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…)

Burberry Explorer Biker Boots, $895 via Net-a-Porter. Jeffrey Campbell Brit Wrap Strap Boots, $230 via ShopBop

The return of tough, black, flat-soled leather boots warm the cockles of my little ex-teenage-punk heart. I do not simply want a pair of these boots, I want all of the pairs. In fact, I already have one pair of great, grungy BedStu boots waiting for winter, and I’m going to be adding more pairs as soon as possible.

If you feel me on the whole tough-girl-boots thing, then I’ve got a Look for Less for you – the Burberry Explorer Biker Boots and the Jeffrey Campbell Brit Wrap Strap Boots, both of which will add a note of grunge to your casual fall wardrobe. And I mean “grunge” in a good way. (more…)

I’m such of huge fan of menswear-inspired women’s shoes that finding any new men’s silhouette in women’s sizing and fabrication is like waking up on Christmas morning. Not only do the shoes tend to be comfortable and classic, but the juxtaposition of a staid, masculine shape with a feminine, modern material like leopard-printed haircalf is a sly visual joke that I just can’t resist.

And I won’t have to resist it, no matter my shoe budget. If I’m feeling like a splurge, the Jimmy Choo Leopard Haircalf Loafers aren’t too painfully priced. For an even better deal, the Steven by Steve Madden Maddee Flats are a very similar look. Larger photos and pricing can be found after the jump. (more…)

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