Sandals step up your summer footwear

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, June 27, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Dress up your feet this summer.

“Nothing says summer like a great pair of sandals,” says Suzanne Mauro, a stylist accredited by the Association of Image Consultants International and producer of “Style Everyday with Suz” on PCTV Pittsburgh. “I always say that your personal style shows in your shoes, so let your footwear reflect your flair for fashion. A crazy shoe can look cool when worn with toned-down clothes. Let your wackier footwear give spirit to solid-color and classic-cut clothes. Have a good time when choosing your summer footwear.”

A fun pair of sandals can absolutely make an outfit, says Josh Saterman, Macy's fashion director. He says footwear with metal details and embellishments can be a great complement to a maxi skirt or a dressy short.

“Sandals are easy to wear and cool for the summer months,” Saterman says. “The colors for the season are corals, bright blues and, of course, the palettes of mints we've seen come on strong. Adding a hint of silver, gold or mixing your metallics gives a great update to your sandal.”

The gladiator sandal is huge for summer, says Amber Herring, accessories editor for Self magazine.

“Some are in a flat form, while others have a higher heel,” she says. “Some even have criss-crossed straps that go to the knee.”

Sandals with buckles and studs and other embellishments give footwear a new and modern look, Herring says.

“You can take the same sundress, and different sandals can create completely different looks,” Herring says. “I believe you can never have too many shoes, sandals included.”

Most women purchase sandals annually because they get worn out more easily than boots or other footwear, Herring says. So, why not try and get out of your comfort zone and go for something you haven't worn before?

“There is no need to stick to black or brown. Try a bold color or an edgy style,” she says.

Some of this summer's styles are sandals of all heel heights and include dazzling embellishments, stylish wedge wraps and glitzy materials, says Lisa Converse, senior vice president of design at White House Black Market.

“Embellished and detailed sandals can change the look of any outfit,” Converse says. “White House Black Market's summer sandals allow you to show your bold personality. They are so versatile they can be dressed up or down, depending on your needs.”

Sandals can be a conversation starter, says Natasha Pace, style expert.

“This season, sandals have mixed colors with prints and patterns that traditionally don't go together,” Pace says. “In one sandal, we can see black and brown on the upper and tribal and animal print on the base. Wearing one of this season's sandals elevates all of your basic clothing. I've even seen amazing wedges that mix neon, metallics and tribal. And it all works.”

If a woman buys only one pair this summer, Pace recommends opting for a wedge — whether it is a practical or sculptural one is up to the individual. And, she says she would make sure it incorporates at least two colors and a print. It will maximize your wear and may even inspire you to mix outfits, she says.

The nice thing about sandals is they don't have to cost a lot, says Regina Gardiner, senior accessories editor for People Style Watch. They also are usually smaller and lighter, so they are great for traveling, she says.

“In the summer, you also have more colors to choose from in footwear,” Gardiner says. “And we also wear more color in the summer and change out our outfits more. People also see your shoes more in the summer.”

Start with a metallic gladiator, says Cindy Weber-Cleary, InStyle magazine fashion director. “It will go with everything,” she says. “And the texture is on trend. I love the flat sandal, but if you need height, a wedge certainly will work.”

The wedges this season have designs on the heel from ethnic-inspired to other patterns and prints, says Weber-Cleary. And most every woman can feel comfortable walking in a wedge-style.

Before you put on any sandal, be sure your feet are ready, she says, especially in a work environment. Don't have bandages on your heels or toes that aren't well-groomed or have chipped nail polish.

“Make sure your feet are presentable,” she says.

The style of sandal you wear is often based on your mood and personal style, Weber-Cleary says.

“We wear socks and pantyhose and tights for a large portion of the year, so it's nice to have some freedom for our feet in the summer,” she says.

Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director, says sandals can really make a bold statement. “There are amazingly bright colors such as a neon pink, which can be worn with white or jeans or many other hues. And there are all heel heights, from pancake flat to kitten heel to the wedge. And just like boots, every woman should have a wardrobe of sandals.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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