When I first saw the Givenchy Floral Lace Slip-On Sneakers, I wanted them immediately. Givenchy has a particularly skillful way of mixing streetwear with high fashion, and these shoes are a perfect combination of the Vans slip-ons of my youth and the delicately gothic aesthetic that creative director Riccardo Tisci is known for. The only problem, of course, is that they cost in excess of $600, which feels like a lot of money. I’ve tried on Givenchy’s slide-on sneakers in the past, and they’re nice, but they’re also pretty basic.

That’s where the Marc by Marc Jacobs Slip On Lace Sneakers come in. They’re not as graphic as the Givenchy originals, and the patent cap toe is a bit distracting, but if you’re trying to get the look without paying more than half a grand, these shoes will get the job done in relatively luxurious fashion. If it weren’t for that toe, I might be ordering myself a pair right now. As it is, they’re still quite a good Look for Less, but I’ll hold out and see if the Givenchy sneakers go on sale.


Givenchy Floral Lace Slip-On Sneakers
$650 via Saks

Givenchy Floral Lace Slip-On Sneakers

Marc by Marc Jacobs Lace Slip On Sneakers
$248 via ShopBop

Marc by Marc Jacobs Lace Slip-On Sneakers

Sometimes, a Look for Less makes you wonder why you spend so much on premiere designer shoes. Other times, it’s a clear indication of exactly why we shell out what we do for the best kicks around. In the case of these Rene Caovilla and VC Signature by Vince Camuto sandals, though, the effect is somewhere in the middle. The looks are so close that the price difference is painful, but the details on the more expensive option are so exquisite!

As you can see, we have two very similar sandal concepts going on here. Both are relatively flat thong sandals made out of gold leather, and both have jeweled embellishments across the top of the foot. The fastenings are different, but the visual intent is much the same. I actually prefer the structure of the VC Signature shoe – the slight heel helps to give the sandal some structure.

The devil is in the details, though, as it usually is. When you compare the embellishments side to side, the Rene Caovilla shoe is the winner by a mile. The designer is known for his use of jewels and rhinestones, and you can see what that level of expertise hath wrought. On their own, the VC Signature shoes might not look so puny. Next to Caovilla’s, it’s hard to find the glamour in them. For the price difference, though, I’m willing to keep looking.


Rene Caovilla Jeweled Cuff Thong Sandals
$1,395 via Neiman Marcus

Rene Caovilla Jeweled-Cuff Thong Sandals

VC Signature by Vince Camuto Marla Sandals
$195 via Neiman Marcus

VC Signature by Vince Camuto Marla Floral Brooch Flat Sandals

In a situation where one shoe didn’t clearly “inspire” a lower-priced alternative, the Giuseppe Zanotti T-Strap Flat Sandals and the Tory Burch Pacey Flat Sandals are about as close as you’re going to get. Both are from Spring 2013, so they were designed around the same time, and I doubt that Burch is looking to Zanotti for inspiration – the two brands have very separate aesthetics and target customers. In fact, a sandal as simple as these is the only place the two are likely to overlap.

If you look closely, though, you’ll see that each brand puts their own touches on these minimal shoes. Zanotti’s are rendered in lush suede, with curved ankle hardware to match the gilded T-strap. Instead of a regular buckle at the back, you get full heel coverage and a zipper, which balances the minimalism of the straps nicely.

Burch’s alternative, on the other hand, are a little bit more straight-laced. The T-strap accent features the designer’s omnipresent logo, and the sandals are made out of leather, which is more functional than suede but also a bit less luxurious. The Burch sandals fasten with a traditional buckle, and although they may be a tad less rich-looking, the huge price difference for such a simple shoe leaves me without complaint.


Giuseppe Zanotti Suede T-Strap Flat Sandals
$850 via Neiman Marcus

Giuseppe Zanotti Suede T-Strap Flat Sandals

Tory Burch Pacey Flat Sandals
$265 via Neiman Marcus

Tory Burch Pacey Flat Sandals

But really, where would you wear the Charlotte Olympia Gigi Wedge Sandals? Besides fashion week, of course. I’d honestly like to know. Usually I can look at a pair of shoes and immediately imagine them in a context where they’d make sense, particularly if it’s a pair of shoes I like. And I like these wedges! I really do. I just don’t think I understand them.

If you don’t like these shoes, that’s also a perfectly defensible position. They’re weird and fringe-y and have an enormous platform wedge that looks and feels just as enormous as it is. If you’re fully acclimated to the delirious logic of the Charlotte Olympia universe, though, it’s likely that none of those things bother you. They don’t bother me. I would like to know where you’re going when you strap these on, though, so let me know in the comments.

Or, if you’d like to give me a performative answer to this question, pick up a pair for $1,085 via Neiman Marcus and get to stepping.

There are seemingly zillions of color trends out there for spring and summer, but one of the most thoroughly modern options you have is the combination of neons and neutrals, specifically fluorescent yellows and greens with soft, pale beige and nude colors. Not only do the neutrals make the neons a little bit more toned-down and wearable, but it also makes the trend translatable to something other than just casual weekend wear.

Trends are still trends, though, even when they’re good, which means that some people aren’t keen on spending huge bucks to get the look. No matter the budget, though, we’ve found an option for you in this week’s The Look for Less, starring the Reed Krakoff Leather and Patent Wedges and the Diane von Furstenberg Elan Leather and Rubber Wedges. (more…)

Hat tip to our compatriots over at Jezebel for noticing a blatant knockoff in our midst – Jessica Simpson‘s uber successful low-priced shoe line has apparently taken quite a shine to the Christian Louboutin Straratata Pump, originally released in 2010. As Jezebel’s Jenna Sauers points out, the shoes aren’t just any “inspired” version – the Jessica Simpson Evangela Sandals take the shoe detail for detail, down to the suede-covered buckle, omitting only the red sole. (more…)

It’s very difficult to find Look for Less options for Charlotte Olympia’s stellar lineup of platforms and smoking flats; almost all of designer Charlotte Delal’s pieces are embellished with enough signature quirk that it takes most mid-range comparisons off the table. That’s why I was so excited to see the Marc by Marc Jacobs Cherry Embellished Suede Sandals; they’re not a total dead ringer, but the look is very similar to that of the Charlotte Olympia Arlena Cameo Sandals. (more…)

Lately I’ve been praising both Giuseppe Zanotti and B Brian Atwood, so when I saw these two similar shoes sitting together on the same new arrivals page at Neiman Marcus, I couldn’t help but post about it. Zanotti’s shoes are normally fairly priced considering the ever-increasing price tags of the shoe world, but the B Brian Atwood Suede Colorblock Pumps go even lower than the Giuseppe Zanotti Patent Colorblock Pumps in our latest edition of The Look for Less. I actually prefer the less expensive option, in this case – the muted suede makes the bold colors more versatile. Which one is your favorite? (more…)

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