Aldo Shoes: Looking for my #PERFECTPAIR

For the shoe freaks out there, the Aldo store at High Street Phoenix is Paradise. This shoe store’s got hundreds of beautifully crafted shoes for men and women that are top quality, durable, and of course, very stylish! I set out looking for the #PERFECTPAIR for Hubby and me. Here’s what I found.

For the dapper gentlemen

The key trends of Aldo’s fall/ winter 2014 men’s collection include subtle vintage finishes (to resemble worn leather) and colour play. The colours this season reflect winter’s earthy and warm palette for winter.

Aldo men's shoes F/W 2014 DSC09494

These are my top picks from Aldo men’s shoes:

High-top shoes: These look cool, tend to be super comfy and can be worn with most casual and smart looks. Besides, the coloured laces and contrast inserts add a very modern-day touch.Aldo men's high-top shoes

“Non-sports” sneakers: Aldo’s new styles for the season mix up textures and colours for a fun take on sneakers! Additional detailing is in the form of contrast laces and prints lining the inner area of the shoe.

Aldo sneakers

Classic formal wear with contemporary twists: As long as white collar jobs exist, formal shoes for men will be around. This Aldo collection features classic shoes with 2014 twists like conspicuous stitch detailing, distinct panels and varying types of finishes.

Aldo formal shoes

Aldo men's formal shoes

Daily wear shoes: Slip-ons and heavy shoes are perfect for indoor and outdoor activities.

Aldo mens slip-ons FW2014

Mens shoes from Aldo FW 2014

Accessories to check out: Super cool backpacks!

Aldo backpacks winter 2014

Hubby’s #PERFECTPAIR: These low-top sneakers. He says: “I can wear them all the time.”

Aldo mens sneakers

For the trendy ladies

A touch of bling, a dash of colour, mix of classic and contemporary, metallic finishing… there’s something for every shoe-obsessed girl at Aldo.

Aldo womens collection FW 2014

My top picks from Aldo women’s shoe collection:

The sneaker shoe: It will take a very edgy fashionista to carry off this pair of shoes, but this high-top style is touted to be the must-have accessory for the season.

Aldo womens sneaker shoe

Party shoes: Shine, shimmer, killer heels and matching clutches… all I now need is an LBD! And luckily, the blingy shoes are in shorter heels (even flats!) as well. So we girls can dance the night away without the discomfort.

Aldo party shoes winter 2014

Winter boots: Though I own only a single pair of boots (blame it on Mumbai’s non-existent weather), but I love them! From Aldo’s wide selection, I particularly loved the embellished ones and this pair of textured boots. Very vibrant!

Aldo winter boots

Aldo blue winter boots

Daily wear: While Aldo has some great pumps for power dressing, the slip-ons and open-toed flats are just as tempting. I liked the little animal emblem, the chain-like strap and the studded shoes.

Aldo womens shoes 2014

Aldo flats for women

The Black Shoe: A girl just can’t have enough black shoes, right?

Aldo black shoes for women

Accessories to check out: The cute day bags.

Day bags from Aldo FW 2014

My #PERFECTPAIR: Not one pair, but three… because it’s hard to choose from these gorgeous party shoes. Some serious bling, seriously killer heels. (BTW, love that clutch too!).

Aldo party shoes FW 2014

The Aldo Fall/ Winter 2014 collection is available at Aldo stores in leading malls across India, and on the Aldo online store. Prices start from Rs 2499.

Chic Review: Get spoilt for shoes at Heel & Buckle

Chic Review: Get spoilt for shoes at Heel & Buckle

About Heel & Buckle
Heel & Buckle is a multi-brand shoe store featuring four brands: Alessandro and Rad Russel for men, Pazzion and Paco Gil for women. In Mumbai, the store’s at the Palladium, Lower Parel.

Heel & Buckle Store image 2

So what are these brands?
As the names would suggest, the brands housed at Heel & Buckle design premium pairs of shoes, high on style and quality (and thus not so easy on the pocket either, but more on that later).

First impression
The store looks neat! For a change, I didn’t get drowned in a sea of shoes. The shoes weren’t forced together like foot soldiers in battle, but grouped into mini-shoe stations with pairs of a specific theme displayed together. And because there aren’t hundreds of pairs overwhelming you, you’d end up carefully looking at each style, enjoying what you see (and therefore, more likely you’ll buy shoes from them).

Heel & Buckle womens shoes

Shoes in store
There are pumps, flats, stilettoes, embellished shoes for women, with formal, lace-up shoes, brogues and slip-ons for men. While most of the shoes I saw were meant for special and formal ocassions, parties and the like, you’d get a few pairs of everyday shoes too. BTW, there are also bags for men and women, along with belts and guys’ shoe accessories.

So what was good?
Most women’s styles were pretty, smart or elegant, but not too different from what I’d already seen at other brands. I liked some of the bejewelled shoes at the store and fell in love with a gold pair that I was very tempted to add to my trousseau! But overall I wasn’t too impressed with the women’s range, and found it a bit underwhelming given the prices.

Heel & Buckle shoes

And what was awesome?
But let’s talk about men’s shoes now, because they drew my breath away. The exquisite leather, the finishing and the colour options were excellent, and I felt that finally there were shoe options for men that weren’t too boring, and not too casual or teenage-y either. And while there were several colours and styles, they were “safe “enough that most non-experimental Indian men would be willing to try.

Heel & Buckle mens shoes

What about prices?
Most pairs of shoes were Rs 6000 and above, and I the prices could up to Rs 20,000 plus. Yes, these prices would be a stretch for plenty of folks, but there are shoes, and then there are shoes. IMHO, the better pairs at the store would be worth the price, especially the men’s shoes.

How does Heel & Buckle compare to other shoe brands?
Heel & Buckle is not like any other shoe store, as you may have guessed already. So comparing it with shoe brands in India like Charles & Keith or Aldo would be unfair. In terms of prices, Heel & Buckle shoes are closer to Steve Madden, though definitely higher.

So what are their best shoes?
Choose a smart versatile pair from the fabulous men’s range. Or look for an embellished style in the women’s range.

Heel & Buckle mens shoes

More on the decor
There are some very personal creative touches to the decor that makes you give you a warm feeling. The little shoe tree at the entrance was adorable (see below). And then, there was a vintage typewriter and other such things that added some personality to the store!

Heel & Buckle decor

Heel & Buckle decor

Should you shop at Heel & Buckle?
Absolutely yes for men’s shoes (if you’ve got the budget). If you’re a woman shoeholic, you’re spoilt for choice anyways. It would be best to buy a one-of-a-kind pair that would be the key piece in your ensemble or an investment for seasons to come.

LFW WF 2013 Slideshow: Best of accessories

LFW WF 2013 Slideshow: Best of accessories

I’ve declared Accessories Week this week at Speaking Chic! Here’s kicking off the series with my favourite accessories at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2013. Scroll down for more on the accessories featured in the slide show.

Loved the shoes at…

Shantanu Goenka: Wonderfully embellished and to match the outfits!

Shantanu Goenka shoes

Sneha Arora: No-nonsense manly shoes are required for war, even if it’s only on the ramp.

Sneha Arora at LFW WF 2013

Aditi Holani: The cut-out shoes went well with the distressed look.

Aditi Holani shoes at LFW WF 2013

Noteworthy bags at…

Square Loop by Kanika Sachdeva: Neutral boxy leather bags are just right for work.

Karieshma Sarna: Her embellished clutches are winners all the way through.

And jewellery…

House of Chic: Spikes, skulls and dark metal…. it’s all goth!

Valliyan: Nitya Arora has been on the fashion week circuit for a while now… and we know why she’ll always be popular.

A word on hair accessories

I’ve always believed hair accessories are the most under-rated accessories… so the maang tikkas at Shyamal & Bhumika, bird clips at Shantanu Goenka, and butterflies at Pria Kataria Puri have made their place in my personal lookbook. 🙂

Chic Holiday Guide (Part 1): 15 simple packing tips for a stylish vacation

Chic Holiday Guide (Part 1): 15 simple packing tips for a stylish vacation

If you’re packing for a vacation now, you’re probably confused and your room is a mess. What should you take and what should you leave behind? While I’m not the perfect packer, I’ve put together a list of tips to make the most of your space (and weight!) restrictions. Some of these tips I’ve picked up from reading travel blogs and websites, but most of them are my own. Let me know what you think!

Packing tips for holiday

(Picture courtesy: Arrow)

  1. Make light tops and tees the building blocks of your vacay wardrobe and try to plan the rest of your things around them.
  2. Try sticking to solids, light prints or tops with light detailing.
  3. Prints can be tricky to style. So if you’re carrying any, make sure you have the right pants / jacket or top to pair with the print.
  4. Skip the jeans, pack coloured trousers instead (or very light denim). They weigh less, occupy less space and are way more stylish.
  5. Make sure your trousers are matched with your tops before you pack. You don’t want to look mismatched, even if you’re on holiday!
  6. Linens are great as tops, shirts and pants!
  7. And so are maxi dresses.
  8. Light cotton and linen fabrics are best for all-day wear. Keep the synthetics at home.
  9. For footwear, you will need sneakers if you will be walking a lot, and comfy loafers that go with everything. Open flat sandals are great too.
  10. If you plan to party, carry an LBD or black sequinned/ embellished top.
  11. There should always be scope for interchanging looks and garments in case something gets soiled or damp. So make sure you carry a pair of neutral pants and a white or beige top.
  12. If you’re going to a shopping destination, travel light. You can always shop there, and plan your itinerary accordingly.
  13. The only accessories you need are a spacious bag, couple of cuffs and tiny studs. And a watch so you don’t miss your flight.
  14. I always carry a couple of tops or pants that I need to discard. So I wear them out and get rid of them while travelling.  This way, I have space for my shopping, and a reason to shop! 🙂
  15. No makeup please! Just a light compact powder, lip colour and mascara will do. Eye liner, if you must.
  16. Don’t miss the the sunblock and moisturiser. You will always need them.

Coming Soon: Chic Holiday Guide (Part 2): The old and new vacation essentials

Chic Trend: Take a bite of your favourite citrus fruits!

Chic Trend: Take a bite of your favourite citrus fruits!
Orange, lemon and sweet lime are juicy, sweet and the right of sour. And this summer, they’re delicious enough to wear. An easy balance of colour between neon, sorbet and pop shades, the citrus colours of orange, green and yellow can easily be worn as dresses or separates, and can be paired with each other.
Take a look at Speaking Chic’s citrus picks and read some handy style tips below:
Some tips to wear citrus:
  • These colours should be worn with a light neutral shade like beige, white or khaki. So if you’re wearing an orange top, try on a pair of beige slim fit trousers.
  • For citrusy pants, you could wear a contrasting coloured top or printed blouse.
  • Citrus + citrus = Yummy! (Warning: Take your husband/sibling/ mom’s opinion before you step out in a top-to-toe citrus ensemble).
  • If you’re wearing a bright orange or yellow dress, make that the key piece of your look. Which means your bag, shoes and earrings should be subtle. Nude pumps or a tan belt would look great!

LFW SR 2013: Men’s accessories of the week

LFW SR 2013: Men’s accessories of the week

Surprise, surprise! Men’s accessories suddenly grabbed the spotlight at Lakme Fashion Week Summer Resort 2013. Here’s a look at the top accessories for the guys:

Bags

Bags for boys were spotted in several shows—Shantanu-Nikhil and Arjun Khanna, to name a few

Arjun Khanna LFW SR 2013

Shantanu Nikhil LFW SR 2013

Brooches

Elegance personified at Rohit & Abhishek for Woven Gold.

Brooches at Rohit-Abhishek for Woven Gold

Shoes

High-top sneakers at Kunal Rawal are the ultimate in cool shoes!

Kunal Rawal shoes LFW SR 2013

Mojris aren’t usually seen in fashion shows, so this was a pleasant surprise at the Rohit & Abhishek show.

Shoes at Rohit-Abhishek LFW SR 2013

LFW SR 2013: Footwear of the week

LFW SR 2013: Footwear of the week

Kolhapuris gone wild

Aprajita Toor’s footwear was part of designer Debarun’s ramp show. This designer seems to love to give a personal touch to the typical kolhapuris and sandals. The colours are bright, the embellishments are cute though kitschy—the ones who love the Indian boho look will like these shoes.

Aprajita Toor shoes

Vintage shoes

These wedges from Frou Frou by Archana Rao are embroidered to go with the vintage theme of her collection. Notice the cross-stitch pair on the top left. Archana Rao is perhaps the kind of designer who wants her collection to be exactly the same theme, right down to the last detail (there were similar prints/ embroidery in her garments).

Frou Frou by Archana Rao shoes LFW SR 2013

Unusual (weird?) shoes
Megha Garg had some very unusual shoes. From afar, they seemed like boxes. A friend had to point out that these “green things” were actually footwear. 😛

Megha Garg shoes at LFW SR 2013

Chic Preview: Jeremy Scott’s Adidas shoes with wings and poodles now in India

Chic Preview: Jeremy Scott’s Adidas shoes with wings and poodles now in India

Three words came to mind when I checked out Jeremy Scott’s limited edition range for Adidas Originals- outrageous, outlandish and over-the-top. There were poodles on the shoes, wings on high-top sneakers and chain-lined jackets. That’s partly the reason famous people like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and MIA wear Jeremy Scott.

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Now that the Limited Edition Jeremy Scott collection is in India, the eccentric designer’s work needed a closer look. The bright prints and unexpected shapes are worth a peek.

While Jeremy Scott’s winged shoes aren’t really for everyone, the designs seem to be miniature works of art (they were certainly displayed like art in the Adidas Originals store!).

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The colours are attention-grabbing, and I couldn’t help but stare at the winged shoes. I tried on the sneaker wedges– they’re cute, add height and unlike other heels, they don’t hurt.

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The shoes and clothes in the line are as wearable as you want them to be. For instance, I’d wear the sneaker wedges with a neon tee and jeans, an oversized top and shorts, or even a girly blouse with a skirt. I’d then skip on the other accessories. The cut-out jacket is another winner if you’re the sporty types.

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And what about the signature winged shoes? They’re a beautifully-crafted pair and I can imagine quirky fashion experimenters who love to shock people wearing them. I don’t think I have the personality to carry off such styles, but there are people who do, and they would rock Jeremy Scott!

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Jeremy Scott for Adidas is available at selected Adidas Originals stores across India. Prices start at Rs 8999 for a pair of shoes.

Chic Opinion: Why Indian men are obsessed with shoes

Chic Opinion: Why  Indian men are obsessed with shoes

It’s true– Indian men love shoes, and they love them more than Indian women. Here’s proof:

 

Google Trends- shoes for men

 

This graph shows the relative volume of searches done in the past one year in India for the terms “men shoes” and “women shoes”. Terms like “shoes for men” and “shoes for women” show similar trends. Surprised? So was I!

As the Google trend chart indicates, men’s shoes are way more popular than women’s shoes in India (globally the search trend is just the opposite). So does that mean Indian men are more interested in shoes than women? Well, it does seem to be so.

With most Indian women complaining that the guys here are just not fashionable, this little statistic has been puzzling me for a while now. Most women I spoke to said they knew guys who loved shoes but just didn’t know why.

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To get some answers, I went straight to the source- guys I know who love shoes. This includes a colleague who loves wearing coloured shoes to work (our office dress code is smart casual) and a couple of friends. Here’s what they had to say:

Men have fewer fashion choices or options to change their look. There’s tshirts and shirts, jeans and trousers on a normal day. So how do you get some variety? With accessories, specifically shoes.

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Watches are expensive, ties are almost redundant and in India you don’t get to experiment much with jewellery like cuff links or chains. Changing the shoes are an easy and inexpensive way to update a look.

Guys like to stick to specific types of shirts or styles (they even buy multiple pieces of a single garment at one time), and often repeat jeans throughout the week, so the lack of variety is made up with a change in footwear.

I think this seems to be a reasonable enough explanation. What do you think?

PS- Ladies, next time your man complains about your footwear collection, point to his shoe rack. And men, there’s nothing to be ashamed about- women completely understand what shoe love is, so admit it. 🙂

 

Chic 2012: Brands that created buzz

Chic 2012: Brands that created buzz

New Movers

Formal wear suddenly became important with the launch of Kenneth Cole and Thomas Pink. I’m especially excited about the Kenneth Cole though the Indian tax-laden prices could stretch anyone’s wallet.

Kenneth Cole store

Thomas Pink store

WonderBra lifted Indian women’s hopes (pun intended) by making their debut on Zivame.com, while Furla’s accessories made for a colourful display at their Palladium store.

Wonderbra on zivame

Superdry got the best launch publicity ever with Shahrukh Khan wearing a Superdry vest in Challa from Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

SRK in Superdry- Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Copy

And Sephora’s first store in India was the best Christmas gift ever! Can’t wait for it to come to Mumbai, even though a friend has promised to bring me some goodies from the Delhi flagship at Select Citywalk this week. Fingers crossed.

Coming soon

Lipsy for party dresses and red carpet gowns; Stuart Weitzman for pricey men’s and women’s accessories; Dune for footwear and accessories that are a bit more affordable.

Lipsy

With Indian law now allowing 100% FDI in single-brand retail, we can expect many more brands like Topshop and H&M to consider setting up shop on Indian soil.

Almost disappeared

Esprit called off their deal with Madura, so the brand’s flagship stores in India are already shutting down. Miss Sixty is nowhere to be seen either—any idea if the Italian brand’s around at all?

This is the second in a series of posts rounding up the Indian fashion scene in 2012.