Hands-down my favorite summer shoe. I have at least a dozen pairs collected over the years. The higher wedge ones proportionally kind of work with everything – skirts, jeans, trousers, dresses — you still look casual, but with some height. (A million times more practical than a stiletto.) For me, they signal the start of summer, so I don't put them on til May, and then by the end of August I am finally tired of them and ready for boots. I have flat ones and medium and a very few that are very tall. (2, 4, 6, 8 – this is the number of layers of woven jute the shoe sits on.)
Our brand of choice is Castañer – a Spanish maker that is nearly 100 years old. In Spain, the flat ones sell for next to nothing (you just need to buy the plane ticket...) so if you are lucky enough to go, stock up! Not just for the economy of it, but for the memory you get every time you tie them on. Even here in the states, Castañer actually brought their prices down last year, just as a business strategy... so the value for something so chic and versatile is fantastic.
While I love the way they look (and they're very cute on kids), the slip-ons tend to fall off my feet, and I am all about the romance of the ones that lace up like a ballet slipper. I have thicker ankles (athletic legs! built for running!) but the ties are still pretty flattering. A bright color or a stripe is especially great when the rest of your outfit is neutral. Trust me on this – it'll throw you off the first time you look down ("all I can see is my feet!") but take a few steps back from the mirror so you can see your whole self – squint a little – take in the proportion – and see that actually, they're just the right amount of splash. Cropped khakis and a white tee... safari shirt and white jeans... lots of options.
The simpler, darker colors can take something fancy down a notch... and when I wear them with jeans on the weekends, it makes me feel like I've made enough effort to want to be noticed at the grocery store. I may even spend some extra time wandering in the herb section and imagine I am at a European market...