Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Red carpet style for everyone!

When you have a special occasion, you want to make an great impression, right? And we know that the devil is in the detail - a knockout dress needs the right accessories. You and I may have a budget to stick to, but for celebs on the red carpet, this goes out of the window - many outfits are borrowed. So how did they do at the BAFTAs this year?

Here's Michelle Collins, looking amazing for her age (I'm around that age, I'm allowed to say that!). Her dress shows toned arms, her hair is soft and glossy...I just think the whole thing is too, well, black! She has red earrings and a red bracelet, but the high neck of the dress with the big handbag and heavy shoes is just too much. Red and black can look stunning, but it doesn't have the Wow Factor here. A different highlight colour, carried through to the shoes would have had more personality. Maybe even a less obvious red - more of a garnet colour would have worked.

Next up we have Joanna Page. She looks young and fresh, which certainly matches her image. I wonder though whether she really wants to perpetuate that or whether she would like to market herself for some more grown up roles? The dress is pretty, though not very daring in black. She just about pulls it off against her pale colouring. Joanna's sandals are the epitome of understatement, certainly in photos looking nude. On someone as young and fresh-looking as Joanna this works, but it can be an aging look, so beware!

Gina McKee looks absolutely stunning in this green satin gown, I absolutely love it. Her clutch bag is understated and elegant. She has taken a brave step and chosen deep red sandals, which echo her lip colour. They have a platform sole, making them easier to wear. The only thing that I would change is the shoe size - if you look carefully at the foot bearing her weight, her toe is overhanging the front of the shoe. But this is, I admit, nitpicking!

Next we have model Karolina Kurkova (image - Getty). Well, I suppose if I was a model I would also rock this dress! Stunning, stunning stunning! And look at those silver gladiators! They fit like a dream, they are elegant and accentuate her enviable ankles. Really, I'm not jealous at all.

And here comes Thandie Newton (image - Daniel Deme, EPA) looking cute and sassy in a vintage frock and strappy sandals. Most women would give in to the urge to add a choker, but Thandie (or her stylist) knows that less is more! Even her gold bangle is a subtle tone. She lets that stunning dress and her petite frame do the talking! Her shoes are in perfect proportion to the dress, and complete the vintage look. I really think she has got it right.

The interesting thing about the outfits and shoes on show is that you cannot pick out any one trend. It demonstrates that style is personal rather than something to be dictated to us by the Fashion Gods (whoever they are!). The things I love, you may hate, and vice versa.

Shoes Galore celebrates this difference. If you have a special event coming up - wedding, christening, prom - then you should take a look at our range of occasion shoes. They look high end - but the price tags realistic! Red carpet style for everyone, that's what I preach!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boost staff morale for free

One of the things I do is to visit offices so that women have the chance to see and try on shoes in the breaktimes. It is a real morale booster, and costs the employer nothing. (If you think your female staff need a lift, drop me a note at sgletchworth@ntlworld.com)

I also deliver shoes to customers on request. Sometimes they regret not buying from me at the event they attended, and call me later to ask if the shoes are still available. Sometimes I order specially for them. Either way, I am happy to deliver the shoes to their hoe or workplace. Try asking for that service at your high street shoe shop!

I recently delivered a pair on request to a lady who had seen my shoes at a corporate event. Today she emailed me:

Hi Lisa,

Just want to let you know that I love the shoes! I have worn them several times and have found them very comfortable and easy to wear. I have also had quite a few compliments paid to me about them. So, just want to say a big thanks - it was worth all the effort you put into bringing them to me.

Let me know when you're in next so I don't miss seeing your next lot.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Best week ever! And proof, if you need it

Last week was officially my best week ever as a Shoe Lady. Lots of lovely shoes found new homes (the Diva sandals I featured a little while ago were especially popular on Friday evening!). Lots of ladies were smiling. I am very pleased to confirm, that what we all knew is true - giving yourself a treat is a good thing!

This article in yesterday's Sunday Times is spot on! I especially liked this quote:

Pine* also warns against getting caught up in the recession frenzy. “People are being frugal, and it’s catching,” she says. “Take a reality check, and if you’ve cleared your credit-card bill or managed to save something this month, then why not have a bottle of champagne with dinner tonight?”

*A university professor researching shopping habits

I think the upturn I have seen in party bookings and sales show that people are reassessing the impact of the economic downturn on their lives, and are frequently finding that it isn't as bad as they had feared. The sun is out, you can't live on value beans forever! Of course, my "nothing over £50" policy helps, before you even browse the racks! (I recognise that there are many people who have been badly affected by the wider economy's troubles, and I know that a £50 pair of shoes will seem excessively frivolous to them. I do not mean to be crass or offensive.)

I don't advocate spending what you can't afford, and I can often hold a pair for you until payday, if it helps you. But you know what? I think don't think things are as grim as we thought! Hooray!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Best sellers for April so far

I can't keep up with demand for these! Classic, comfortable, great with so many outfits...and so many colours! At £35, many women are choosing more than one pair.

The most popular colours are navy and teal, with purple coming in a close third.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Car Repair Heaven

It's been a stressful couple of weeks here at Shoes Galore Letchworth. My lovely Alfa Romeo 156 decided that I didn't need rear lights - fogs, reverse, brakes, indicators. The MOT was due, and my husband couldn't find the fault. It wasn't the bulbs, accessible wiring or fuses. A simple search of the web shows that Alfas have, shall I say, a reputation for insurmountable electrical faults.

We made some calls and most places advised scrapping it. Now this is a 7 year old car that in every other respect drives like a dream. Finally we found a garage locally that agreed to do an hour's diagnosis and see what he thought. I was able to drive there (carefully) because we booked an MOT with him.

I'm guessing he only looked for 5 minutes, as he didn't charge us. He reckoned the fault was a major one, that only Alfa would be able to fix it because of the uniqueness of Alfa wiring and that it would cost a bomb. He suggested just part-exing it.

We left the car with him while we considered our options. A shoe lady needs a car! Convinced it wasn't really a catastrophic fault, our concern was not to commit to spend too much before proving it was a waste of time. Quotes for towing the car the mile and a half home were around the £65 mark (I would have pushed it if someone was paying me that!). I spent an afternoon calling everywhere I could find.

Then I struck garage gold! A place that a) would pick up and deliver the car for free, b) publish a menu of prices detailing what tests they would do and for what price, c) offered to do £25 worth of diagnosis & were confident they would isolate the problem and d) said they would do the repair for a fixed price, not an hourly rate! What a novel business model!

Needless to say, I agreed and within 48 hours I had my car back. Diagnosed, fixed and with an MOT, all for just £150 inc VAT. It was a single fuse & 5 broken wires, hidden inside the boot lid. I think that the other place were blinded by Alfa's bad reputation for electrical problems.

So, to all the people in North Hertfordshire, when you need a reliable, openly priced and courteous garage, I heartily recommend CarServ in Hitchin. Tell them the Shoe Lady sent you!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

An uplifting bargain

This week, Help the Aged shops have brand new "famous chain store" bras for just £3.95! They are on the original hangers (with the branding blacked out, but you can still see who it is) with the price as £16 originally! What a fantastic bargain, and a great way for the charity to raise funds. I thought I would spread the word to my readers.

The shop I was in had sizes 34C up to 40DD, but that may vary (and I can't guarantee that every shop has them, obviously). The bras were underwired, white with pale blue embroidery - very pretty.

So bag a bargain and do your karma some good at the same time!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just to say I love the shoes!!

Here's an email I received recently from a Shoe Party hostess. I wanted to share it with you all, because I know that it is hard to believe that such beautiful shoes can actually be comfortable to wear - especially at such low prices!

Hi Lisa,

Just a quick email to say thank you very much for Friday night. I wore the purple shoes on Saturday all day at a school thing and my feet did not hurt at all!!!! I can’t wait to try the green ones! And I can’t believe how reasonably priced they were. Anyway, just to say I love the shoes!!

What else can I say?!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Diva style

I've been a busy little shoe lady recently, and have neglected this blog. Consider me suitably chastized.

One of the things I've been doing is looking at more summer shoe options, and on Tuesday I should receive these little beauties:

I think they are so much fun, and the colours are delicious! Wear them with jeans, wear them with white linen trousers, wear them with a funky little summer dress - any way you style them they are going to look amazing! I love the detail that the colour of the shoe is picked up by the plate on the inside, and I am certain that you will feel like a diva in them! At £29, they are amazing value - designed and made in Spain, and only available from Shoes Galore.