Thursday, March 26, 2009

Melie Bianco

I was surfing through Piperlime, which lamentably doesn't yet let you sort by vegan goodies. Nonetheless, I was clicking on cute and affordable bags, in the hopes that some of them would turn out to not have animal products. Many of those I clicked happened to be by designer Melie Bianco, and I noticed time and time again they were synthetic. Curious, I mosied on over to the designer's website - lo and behold, they're purposely vegan.

I just received my new Matt & Nat purse last night (picked to house my new Kindle), and owe you reviews of it and my briefcase. So perhaps it is too soon to invest in one of Melie's creations - a delicious blend of ladylike and professional. In the meantime, I seek reviews from readers who might be fans.

I also implore those of you with a Kindle 2 to let me know what you're using as a case, and how it works. So far an outer pocket on my purse is my only solution - yet I am still having visions of dropping it while reading on the subway.

Thursday, February 19, 2009 Roundup

Here are a few more work-appropriate vegan shoes I found but cannot review. I was surprised to discover a pair of Easy Spirit slingbacks made without leather; they cost only $20, have a 2.5" chunky heel and come in four color choices. Another slingback choice is this Annie Women's Expression Pump with corset detailing - don't worry, the lacing is subtle. It has a 3" slim heel and cost $35. Yet another slingback is the more daring 3 14" slim heel on these Rampage Milan Pumps, at just under $28.

Girly yet surprisingly grown-up are these Madden Mary Jane Pumps; the double strap and 2" kitten heel give a twist to this classic style. These are just a few of the offerings, and the availability varies by size, so I suggest those interested use the sorting feature to see what is available in their own size.

Chinese Laundry Women's Paloma Pump

Also at The black shade might be office appropriate. Although the fabric material might not weather the outdoors, the retro style can add a little personality to your work wardrobe while still appearing professional. I do not own these, and as such cannot attest to their comfort or quality.

Rampage Women's Maria 3 Pump in Tan Patent Snake

Buy them at or many other stores.

I have reviewed other colors of this classic pointy-toed pump, and it still remains a very good value for the money. Having finally bought the "tan patent snake" version, I can say that the color is more of a bronze-gold, but a more subdued metallic that would work in a less conservative office atmosphere. I'm always on the hunt for shoes that work with both warm and cool tones (aka black, brown, and grey slacks) and this fits the bill quite nicely.

As before, these are fairly well made and comfortable for office wear, but are not as finely balanced as expensive Te Casan shoes, and I probably would not attempt to commute home in them.

Te Casan by Natalie Portman Women's Poppy Pump

Buy them at

I tried these on at Te Casan when the store was still open. I'm a 37.5 in this and nearly every other line of shoe, and this was way too small. If you opt to get this (in black if for work because the metallic purple is a night-out color) order half a size large. the 38.5 was definitely too large. If you're my size, you're out of luck - that size has been out of stock for ages.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

April Black by Vegetarian Shoes

I bought these at Moo Shoes about a year and a half ago. They're about as basic as you can get, and are best worn with pants, unless you're going for a specific look under a skirt.
They're quite comfortable. The material is water-resistant and stain resistant.

Pia Ballet Flat - Te Casan by Natalie Portman

Although I don't own these shoes, I did try them on and spent some time in the store walking around in them. I found the strap across the toe rather uncomfortable, and was unable to get used to the feel of it. I was lead to the conclusion that this line really excels at its heels, which is where you really need to spend your money in any case. For my flats, I think I'll stick to those I find at Moo Shoes.

Resource Review - is one of the shoe-shopping websites that allows you to browse just by those shoes labeled as "vegetarian". At the moment, it is showing 26 pages of vegetarian shoes (at 40 per page). Although this doubtless includes strappy sandles, sneakers, clogs and other footwear that isn't quite office-appropriate, that still leaves quite a selection from which to choose.

Unfortunately, you cannot cross-search by style, vegetarian is an alternative search to "pump" and "flat". However, you can further narrow your search by size, width, heel height, brand, price, and even color family.

Although I am not certain of their algorithm, it appears as it takes more than just being leather-free to make the cut. For example, a shoe with a manmade sole and satin (silk?) upper is not appearing on the vegetarian search engine. The same is true of a pair of shoes with "fabric" upper that appear to be made of wool. My conclusion is based on the fact that other shoes from the same maker do appear in the search, and the assumption that the shoe manufacturer does the labeling, since the system is by no means complete. For example, a pair of rubber sandles with no animal content fails to appear in the search.

Yet although one looking for each and every leather-free (or vegan) shoe on the site might have to do their own work, the fact remains that this is a good resource as is. Importantly, it is one of the places currently liquidating the Te Casan by Natalie Portman line of shoes, a line I have raved about for its comfort and quality.

Cheap Vegan Shoes

Although it takes a lot more searching to pull out the office-appropriate shoes from the pickings at Forever 21, they do have a large selection of shoes that are 100% synthetic.

Some, such as the pair to the right, could be worn to a casual office, and are available for a song ($14.80).

Delias also has a selection of polyurethane shoes in the $35-50 range, if you can dig past the bright patterns and sneakers. For example, these kitten heels, these bronze flats, these black T-Strap low heels, and these ballet flats in black or pink. Many of these are notable since the PU material is more weather resistant than canvas, satin, or other fabrics.

They also have unique T-strap flats in snakeskin-print black or a metalic lavender (the latter perhaps more appropriate for evening) and carry two colors of poly-satin Rocket Dog flats. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocket Dog; although Delia's selection of this brand is limited, they do appear to produce a wide range of vegan shoe options.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Picasso Wedge

Picasso Wedge -Te Casan, Natalie Portman
I've never been big on wedges, in fact I have never owned a pair before. This pair made me a convert. Granted, the faux-suede material makes this pair of shoes decidedly indoor-appropriate.
Overall, they do give you the height of a heel with the stability of a wedge while still remaining professional enough for the workplace. The wrapped styling of the material is just enough interest to keep the shoe from being too plain, while staying neutral enough to allow a bit more creativity in the clothes themselves.
Today I am wearing these with black cable-knit tights, a black pencil skirt, and a gray cardigan. I hav a punch of teal under the cardigan. If you don't already own grey shoes, they are a greay neutral to add to any shoe wardrobe. They allow you to break out of the black-brown rut, especially if you wear as many black tights and stockings as I do. These have become a staple of my winter wardrobe.