Tuesday, 25 November 2014

'Investment' Shoes Give You Bang For Your Bucks

This is half of a two-part story on shoe shopping. The other part is about scoring deals during the holidays and beyond.Everyone’s got those go-to items in their closet: The lucky jacket, the power tie, the emotional-support sweatshirt. Same goes for shoes, which can make or break an outfit, or even an entire deal.

“From an image standpoint, shoes are a crucial detail,”  said Audrey Beaulac,  a nationally renowned image consultant. She says she has one client that bases his negotiation strategies on what shoes the other person is wearing, because shoes can tell so much about a person.

Meghan Cleary, footwear expert, author and contributing editor, Pret-a-Reporter at The Hollywood Reporter, that when it comes to “investment” shoes, it’s important to understand your goals and to take a realistic assessment of your lifestyle.

She says to figure out what shoe will give you the most value—and then spend the money there. So for women this might be something you can wear to work as well as for running errands and then possibly into the evening. For men, it’s usually a “workhorse” oxford, or sneakers. Most of us wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time, so an investment piece should last at least two years with a good cost-to-wear value, said Beaulac. They should be in a neutral color, sturdy and made of leather.   “I’m not a fan of buying an uncomfortable fancy pair of shoes and calling it an investment shoe.”

“This is a shoe you go back to time and again,” Cleary said. “A heel or not depends on your comfort level. For the fall, it’s a knee-high boot. Whether it’s a flat or a stiletto, it’s a classic silhouette that can take you over decades.”Cleary also identifies “a pair of really great ankle boots, and also a classic pump,” as good investment shoes for women.

For men, Cleary said to find a high-quality pair of classic lace-up black oxfords on sale. Look for John Varvatos, Allen Edmonds, John Lobb and Artioli, for example.
The difference in investing in clothes vs. shoes is that you could conceivably wear a cheap, comfortable piece of clothing for years. With shoes, you generally get what you pay for. Luxury brands made in Italy are artisan-level shoes, “almost like art pieces,”  Cleary said. The decision to spend a mortgage payment on a pair of boots is an intensely personal one, Cleary said. Jerome C. Rousseau, Azzedine Alaia, Stuart Weitzman and Guiseppe Zanotta are all examples of high-end designers whose shoes are coveted the world over—and they maintain a relatively high resale value on eBay EBAY +0.19%.There are also mid-price brands that deliver long-lasting quality. For example, “Frye is such a great boot. You buy them and they last for 100 years. Isaac Mizrahi New York has high quality shoes for less than you’d pay for a luxury shoe.”And just like any other investment, you’ll want to keep up on the maintenance. “Don’t undermine your talent with poorly groomed shoes,” Beaulac said. “Treat them like they are a very valuable calling card.” Water can curl and ruin leather soles, so make sure you use shoe trees to keep them stretched out, Beaulac said. Keep the heels capped, clean off scuff marks and keep shoes shined, and get soles repaired so they can last longer.

“That’s the investment, the investment is in yourself,” said Beaulac. “Wear great shoes so that you’re maximizing your potential in the workplace.”Cleary said that it’s important to leave a little room for fun in your shoe budget, so you can veer off into something for the occasional mad party. “When you change your shoes, you change your mood.”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessamcgrady/2014/11/25/investment-shoes/2/

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