April 20, 2014

Back to Basics: Men’s Oxfords from Streamlined to Ultra Slick

This week’s sponsor love: We go independent and local as often as possible, especially for special pieces and standout items that really make our wardrobe what it is. But everyone needs core items. Like the shoes you wear everyday. And for guys, it’s often the versatile, go-everywhere pairs that usually win out.

And then there’s the practicality factor. No matter how much you like to shop or how much flair you wear, a basic shoe packing go-with-anything character is something you’ll wear again and again and for tons of different occasions (which, we’d like to point out, saves you money, of course, to spend more on locally-made items from independent designers).

If there’s one style that holds the monopoly on practical and versatile in the men’s shoe landscape, it’s got to be the classic men’s oxford. Luckily, while it’s a classic style, it’s also got serious range. For a big selection of men’s oxfords and lace up shoes that range from boardroom-dressy to out-on-the-town sleek pairs with lizard skin and two-tone styling on down to rugged walkers perfect for weekends, Macy’s offers plenty of options at a variety of price points from brands such as Ecco, Johnston & Murphy, Stacy Adams, Cole Haan and Kenneth Cole.

As for our faves, we’re digging the Cole Haan Air Colton Plain Toe Oxford ($198) for its slick taupe upper and contrast laces, as well as the promise of Nike Air technology in the heel. The Stacy Adams Rafferty Oxfords in brown and cognac ($62.99) have a retro appeal we’d like to pair with a cold shaker full of cocktails on a Friday night, while Lounge by Mark Nason Vallejo Lace Up Oxfords ($96.99) in brown strike us as a great option for anyone whose kicks need to go from the airport to the office to the bar and back again.

Should you find yourself in the market for a new pair of men’s shoes, many in Macy’s online store are on sale at the moment, with more than a few options under the $100 mark.

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This post sponsored by Macy’s. We love our sponsors and hope you will, too. They make it possible for us to keep bringing you news and features about San Francisco’s independent fashion community, designers and upcoming events.

More Eco-Friendly Jeffrey Campbell For Convert Shoes Coming in ’12

Environmentally-conscious East Bay fashion staple Convert has followed its debut collaboration from last spring with L.A.-based Jeffrey Campbell with a new line of eco-friendly shoes ready to hit the streets early next year. The funky, but earth-friendly result is once again a hip, vegan and sustainable collection of styles available exclusively at the Berkeley boutique.

Check out some of our favorite pairs from the new collection below.

Wynette Boot with buckle detail (available January 2012)

All Caps red Hopi print wedge (available January 2012)

Martini black and white flat (now available)

Glide wedge (available now)

99 Tie wedge (available January 2012)

To see more styles (including a vegan version of the famous Lita shoe) or to pre-order a pair or two, visit the Convert website.

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Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa

A Clear Winner: Eric Rutberg TRANSPARENT Shoes

Let’s be clear, when it comes to shoes, you won’t find us sporting see-through heels (outside of our kinda dirty dreams). But that doesn’t mean we can’t get behind footwear with a focus on transparency, especially if it’s a wham-pow pair from the new TRANSPARENT collection of San Francisco designer Eric Rutberg that’s hitting stores with bold hues, high heels and pumped up platforms this spring.

Sculptural details and sunny day colors mix with wooden touches and layered lines in the new line by Rutberg, a longtime footwear industry player who has designed for LAMB, Badgley Mischka, Jennifer Lopez, Betsey Johnson and San Francisco’s own Wilkes Bashford, among others.

For spring, Rutberg drew inspiration from mid-century designers such as George Nakashima and George Nelson, as well as classic Lilly Pulitzer, for a look that’s full of fresh, preppy appeal, but still pretty damn sexy and stunning at the same time.

The collection ($185-$325) will be arriving in stores from Neiman Marcus to L.A.’s Fred Segal early next year. In the meantime, read on for our recent interview with Rutberg for his thoughts on color, getting inspired by that big ‘ole bridge we’ve got and why you should probably just give up hope of finding a super-high heel that’s also insanely comfortable.

Designer Eric Rutberg

Your shoes display a love of color. What do you think a colorful shoe brings to a woman’s overall look?

I think that color adds an element of surprise and sophistication. Black or camel, for instance, are conservative and safe choices. A woman who chooses color is my kind of customer: fearless, worldly, and more confident in her approach to the world and her impact in it.

How do you balance functionality and aesthetics when you design shoes? Are they of equal importance?

Comfort is an interesting thing. Our shoes are designed well, constructed of great leathers and hand-crafted components. With a long-time background in designing, I go to great lengths to incorporate a lot of of the prerequisites of comfort, but a 130 mm platform pump will never be a true orthopedic fit. It’s a compromise of fashion and function. I balance comfort with an edgy aesthetic. It required working both sides of your brain at once to achieve both simultaneously.

Your shoes display sculptural qualities while still remaining contemporary in their look and feel. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Travel and study are great companions. I spend a huge amount of time looking at all the places I am lucky to be in, contemplating the design elements, the nature of those environments and the inhabitants evolving in them. I can’t think of anything more contemporary than a pyramid.

You have homes in SF and Sonoma. Does Northern California influence your aesthetic at all?

We have an orange suspension bridge right here in San Francisco that exemplifies primary colors and clean lines.

Are there any unique or notable materials or elements used to make your footwear line that you’d like to point out?

The name of our company includes the word TRANSPARENT. In the beginning, part of the reason for the name was that I wanted the company to be that for myself, people who work with us, and the women who like what we do. However, for many years in my career, lucite or transparency, even as it relates to absence, has always been a part of something in my work every season. This Spring, I have a wonderful strong shaped heel that is Lucite. The construction is very modern. And like our women: strong and fearless.

Photography courtesy of Eric Rutberg

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Shop Big on Small Business Saturday (+ $100 Reader Giveaway)

We visited a long list of great San Francisco shops with unique items, including Ruby, Stone Pony, Mira Mira and Gravel and Gold in the Mission, Noe Valley's Shoe Biz, Ambiance and Isso, as well as Pearl in the Inner Sunset.

Earlier this month, the folks at PAPER magazine and American Express asked us to head out on a shopping mission to local, independent boutiques we love in honor of Small Business Saturday. We were only too happy to oblige. After all, small businesses are a seriously big deal to us. Read on for the details on our adventure, get inspired to visit small bizzies on Saturday and enter our $100 giveaway from American Express.

As you know, and we know you know (and we know you know we know), small businesses make our city what it is and keep our lives full of new, unique things to do, see, eat, drink, buy and give as gifts. In that spirit, we dove into a few of our favorite shops in the Mission, Noe Valley and a few other hoods to uncover cool finds from the kinds of shops that lend San Francisco its local flavor.

If you shop on Small Business Saturday, register your American Express card online in advance, then use it on a purchase of $25 or more at a business that accepts American Express, and you’ll receive a $25 statement credit on your account.

These boots from Gravel and Gold are cooler looking than UGGS and made by an artisan in Bodega Bay. And would you believe it: they're machine washable.

How's this for stylish and local: these platform wedges are by Seal of the Sutro, the brand from the owners of the local Shoe Biz shops.

The polka dot shirt dress hanging on the racks is a best-seller at Mira Mira on 22nd.

Lots of local jewelry on display at Ruby, located in the Mission.

Vintage finds at relatively reasonable prices stood out at Stone Pony in the Mission.

Accessories and jewelry were on display in the window of Inner Sunset shop Pearl.

If you’re looking for places to visit on Small Business Saturday, check out PAPER‘s San Francisco City Guide. It’s packed with cool places to visit and additional deals you’ll score only on Saturday.

Need some extra cash to shop? Don’t we all…We’re giving away $100 in American Express gift cards in honor of Small Business Saturday. To enter: do one or more of the following (each counts as one entry):

- Sign up for our newsletter (box on right)

- Tweet us @sfindiefashion with the name of your favorite San Francisco small business

- Post on our Facebook wall with the name of your favorite San Francisco small business

- Comment on this post with the name of your favorite San Francisco small business

(Notice a theme? Smart people will employ the power of copy and paste). The winner will be chosen at random this week and notified via email, Facebook or Twitter, depending on how you enter.

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This post sponsored by American Express, though all opinions expressed here are our own, of course! What does that mean? In the interest of full disclosure, we’re letting you know that American Express compensated us for this post with gift cards, but we did the legwork, took the pics and used it as a chance to showcase some of our favorite local small businesses. We love our sponsors and hope you will, too. They make it possible for us to keep bringing you San Francisco’s independent fashion news five days a week.

Snap Judgment: Gee’WaWa Fatale Bootie

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: the boldly architectural, platform goodness of the Fatale bootie,$264.95, designed by Bay Area footwear label Gee’WaWa and available on recently-launched (and endlessly tempting) San Francisco-based online shoe retailer Ashbury Skies.

Photography courtesy of Ashbury Skies

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