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One set of all-purpose footwear no shoo-in

  • A coral-colored, snakeskin-style ballet flat with chain-hardware detail by Rachel Zoe.

    Piperlime

    A coral-colored, snakeskin-style ballet flat with chain-hardware detail by Rachel Zoe.

  • A two-tone wedge sandal with a metallic-hardware ankle strap by Sam Edelman.

    Piperlime

    A two-tone wedge sandal with a metallic-hardware ankle strap by Sam Edelman.

  • A lime-colored thong sandal with flower detail by Loeffler Randall.

    Piperlime

    A lime-colored thong sandal with flower detail by Loeffler Randall.

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By Samantha Critchell
Associated Press
Published:
  • A coral-colored, snakeskin-style ballet flat with chain-hardware detail by Rachel Zoe.

    Piperlime

    A coral-colored, snakeskin-style ballet flat with chain-hardware detail by Rachel Zoe.

  • A two-tone wedge sandal with a metallic-hardware ankle strap by Sam Edelman.

    Piperlime

    A two-tone wedge sandal with a metallic-hardware ankle strap by Sam Edelman.

  • A lime-colored thong sandal with flower detail by Loeffler Randall.

    Piperlime

    A lime-colored thong sandal with flower detail by Loeffler Randall.

Somewhere between my favorite workhorse winter boots and the flip-flops I'll wear on my summer beach vacation is the shoe that would fill in the gaps. It would take me to work, through weekends and out to dinner.
But for all the time I spend staring at the floor of my closet, I still don't know which shoe that might be. It's a perfect excuse to go shoe shopping, but I've been on three excursions, and I'm still mostly alternating between some old tan ballet flats and a pair of brown cork wedge sandals.
I didn't find the one-size-fits-all solution my dark brown riding boots give me half the year.
A cap-toe ballet flat with contrasting colors would give a lot of mileage, L.A.-based stylist Laurie Brucker said, because it can be grounded in a neutral camel or black and then tipped with a pop of color or a flash of metallic.
A pointy-toe front is probably a little more fashion-forward and will live into the fall season and beyond, she says. (I'll be back in my boots by then.)
I took a spin through the Nordstrom shoe department, admiring Uggs' thongs, Tory Burch open-toe ballet flats and Jimmy Choo platform wedges. They all came with minuses: The thongs would clack-clack in the office; the flats were too similar to something I already own; and the Choos were out of my price range.
The popular flat platforms are too clunky for me and my straightforward-but-not-quite-conservative look.
I eyed some Cole Haan-Nike Air wedge-heel sandals, but they were in black, and I wasn't sure if the dark ankle strap would work with enough of my lighter-hue summer wardrobe.
Jennifer Gosselin, senior vice president and general manager of online retailer Piperlime, said to be wary of black, especially if I'm wearing a lot of brightly colored bottoms.
Her suggestion for a go-to shoe has a hint of shine to it. A sandal like the Sam Edelman Sophie sandal, with its metallic buckle and moderate 2-inch wedge heel, easily transitions from weekday to weekend, she said.
"The height makes it a little more polished, but it's not quite as dressed up as a pump or high heel," Gosselin said. "You could wear it all day."
Flat sandals -- but not flip-flops -- are enjoying a comeback, especially if they're in the brown family.
And, Gosselin said, the quintessential summer shoe is a canvas-top espadrille.
It's a style I love, even if I really imagine my mother wearing them, but I doubted it would work as an everyday shoe because, at least back in the day, if the jute bottom got wet from even a drizzling rain, it never seemed to get dry again.
Technology and rubber soles have improved that, Gosselin said.
"An espadrille says summer like nothing else. It can be dressed up or down," she said, and the closed-toe canvas shoe sends an appropriate warm-weather vibe while hiding toenails that haven't had a recent pedicure.
I think I'd at least still need the caramel-colored, slightly elevated sandal or the nice metallic flat, but I'm feeling like I have wearable options.

Story tags » Fashion

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