Building spring/ summer/ fall complements, the sandal edition

Sorry for all the posts, Fab Friends. Guess what? Spring did not happen here, and summer has arrived with a vengeance. That means new footwear. Usually I buy sandals in March but this year I didn't. And it turns out that I had to retire a lot of summer footwear. I retired 6 pair of sandals for reasons of wear or comfort. Actually 8, if you count the two that I got rid of straight away at the end of last summer. 

That left me with two pairs...a semi-dressy Ralph Lauren gladiator, and a taupe cage sandal with a high heel that I rarely wear except for going out, even though the comfort is surprisingly good. 

I replaced an ill-fitting Camper silver casual sandal with the Eileen Fisher Sport in silver. This will be very versatile for me. I've already worn it more than I wore the Campers last year! 

I am also replacing my Fitflops (which I wear to walk in constantly in summer) with a silver pair. These are my most casual footwear. Together with my silver sneakers and silver pumps, I think I am covered for silver summer footwear. Which is not to say I wouldn't look at another pair. :)  

Silver bookends my hair. I have a silver belt (though it needs upgrading), and I always wear silver jewellery. Complement sorted. I don't have a silver bag, but I am on the lookout for one sometime during the next few seasons. 

A white sandal was a HEWI and I found one that works! Yay for Wittner. 

In summer I wear a lot of white. It somewhat bookends my hair, and I have a white bag and a white belt as well as large white earrings and pearls. I like these somewhat dressy yet easy to wear sandals. Complement sorted

I am also interested in a bright sandal, red to be exact (or one with red in it.) I've ordered the one below to try. We'll see. This would be an easy complement for me. I don't yet have a red bag but they are easy to find and I should be able to find one on sale. I don't have a red belt, but  I have big red earrings, a red scarf, several clothing items that include red. Red works really well with my whites and blues. Complement sorted. (Assuming these sandals work.) 

My favourite belt is cognac. It's mixed leather with snake effect and a silver buckle. I love it as a warm contrast with my summer whites, blues, light greys, black. Unlike all my other belts, which don't work with higher rise jeans, it fits with all my jeans, whatever the rise. Cognac and leopard were both easier for me to wear when I was a blonde, but I haven't gotten over my love for them it seems, and in the last few years I found a pair of low heeled cognac sandals by Seychelles (in Finds) a real boon in the closet. (To the point where I plan to add cognac footwear for fall next year also.) 

Well, today I went in search of something similar (having failed to find anything in Vancouver, Toronto, or even online in Canada!!) and came home with this higher heeled ankle strap! Which was not what I was after.

The thing is, it is SO comfortable I can't believe it! It's made by Vionic and their shoes usually don't work for me, but this one does. 

But is it a sensible purchase? Trying some potential summer to early fall transitional outfits below so you can see. I wouldn't wear it for doing errands or walking 5 miles or heading to the beach but I'd wear it for city trips, going out for a meal with hubs, out with girlfriends. 

They do make it in black, so I could get it in that. (I don't own a black sandal.) But it's lower contrast in the tan/cognac against my skin, and I think it looks better with the wood heel, too. 

I guess what I'm saying is, I want one colour or the other, regardless, because it feels that good! 

Photo 1 -- my all time favourite "got for a song, still going strong" shirt! With my all time favourite cognac complement. 

I could add a pair of big cognac earrings and maybe some clothing items (scarf, another top) with those tones in a pattern as well. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • JAileen replied 2 years ago

    The new shoes look great. They are not sensible. But sensible shoes usually aren’t very cute.

    I still wear cognac even though my hair is so grey. I haven’t been adding any, but I had many bags, shoes and belts from before. I love it with dark blue.

    I’ve been adding mustard! I have a vintage Coach bag that is little used because it was the only mustard thing I had. Looking for mustard is a lot harder than looking for pink.

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    I love the cognac on you - I think more than I would like black. Great with the belt but even alone as the only cognac item I think they would work. I like cognac and grey together - the warm and the cool. A cognac bag is a great addition too?

    Hope the red work out too!!

    I have really reduced black footwear - I have pumps, black heels sandals and two aging pairs (boots and Mary Janes). I do still like black shoes and sandals but it not my default any more.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thank you both, Janet and Sally. Weirdly enough, black footwear works better on me again now that I am grey, Sal -- but it's not my favourite for summer. Partly because I have to wear it so much in winter, no matter what. (Just due to boot colours available here, plus weather conditions.) 

    I really like cognac and grey and cognac and blue. The bag in the photo is cognac. Not the greatest since it has gold hardware, but I use it in summer and eventually will get one with no hardware or silver. One thing I like about these sandals is they have no visible hardware at all. 

    Janet, I love the idea of mustard for you! Great with blues, olive, and grey!

    Angie advised me to consider a blush complement and this is the year to do it if I want to -- there are tons of blush items out there now. But I'd be starting from scratch with that, whereas red, silver, white, and cognac already have a spot in my closet. 

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Wow. I LOVE the Summer cognac complements. KILLER with the bag and belt, and all the ways you’ve styled them here. Looking Euro Chic. Classic & Trendy. Your style moniker: Trendy Classic.

    That gingham blouse is the bomb. And from the Loft of all places. Good thing you gave them another chance :)

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    Of course the bag is there! A bit slow this morning. Even more reason to get the black!! I like blush - maybe innplace of the red but not the cognac? The great thing with cognac is that it looks great even well worn and can be polished up. Blush needs to be more pristine - of course I am more RATE than you.

  • UmmLila replied 2 years ago

    I love the gingham blouse too -- it's the neckline and dropped shoulders that make it so lovely on you. And in general, I'm loving how cohesively your complement works with these other great looks.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thanks, Angie. I do think I'll keep these. The comfort just can't be argued with. It's shocking. The reviews on Zappos are not so great but the SA told me that she has not seen it on a customer who did not love it. I feel perfectly supported, which I didn't in the much lower heeled Seychelles. 

    Sally, that's exactly right about cognac vs. blush. So it has a classic durability. 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Lisa, thank you. That's exactly right. The style is genius for me, at least in this very collapsible fabric. I should keep looking out for similar styles. I'd love a dress with this shape. 

  • replied 2 years ago

    I would definitely go for the cognac complement rather than going for a dark sandal.

    These sandals look great, and the heel looks pretty darn comfortable.

    I love the high rise blue jeans on you as well as pencil/tube skirts.

    You didn’t mention the bag but it’s free too!

  • rachylou replied 2 years ago

    Wow! Overall wow! Just gonna bookmark this thread for ref.

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 2 years ago

    I love the new shoes and think they'd be very versatile. And if you're gonna wear higher heels, at least they're Vionics!

  • efbgen replied 2 years ago

    You look amazing in all your outfits.
    How fun to purge the old footwear and make room for new.

  • Marilyn replied 2 years ago

    Really loving your cognac compliment, Suz.  I vote keep the shoes! :)

    I had those Vince Camuto caged booties in black.  I gave them to my daughter last weekend when she was home.  They were languishing in my closet due to my preference for a lower/more wearable heel.  She was happy to take them off my hands and gave me a ,"you're welcome". LOL

  • Christina F. replied 2 years ago

    I see you’re keeping those shoes. I love every single outfit you’ve made, so it’s just as well ;)

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Ha, that is so funny, Marilyn! Mine are actually a slightly different style but I never got the Find for it -- they have a lovely snakeskin back strap! And are less grey taupe and more skin tone taupe. I really only wear them when I'm going out for an evening now. I will probably keep them until cage sandals are utterly passé because they do fill a need.

    Okay. Thank you everyone. I'm definitely keeping the tan/cognac and looking for a scarf and a summer top that includes some orange/ tan/ cognac in the pattern to pick up that tone, ideally with blue or grey as well. Thanks for the help!

    By the way, I've been reading the reviews of these Solana shoes -- for those who might be interested. It sounds like the people who like the regular (non-dress) Vionics do not like these. But people who have plantar fasciitis and even arthritis in their feet love these! (PF sufferer waving hands). The straps make them adjustable but I think very wide and very narrow feet might be sized out. 

    I can't wear most regular (non-dress) Vionics because many are too wide (especially at the heel) and the arch hits me in the wrong spot and/or does not offer any support. I tried a flat dress mule today (in Finds)  and it was a disaster -- I'd never have been able to keep it on my foot.

    This shoe gives superb support to me. I got it in the smaller of my two sizes (6.5 US) and the fit is perfect.

  • DonnaF replied 2 years ago

    The cognac sandals look perfect on you; glad you're keeping them. Despite my once black, now salt'n'pepper, hair and wearing lots of black'n'white, I am finding I don't want to reach for my black sandals but prefer my cognac ones. Ah, so maybe I am biased in my opinion? But IMHO cognac adds a bit of grounding without feeling too heavy IYKWIM.

  • shevia replied 2 years ago

    Are you kidding? The new sandals look perfect with all of these. I was especially struck by #3 where they stood alone and work beautifully. Love your summer outfits!

  • Joy replied 2 years ago

    I am thrilled that you are keeping the cognac sandals and forming a cognac compliment. I hope that you also find a great silver bag, or 2 or 3. I found that I needed a clutch, satchel and tote to meet my bag needs.

  • SarahD8 replied 2 years ago

    I love your new cognac sandals and if they are as comfortable as you say they are I have no doubt they will be a practical, sensible purchase. I really like them in all the outfits you posted, including those where they are the lone cognac element. I agree with DonnaF that this color provides a grounding but not too heavy look for summer.

    It sounds like your immediate decisions are sorted but I wanted to say thank you for this post. I am back around to thinking about complements, as something that my spring wardrobe taught me is that I need to think at the complement scale rather than just the seasonal capsule scale. I think the elements of my complements will be different from yours (I don’t wear belts and am not much of a bag person) but it was so helpful to me to read through your thought process. Thank you so much! I hope you will share more as these continue to evolve.

  • Sisi replied 2 years ago

    I have not read the other comments yet, just wanted to say - You look soooo elegant in all your outfits and your sandal collection is beautiful ! i like them all.  The new purchase (the cognac higher-heel sandals) sounds like a super lucky strike! I am glad for you.

  • Jessikams replied 2 years ago

    Those outfits all look fab.

    I’m curious about other people’s complement collections. How many should a person have? You have silver cognac, one bright color, one white, it sounds like. I have blush, white/black patterned, rose gold.... but I certainly don’t have every color in the rainbow (or even in my palette). I guess they just evolve naturally... you find a new olive belt and you remember your olive sneakers and you think “complement!”

  • jussie replied 2 years ago

    They look great. I really like outfits 3, 7 and 8

  • lyn67 replied 2 years ago

    Your stylings with the bag are brilliant all over, I would keep for sure! Love to see your outfits again Suz- always  breath of fresh air and impecable and  well thought on style to me!

    I love me some complements, and am succesfully done it with neutrals like  blacks(summer and winter), icy blue and fadded coral(for summer), and tans. Tried t so hard to do a sandal complement with a bright tomato bag-and metallic shoes(for summer) but  for my sadness I'm just not feelin' them always  right- commented about this  on an other thread today. It all depends.

  • Mainelady replied 2 years ago

    I love your style! I am glad you decided to keep the cognac sandals. They look great with all of the outfits you shared. Whoo hoo for the comfort factor! Next up, your silver bag. I look forward to seeing what you find!

  • Jane replied 2 years ago

    Beautiful sandals, a lovely warm colour, and beautifully styled. 

  • texstyle replied 2 years ago

    Love the sandals and glad you are keeping - all the outfits look wonderful here. And finding comfortable sandals that are cute is such a big bonus!

  • Chris987 replied 2 years ago

    Wow, you had me at cognac compliment. My favorite! Then when you pointed out all the grey/silver you wear (including your hair) my swooning went to a new level. I think grey and cognac and all it's variations (camel and steel blue for example) are always fabulous an they are probably my favorite colors. Thanks Giorgio Armani for bringing this combo into the fashion world. (Not sure he really invented it but it was signature for him).

    A cognac compliment is PERFECT for your style and I love the items you've shown here. Red, silver, and white are great too but Cognac wins in my book.

    Love all the block heels. Vionics have not worked for me either but I'll have to give them a look from time to time.

    I love Angie's moniker for you - trendy classic!

  • lisa p replied 2 years ago

    Fantastic new sandals - love them on you .  What top and culottes/shorts/? are you wearing in 5 and 6?  

  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    These are all wonderful outfits, and I'm glad you're getting more sandals -- yes, you need those! :-) Are those the Zara sarong shorts in #6? I was just looking at mine this weekend and re-commiting to wear them again! 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Lisa, Janet -- in #6, those are the Zara sarong shorts, bought for a song still going strong. I can't wear them on truly sticky days without a breeze but they are great in warm but not too humid weather. 

    The top is J. Crew and on sale now. Liberty print. 

    The long culottes are J. Crew Rayner dark denim from last year. They have a tendency to stretch out but otherwise are great. 

    Chris, cognac, camel, tan, and pumpkin are some of your best friends! They look amazing with your colouring. I really found cognac easier to wear as a blonde, but what the heck. It still works with a bit of planning. 

    Thanks for all the nice compliments on my complements, ha! :) 

  • lisa p replied 2 years ago

    Thanks Suz - I've always loved your Zara shorts.  The JCrew pic doesn't link to anything in particular,  - I guess the top is sold out .  Really nice print .  

  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    Suz, it's nice to see those sarong shorts again. I'm a little surprised that style didn't get more traction but I think it still looks current in a quirky/timeless way.

    I kind of forgot about my sarong shorts last year -- I think I only wore them once or twice. Sometimes it's fun to rediscover something in our closet! I think it's because I have them hanging on a hanger with my skirts, and when I think "shorts" I go to the shelf of folded shorts. They sort of fall in between clothing categories so they fall out of my radar. Same goes for my skirted leggings in cooler seasons -- they hang in my closet in the same place with the skirts, and I forget about them because I go to my shelf of jeans instead! 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Well, that's too bad. Yesterday when I looked they had sizes. Today, only TRIPLE 0!!

    Free shipping, too. Sigh. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 years ago

    All those shoes look fab, I really hope the red ones are keepers.You look lovely and stylish as always and those cognac sandals go with all those outfits beautifully.

  • Greenjeans replied 2 years ago

    You look fab in white, Suz!  I love the way it complements your hair.


  • Elizabeth P replied 2 years ago

    Thank you Suz!  I've had a couple of things sitting in my J. Crew cart for a while, and this thread caused me to hit the buy button.  40% off plus free shipping... score!

    One of them is "your" pearls.  I've had my eye on them for ages.

  • Sara L. replied 2 years ago

    I can't pick a favorite - they're all great.  Those are fantastic sandals.  I'm glad to hear they're so comfortable too.  

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Jumping in late:
    Keep the sandals, keep the cognac. Don't take them in black. Part of their elegance is in the cognac color.

    Message me to tell me the store you got it from! I want a pair. 

  • The Cat replied 2 years ago

    I know your post is primarily on (cognac) sandals, but ... What strikes me when looking at these pictures is how great you look in cool colours. That long grey cardigan in #7 is gorgeous on you. So is the black & white gingham blouse and white jeans in #1. Stunning with your silver hair. You really are a cool (!) lady! :-)

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Definitely cool toned, The Cat. Cool as a cucumber. :) There is no question what my dominant characteristic is. You should see me in yellow! This is why I will probably send back that coral dress from Boden, much as I like the cut. 

    But cognac makes a nice warm complement to the cool and jazzes things up a bit, I think. 

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