Category Archives: advice column

need advice about shoes or cocktails?

S&C advice column — my fall suede shoes

Ms. S&C,

Me again, one of your most loyal followers! … I am seeing suede pumps everywhere now that we’re all in the “fall” mindset. …

Can you help me find a good fall colored suede pump for this season? I need it to go with a LOT of outfits, considering my dehydrated and parched discretionary budget!


Yours, KG


Dear KG,

I’m loving suede shoes right now, including suede boots and booties. Really. I desperately want a pair (or pairs) for myself, and I’m finding too many options. I also need to be budget conscious (overspent at Anthropologie–and sadly, on too few items), so your question is a great one.

I don’t know about you, but I think I prefer suede shoes in warm neutral colors. Not sure why, but dark colored suede doesn’t work for me. Below are a few favorites I’ve come across. I think the tiered ruffled booties in nude  ($69.95) are so adorable. They would look great with skirts and skinny jeans. I also really like the taupe rouched platforms ($69.95). They are both daytime and nighttime appropriate. I know they are open-toe too, but I’m not afraid to go open-toe year round these days. And, not to overdo it on the ruffles, but I like these suede boots in taupe  ($79.95), and for one heck-of-a price.

JS ruffle bootieJS platform pumpsuede ruffle boot

If you are looking for a sexy statement shoe, how about these cut-out booties ($89.95)? They’re edgy, but not too extreme (except for the 4+ inch heel). If you’re looking for something more conservative, here are two other reliable brands with good options. The Ralph Lauren pumps ($98.00) are classic and come in a myriad of colors. The Nine West can’t-go-wrong peep-toe platforms ($89.00) are pretty great (I just wish they came in more colors–I want them in brown!).

NYLA platform bootieRL suede pumpsNW platform

Even if you do not choose any of the above, please report back when you make a decision on your fall suede shoes. I’d love to see them! Thanks so much for reading, and being one of our most loyal followers!

Happy shoe shopping,
Ms. S&C

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C advice–a footwear conundrum

Ms. S&C:

I have a footwear dilemma and need some advice.

My husband’s co-worker is marrying into a prominent Virginia political family and the wedding will be held at their farm in early June. We have been invited for the occasion, which will undoubtedly be a fabulous, swanky affair filled with all the see-and-be-seen people in both Virginia and DC politics.

I must say, I have a smashing dress. The problem? The website says, and I quote: “Flat shoes are recommended since the majority of the location is on grass.” While my feet are already breathing a sigh of relief (think: no blisters after four hours on the dance floor), I’m perplexed when it comes to the idea of fashionable flats.

So, now what? Any suggestions on flats that can go with a cute, tea-length summery ensemble? (Of course, not too pricey since they might get caked with mud or grass stains.) Or, do I tone down the dress to parallel the flats? Help!

–Shoeless & Stumped, Alexandria, Va.


Dear Shoeless & Stumped,

Every year before my organization’s annual convention, (when I know I’m going to be on my feet for hours upon hours), I find myself shoeless and stumped, and in need of fashionable flats. Thankfully, this category of shoes has exploded in recent years – so, there are options. Quite possibly too many options. Navigating the choices can be daunting and time-consuming. For your fabulous and swanky affair, here’s what I MIA-flatsrecommend you look for in a pair of flats.

Metallic – This may be the easiest way to dress up a pair of flats. Plus, gold and silver (or bronze) look good with almost any color scheme. Plus, plus – they are very easy to match with your accessories – a silver clutch bag or nice gold earrings equals a great outfit. These silver flats are from MIA and available in many colors at Endless for $69.95.

Patent – Another surefire way to dress up a pair of shoes. And, if the weather is not cooperating, shiny patent is easy to wipe clean.AK-bow

Embellishment – Bows, beading or other embellishments on the toe can turn ordinary flats into fashionable flats. These patent bow flats are Anne Klein and available in a variety of colors at Endless for $79.00.

Prints – Obviously, print or floral shoes are out-of-the-question if you are wearinnine-west-florag a printed dress. But, if you are wearing solid colors, printed shoes are so eye-catching. They can make a statement and one winning outfit. These summery floral flats are from Nine West and available at Piperlime for $59.00.

Lastly, you could wear a pair of wedges. I personally would have a hard time settling on flats, especially if I’m wearing a perfectly “smashing dress.” I just feel more comfortable with a little extra height. Wedges offer stability on grass, while giving you a polished look. Below are a few options that I really like. The braided t-straps are from Etienne Aigner and available in black or gold at Piperlime for $70.00. The peep-toe wedges are Bandolino and available in black, gold and turquoise(!) at Piperlime for $69.00. Yes, something else to consider…


Thanks so much for your note! Hope S&C has made the world of fashionable flats a little less perplexing. Have fun at the wedding!

Yours in shoes,
Ms. S&C

PS – I do hope you’ll report back on what shoes you wore, and dish about the wedding. Anonymously, of course.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C advice–what to drink for the Globes?

Ms. S&C,
After two weeks of drinking champagne over the holidays I need something new for the Golden Globes on Sunday night.  I’m not having a party, so I truly don’t need an entire punch (although, it would be a challenge I’d have to accept).  Any suggestions for a fancy pants drink while watching the Globes?

Many thanks,
Looking for a little fancy


Dear Looking for a little fancy,
I may have a cocktail for you.  While your bar might not be stocked with this spirit (mine isn’t, yet), St. Germain is definitely au courante.  A product of France, this tres stylish liqueur is made from handpicked elderflower blossoms.  I recently tasted it at EatBar, a place that serves of-the-moment cocktails with fine ingredients.  EatBar’s Alchemist Cocktail (I know the name makes it sound like a science experiment rather than a lavish cocktail) contained St. Germain, Sazerac rye and lemon, shaken thoroughly, strained into a martini glass and garnished with minced lavender.  It was aromatic and divine.  And, while I know you said you wanted a break from champagne, the signature St. Germain Cocktail contains champagne (or dry white wine, Prosecco or Cava) mixed and club soda.  Maybe you could think of it as a really fancy pants spritzer?

My second choice would be the Ritz Cocktail.  Aptly named for this occasion and another-fancy-pants-drink-because-its-French.  I really love it.

Hope this gives you some inspiration — let me know what you decide!

Happy watching (and drinking),golden-globes
Ms. S&C

P.S.  Which Best Actress Nominee do you think will wear the best knock-out shoes?  Anne Hathaway, Angelina, Meryl Streep, Kristin Scott Thomas, or Kate Winslet?  My money is on Kate.  After the show, we’ll have to dish about our fashion faves.  And more fun, the fashion faux pas.


St. Germain Cocktail


  • 2 parts Champagne (or dry white wine, Prosecco or Cava)
  • 1 ½ parts St. Germain
  • 2 parts sparkling water or club soda
  • Lemon (for garnish)

Stir ingredients in a tall ice-filled glass, mixing thoroughly. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Ritz Cocktail
This recipe is a variation from many I’ve seen, but I think it is much better (no need for orange juice).  Recipe by Dale DeGroff; presented by Phil Greene at the MOTAC Holiday Cocktails Seminar.


  • 1 oz. Martell’s Medallion VSOP Cognac
  • ½ oz. Cointreau
  • ¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Champagne
  • Flamed orange peel for garnish

To make one, shake cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice and maraschino liqueur with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, then top with chilled champagne.  To make a batch, multiply first four ingredients by the number of drinks you’d like to make, stir well in a pitcher, then strain into chilled cocktail glasses, about one-third full each.  Top each with chilled champagne.

For the garnish:
The aroma and flavor in citrus fruits is concentrated in the oil cells of its peel.  By extracting the oil, you can add the essence of the fruit to drinks.  Large, thick-skinned navel oranges are recommended for flaming.  Slice a piece of the peel about the size of two quarters, light a lighter (no butane) over the drink, and squeeze the peel over the flame.  The oils will catch fire as they fall on the surface of the drink.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C advice–what to wear with my new shoes?

Dear Ms. Shoes and Cocktails,
Here’s a picture of my new shoes. I need to build an outfit around them, and a signature drink. I heart them.

Ms. Z


Dear Ms. Z,
These shoes are très chic! I love the unique “cognac” color. In fact, the shoes themselves are quite unusual, especially the over-sized button detail. You know the thing I love about unusual shoes? They can turn a very usual outfit into something special. For the work day, you can wear the same black shirt and plain, old cardigan. Add these shoes and an over-sized necklace (gold would be a lovely compliment to caramel color), and you’ve got a spectacular outfit. Plus, you’ll also be dressed and ready for that last minute happy hour.

When I’m having drinks after work, I’m usually in the Penn Quarter. One place in the neighborhood, that has delicious cocktails bold enough to compliment these pumps, is Oyamel. I need to meet the mixologist over there because the specialty drinks rotate. I had a mango cocktail with a jalapeno infusion awhile back. Spicy goodness. It is no longer there, but the same, fine ingredients such as agave nectar and tropical fruit juices are.

Finally, I’m still one for heels on the weekend. Pair these darlings with dark denim, and you’ll be ready for dinner and a movie or a Sunday afternoon brunch.

Thanks for sharing!
Ms. S&C

In need of Shoes & Cocktail advice? Send Ms. S&C a note at: shoesandcocktails(at)yahoo(dot)com.