Kung-Fu Shoes: In the Nude

Having covered just about every color in the rainbow and then some, let us turn now to the latest fashion trend circling red carpets and walkways alike: nude shoes.  At first I was skeptical of flesh toned footwear and thought it might make the feet look took naked and throw off a whole outfit.  However, when I began scoping sites for styles to fill up this guide, I realized that they are far more practical than I gave them credit for.  When heading into the office, sometimes the last thing on your mind is slipping on a pair of amazing pumps – after all, Iron Fist graphics may not be suitable for all corporate audiences.  Though color is always encouraged when coordinating a stellar ensemble, the addition of a nude shoe could very well prevent distraction from a flawless makeup job or perfectly coiffed curls.  Finally, depending on the shape, finish and even application, nude will become the new black, or pink, or whatever it is the kids are wearing these days.

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Imitations may exist, but none can duplicate the quality of Pleaser and their Tattoo Print Pumps, which have a creamy background that has been covered in anchors, keys, swallows and stars.  The interior is a lovely shade of red, though personally I would remove the satin bows and likely relocate them to my hair.

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Black lace surrounds a nude satin base to form Bordello’s Beauty, a Victorian style kitten heel ankle boot that may very well carry frills and flowers to project an image of femininity, but only the imagination limits the number of ways the boots can be combined with other articles of clothing.

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Death’s Head moths surrounded by hearts, flowers and broken mesh are just the beginning of why I am infatuated with Iron Fist’s Lovelace Heels.  A pouf of tulle sits atop the peep toe while a black satin ribbon ties around your ankle to strap you into five and half inches of platformed glory, where you are ready for whatever adventure the evening may offer.

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Though the tone of Jeffrey Campbell’s Lisa Marie is slightly more tan than taupe, there is something about the silhouette that piqued my interest straight away.  Upon closer inspection, the golden studs, toe cap and vertical plates on the back strap are all details which make this high heeled boot anything but ordinary.

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Two of Jeffrey Campbell’s signature styles have been combined to form the sleek and sexy Foxy Nite; the Foxy t-bar upper is set on the Night Walk base and both have been covered in soft nude suede.  Ideally these would be worn with those essential soft chiffon Summer dresses, denim shorts and a tank top, or even with your favorite swimsuit.

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Create a lasting impression with Betsey Johnson’s Makenna, a slingback style peep toe platform in a blushing nude patent that has an adjustable heel strap accented by a gold buckle, and subtle leopard print interior.

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The blush hued nude patent straps, over-sized buckle and spiked wedge are all elements that make Betsey Johnson’s Morggann your sole mate for the Summer, combining simple structure with edgy details to give you a versatile shoe that will stand out yet not take over your outfit.

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On the paler end of the spectrum one can find Regan, a platform sandal with plenty of attitude by Penny Sue that features a sculpted heel, gold spikes studded along straps and a back zippy that makes them easy to put on or take off.

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Advertised as a “must have neutral”, Cannes by Just Fabulous has a chic open toe nude patent upper and a geometric woven pattern on the platformed heel which will give your feet a ‘light’ and ‘airy’, especially while lounging in a garden sipping ice cold home made lemonade; vodka optional.

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Rumored to be inspired by Ivanka Trump, Eris from Kelsi Dagger is said to be able to make one feel like a million bucks, with caged straps as the upper made from polished beige patent, an elastic heel strap which allows for the right fit, and a platform that elevates you above the rest of the peasants.

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Though it may seem a bit demure compared to some of the other styles presented here, Gwost by Guess has cutout details along beige leather that wraps your foot in natural comfort.  The wooden heel and platform continue that organic feel, and the open toe design ensures you can wear it no matter how warm the weather gets.

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For fans of casual street wear, Ego and Greed offers Detroit, a sneaker with an old school shape, thick black rubber sole that allegedly “gets more awesome with age”, and patches held on by small circular gold studs.  Whether you are dressing down or getting ready to rock out, one should definitely have at least one pair of sneakers that are going to withstand endless hours of stomping to your favorite band or long nights wandering sidewalks of your favorite city.

Mode Merr: New Arrivals

Providing garments that have been hand tailored in the USA since 1989, the designs that Mode Merr has offered in the past are nothing short of polished and sophisticated with the right touches of glamour and subtle sex appeal which has made it a favorite among fans of the pinup style.  Their latest releases are all about sleek materials that hug curves in all of the right places, where dresses and separates are versatile and can be personalized with the right accessories.  This guide will highlight a few of my favorites and pair them with heels, bags and jewelry for complete looks suitable for every occasion.

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A part of the new Novelty Top Collection, Miss Ruth is a super flattering pullover that has 3/4 length tapered raglan sleeves, a graceful rolled collar and matching buttons.  It is defined as being ultra comfy and “a dream to wear”, having been made from a non-itch, lightweight Lurex Eyelash Knit that can be worn for any occasion from day to evening.  Fans of the Perfect Skirt can now get it in this lush Dove Gray, and as the name suggests this curve-hugging pencil skirt has enough options to ensure the right fit.

Create an hourglass figure by adding a wide belt, the Jade Stripe one by Vivien of Holloway will do the trick while bringing a bit of color to the otherwise neutral palette.  In fact, go ahead and slip on a pair of Iron Fist Crosswinds platform heels, a heart racing design with a teal and grey background topped by grey, black and white skulls and flowers.  While the weather remains chilly, choose black opaque Fully Fashioned Stockings from What Katie Did, which can also be worn by those who do not care for sheer styles.  For a bag that is flexible and chic, check out the vegan friendly Bonebreaker Tote, a stunning skull graphic on the front and solid double handle straps accented with black bows.  It also comes with a detachable, adjustable crossbody strap, zip pockets and enough space to make it convenient for school, work or even a day of shopping.

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Here we see the Perfect Skirt in an enchanting Moss Green that really stands out against the skin and harmonizes well with the Eye Candy blouse.  The black stretch velvet has a Peter Pan collar and keyhole neckline trimmed with black ric-rac and fastens with as grosgrain ribbon bow.  While it has been pulled over the skirt in the photo, for a more 40’s style I would suggest getting the raised waistline and tuck it in, snapping on a black two inch belt to really emphasize a small waist.

zombie-bat-purseThe silver skulls, green roses and studded strap of the Muerte Punk Princess platform heels give this outfit a royal touch, the sexy pumps defined by a nearly five inch stiletto and peep toe.  Though the name might suggest a tattered mess, the Ripped Net Pantyhose by Lip Service actually has an interesting pattern that just might have people checking out your legs.  Not every outfit has to be serious, and so one can always spice things up a bit with a kitschy Zombie Bat Purse, a black and white polka dot bag with kisslock closure that has an adorable green zombie bat with bow embroidered on the front.

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Dangerously gorgeous, the Vamp Dress is now available in a marvelous Ponte de Roma, a pliable and breathable medium weight knit that has abundant stretch.  The pink and black stripe sleeves are made out of a cotton lycra and can be worn either on or off the shoulder depending on how much skin you feel comfortable exposing.  Either way, the cut highlights your neck and collarbone, which is lovely if you are tattooed or like wearing statement jewelry.

lux-de-ville-sin-city-purseThis time opt for a Stretch Black Patent Belt to give the illusion of a smaller waist, while Stripe and Lace Pantyhose will make your legs look long and lean.  When a spectator style is joined with the classic features of a pump, the result will be Empire City by Bordello where baby pink patent brogue piping contrasts the shiny black body.  Get ready to take a gamble with Lux de Ville’s Sin City Purse, a combination of baby pink snakeskin and sleek black vinyl with plenty of room inside, which makes a great companion no matter where you go.  Since I mentioned jewelry, add a touch of creepy chic with a Skeleton Hand Necklace from Restyle.

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Advertised to “mold to your curves with just the right amount of support as you slink across a crowded room looking like a million bucks”, the Fancy Vamp Peasant Dress combines a sexy form-fitting pencil skirt with a fierce feline print top that will certainly garner you a lot of attention.

too-fast-roses-and-leopard-knuckles-bagLayer with a cardigan such as the Cropped Keyhole Sweater, currently 25% off over at Too Fast along with the Rose and Leopard Mary Jane Heels and Diamond Net Tights.  The belt in the photo is not included, but Vivien of Holloway has enough three inch elastic belts like this snazzy black and gold number to create a nipped in waist.  Though it may be gaudy to some, the Roses and Leopard bag by Too Fast adds a bit of kitsch to the outfit, complimenting the colors in it as well as coordinating with those fabulous shoes.  The vinyl exterior is covered with tiny leopard print behind realistic red roses, the handle a faux set of brass knuckles that will help you keep a firm grip on your valuables.

Kung-Fu Shoes: See Spot Strut

There is something about the repetition of circles on a solid background that I find gleeful, as they add immediate interest to garments and accessories alike while invoking a variety of influences, some of which have been explored here in the past.  While some trends come and go, this one seems to remain prominent among contemporary fashions from the runway to street wear.  Personally I have yet to acquire a much coveted pair of polka dot shoes, though my aim is to find ones that not only can be easily incorporated into my wardrobe, but also offer comfort with long-term wear.  If all else fails, one could potentially create a stencil and add their own spots to their favorite pair of shoes, though I would suggest some practice before attacking footwear and making a mess instead of art.

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The sparse dots on Iron Fist’s Faunarama Wedge are accented by a bright turquoise halo that matched the print on the platform which depicts darling does, skulls, bunnies and bows, with a contrasting brilliant red interior that has been infected by smaller dots; a buckled strap with dangling skull charm keeps these babies on your feet while you are out and about.

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Another example of how polka dots don’t always have to be the center of attention, Posey is a great lace up platform boot with soft pink background covered in kisses, blue plants and plenty of skulls and cross bones.  The black and white polka dot print packs a punch to the heel and platform, as well as trims a few of the boots curves.

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Break out of mundane fashion ‘rules’ with the eye-popping Lolita Love, a hybrid of bold polka dots and realistic leopard print .  The large red flower is removable and perhaps could find a home in your favorite hairstyle, while the leopard print bow and secret interior illustrations are nice details not to be overlooked.

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Unexpected style strikes again where Lounge Days takes the Society Suicide print and mixes it with the same bold white and black polka dots we saw on the boot above.  This time dainty touches such as a matching bow, buckle ankle strap and skull charm along with a rounded toe and open top accentuate your feet, while a black and turquoise striped interior pulls all of the colors together.

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Here we have the original Society Suicide platform pump in all of its dazzling satin beauty, a floral print standing out against the black background. Though it might be difficult to see in this profile photo, there is a polka dot strap that reaches across the foot and ends in the big bow on the side.

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The Ink Polka Ruffle Wedge from T.U.K. is an innovated design for alternative fashion fans, featuring a black leather peep toe upper placed on a polka dot pedestal, ruffled detail along the top and bows accenting the vamp as well as the back heel.

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Though it consists of only two pairs at the moment, my Red Shoe Collection is something I take pride in because I enjoy having quality shoes that can really set an outfit off, and these are currently at the top of my Must Have List.  An updated Bordello style, the Big Easy is six inches of red and white polka dot beauty, a Mary Jane strap finishing off the top and ensuring your security for an adventurous evening.

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Cure those Winter blues by planning your Spring wardrobe around retro and vintage themes, which can be done with a snazzy little number named Shelly.  Surprisingly the design comes from Paris Hilton, which does not deter from the sophisticated polka dots on a peep toe pump that is set atop five inches of cork, a double-stacked bow accenting the vamp.

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Simply deceptive, these black and yellow pump are a collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama, where the choice of a perky primary produces distinct difference against the daring dark LV logo printed along the pump, which has been set off nicely with a patent vinyl polka dot bow.

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Hailed as a long time icon of alternative footwear, Dr. Marten never ceases to amaze and presents this delightful pair of Pink Polka Dot Boots, the candy pink color nicely set off by black eyelets and laces.

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A hodgepodge of four different types of polka dots in various color combinations, this peep toe wedge sandal by Pierre Hardy is not your average discount shoe store reject, but rather the future of fashionable footwear that comes with a high price tag.

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At first glance this shoe may seem like a lot to take in, but I simply love Aphrodite by Irregular Choice, footwear that was certainly made to feel anyone feel like a deity.  The platform is covered in a navy polka dot fabric accented by matching patent bows and trimmed with red piping.  The open toe leads to a cage style toe, where a cushion of red and white polka dot are waiting to spoil your feet.  The suede heel and metallic snake skin type interior round out the details that make this a truly fantastic shoe.  On the bottom is the real surprise, where you will find a turquoise wallpaper of tridents and flowers offset an illustration of a mermaid riding a seahorse.  These are perhaps the most decadent pair in this guide, but all are equally easy to wear when coordinated with the right dose of confidence!

Kung-Fu Shoes: Back 2 Black

Having covered just about every other hue in the color spectrum, it seems appropriate to write about something a bit more basic, that being the complete absence of color.  Black is more commonly associated with various subcultures, the most prominent of which are ‘goths’ and the ‘beatniks’ before them.  Since I am not very fond of labels except when it comes to identifying myself, I will focus on the reasons why I find black appealing.  Being a strong neutral, it coordinates well with other earth tones and lends contrast to bright primary or secondary colors.  Some feel it should be a wardrobe staple in order to indicate their alliance to a specific genre and there may have been a time where I was guilty of that myself.  However I have now come to use black as a base to build a fabulous outfit upon, particularly when pairing it with red [my favorite color] and accessories that add texture but not bulk.

In Johnny Cash’s aptly titled song Man In Black, the lyrics explain that “I wear the black for the poor and beaten down; the sick and lonely old; in mournin’ for the lives that could have been; the thousands that who have died” among many other reasons.  Though there is a somber tone to the words and the meaning behind wearing black, this song is a reminder that it has often been used in mourning of losing a loved one, particularly in Victorian times.  Having said that though, I do find that it often gets tiring when people assume the purpose behind a black ensemble is to invoke images of death, as the color can be slimming when applied in the right areas and even offers warmth when soaking up rays of sun.  Black footwear apparently now carries connotations of fetish gear and makes the wearer a dominatrix, which is just about as ridiculous as assuming everyone who wears black is ‘goth’.  Though your clothes can certainly say a lot about you, always make sure that your personality comes through so that everyone knows you are not another stereotype, but rather a fierce fashionista creating a statement they will pay attention to.

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From the front, Rock & Republic’s Loretta may seem like just another black pump.  However, when turned around, there is a corset style lacing that goes down the back of the heel.  Combined with the leather of the pump itself, a pointed toe and 4 3/4 inches of height, there will undoubtedly be many questions of where you got those shoes when you enter a room where everyone else is in the same old heels.

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Nothing about Singapore indicates that it is an Ed Hardy design, except for maybe the letter insignia on either side of the vamp and the snarling tiger illustration on the lining.  The black patent peep toe pump is also accented with silver and black zippers that enhance the curves of the shoe, making it sleek and sexy without a tons of bells and whistles.

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Set the fashion bar high and let your status be known with Ramma by Betsey Johnson, a black leather peep toe pump decorated with a heavy dose of glitter, two rows of spikes and a hint of animal print on the inside of the stiletto.

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If that last style leaves you wanting more, Letona delivers with a wedge that tops out at six inches, the black leather accented by a strip of chunky glitter and spikes on the back, with a surprise leopard print lining.

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Usually Iron Fist is known for stunning artwork in bold colors that wrap a shoe in graphic imagery that might make one think twice about actually wearing it outside, but the Ruff Rider seen here is a simple synthetic leather peep toe platform where the details are what stand out.  Sequins clustered together form skulls, while there is a zipper on the out step which actually functions, and more zipper trim along a faux tongue that sticks out over the peep toe, accented with silver studs.

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Tucked between the multiple black straps of Lounge Leopard are spots and tattoo style flowers which add a nice bit of surprise when these black booties are being taken off.  The gold hooks in front bring a shiny element that one can match jewelry and other accessories too.

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Don’t adjust your computer screen folks, Lace Up by Jeffrey Campbell is a heelless platform that not only has interesting cutouts on the sides, but is also decorated with dozens of silver grommets that give the 6 1/4 inch shoe it’s name.

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Smile like a crocodile in Rocksrping, gorgeous shiny and scaled platforms with two thick crossed buckle straps that should keep you securely in these shoes as you dance the night away.

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If you are hopelessly addicted to Jeffrey Campell’s stunning designs, you might have to check yourself into the Clinic where futuristic footwear is a must.  Forged from black calf, these babies have a definite industrial vibe, what with the closed toe, silver buckled straps and steel plates secured to the 5″ platforms that will assist you in stomping to techno beats.

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Rock major attitude with Tick Chain, which takes the legendary Tick shape and adds a layer of heavy metal chain at the top that swishes back and forth ensuring that those who pass by will know you are not to be trifled with.

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Of course if you love JC’s Tick then you will go mad for its lovely and luscious cousin Jesmeen, reported as being the “younger and hotter” version of a design that has become synonymous with the label.  That heavily studded heel is easily recognizable, though up top is pleated leather with a baby strap, making these both flirty and fun especially when paired with brightly colored opaque tights.

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Taking you to higher and better places than ever before, Slash Low has similar elements to another style [Slash TK] though this version grazes the ankle and has blend of straps that stretch across the solid black pebbled leather back heel.

Winter Warrior

When the weather turns frightful it seems that seeking warmth in garments conjures images of bulky layering, lots of flannel and plaid, ridiculous puffy coats and tacky chunks of fake fur.  The alternative is far more delightful in that there are plenty of brilliant hues and bright patterns which will perk up even the dreariest of Winter afternoons.  Depending on the occasion and what your personal aesthetics are, it can be agreed functionality is just as important as being fashionable, because no matter how cute or trendy you think that new adorable sweater dress is, you will still be cold if you have don’t have the proper accessories.  Risking the flu is not worth showing off skin when the mercury plummets and the wind is strong enough to chill you to the bone.  Be sensible and sophisticated, building up anticipation for when you arrive to your destination and stun the room as you reveal a carefully coordinate outfit.  This guide is filled with festive products to make any holiday you celebrate a jolly one whether you are giving a gift or treating yourself to something special!

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The amazing Stick N Poke Hoodie by Iron Fist features a pop art portrait of a tattooed lady who was once exhibited in the sideshow, so obviously it immediately captured my attention with the bold colors and striking imagery.  The managable fabric also allows you to layer it over your favorite tank or baby doll but still fit under a coat without feeling awkward.

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Following in the same vein, Sourpuss presents their Tattoo Lady Cardigan, where black cotton is emblazoned with “The Amazing  Tattooed Lady” and traditional tattoo flash across the back, while roses have been embroidered on either side of the chest.  Ideal for draping over the shoulders with a halterneck dress or paired with a pencil skirt and pumps.

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Get into the spirit of the season with this kitschy Cocktail Cardigan by Collectif;  the basic Winter wardrobe staple has tiki mugs, fancy drinks and fruit embroidered along the neckline.  Obviously it would be great with a tiki print dress and coordinating heels that will make you the life of the party as you sip alcohol out of a coconut with a tiny paper umbrella in it, forgetting about the dreary weather.

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The vintage silhouette of Hell Bunny’s Red Star Coat provides a great base for the check and star patterned jacket.  Black faux fur actually serves a purpose here, trimming the hood, cuffs, hem and pockets, as do other details such as pompoms on drawstrings and toggle fasteners attached to black vinyl hearts.  Not fond of the ears but thankfully they are removable and would probably be good for use in crafting or something.

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These fantastic Fairground Leggings promise an evening of fun with an elastic waist to ensure a great fit, while the thick black and white stripes assist in elongating the legs to create the illusion that your are long and lean without much effort.  Being thicker than ordinary tights and stockings, they can be paired with a variety of other items and serve you well if you enjoy that type of versatility.

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Cotton leggings will be your savior when the brisk chill of Winter settles in and you still want to rock all of your favorite frocks.  Lolita Bones from Lip Service offers a morbid twist on traditional stripes with their vertical bone print, sort of a nod to the skeleton tights but without attempting to replicate anatomy.

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These quirky Split Skinny Jeans from Tripp are also crafted from comfortable cotton and might require a bit of confidence to rock the one black leg, one bright red leopard print leg look.  However, they can easily go with a slouchy T-shirt, tank top with cardigan or even under a short dress while rocking tall boots.

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These babies are so deliciously tacky that I actually kind of dig the mash-up of patterns and colors going on.  Iron Fist ensures you won’t get lost in blizzard conditions with these blindingly bright Lounge Leopard Boots, where white and black polka dot faux fur cuffs trim the tops of lightweight microfiber printed with leopard spots, sparrows and roses.

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Take caution when wearing the Iron Fist Lacey Days Clogs, as these matte black platform heels are not recommended for frolicking in the snow, but rather for turning heads at your annual office holiday party.  Printed with shiny skull Victorian lace, there are plenty of other features such as the faux wool fold at the ankle and silver studs around the base will keep your feet looking good all Winter long.

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Red and black stripes are punctuated with a white embroidered sparrow on these Sourpuss Mittens, which are fingerless gloves with fold over mittens.  Personally I find the combination to be really fun as it gives you the benefits of both styles in one accessory.

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Covering your head is a great way to trap in heat when spending time outdoors, and the Sink Or Swim Trapper Hat has plenty of white shirpa lining inside to make that possible.  On the outside is a black background  printed with an anchor and star jacquard pattern, large pompoms making it easy to tie.

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Since I get a kick out of coordinating winter accessories, there is no shame in suggesting the Sink Or Swim Scarf to go along with the trapper hat that features the same detailed print.

All of these great fashions and much more can be found by shopping Sourpuss!

Kung-Fu Shoes: Turquoise Poise

Though no longer officially a part of Carny Style, Kung-Fu Shoes remains a popular article and will continue to be posted once a month under the broader Fashion category that I recently added to the blog.  This way I can write about all the ridiculous and wonderful shoes out there without having to find a way to relate them to what I consider to be Circus Couture.  There are also new categories for Hair, Makeup and Bath & Body, all of which are regularly updated with articles that discuss the latest products from companies that I support in one way or another.

In color psychology, turquoise regulates emotion to create balance and stability.  Being a combination of blue and a small amount of yellow, it emits the harmony, serenity and tranquility of blue, along with the inspirational vitality of yellow.  This is a color that can revitalize your spirit during moments of fatigue and alleviate feelings of loneliness by generating calmness then offering a shot of invigoration.  Turquoise is great to have around in an emergency because it can aid in sharp thinking and decision-making, while also supporting the growth of organizational and management skills.  The hue gives control over speech and expression, building confidence and allowing you to have clear thoughts when addressing the public.  It has been said that turquoise has the ability to amplify levels of ingenuity or help build self-esteem, though there is a risk of becoming arrogant and narcissistic.

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Starting this style guide off strong with Iron Fist’s Ruff Rider Combat Boot because they are said to “show off your wild party girl side” and I have no shame endorsing such behavior.  These glitzy turquoise boots are covered with silver sequin skulls accented by studs, and while they lace up, there is also a zipper on the side to easily slip them on.  A one inch block heel also adds a bit of lift without the scariness of a stiletto.

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A modern interpretation of what I would call ‘ugly shoes’ as a kid, Bunnys Boat is a stylish flat with eyelets, hot pink stitching and patent bow that help keep them on trend instead of being the embarrassing things your father buys at the thrift store.

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If you are struggling with the question of Love Me Love Me Not, stop plucking petals and hit the town with these rose and anchor printed flats.  The bright colors and bold designs are sure to turn heads, while polka dot piping, matching bow and a black interior  that is splattered with a galaxy of crossed bones, hearts with bows and grinning skulls with bowlers strike up appreciation for artistic footwear.

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In a dream you are stumbling through towering aisles of boring brown boxes, each containing square shoes in neutral shades that are too small.  Frantically throwing one box after the next to the floor, you are ready to cry out in anguish when your eye catches something in the distance.  Wading through the catastrophe you created, X Marks The Spot where you discover an amazing treasure.  The silhouette of a pump has been wrapped in turquoise leopard print and trimmed with layers of multi color sequins, a black vinyl strip of square studs snaking across the toe.

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Of course if you desire a more dramatic dose of fierce footwear, you can always go for the X Marks the Spot Platform Boot, which features leopard print satin, 5 1/2 inch  heel and 1 1/2 inch platform, both of which are decked out in sparkling sequins.  The treads on the bottoms help you grip the sidewalk when you are stomping through fallen leaves, and I am enamored by this style because I feel it really defines me as Jersey Girl – tacky, loud and unapologetic.

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Once you have reached that proverbial ‘X’, you dig deep to find the Treasure Box, a wild leopard print wedge with a black cuff that displays an array of multi color sequins.  Though it is the third style which uses the same elements, that does not detract from the fact that it is a visually gripping shoe and will surely standout among the standard shoes one sees during the colder months.

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Simple yet stunning, this classic silhouette from Bordello is a shoe that every fashionista needs in their collection!  The lavish turquoise satin of Biggest Little City is covered in a collection of glittering rhinestones which really set off the 5 3/4 inch heel, ideal for a flirty pinup shoot or sophisticated burlesque routine.

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These round toe pumps by Michael Antonio are perfect for everyday where, as they can easily shift from day to night or work to play with the right styling.   The metallic pattern on Love Me is reminiscent of a reptile and adds some edge to the 4 1/2 inch heel.

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The edgy Gidget Wedge has turquoise straps contrasted by a black five-inch platform, along with square studs and a sturdy strap that should appeal to those  who want a bit of rocker chic in their wardrobe.

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Sweetheart cutouts, a buckled ankle strap and thick platform are all details that will make you fall in love with Cuffed by Jeffrey Campbell.  Obsession will run high over this six-inch metallic turquoise platform heel which is as romantic as it is rebellious.

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Zigzag detailing is combined with clear plastic trim to create the weirdly awesome Audrey 2, a suede pointed toe platform wedge with ankle strap that will add the right amount of quirk to your outfit.

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Have no fear, the snake part of these Maritza Platform Block Heels is completely synthetic and therefore should give you no qualms about rocking outrageous footwear if you are an animal lover.

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Turquoise is the color of the evolved soul and allows you to empathize with others, while also containing strong powers of observation.  This can be utilized to identify the way to success by balancing the pros and cons of any situation, allowing for solid decision-making.  Sometimes it is capable of being impractical and idealistic, appearing excessively calm, cool and collected.  Too much may give you an over excited mind and generate emotional imbalance, while too little may cause you to hold back your emotions which can result in bewilderment about your direction in life.

Style Spotlight: Gloomth’s Haunted Circus

Whenever I hear that a clothing line releases something that is supposed to be influenced by the circus, my immediate knee-jerk reaction is to cringe with fear, wonder how much striped fabric will be used and then sigh because I prefer a red-and-black combination over the usual white-and-black that is used for a lot of garments.  It can never be said too many times that I do not believe slapping stripes on something deems it “circus inspired”, especially since such items are readily available and take little effort to add to an ordinary outfit.  There seems to also be something called “dark carnival” that allegedly mixes elements of certain subcultures with…well, I am not really sure because carnival and circus are two very different things.

Personally, I do not interchange the terms because of the meanings I attach to them and tend to be kind of confused by their constant misuse.  Being an active part of a culture that people use as a basis behind costumes and characters, the latter of which people dedicate their time to creating an entire fantasy out of things I have actually experienced, I tend to be amused then realize that this what society thinks being a part of a circus is like.  The point being that it should be understandable why I can easily cast doubt on using circus as a theme and marketing campaign.

With a cheerful invitation to explore a beautiful nightmare, Gloomth presents a collection with “show stopping pieces inspired by a spooky nocturnal circus“.  The designs feature plenty of frills, pompoms and the company’s signature strangeness, each with a name which gives a good indication of where the vision for each piece came from.  Aptly titled Haunted Circus, the line has consistent characteristics that not only makes it cohesive but allows one to truly see the story behind the clothes.

Making a grand entrance is something that I have often enjoyed since first impressions are very important, particularly when it comes to being a performer.  The aim is often to grab attention and one could certainly do that with the Star Carousel dress, which has attributes such as a rounded neckline, gold crinkled taffeta and matching bow on the bust line, as well as a natural waist that flares into a very large A-line skirt.  The skirt is trimmed with ruffles, lace and hand cut, raw-edge gold taffeta stars, while the body of the dress can be made with black-and-white striped or solid black fabric.

Though in the warmer seasons one could get away with leaving legs bare, particularly if they happen to be tattooed, the Winter wind is creeping in and I recommend you try red tights, especially since bold colors are trendy and would really pick up on the lace in the skirt.  Summon your ability to Seduce a crowd with cutout black and white Spectator pumps by Pleaser, five inch stiletto heels that lace up to create a show stopping silhouette.  Flatter your figure and your waist with Sabotage, a black faux fur coat by Iron Fist that will bring our your inner femme fatale.  The jacket has a large collar, faux leather belt that is removable and is lined in pink with black skulls, handcuffs, poison bottles and more!

Maria Spelterini was a daredevil circus performer who was the first woman to cross Niagara Gorge on a highwire in 1897, and so the Spelterini dress is named for her in the hopes of encouraging grand aspirations. The dress is designed with a longer, form-fitting bodice that sits below the waist to give the effect of a slimmer torso, while the black collar curves over the shoulders to frame the face.  It also has a wide A-line skirt which can fit a petticoat beneath, a horizontal band of stripes to break up the pattern.  A raw-edged red heart has been sewn to the front, while the skirt has been hemmed with small white pompoms flecked with gold.  Much like its counterpart, this dress is also available in solid black.

Continue the illusion that you are tall and lean with red and black vertical stripe tights; breaking up the monotony of black and white with a splash of color also makes your outfit more visually stimulating.  The Bordello line of Pleaser never fails to deliver fabulous footwear, so Tempt onlookers with a two tone patent Mary Jane, the movement between the black and white adding contrast to the straight lines of the stripes.  As mentioned earlier, presentation plays a vital role in performance and so there is no shame in flaunting opulence in the form of a Lady Lovecraft deluxe silk shrug made by Lovechild Boudoir.  Crafted from 100% dupion silk, this ruffled shrug is edged in black lace with a soft tulle frill underneath for extra volume; the black, ivory or red would suit this look.  Tie it all together with red silk burlesque gloves from Leg Avenue, the black lace overlay and faux pearl buttons adding to all of the other details.

The third dress of this collection is meant to be a striking casual piece for an eccentric daytime style.  Stimulated by the agile aerial artists of  traditional circus, the Trapeze dress is Gloomth’s interpretation of what they would wear while spending some time on the ground.  Much like the other dresses, this festive frock features vertical stripes offset by an unbleached raw cotton yolk and matching trim around the hem to give it a vintage flavor.  [Black is also available as an option for these accents.]  The cut is said to be remarkably flattering, as it is fitted at the bust and then floats away, while two darts at the front maintain the A-line shape to give you an overall airy feeling.  A raw edged red heart has been sewn to the right front hip, and side hem pockets give you a secret hiding places for all sorts of tricks or treats.

Despite popular belief that when they aren’t performing, circus folk sit around having bohemian parties with tea and crumpets, relaxing is a lot more laid-back than that and can be reflected in an outfit with a Vintage Cardigan by Sourpuss.  This lovely ivory cardigan is styled after those so often seen in vintage fashion magazines with pearl buttons, a removable black rose and pointelle detail on the wrists and hem.  Stimulate optical imagination with sheer Chevron Pantyhose from Lip Service and a pair of black lace Victorian Arm Sleeves.  Compliment with Splendor, magnificent white and black boots from the Funtasma line of Pleaser shoes.  The boot comes to about mid-calf, decorated with ten black buttons and trimmed with black lace; they also have a side zip which makes them easy to put on and take off.

These dresses can obviously be coordinated with the Ringmaster Circus Jacket: black and white stripes bell sleeves, corset lacing, sharp lapels, pompoms, peplum, white tulle, gold stars and a heart applique are just a few features that will make you the center of attention!

As a heartbreaking character of pantomime, Pierrot pines for a lover they cannot have and serves as tragic muse for the PomPom Shirt of the same name.  There are many features that add an air of whimsy to the garment, such as puffed short sleeves, ruffled hem, buttons down the front, corset lacing in the back and a rounded Peter Pan style collar that is actually a strand of gold flecked pompoms, which can also be found adorning the sleeve cuffs.  The red heart that appears on two of the dresses above has been stitched onto the left front, and for those that would prefer the shirt in black can have their wish granted!

For a more dramatic look, wear it unbuttoned over Aviatrix – another Haunted Circus item that is a fun little romper dedicated to female daredevils such as Ethel Dare, known as “Queen of the Air” for walking on the wings of planes – or snapped up tight with the Viola Corset Skirt.  In lieu of yet more stripes opt for opaque tights with a black and white diamond pattern, then slip in to a pair knee high black velvet Ringmaster boots, also by Funtasma.  Then take your choice of black polka dot 6-button length fingerless gloves, red and black stripe fingerless burlesque gloves or black fringe burlesque gloves by Lalas Couture.

The final items of this collection have been combined to create a slightly creepy yet chic look using the Un-Tamer Vest and Sideshow Bloomers.  Many aspects of the unisex vest make it a very visually appealing piece: the black and white stripes trimmed in gold piping, removable gold panels and puffed cap sleeves trimmed with black fringe.  There are two pointed tails in the back and all of the buttons are actually skulls-n-crossbones!  Meanwhile, the bloomers have an elastic waist and leg cuffs, flat front and plenty of ruffles that trim the cuffs and are layered with black scalloped lace in three rows on the back.

Prevent the outfit from being overwhelmed by selecting simple yet effect accessories like black distressed net armwarmers and red fishnet thigh highs with a back seam, both available from Leg Avenue.  The latter can be held up with as set of Too Fast Garters that are black elastic printed with gold stars and have two clips to attach to your stockings.  Check the seams and then slip into a pair of Dame boots, another stunning design from Funtasma that is crafted from golden patent leather and held together with matching lace.  A sheer tulle skirt layered over the bloomers can produce an amusing silhouette, though be sure the length is not too long or they will surely be lost beneath the floof, or now would be a good time to use that gold Lip Service Itty Bitty Micro Mini as a playful belt.

Head wear can go in a few different directions depending on the type of charm you want to infuse into your look.  For example, the two point fold open Garrison style Gaze-Cap by Futurestate or the PVC Wedge by Artifice that is modeled after an air force hat is ideal for those who are into military fashion.  One can never go wrong with a sturdy top hat, particularly one that is as striking as My Heart Belongs To You, made by Rag Dollies Madhouse, a glorious red and black striped hat made from scratch and adorned with an oval fabric picture of a crow, bones and the human heart framed by pleated black ribbon and lace.  The Etsy seller also has a miniature version that is accented by rooster feathers and a bow, as well as the Voodoo Heart, a black and white striped hat seamed with red stitching, pleated black lace and an adorable red plush heart reminiscent of the one that can be found in the Haunted Circus collection.

Overall I would say that these items are definitely wearable whether specifically aiming for an aesthetic influenced by the circus or just wanting to add something different to your everyday wardrobe.  The way an outfit is style certainly is at the discretion of the person wearing the clothes, but I always prefer a look that is unified by a theme.  When it comes to circus it seems rather easy to throw on the stripes, a corset, some heels and a petticoat, yet that is not successfully translating inspiration – it is lazy, tacky and certainly does not represent the way performers actually dress.  Then again I have never been one to fit stereotypes and instead do everything I can to contradict them, but I can also still be pleased when someone gets circus inspiration right.