson Mim carries two particularly unusual dresses by designer Megan Park. A silk charmeuse dress ($850) is studded with abalone and bugle beadwork that carries through the center of the dress all the way down to the hem. A black silk georgette dress also features the abalone and bugle beading and is given added dimension with a camel-colored silk slip ($870).
"These garments are finished impeccably," Campbell said, "and the hang of the fabric is beautiful."
Among the choices for shoes with these dresses is a chestnut whip snake sandal by Bacarolle ($205) that is chocolate colored with an ankle strap. While higher than some of the bridal shoes, the heel is also a bit chunkier, so it provides good support.
"People put this on and say, 'I can't believe how comfortable this is,'" Campbell said.
Loeffler Randall's bronze Petra nappa leather peep-toe pump ($385) has a 2-1/2-inch heel that makes for daylong comfort. The bronze leather is buttery and versatile. The shoe can go from day to evening and from season to season with minimal effort. It is so wearable that Campbell recommends it for mothers of the bride.
"Metallic tones are the new neutrals," Campbell said.
A Cynthia Rowley peep-toe pump in black with gold touches and lace is one of Campbell's favorites. "Cynthia Rowley designs a version of this pump every season," Campbell said, "so it has been wear-tested and is exceptionally comfortable - even with a 3-inch heel."
The lace overlay and the peek-a-boo toe make it look like the lace is directly on the foot, particularly on women with light skin.
Campbell notes that it is wise to shop for shoes in the middle of the afternoon, when feet swell to their peak size. Don't try to fit a shoe on sore feet, but rely on the expertise of the Crimson Mim staff, she said.
"We look at the customer walking in the shoe," she said. "We can tell by looking and feeling whether or not there is a good fit."
Customers also can take the shoe home and wear it around the house on the carpet, she said. If longer wear raises a comfort issue, the customer can return the shoes as long as they have not been worn outside.
You can't get that kind of deal with a bridegroom.
Crimson Mim is located at 322 Main St. in Los Altos. For more information, call 947-7463 or visit www.crimsonmim.com.