Archive for August, 2008

As If!

Lately, I’ve become singularly focused on finding the perfect plaid miniskirt – seemingly an odd fixation, unless you’re aware of my obsession with the costumes from the 90s classic Clueless. Unfortunately, Contempo Casuals totally lost its cool quotient when it became Wet Seal, so I’ve had to search elsewhere in order to recreate my fantasy look. Behold, a high-low mix (everything from Forever 21 to See by Chloe) that would pass muster with major fashionista Cher herself, not to mention her latest crop of admirers (aka the ladies of Gossip Girl).

1) The schoolgirl kilt. An eternally flattering style for those of us blessed with long legs.

2) The cropped, vibrant cardi. Layer over a simple white tee – unless, of course, you’ve still got the abs of a high schooler.

3) The statement accessory. Feminine yet a little bit saucy.

4) The sexy stockings. Keep your makeup demure to steer clear of dominatrix territory.

5) The finishing touch. Nothing says “back-to-school” quite like a serious pair of lace-ups.


August 27, 2008 at 2:05 AM 1 comment

Turning Japanese

Let me tell you a story about a very special dress. We first met at Bendel’s in September of 2004. Uncharacteristically, I was armed with a flush checking account – alas, if only I could graduate every spring – and ready to buy. I left the store excited about my purchase, but certainly not aware that I had just embarked on a lifelong love affair with kimono sleeves (more on that later).

Mizz Von F herself, wearing a variation of my dress at her Fall 2004 show

Mizz Von F herself, wearing a variation of my dress at her Fall 2004 show

Four years have passed, and my dress has lived the kind of life that most of the other clothes in my closet can only dream about. It’s been to jazz clubs, school dances, birthday parties, and at least one European discotheque. It’s also been on many a SoHo shopping date with my favorite jeans, and things have gotten serious between the two of them. Whenever I put it on, no matter how tired/bloated/antisocial I might have been  just a few minutes earlier, I instantly feel sexy, confident, and ready to take on the world. (And to those who think fashion is frivolous, I ask: isn’t there REAL value in anything that can make someone feel that way?)

Unfortunately, my story has a bittersweet ending – Frost’s sentiment that “nothing gold can stay” can be applied not only to springtime and Edenic paradise, but also to 100% silk garments. A half-dozen trips to the tailor have prolonged the life of my dress, but with each new patch I feel it weakening. Soon it’s going to be time to say goodbye and mourn the loss of such a valued member of my wardrobe. In the meantime, I’ve been desperately scouring the new generation of bold-sleeved tops and dresses to fill the gap.

Top contenders are this rich, grownup hippie look from DKNY, this racy but sweet off-the-shoulder number from Geren Ford, and this simple but elegant jersey dress from saint grace. I’m also obsessed with this peacock jacket from last season’s Elizabeth and James collection, but I got greedy waiting for the sale prices to drop and it’s sold out everywhere now. Not surprising that the Olsens often incorporate this sort of dramatic look into their line, seeing as Mary-Kate is one of the kimono sleeve’s staunchest advocates. No one loves M.-K. O. more than I do (seriously, NO ONE DOES), and with this particular trend, sometimes she totally rocks it. But other times … well, let’s just say that only someone over 5’10” could wear that without looking like a pygmy. Another victory for the tall girls!

On a completely unrelated note: tell me these are not the ugliest shoes you’ve ever seen. Seriously, I know “Fit Flops” are all the rage right now, but if the choice is between hanging on to my cellulite and wearing those sins against shoe-manity, I’ll stick with the former. Although, they’re so morbidly fascinating that I can’t stop looking at them, so I guess that counts for something.

August 12, 2008 at 5:04 PM 2 comments

I Turn My Camera On

Greetings, readers! Good news – it’s time for our August promotion! This month, I’m upping the ante and giving you a lot of freedom with your submissions …


Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to show me exactly how much you love your shoes. I’m looking for a photograph, any photograph of your choosing. It can be staged or candid, taken in a foreign land or your own backyard, and it can include as many or as few shoes as you like. Please send your submissions to The winner of this contest will receive a $100 SHOPPING SPREE to Barefoot Tess, but all participants will be given a small prize for entering.

August 9, 2008 at 2:10 PM 1 comment

Shoe of the Moment: Corso Como ‘Dodie’

When I conceived the idea for “Shoe of the Moment,” I assumed I’d always be writing about a style that I personally couldn’t seem to take off. I generally tend to be fairly level-headed and unsentimental about my shoe choices – if I like it, I wear it all the time – as opposed to, say, my headgear. (I often find myself buying hats that sit in my closet for months because, let’s face it, one can’t exactly throw on a veiled pillbox with jeans.) In fact, this whole approach explains why Barefoot Tess carried so few heels during our first year of operation – I knew I wasn’t personally going to wear them, so they just didn’t appeal to me.

Years later, I’ve seen hundreds of shoes come through our store, and while I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of a teetering stiletto, I’ve stuck firmly to my principles with regard to my own wardrobe – flats, usually black or another neutral color, and preferably with some sort of interesting detailing. That is, until I came across this ‘Dodie’ platform from Corso Como …

Back in the 90s, while flipping through the scrapbook where I kept magazine clippings of my favorite dresses from Vogue, Bazaar, et al., I was so infatuated with a certain Kate Moss that I could often be heard remarking that I would “totally become a lesbian for her.” (And although Kate’s been looking a little rough around the edges lately, I like to think of myself as pretty loyal so if she ever comes around, I’ll be right here waiting. Little Lila Grace would make an adorable stepdaughter, dontcha think?) Anyway, getting back to my original point: I would “totally become a heel-wearer for the ‘Dodie.'” And isn’t that the mark of a great accessory – something that shakes your sense of style to the core? My gosh, at this rate I’ll be wearing gaucho pants and a SHRUG the next time you see me!

Personally, I’m partial to the bone color (through all three options are stunning), because with the perfect little black dress, they kind of play off that whole tuxedo vibe. No other accessories required – these are the rare shoes that can truly carry an outfit by themselves.

I think I'm in love.

I think I'm in love.

August 8, 2008 at 4:45 PM 2 comments

Vegas Trendspotting: Art School Confidential

Fashion, of course, has always been influenced heavily by art – most (if not all) of the masters, including the late, great Yves Saint Laurent and the industry’s current roi, Marc Jacobs, have been avid collectors. And still it has been a pleasant surprise, over the past few seasons, to see that inspiration show up not just in an abstract sense, but directly ON the clothes. Ombre, Mondrian circles,  and delicate brush-stroked fabrics were all over the spring runways- see Chloe, Marni – and I am happy to report that, in the coming months, this trend will extend to accessories. In Vegas, we came across darling paint-splattered ballets (a la Pollock), cheery Gaugin-esque floral detailing, and – most notably – an abundance of tie-dye.

If you’re the creative type, we encourage you to get out an old white t-shirt and be, well, creative. If not, don’t worry – you can get the look with a modern, colorblocked pair of flats, like these bold beauties from Lovely People.

Great colors + sexy cutouts = a winning shoe!

Great colors + sexy cutouts = a winning shoe!

August 5, 2008 at 7:46 PM Leave a comment

Vegas Trendspotting: All Holed Up

Last week, my Barefoot Tess colleagues and I attended the WSA collections in Las Vegas. Vegas shows are a mecca for any shoe-loving girl (imagine endless hallways filled with the new spring lines from pretty much every designer under the sun). Part of the fun is getting to see what’s going to be huge at this time next year – trend-wise, we always encounter the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. Thankfully, the balance tipped the right way this time, and over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite new styles with you.

First off: perforated skins. After many seasons of patent, it was refreshing to see leather finally getting a new treatment. The great thing about the “perf” look is that it can go in so many directions – super girly (a la this Dior hobo), a little bit edgy (Prada aviators, anyone?), or simply classic (LOVE this Giorgio Brato bag). Come winter, I’ll be sporting this lovely fabric take on the trend from Mayle with ubernarrow stirrup pants, a modern bubble ring and minimal makeup to achieve an unfussy but chic aesthetic. Still, if you’re dying to explore this new texture right now, I’d suggest working these darling (and bestselling) Corso Como “Floral” flats into your rotation.

August 4, 2008 at 4:19 PM Leave a comment

I Like Big Feet and I Cannot Lie …

A hearty congratulations to Leticia McLeod, the winner of our $100 shopping spree:

Most embarrassing story, I have so many! I am 24 years old, 5′11” and wear a size 15. During my freshman year in collage, I was walking out of my dorm for my morning class. As I was leaving the building two other girls were walking back to the dorm. Suddenly one turned to the other and said “Oh my God, Becky, look at her feet. They are so big!” (a-la “Baby’s Got Back” style). So the other one looks down at them and they both begin to have a big laugh, even as they passed me. After that all I could do is stand there in the cold and stare at huge, ugly, man feet. Thank you Sir Mix-a-lot! I won’t even go into how people used to call my feet boats or when my nick name became Side Show Bob in high school.


But wait! There’s a happy ending:

Recently I was walking around at work when a young nurse behind me loudly said “Wow! You have big feet. What size do you wear?”. Normally this would have embarrassed me a lot and it would have ruined my whole
work day. However, I was wearing the Tess Classic Scrunch shoes in gold. So I proudly told her size 15 and continued marching down the hall. It makes a world of difference when you have cute shoes. 

Cute shoes definitely do make a world of difference! Thanks to all who entered – it really was a tough call, so I’m going to reward each and every one of you with 10% off your next purchase. To redeem your one-time checkout code, email

August 2, 2008 at 5:13 PM 2 comments

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"Barefoot" Tess blogs about life, fashion, footwear, and the perks and pains of being model-tall.


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  • We’ve Moved to — come see us! February 25, 2009
    Growing pains…we’re taking our blog on the road…you can find us now at Advertisements
  • 35% OFF — Back by Popular Demand February 25, 2009
    Sometimes when you scream loud enough, companies and people actually hear you…well, we’re listening and we’re happy to oblige.  The big sale is BACK UP and you can again save 35 percent on your order. Just go to check out and use FEB35 as your secret savings code. Make sure to let us know […]
  • 1-2-3 Savings — Today Only! February 24, 2009 is offering a fun little incentive for all you size 10+ shoe lovers — it’s all based around ‘the more you spend, the more you save’ idea.  So, let’s just say you might spend as much as $500 on all the shoes on sale right now, you’ll save an additional 30 percent.  But seriously, […]
  • Oscar Wrap-Up February 23, 2009
    With Fashion Week over, we turn our attention to the red carpet of the Oscars and last night was a feast for the senses. Some of the dresses were in a word, spectacular. We expect that you have your favorites and we’d love to hear from you. If you submit the best description of your […]
  • SALE EXTENDED! — SAVE 35% TODAY ONLY! February 22, 2009
    Okay, so I know I told you yesterday that Saturday was it for the sale…well, you all responded so heartily that we extended it through today…yep, you love a deal, apparently. The Web site was packed yesterday with folks shopping for steals and boy, did they find ’em. So in case you got in […]
  • Shoe Sale — 35% off entire site of already reduced merchandise February 21, 2009
    It’s insane, I tell ya…just crazy…so the big boss is in Florida. No joke. So we’ve put the whole site on sale! You won’t find this many large, gorgeous, stylish and fun BIG GIRLS shoes anywhere but Sizes 10 to 15 — no lie — and cute, totally cute. Go…check it out…and once […]
  • Big Savings on Big Shoes February 21, 2009
    Time is just about up for the 35% off sale…you have until midnight to save on everything on the site…honestly, some of the cutest shoes for spring…go to, shop and then get to check out and type in FEB35 for your extra savings. Please understand there’s already a sale going on right now, […]
  • 35% Off ALREADY REDUCED Shoes Continues! February 20, 2009
    As Fashion Week continues, we are like to celebrate in the usual way…with a BLOW OUT sale, of course. So, if you also delight in saving ridiculous amounts of money on high-end designer shoes, please celebrate with us! And speaking of Fashion Week, we were looking through the runway samplings and you’ve got to […]
  • SAVE additional 35% NOW at February 19, 2009
    It’s just crazy…we are discounting the entire site…NOW. Please go to and shop for your spring shoes right now and take advantage of this HUGE discount now through Sunday at midnight (PST). When you get to check out, enter FEB35 to get the savings.
  • 30% OFF Entire Shoe Stock — February 19, 2009
    This just in!!! Beginning at midnight tonight (PST) and ending at midnight on Sunday (PST) you can save an unheard of 30 percent on almost every shoe you can find at  Shop ’til you drop and when you go to checkout, use FEB30 in the Coupon Code block.  That’s it!  No catch…just tremendous savings […]