If you’ve ever made fun of the Birkenstock-wearing gals like me, you may soon be putting your alternate sandal wearing foot in your mouth since Birkenstock styles are now all the fashion rage. Suck on that, I say. While we can all pretty well agree that they're not the prettiest in the footwear world, there's no mistaking that Birkenstocks are a fashion statement in their own right.
Believe it or not, the German-made orthopedic sandals once reserved for women’s studies profs and the hippy kids on campus strutted across high-fashion catwalks this year, and have been flying off the shelves ever since. Celebs like Miranda Kerr, Kate Upton, the Olsen twins and me (just kidding — I’m not even #Halifamous!) have been spotted wearing the (pretty) ugly sandals all over, and for good reason. The Birkenstock sole provides firm support for your feet, with ample room for your toes to move!
Unlike flip flops, which are terrible for your feet, Birkenstocks stimulate circulation, exercise the muscles of the leg and help maintain balance thanks to that little toe bar in the cork and natural latex sole.
And, no matter where I look, I see white Birkenstocks — from fashion bloggers to fashion icons to my own good friend and colleague, Deb. It would seem that white is the it-colour for the season’s it-sandal. As for me? I’m rocking the two-strap Arizona variety in brown (Mr Hockey Coach calls them Fred Flintstone shoes) and the Gizeh thong-style in hot pink. And I’m not too proud to say that those are pairs number three and four — I’ve been a Birk fan for life. I’d still be on pairs one and two had it not been for a certain dog who really liked German cuisine… er… footwear.
Want to get your hands on a pair? Good luck! You can special order white Arizonas, but there’s a waiting list at Circle Shoes in Toronto — and the same pair sold out at both J. Crew and Holt Renfrew. I grabbed my most recent pair on eBay for under $60 Canadian, with shipping included, but you could always head to SoftMoc stores or the Birkenstock website to order, too. Check out our other fashion blogger Zeba's picks for great places to grab a pair!
Birkenstock expects to double their 10 million pair a year production to 20 million over the next five years as a result of the international boom. Since almost every aspect of a Birkenstock sandal can be repaired or replaced, it’s really an investment (I can justify any pair of shoes, though — ask my dad).
If you're wearing Birkenstocks, though, please refrain from pairing them with socks. Or leggings. And don't even think about doing both, or Ali and I will find you.
What do you think? Are Birkenstocks too ugly to grace your toes, or are you a fan?
Between October and May, you can almost bet that you’ll find sweaters (or jackets), boots and blankets in my car. You can also bet that I’m complaining about the cold, cursing at my pantyhose and lamenting that pants are torture. It’s no surprise that by the time the temperatures hit double digits, I’m doing my seasonal swaps!
Every summer, I hit a point where I realize that I cannot possible even imagine living without a specific array of items. Now that I’m officially half-way through the season, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what I can’t live without between now and September 1.
They are, in no particular order…
A Cute Bag
It’s time to ditch your dark, heavy handbag and throw only the essentials into a smaller, lightly hued bag! You’ll be sweaty enough in the heat without lugging an enormous bag filled with stuff you don’t actually need.
1. Flapover Crossbody Bag - Le Chateau: $29.99
3. Bleecker Sullivan Hobo - Coach: $378.00
4. Voyager Crossbody Bag - Forever 21: $19.80
A Great Bathing Suit I Feel Good In
It’s hard to have fun in the sun and sand if you feel self-conscious. Find a swimsuit you love and go! I snagged this beauty at Victoria’s Secret — it’s my first non-racing one-piece and I LOVE IT. From full-coverage one pieces to the skimpiest of itty bitty bikinis, wear what makes you feel YUMMY!
3. How Sweet It Is Ruffled One Piece - Roxy Swimwear: $39.00
4. Stripe Triangle Bikini - Heidi Klein: $380
5. Floral Boyshort Maillot - Anthropologie - $160.00
Comfortable Sandals (but not flip flops because they’re bad for your feet!)
I’m a huge fan of Birkenstocks — they’re comfortable and they last forever. Choose a pair of sandals with good arch support and that you can walk in. Your back will thank you.
1. Laina Demi Wedge Sandal - Sperry Topsider: $97.00
2. Charlotte Sandal - Aspiga: $145 (They would go with EVERYTHING!)
4. Mayari Birko Slide - Birkenstock: $91.00
A Dress That Works For Desk to Drinks to Sunday Brunch
D’ya know what I love about dresses? They are outfits in and of themselves – which is why I recommend dresses when you’re building a wardrobe on a budget. Look for easy to wear and wash fabrics like cotton and jersey, and don’t be afraid to experiment with bright colours and prints. Tis the season!
1. Chambray Embroidered Dot Dress - Gap: SOLD OUT (Similar - Gap: 79.95)
2. Chevron Maxi Dress - Amazon: $16.75 (Lots of cute colour combos!)
3. Ponte A-Line Dress - Target: SOLD OUT (Similar - Old Navy: $39.95 *I own this!*)
5. Drawstring Waist Dress: Mango - $64
Speaking of bright, what’s better than a colourful pedicure? (Having someone else scrub your feet and paint your toes, I know!) If your workplace allows open toe shoes and bright manicures, try out some bright colours this season! My new favourite shade? Tart Deco by Essie.
2. Essie Polishes in Hide and Go Chic and Turquoise and Caicos - $9.58 at Nordstrom.com
4. Deborah Lippman Polishes in Private Dancer and Break 4 Love: $20 - $22 at Sephora
Cute (but cheap!) Sunglasses
I am fundamentally against buying expensive sunglasses. Mostly because I lose and/or sit on them regularly. I like Bizou because I can get two pairs for $20, but stores like Target, H&M and Forever 21 have loads of cute shades at super low prices.
A Big, Floppy Hat
Double up on your eye-protection (and keep your face and hair out of UV rays) by throwing a floppy hat on your fashionable head. Bonus: Floppy hats are super chic.
1. Wide-brimmed White Hat - Amazon: 26.00
2. Wide-brimmed Blue Straw Hat - Amazon: $16.00
3. By The Sea Hat - Roxy: $28.00
4. Dita Sun Hat - Prana: SALE $25.20
5. Coastal Clearing Hat in Red - Modcloth: $34.99
Summer is *not* the time for heavy makeup, but I still like to put it on! I swap out my foundation for a light-as-air tinted moisturizer or BB cream, with at least SPF 15. It’s one less step in my morning routine, and I’m happy for it – I can spend more time on the things I really want to do – like snuggle with F!
1. VS Tinted Moisturizer/ Primer with SPF 15 - Victoria's Secret: $15.00
2. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream with SPF 30 - Amazon: $7.19 (About $9 at Target or Walmart)
3. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35 - Sephora: $22.00 - $50.00
4. Estee Lauder Double Wear All-Day Glow BB Cream with SPF 30 - Sephora: $45.00
5. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream with SPF 30 - Sephora: $39.00
Now, make sure to check out Zeba’s beach bag items and hear what Dan has to say about all-natural sunscreens. Sound off in the comments below and tell us what you can’t live without this summer (or any summer, for that matter!).
I’m sure you’re not stranger to Colbie Caillat’s new song, Try, and the video that has been shared across my own, personal Facebook page over a dozen times. If you haven’t heard it, it’s a song about not needing to wear makeup, be thin, or do any of the other things that adhere to the (often unrealistic) beauty standards of our present society. Colbie Caillat wants you to take off your makeup and let down your hair.
I’m not not a fan of this message, but I also don’t wholeheartedly endorse it, either. Before you reach for your pitchforks or eyelash curlers, just hear me out.
There is nothing more true than the importance of liking oneself.
Whether you’re covered in makeup and wearing Spanx or barefaced and letting it all hang out, if you don’t feel good about yourself then nothing else matters. And while we’ve become a society that shames women for having womanly shapes, we’re rapidly becoming a society that attacks women who are slim (by nature or through hard work) or choose to prioritize their physical appearance. Two wrongs don’t make a right, you guys.
I regularly skip makeup. At least once during my workweek and for most weekends, I am one hundred percent makeup-free, not because I feel like a slave to my makeup but because I like to give my skin a chance to breathe and also because I’m just as comfortable with or without makeup. But I actually love doing my makeup, styling my hair and wearing high heels. And that’s OK. I am living proof that the right pair of shoes and a great lipstick can change your life, because those are the things that helped me build confidence and become the person writing this post today. I will not apologize for that.
Since when does wearing makeup or working out to stay thin mean that you don’t like yourself? Why can’t I wear heels and have blonde hair and not be an airhead? Caillat’s message that we’re more than our makeup is getting lost in the idea that women who choose to wear makeup and care about their appearances have lost themselves in trying to keep up with the Joneses.
If the thing that makes you feel good is putting on some lipstick or it’s boogying in your pajamas, do it. You’re more than either of those actions. If you feel your best with a full face of makeup, wear it with pride. And if you’d rather go au naturel seven days a week, then all the power to you, girl. Let’s start celebrating women doing whatever it is that makes them feel good.
Colbie Caillat is right: You don't have to try, but you can if you want to.
If you liked this post, you might also like my post on why size tags are bullshit... and speaking of sizetags, have you seen the latest in vanity sizing? Thank goodness for kickstarters like this one and this one making sure women feel proud at any size.