As that famous footwear designer Manolo Blahnik once said: "You put on high heels, and you change." Well, this fall, we're not only kicking up our heels, but we're also stepping out in statement-making boots and sneakers. Yes, shoes can be both comfortable and stylish at the same time. Here are the inspirations of shoe designers for the new season ahead:
--Military edge. A little tough chic, these shoes and boots come with chunky lug soles and lace-up fronts. In suede, calf hair or leather, these styles are ready to march into a new season. For a modern look, team them with denim skirts or gaucho pants.
--Menswear tailoring. This fall, flats are taking a big step in setting the most popular shoe trends, and many of them are strolling out in menswear-inspired fabrics such as tweed, flannel, herringbone and plaid. Check out the masculine looks in loafers, slip-ons and oxford wingtips. Even some high heels get a boyish twist with lace-ups, belts and buckles.
--Embellishments. Some shoes just shout eye candy. They're the ones we can't bear to put away in shoeboxes. This season, you'll find lots of ways to dazzle your feet: sneakers worthy of display in an art gallery, pearl studs and pompoms on ankle boots, gemstones and sequins on pumps and peep-toe evening sandals.
--Colorblocking. If you're a minimalist kind of girl and rarely get out of neutral with your wardrobe, then these shoes may be for you. Bold blocks of colors and designs enliven these creative specimens of footwear that are meant to be seen. No need for any other accessories!
--Metallic shine. The twinkle toes are out this year in shimmery platinum leather, colorful exotic python, gilded gold metal heels and high-tech patent leather. Some designers even give their shiny shoes a space-age touch with gleaming holographic effects.
--Boots, boots, boots. The cowboy boot is a perennial hit, but this fall it gets even bigger as Western boots (high heels in particular) take over the shoe world. The over-the-knee boot is also still major news with more casual suede flat heels and Equestrian styles providing an alternative to its dressier stiletto cousin. Ankle boots are another fashion must-have this fall, in everything from wedges to mod-inspired to peep-toes. Take your pick, and pair them with a dress or skirt for even more of a modern edge.
Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at creators.com.