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How Sturdy Gals Do Cool In New York

I’m off to New York tomorrow. So excited. I spent much of my 20s in Manhattan. I always love going back. But it feels a little bit like returning to a high school reunion. A slight frisson of, am I cool enough? Or, in my case, at all?

Sturdy Gals are not natively cool. Competent, yes. Loyal, yes. Cool, not so much. But we are learners. And I studied Manhattan for 5 straight years. I have a strategy, for the city I nominate as one of the 5 Top Coolest Cities In The Universe. It might be Number 1, except I’ve never been to Tokyo or Berlin. And some city somewhere in Australia is on the rise. But I digress.

Manhattan cool, for Sturdy Gals, means you go all the way to Grande Dame, or you stay Sturdy. Sturdy with an urban edge, that is. Artsy Cousins have more options, including dyeing their hair black and coloring their lips dark red. Sturdy Gals? We give it a shot with what we’ve got.

And remember, above all, 1) do not strike a false note with inconsistency of purpose or aesthetic 2) do not let on that you are trying.

Time to start packing. One thing I know about Manhattan is you can’t go wrong with black. Luckily, I am the queen of black shoes. As we have previously discussed, these Louboutins will come along. I’ll probably wear them for about 4 hours. 4, cool-as-I-can-manage, hours. Might involve drinks at a fancy hotel bar, and dessert at someplace downtown. And a little black dress. I’ll throw on a cheap black trench coat for diffidence. Perhaps some dangling gold antique Swedish earrings. As in, what, these old things?

I’ll also bring Manolo quilted ballet flats. And I’ll wear them for about 8 hours, all told. For Asian food and a little shopping. With flared dark 7 jeans, a plain white tee, small Chinatown 24K earrings, and a Chanel jacket. A very old Chanel jacket. I’d call it vintage, except really I just bought it myself in 1998, with the first bonus I ever got from Sun Microsystems.

Finally, my wildly glamorous Aerosoles will make the trip. These I will probably wear for about 16 hours. Maybe 20 or 24. Up and down the Avenues, to Riverside Drive, the Guggenheim, and that new High Line park which looks so gorgeous. I will wear them with Levis 501s boyfriend jeans, black tee, gray pearl and diamond studs, and a military jacket. Tough and sturdy. (What? Pearls are sturdy.)

The key thing about comfortable shoes is that you have to look like you wore them on purpose. For Manhattan cool, try to appear as though you are out on an adventure where you might encounter something with teeth.

Never, ever wear solid comfortable shoes with fancy pretty pants. But wear them somehow.

Because dreams of coolness are fabulous and all, but being able to walk through New York unhampered by miserable feet is even better. Sturdy Gals everywhere, represent.

*BTW, these Ann Taylor shoes do a pretty good job of capturing the Louboutin aesthetic for $99. If only they’d added the internal platform, I’d have been happy to do without the red soles. Via Corporette.

**For anyone wondering what on earth I mean by Sturdy Gals and Grandes Dames, click here. There is, I hope, some method to this madness.

36 Responses

  1. I'll be there Friday – I will keep an eye out for you ;-)

    I now have to fit in a visit to High Line Park!

    If you have an extra hour, go to the Museum of the City of New York and see the Charles Addams exhibit. Saw it last weekend and giggled my head off.

  2. You will look perfect for the trip, and have it all pulled together. Have a great time!!

    Art by Karena

  3. My guess is that those Ann Taylor Louboutin knockoffs are two pieces of big-time PAIN. The slogan for the second half of my life is
    "Do it real or don't do it at all."

    Because At 5'9", I go for lower heels. But it's hard to find lows that have any semblance of style. My question: Do these Delmans rate? I know, they're not that dressy. But perhaps I get points for elegance? Omigod, the comfort…

  4. Your trip and your wardrobe sounds perfect. And I have had those Louboutin's on my wish list for a while. Now that I know they can stand up to an 8 hour day in NYC they are moving up to the top of my wish list.
    Have a fantastic time!

  5. I agree – you ARE cool. I'm cool, too, in the proper setting and with just enough alcohol.

    Have fun in New York. I envy you!

  6. I see that you have packed well…such an art. Love the black dress and cheap trench thrown on…antique earrings wee, we're having fun now!
    Love the "vintage Chanel" circa 1998…what a memorable way to spend a bonus!
    Bon voyage…the Big Apple is waiting.

  7. I think I was categorized as an Artsy Cousin. I would need to buy clothes to travel to NYC. I don't own much black anymore! Have a blast. Drink a champagne cocktail at the Four Seasons!!

  8. Have a fantastic time! You have a good variety of shoes, and will represent the Study Gal contingent well. (Though your Loubies definitely cross over into Grande Dame territory.)

    I also worked in NY in '81-82, and when I started travelling there again on business in the late 90's, was amazed at how *different* the city felt. Less hostile, cleaner, friendlier.

  9. I am the cool mom, but don't know about the rest of it.
    I have never been to Manhattan but I know what the proper shoes for Costa Rica are.
    Have a wonderful time!

  10. Have a lovely time in our fair city! I live not far from The Crosby Hotel, and am happy to recommend restos, shops, etc. should you find yourself in a bind (though it sounds like you've already packed your itinerary). Another question I've been meaning to ask: Are you attending Reunions this year?

  11. A perfect wardrobe ! I have a "petit noir", some pearls – but wear only more or less flat shoes. I envy everybody who (still) can wear Louboutins or comparably high pumps! I can only have some as eye candy. Enjoy your wonderful trip ! kind regards, Martina (shoe-lover par excellence)

  12. You seem to have mastered the perfect grouping of shoes and wardrobe. Have a fabulous time.

  13. Your selections are delish! Please, I would like to see the Aerosoles that passed your discriminating eyes.
    I am also curious about the specifics of WASP casual jewelry. The beautiful bright colored glass necklaces of spring are calling me, but I've always just stuck to my inherited pieces…. Am I stodgy?

    Looking forward to your posts, and pictures!!!

  14. The similarities in what we both pack is almost frightening, but we do lack the Chanel jacket. Sniff. And we are more-than-sure you will be far beyond sturdy, definitely in the cool zone.

    I hope you have a blast!

  15. Looks pretty cool to me! I'm definitely in the Sturdy camp when it comes to urban walking. Especially when it's not just a question of getting through the day but also of being able to get up and do just as much on the next one . . . Have a fabulous time!

  16. Thank you! Look for the tall redhead. I will be at her side. Anon, I'm not a fan of stacked heels on classic shoes, but that could be just me. CJM, thank you, we have tentative ideas but will keep your kind offer in mind. I don't expect to show up to Reunions until my son graduates in 2012. And Martha, bright glass necklaces are for Artsy Cousins, or Sturdy Gals in their later years. It would depend, do you have photos? I'm always up for 'ask the High WASP', as long as we all know that the proverbial grain of salt is always in place. TPP – well we can be virtual twins. Again, thank you all. I will take some pictures and write some stuff. And wear some shoes, bien sur.

  17. Have a really marvellous time… love the sound of ALL your ensembles especially the white tee shirt with chanel jacket and jeans! Enjoy and let us know all about it ….x

  18. LPC
    I am not natively cool myself but roadtested an outfit for a cool inner city bar sojourn myself last night.

    Black trench mandatory. Inner city bars are prone to have open air areas from which one can take in the local architecture or else preen amongst the local suits. I chose the former and was glad of the warmth of my trench.

    Enjoy and I think your shoe choices are excellent! I am eyeing the simples myself.

    SSG xxx

  19. I have those Ann Taylor shoes, and they are actually very comfortable. Although I bought them not as knock-offs but as a good basic black pump for work. They might not work as well for someone who really wanted the brand, but I'd get lampooned at work for wearing red soles. I like your advice about how to wear comfortable shoes – have a womderful trip!

  20. Have fun in NYC! I like your list of wardrobe choices-everything sounds chic and reasonably comfy. I dream of having some Louboutins…

  21. Enjoy your trip! I recently spent about 10 hours on my feet in super high heels traipsing round Sydney and longed for some flats…

  22. Do enjoy your trip! You are wise with your shoe choices. More than once have I had to say, that my feet are killing me, on my trips.

  23. Hi LPC! enjoy your trip to the Big Apple. When may we expect you back online? Will you visit Tiffany's or rather Iradj Moini?

  24. Have a wonderful trip!

    Not being able to enjoy walking around NYC because one is wearing the wrong shoes would almost be a sacrilege. :)

  25. Your choices sound perfect. You certainly can't go wrong with black in NYC and you have a good mix of style and practicality. Please give us a description of the black dress that will accompany the Louboutins – I'm dying to know. The Aerosoles look cushy – I always struggle to find a good-looking walking shoe and these are not a bad option.

  26. Not looking like one is trying is the primary guideline. We were recently on the rooftop bar of a NY hotel and Le Duc mentioned that while the women were pretty and fashionable, he saw none of offhand chic of say, Jane Birkin. I love seeing Louboutins and Aerosoles in the same post- and of course, you want to walk and walk. Bon voyage!

  27. I doubt I could ever pull off NYC cool! You're well on your way though! Have a wonderful visit!

  28. You will be cool, Lisa, trust me. Meg has taught me that one can pull off all manner of dress if you wear it confidently And you are a confident lady. Ignore the pitter-patter of the little goblins feet, and you will be fine. Enjoy. And take some pictures!

  29. I can so relate to the shoe concerns for travel. Style and comfort can rarely be used to describe one pair of shoes. Rather than printing a size on the inside of shoes, I think 'wearing time' would make more sense. I own everything from two-hour shoes to all-day shoes. Enjoy your trip.

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