Summer! So Little Time...So Many...?

May 14, 2016

By Frank Vaia, Clothing & Shoe Stylist

Summer in Iowa, in this writer’s opinion anyway, is never long enough. Whether or not you agree is not the point here. 

What I want to address can be best explained by offering this euphemism: 

 I’ll bet each of us have at least one way to complete that thought. Today I offer this: 


Surprise, coming from me, huh?

For starters, flip-flops are an option...

There are some darn cute ones out there that can be dressy, sporty, rugged, whatever. But let’s talk about all the other summer footwear that subtly complements or is the focus of your outfit. 

First, though, a little friendly suggestion; (and this goes for women and men) start the summer season by treating yourself to a pedicure and then keep it up for a few months. 

Feet are, well, often not our best feature. With some professional and personal grooming putting a better-looking foot forward can do wonders.

So what other styles for summer can sizzle...and when do you wear them and with what?


I love this category because it’s so refreshing and comfortable! Remember when we used to automatically throw on a pair of jeans and immediately grab the sneakers? We have worshipped our Converse and Keds! They’re icons. 

But the classic sneaker has evolved in both style and usage, even from last year’s urbanity. We’re talking sophistication with shapely pointed toes, more luxe finishes in suede, patent, shimmery materials, bows, many with exaggerated soles. 

Sure, still wear them with jeans but in today’s world style sneakers with skirts, dresses, flowy pants. This look is borrowed from men’s fashion where sneakers are worn with dress slacks, suits, even tuxedos. Gotta love creativity!


Wow...there is such a fantastic selection!   Flat-soles dominate (just catch a recent fashion show and see what top designers are putting down the runway) with a plethora of looks. Most minimal is the toe ring with a flip-flop bareness. 

Then there’s the new generation of flip-flops with a broad band across the instep affixed to a between-the-toe thong. Gone is the flippity-flop clatter. 

Ankle Wraps

For those of you who might be more adventurous, choose sandals with ankle wraps--delicate, bold, or earthy. 

Our Stuart Weitzman delicate ankle-wrap is often caught on camera by celebrity paparazzi.  The shoe is that good!


Originated in Spain, espadrilles have become a summer classic. 

 It’s the rope-covered bottom that defines this style whether it’s as flat as a pancake or a low or high wedge or heel. Originally made with casual canvas uppers, you’ll enjoy leather and suede alternatives.   

 Want a south-of-the-border or European air, slip into these after donning a sundress, shorts, bell-bottoms, culottes or tunics of any length. Espadrilles are festive and usually moderately priced.


 Corkers? What? This is my quirky term for any shoe style that includes real cork in its design. Cork has a natural, airy personality that lends itself to summer breeziness. 

Often used to make billfolds, belts, and other small “leather goods”, It’s a favorite of mine. I always looked for distinctive “corkers” when I was a footwear buyer. Remember, I am a shoe freak so for me that job was like the proverbial kid in a candy store. Here at K. Renee, shoe buyer Susy Damon, with support from K.Renee creator Kelli Schulz, evidently like a good corker, too. You can pick from shoe styles featuring a hint of cork to all cork silhouettes. All are great for finishing off your casual ensemble...or elevating it up a notch or two. 

Laser Looks 

Cutting edge technology has helped create intricately designed, very comfy shoes for many occasions. 

As summer styles, they can be glamorous or a bit “BoHo” depending on the heel height, finish, the cut out pattern and your mood. These versatile shoes give hints of your summer tanned (or bronzed) and pedicured feet. They’re kind of flirty teasers in good ways.

Earlier in this blog I praised flats. But you’ve probably figured out by now that I appreciate most shoe styles as well. Heel heights and shapes fascinate me. In my book nothing beats a classic pump boasting a 3-inch or higher heel! Simple, elegant, timeless. On trend heel shapes offer blockier, thicker high and low options. Some are emphasized by slight or hefty platform soles. Go ahead, add a few pairs to your shoe wardrobe. Summer is a great time mix things up.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make the most of your summer. I know it’s more than about upping your shoe choices. So much more! Yet, my friends, you know that I have a shoe bias. It’s my pleasure, and I really mean that, to have the opportunity to not only tell you about cool footwear but to also help you choose it. You can count on my K. Renee styling teammates and I to help you select what you love and wear from head to polished-nail toe.

Here’s to a great (and longer) summer!