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February 11, 2008

Clothes-minded—February 12, 2008

There are many things in life I really love. But sometimes the objects of my affection can make life difficult. Case in point: yellow and high heels. Yellow is a cheerful color I am actively attempting to infuse into my everyday. However, in the apparel portion of my existence, the canary hue is proving difficult to embrace. It never seems to look right on me. And while I am definitely looking to invest in some yellow rain boots (and jacket...and hat?), I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how yellow can be worn attractively under a clear sky. Why does it seem so difficult to pull off this color? On the flip side, I do not find it hard to wear high heels—usually. Chicago has changed my view on inclined footwear a bit. There are a few things that have affected my feelings. I walk a lot in this city, I run to catch the bus and rebellious papers from my bag, and I love and care for my heels and they do not love salt or snow. So how does one happily wear heels as a Chicago collegiate? Recognizing the problem (these things are often hard to wear) is the first step to finding a solution. After some thought and investigation, I bring you my answer to the troubles that are yellow and high heels.

Yellow is definitely a force for spring, and there’s no reason we can’t all partake. When your skin tone and choice yellow don’t match, just break it up near exposed skin. Voila! If you’re dying to sport a divine buttercream sweater but know it will wash you out, simply throw on a charcoal scarf. The more labor-intensive, but most stunning, of the solutions to wearing yellow is just getting the color right (see Reese Witherspoon’s strapless Golden Globe dress). Try on different yellows, see what looks right, and proceed to retailers with your newfound knowledge. Bright tints may seem a bit overpowering on the rack but are absolutely spectacular on people. Versace, Blumarine, and Giambattista Valli all showed intensely sunny dresses for the spring collections which, to my amazement, did not make the models’ skin look oddly tinted. But if the full-on lemon route isn’t quite your style, you can get your fix in patterns. Marc by Marc Jacobs took yellow back to decades past, mixing it in with white and tan in plaid and flower patterns. It’s still radiant, but there’s no need to worry about looking like a school bus. Plus, never can one be blue with a burst of yellow in a carryall and brilliant footwear.

In luxurious satin, yellow ballet flats are absolutely delightful with fitted black pants and a gray wrap top. In any material though, heels can complicate your life. Since a couple of heel mishaps, I’ve shifted away from wearing that part of my shoe collection. While glamor-girl stilettos, retro-stacked heels, and peep-toe pumps are some of my favorite outfit additions, rarely are they the most functional. I can’t say I’m always a practical dresser, but after experiencing the heel snap, I have adjusted my daily footwear choices to my schedule. My solution to the heel problem is to get added height using more stable structures, namely wedges and platforms. There is no shortage of options available, and they are a most excellent alternative to heels for the pavement pounder. Platforms and wedges offer height (read: keep you out of puddles), solid support, and loads of style options. I am particularly partial to the ’70s chunky platform sandal, worn with socks when necessary, and the wedge boot. Powder-blue, braided satin wedges from Bottega Veneta, Burberry’s gladiator wedge espadrille, and Roberto Cavalli’s industrial alligator-and-wood platform sandal are all terrific choices. In these fashions, mounds of snow can be jumped over, buses can be caught, and standing in line can be a painless, uplifting experience.

Where there are wardrobe dilemmas, there are often styling solutions. So don’t cast something aside just because it doesn’t jive on the first try. Even with RIP trends like mini-backpacks, cargo fatigues, purple clogs, and diamante tiaras, there’s almost always a way to do it up right—almost always.