May 24, 2019

UTOEPIA Warmer weather is (finally!) here, but before you bare your soles, update your sandal style

Sure signs of spring:

Crocuses. Croci. Whatever the plural of crocus is.

Peepers. Not to be confused with Peeps the candy, these are frogs that sound like crickets.

Toes. You know, those things that have been in hiding in your shoes since October and really need a date with a pumice stone and a bottle of nail polish.

My editor doesn’t mark the official start of the season by the date; she marks it by the shoes on my feet. As soon as she starts hearing the slap-slap-slap of flip-flops in the morning, she knows spring has arrived.

And it’s about time. Two weeks ago, I bit the bullet and slapped a coat of deep, dark red on my toenails – a nice contrast with my Pillsbury Doughboy-white skin – and bared my soles to the world.

The only problem was, I was wearing last year’s shoes. Ugh.

Clearly, it was time to shop.

I spent a lot of time at Filene’s – researching, of course – and came to the conclusion that I wanted everything in the shoe department. The wedge-heel, tie-ankle sandals from Valerie Stevens called out to me, both the brown-and-pink floral and the orange-and-green graphic design. So, too, did the printed peep-toe pumps from Nine West.

Online, I was thrilled to find my all-time favorite – the Brazilian Havaianas – at (I bought a pair three summers ago at Filene’s and they have yet to blow out, which is saying a lot for a flip-flop). Then I spent way too much time at, which has pretty much every shoe you could imagine. I browsed the deals at before browsing the nondeals at

Feeling footloose and fancy-free, I hightailed it to Ellsworth to drool over the funky spring selection at ShoeGazer. Old-school wedges by Destroy in decidedly new-school shades of tangerine and turquoise caught my eye, as did the bejeweled (and affordable) flip-flops from Impo. But the real show-stoppers were the Bettie Page-esque platform wedges by Tribeca – they were red, sexy and dangerous. As in, I wouldn’t be able to walk more than three steps in them.

They did cause me to muster up the courage to try a pair of rope-heel Roman sandals at Burlington Coat Factory, however. At $12.98, I couldn’t pass them up, despite my teetering. And then there was the half-off sale at Kohl’s. Would I choose the bejeweled thongs (shoes, not undies)? Or would I pick the cork-sole sandal? I knew the sandal, with its flower detail, would be more practical, and at $28.99, why not?

That was my logic at Kmart, too. When I saw the glittery satin thongs and the suede flip-flops, both $5.99, I knew I wouldn’t have to choose. I bought both – and a bottle of nail polish to update my look.

I can’t be walking around with last year’s feet, can I? Especially now that I have spring in my step.

Tips for a perfect pedicure

1. Soak your feet and clean them with a pumice sponge, which will remove both dry skin and any dirt from your heels – a flip-flop drawback. You can find pumice sponge in the travel-size aisle at Target for 99 cents, or at most nail salons.

2. Dry your feet and push back the cuticles. Massage with lotion. Rub nail polish remover over your bare toenails to remove any excess oil. Shape and file your nails, and then gently rub a fine file over them so polish will adhere better.

3. Apply a base coat and two coats of bold polish. Here are a few surefire shades: Try dark berry red such as Revlon’s Vixen or a neutral brick-terra cotta shade such as Revlon’s Tuscan Sun for pale skin. For a classic, neutral look, try OPI’s Your Royal Shyness, a pale beige-pink. For darker or tanned skin, a bright orange red such as Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in So Poppy will really pop, as will hot pink such as Fuchsia Power, also by Sally Hansen.

4. Top it all off with a strong topcoat (I find Revlon to have the longest-wearing products) and allow to dry.

5. Enjoy!

Win me!

One lucky reader will win a pedicure set, pumice sponge and a collection of ShopGirl’s favorite polish shades – a $25 value.

Simply fill out this form, cut it out and mail it to: ShopGirl giveaway, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402-1329. A winner will be drawn at random on Wednesday, May 10, and announced in the Saturday, May 13, ShopGirl column.

Good luck and, as always, happy shopping!




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