Free Your Feet: Summer Shoes

Even naked isn’t naked enough in the ridiculous heat and humidity we've been having on the east coast. In my last article, I listed hot weather survival measures for clothing and grooming, but this time shoes are on my mind. If you’ve never switched up your footwear when the temperature rises and your dogs start barking, I urge you to consider it. You’ll look more seasonally appropriate, and your feet will thank you. Read on for Rath-approved picks in 8 categories of summer footwear.Men's Stylist: Espadrilles1) EspadrillesThese stylishly nonchalant espadrilles from Castañer ($150) are an excellent alternative to flip-flops for those wanting more toe coverage.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Summer Shoes2) Leisure ShoesOk, so this category is totally made-up. But the name fits these Riviera shoes ($80), doesn’t it? Don’t wear for anything other than leisure.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Sandals3) The Mandal (if you dare)If you’re a Rath & Co. client, you know I’m big into the messages that one’s appearance gives off. In the case of mandals, most of what I see around says, “I’m sensitive and I recycle.” While these are no doubt virtues, there's no need to express them via your footwear. My suggestion: ditch the Velcro and bungee cords, and dial it back with a simpler, more classic version of the mandal, like the pair above from Alvaro ($295). When buying mandals, I highly recommend trying on in the store before committing. You need to see them on your feet in order to know if they’re going work for you.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Leather Flip Flops4) Flip-FlopsNot ready to go full-mandal but still want to give those dogs some breathing room? Try a leather flip-flop like these from Olukai ($85). It’s classier than the rubber or fabric versions. Just promise you’ll only wear it for beach and pool.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: J. Crew Bucks5) BucksMore office-friendly than the other options above, bucks work for casual to moderately dressy places of work like advertising agencies or web development firms. Wear a pair like the ones above from J. Crew ($198) with summery chino and seersucker suits or with button-up shirts and chinos.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Crockett & Jones Newquays6) Buck AlternativesIf bucks are too much for you, try a casual lace-up sans rubber sole for a similar, but less statement-y look. I have my eye on these from Crockett & Jones ($505) for a couple of clients. They're unlined and light weight which = summer perfection in my book.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Summer Shoes7) Slip-OnsExcellent with everything from a summer suit to shorts, these leather slip-ons ($150) are modeled after a traditional Indian sailing vessel, the Kishtee. Think of them as the cooler, older brother to your traditional deck shoe. They're also great for travel because they're so lightweight.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Casual Sneaker8) Social SneaksThese are the sneakers you don't wear to the gym. I like the clean lines of Fred Perry's Seabrights ($125) for a timeless look.____________________________________________________________________________________What's your footwear of choice this summer? As always, I love hearing from you. Leave me a comment below, or if you'd like more tailored help with your summer footwear game, contact me.Cheers,Julie 

How to Wear Mandals: Tips on Avoiding a Fugly Fashion Mishap

Mandals: the name alone evokes snickers, sneers, and talk of Volvos and wheatgrass. Urban Dictionary defines them as, "An unfortunate fugly fashion mishap involving sandals."  But I'm here to tell you that the wearing of mandals doesn't have to be such a hot mess. If you choose wisely, you can avoid embarrassing questions like "how was your hike?" when all you are doing is riding the cross town bus.When it comes to mandals, less is more. Think fewer straps, buttons and buckles, just say no to velcro, and you’ll be in good shape. As Tim Gunn says, "The more seriously one takes the mandal, the more ridiculous one looks." Here are some of my fav options available now…$100 and underYou can't go wrong with a classic leather thong sandal like these. They're simple, easy and summery but not as informal as your standard beach flip flop. Throw them on with jeans or chinos, and it's a done deal..I'm also very into these Mirage Sandals from J Shoes. The stitching, canvas and rivets give them a cool industrial feel. Originally $148, they're now marked down to $49.99. Check them here..These First by Jeffrey Campbell huaraches caused a stir when they first appeared on the Loden Dager runway last Fall. If you prefer more coverage than other sandals or flip flops provide, huaraches are a great way to achieve that while still letting your feet breathe. Plus you gotta love their handsome Latin American vibe..I like the added detail of the croc stamping on these leather bad boys from Cole Haan. It gives the look some visual interest and dresses them up slightly..$100-$200Still dressier are these babies from Saks. The leather has a rich, luxurious feel. They would work well with a seersucker or linen suit..If flip flops don't do it for you, check out these woven slides from John Varvatos. I like the variation in texture between the different straps. Also on sale now, these were originally $175..$200 and upThese sandals from Ferragamo don't fail to impress with their contrast stitching and subtly-detailed hardware. A little panache goes a long way..For a more lively look -- or, if you're heading to St. Tropez, and you want to make like the locals -- check out these limited edition Barigoule sandals from K. Jacques' first ever collaboration with Opening Ceremony. They're the Jesus sandal on holiday.Of course, it goes without saying that if you're going to bare your toes, make sure they're clean and well-tended to, and whatever you do, don't combo up your mandals with socks:Socks + Mandals = Fugly Fashion Mishap for sure.