An Ode to Statement Sandals

An Ode to Statement Sandals

In the summer, when warmth and daylight beckon with endless outdoor activities, standing in front of my closet brainstorming outfits is the last thing I want to do. So I’ve developed two simple uniforms: loose, breezy dresses for dates and meetings, and a solid top and jeans for more casual endeavors.

Getting dressed takes two minutes, and I don’t have to invest a ton of money updating my wardrobe every year. But how does one prevent basic outfits from looking boring? How can you keep staples feeling fresh?

Enter: Statement sandals.

A bold pair of sandals can instantly snazz up any ensemble. You feel put-together and current — even in a decade-old tank. My favorite part? Unlike hard-to-wear clothing trends (I’m looking at you, maxi-dress-that’s-taller-than-me), shoes always fit. On days when you’re sweaty or fighting the frizz, your shoes are still your friends. They’ll protect your feet from stepping on gum, and make you look great while you’re doing it.

caroline-cala-donofrio-statement-sandals

Statement Sandals

These shiny slides are my current favorites. I wear them every day, with a white tee and boyfriend jeans or a black dress and beachy waves. Here are six other options: patterned, brightly colored, metallic, cheetah, rhinestone and (if you really want to go for it) lightning bolts.

Do you have a go-to pair of sandals? What’s your summer shoe philosophy?

(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Nordstrom. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)

  1. veronica says...

    Those sandals look super cool, but your hair looks gorgeous Caroline!!! I love you new look ;)

  2. Samantha says...

    This is so true! I bumped into my boyfriend’s mother at the salon last week. I was wearing white shorts and an off the shoulder gray tshirt, very casual. I was wearing zero makeup and a dirty messy bun (I went there to get a blow dry, ok?!). And I must say, my sandals and bag saved my look and made me look pulled together. I made sure to hold the bag right in front of me, so she would focus on it, instead of my look. That’s a great trick, if you don’t feel like dressing up, make sure you wear nice shoes and your best bag.

  3. I recently discovered fibi & clo New York designer sandals and love them! So much so, I joined their team! The sandals are striking–I’ve never worn a pair and not gotten compliments. They are super comfortable and, like you said, they dress up even the most casual jeans and tshirt outfits. Last week I went to dinner feeling pretty good in a simple white tshirt and my Midnight Idra sandals.

  4. Prudence Yeo says...

    The shiny slides are so cool and striking! My current pair of favorite sandals is a rhinestone embellished one which I have been wearing so often!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  5. Oh boy, I am suddenly coveting these big time!!

  6. I need more space in my closet! those sandals are gorgeous. The pedicure,inpeccable.

  7. Jane says...

    I have a same stategy! My go-to sandals this summer are by Kenneth Cole Reaction, gold Gizeh lookalikes. It dresses up the casual and relaxes the dressy. They go with everything and look perfect whether it’s a casual or dressy occasion.

  8. Robin R says...

    I just ordered these sandals and I’m sooo excited!!

  9. Loving the distressed jeans! They add such a casual feel to the outfit! Love, love, love!

  10. Laura says...

    I love, love, love those sandals! I wish I could afford them!

  11. Sandals blah blah, Caroline, you’re hair looks so great and summery!

  12. Ann says...

    WORISHOFERS….are the way to go….red, navy, gold and leopard in no particular order….luv em!

  13. May says...

    Great post, thank you. Love those sandals

    One of my favorites are Jessica Simpson Rosetta in orange. Compliments and looks. They are dainty with just the right amount of bling, and they’re comfortable. Wear a lot are my Clarks Artisan, forget the name, thongs with circle decorations on top, brown leather. They fit like they’re molded for my feet. I have a small two dozen or so collection of sandals. I browse eBay and Esty for vintage sandals, especially in different colors.

  14. Haha oh Caroline you always make me laugh…mostly because your writing is SO relateable. I have a love/hate relationship with shopping…mostly because most things are too long for me…jeans, dresses, even sweat pants (which I end up cutting). It can get discouraging.

    This is probably why every woman loves shoe shopping. Those sandals are way cute! Talk about throwback to the 90s…but with a hint of modern flare. Love it! :D I should be so bold and pick myself up a pair. I always shy away and stick to the black or neutral flips flops. I need more statement pieces. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  15. Those sandals remind me of the book “Rainbow Fish” – which means I’ve got some serious 90s nostalgia and I immediately fell in love with them!

    http://www.smallestthing.com

  16. Nancy says...

    Gentle Souls “Break my Heart ” gladiator sandal. For several summers now this has been “my shoe.” It comes in several colors, but I actually prefer the black. They are comfy and go with everything from jeans to a dress. The lace-up caged look gives just enough “edge” to spice up my usual outfits which are a lot like what’s described here.

  17. My casual summer uniform is definitely distressed denim and a linen blend bf tank (old navy, they’re amazing) and a most fabulous pair of rose gold sandals. They make every outfit a little classier.

  18. I’m currently ADDICTED to metallic sandals myself for the aforementioned reasons. Gold, silver, more gold, more silver. Your remind me of oil stickers I used to collect when I was little… now I’ve got my eye out for a pair like ’em!

  19. Liz says...

    Seriously though, that tanktop is the tits (literally). Where is it from?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s Club Monaco from a past season (it is very nearly a “decade-old tank top,” as referenced), but I find that their tops tend to drape pretty well in general.

  20. Amy says...

    Great post! That black tank top is also so perfect! Where is it from?

  21. yael steren says...

    Hmmm – i don’t love these sandals (sorry)!!! But I do agree with the premise of this post!! I actually have a pair of Nicholas Kirkwood flats (I wore them in a recent blog post – http://www.yaelsteren.com/friday-favorite-ditto/) that I love and achieve the same goal of wearing shoes like this!! They are just a bit more classic and timeless!! I also love the Joie nice sandals, which I wear to death! Because they are more neutral you can wear them with everything which is sometimes tough when you are wearing a sandal like the ones in today’s post! (Here is what the nice sandals look like – http://www.yaelsteren.com/easy-breezy/) xoxo yael

    yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog

  22. Caroline! I always buy my maxi dresses from Uniqlo. Asos Petite also does a great job. They’re never too long and I’m 5’2! In fact, they usually hit me at the ankles. I like light patterned scarves in summer instead of embellished sandals. I am boring with my salt water sandals or birks.

  23. shopgirl says...

    I would take silver Kate Spade…

  24. annie g says...

    Agreed. The maxi dress that makes you look like you are dressing up aged 5. Hurrah for sandals! Feet don’t fail me now…

  25. Shannon says...

    Yipee! I have been hoping for a summer sandal post. Thank you! I usually do bright toes for summer but am loving the nude toe with the bright shoe. Caroline, care to share the polish you have on?

  26. alana says...

    i love it! can you please let us know where you got your tank top? thanks!

  27. Julie says...

    once you reach a certain age..ahem, or you develop a knee injury that turns into a chronic pain, or…you suddenly find yourself with the dreaded curse of plantar fasciitis…even if in just one foot, you find yourself saying goodbye to all your birks and danskos that littered your closet and defined your wardrobe for decades. You find yourself trying on a pair of shoes, or sandals, any pair, looking for “support” which translates to pain-free walking. In comes Fitflops! shoes, sandals, etc. Then, once you buy a few of these, you find them ON SALE!!! online, Nordstrom rack, lots of places. So now? You are waist deep in Fitflops. They don’t look half bad, and your closet is stocked for years!

    • jen says...

      Sketchers were recommended to me after ankle surgery; I still wear a pair of platform flip flops that just caress my feet. They are up there with fitflops and gentle souls.

    • mindi says...

      I reached “a certain age” at 30, when I played a rousing game of kickball with my students…and couldn’t walk for the next three days. Enter plantar fasciitis, piriformis (sciatic nerve issues that are genetic…yay!), and a nagging knee injury from my college days as a hockey player. You mention getting rid of Birks, but for me they are the only shoe that has ever made it not feel like hot butter knives are being inserted into my feet!

  28. Amanda says...

    I’m not sure I could wear any of these sandals. I can’t stand to flip flop.

  29. jeannie says...

    Cute post! I completely agree that having a pretty pedicure and cute sandals makes me feel put together no matter what I am wearing (usually black pants and a chambray shirt or t-shirt). Caroline, you are adorable!

  30. Erica H. says...

    Do Birkenstocks count? ;)

  31. Teree says...

    Don’t your feet get really dirty, walking in NYC?

  32. Victoria Barry says...

    I am in love with my Sam Edelman’s in a basic brown. They are my summer staple sandals. These provide a great color pop though! I might need to invest.

  33. Gillyan says...

    Those sandals are too cute on you, but I don’t think I’d ever be daring enough to wear them in public! It’s Birks and Rainbows all summer long for me. Can’t go wrong :)

    P.S. Can I ask where your tank is from? I love the way it drapes!

  34. RebeccaNYC says...

    I live in my Birkies all summer, because here in the city, comfort and walkability is KING. I think I have ???? pairs? But Jeans? On a day like today with 90%humidity? yikes, I’m sweating just thinking about it. Tee shirt dresses, Linen tank dresses, pencil skirts and basic tees are my go-to’s.

  35. Shannon says...

    Caroline you are adorable! Love your take on the uniform. It is sensible, carefree, and fun.

  36. Aga says...

    No uniform for me! I quite enjoy getting dressed in the summer! Although a good shoe is always a must for me, and again, I love the variety that summer allows.
    Currently in rotation: a nude mule (by Clarks, super comfy heel), gold embroidered espadrilles (by Saludos), sky-blue suede moccasins, crochet slip-on sneakers, 3.5inch white pumps (what they lack in comfort they make up in sex), a wedge, a strappy sandal, and, of course, my 15year old Birks. Long live the summer!

  37. Oh I love these shoes so much. The whole look is perfection!

  38. Caroline, you are always impossibly cute. Even your toes are cute.

    • Mary Jenkins says...

      ugh, i think the same thing! caroline you are too cute for words!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! You are too sweet. My toes are flattered.

  39. T says...

    Where are these jeans from? Love them!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thanks! They’re vintage Levi’s 501s, but these look to be very similar: http://bit.ly/1flA5z5

  40. Cynthia says...

    Because of my plantar fasciitis, I need sandals with padded insoles. Caroline, I love your sandals not only because of the color, but the adjustable strap. If they had padded insoles, I would consider a pair. My favorite statement sandals are a pair of black/white leopard print Toms from last year which instantly liven up any outfit. The insoles are padded and they are great for walking around. In fact, I think all of my sandals fall in the statement category either because of the style or color. I’m a shoe lover anyway.

    • bisbee says...

      Most sandals will allow the addition of padded insoles if they have some structure to them. Try it!

  41. Nicole Brant says...

    Great idea! I tend to wear the same summer uniform and been looking for a way to spice it up.
    P.S. What nail polish are you wearing? Love it.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thanks! It’s actually Essie Fiji (Joanna’s long-standing favorite :)

  42. Yes! Thank you for reminding me that sometimes a great shoe is all you need. Simplified style for moms!

  43. I really like simple and comfortable sandals for summer. But these shiny ones are super cute. Great pop of color.

  44. Joanna Goddard says...

    i suddenly want to switch away from my brown sandal/white converse rotation :) caroline, you are too cute.

  45. In the summertime, I switch between my chucks and my birks. I could use more statements in my rotation! But I tend to prefer quieter statements on my feet. :)

  46. Yes! I’ve been living in a pair of cheap neon orange sandals from Target. They’re a total outfit game changer, and I get nonstop compliments when I wear them!