Ask Belle: Sandals for Beginners

Mar 27, 2014

Dear Belle,

This will sound crazy, but I need your help with a weird problem: I’ve never owned a pair of sandals.  

I suffer from a skin condition that made covering up a necessity, but as that has cleared, I’m trying to enjoy the fashion trends I missed when I was in my 20s.  Can you suggest some cute sandals, both high heel and flat, in the $100 or less price range?  

Can’t wait! Bryn

Sandals are a great choice for warmer months.  I can’t wait to wear mine when the mercury goes up.  And the best place to shop for new sandals, or any shoes really, is Nordstrom.

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From Left, Topshop Roar Tiger Pumps ($85) // Nine West Villea Wedge Sandal ($79) // Sole Society Huava Sandal ($69) // DV Deah Sandal ($68)

These four styles of sandal are some of my favorites, I’m especially partial to the wedges.  They give you just a hint of lift, but are still casual.  I prefer sliver wedges like these Nine West’s, since higher wedges can look a bit clunky.  I also found these $20 sliver wedges from Charlotte Russe, and these colorblock Chinese Laundry sandals for $40.

On both the Sole Society sandals and the DV sandals, I like the mix of texture and color.  It jazzes up a basic sandal.  If you’d like to add a pop of bright color, I adore these Splendid sandals with a tan and punchy-coral mix.

When wearing a high-heel sandal, I like to find one with an ankle strap or straps that come up higher on my instep.  I find that it makes them more stable and comfortable as the night wears on.  The tiger-print sandal would look great with a colored cocktail dress at a wedding, while the Sole Society sandal could be worn both casually and semi-formally.

I also like these dainty, gold Steve Madden sandals with a very Kate Spade look to them.  And these BCBG sandals have a very modern feel, and a neutral color palette. that could work with many outfits.

Lastly, if you’re having trouble breaking in your new sandals, I recommend wearing anti-chafe stick on your feet. It reduces blistering and chafing.  Thus, you can wear your shoes longer and more comfortably to speed up the process of molding them to your feet.

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  1. Gina says:

    Sandals in the office, yeah or nay?

    • Belle says:

      I don’t mind sandals on casual Friday, or something like the wedge, where the toes are completely covered, on a semi-casual day. But a high heel sandal? Total no go for me.

    • I think it depends on your office. The ladies in my office wear nothing but sandals all summer. Of course, pedicures are necessary if you wear sandals.

  2. Rachel says:

    The Nine West sandals look like they will become my go-to summer shoe. I just found them on Amazon Prime with free shipping, by the way.

  3. Joules says:

    Those tiger sandals are awesome! I love that they’re a classy black and white but retain their fierceness with the print.

    Style by Joules

  4. LH says:

    Also a good, very simple looking sandal: Gap’s “Leather Sandal” in black, gold, and white with tan.

  5. Anna says:

    Oh how I wish my muscular calves didn’t look horrible in ankle straps. So much cuteness.

  6. R says:

    Have you come across (tried, even) Shoes of Prey (www.shoesofprey.com)? They are based in Australia but ship free world-wide and offer 365 day return….. and you can design your own shoes/sandals/ankle boots – within certain available options, of course, but the range of possibilities seems to be substantial. They can run considerably more than $100, but the sandals can come in under $150. It is great fun playing with the design studio, but I wondered if anyone had experience of the finished object.

  7. Erica says:

    I wish ankle straps weren’t so in trend this season – as a petite girl, they’re much harder to wear without making your legs look even shorter!

    • Anna says:

      Agreed, I want this trend to go away. Not because it’s tacky or anything, I just can’t partake.

    • Whitney says:

      I have found that ankle straps that are really more an over the top of the foot strap are better for me since high up on the ankle ones cut off my already short legs.

  8. Pancakes says:

    Does anyone have a suggestion for a good sandal that accommodates a wider than normal forefoot (but isn’t as far as a wide-width sandal)?

    • Anna says:

      +1 I have a wide forefoot and thin/normal ankle. A lot of the cute flat sandals with thin t-straps, wide strap up front, or just generally with thin straps that expose a lot of foot just make my foot look wider.

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