Buy It: Elizabeth and James shoes
I have mentioned before how much I like Elizabeth and James, the contemporary line designed by Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen--everything is flattering, well-made and well-designed. If, like me, you can't get enough of E&J, the good news is that they've branched out into shoes. Like the clothes, the shoes are fashion-forward enough to be current but refined enough to not look fashion vicitim-y. In other words, you're going to fall in love with every pair at first sight, but unlike with your other footwear impulse buys, you're actually going to wear these shoes--they're stylish and practical.

My favorite style is the Belle gladiator sandal, which, yes, is pretty basic-looking at first, but there's a cool zipper detail in back, and there's a tiny wedge heel to give you just enough lift. And since they're metallic, you can easily wear them day or night--and I am all about double-duty shoes.

A showier version of the above are the Luella gladiator booties, which have a less practical 4-inch heel, but are miles sexier. Also, take a look at the stacked heel--it has a unique banded effect, and it's attention to detail such as these that really makes Elizabeth and James stand out.

Speaking of attention to detail, check out the buttons along the heel of the Jazz pumps. These are the type of shoes that people stop you on the street to ask about.

Also incredibly sexy: the Jasmine ankle-strap platforms. Pointy-toe platforms are not an easy shape to pull off, but this pair does it beautifully.

I also really like the Haley platform wedges, which, in spite of their height, look pretty comfortable. I would not recommend wearing these with skirts or dresses if you don't have stem-like legs, but the chunkiness would be perfect under flared or wide-leg pants.

Of course, not everything about these shoes can be perfect, which brings me to the prices, which tend to straddle the $300 mark. This puts Elizabeth and James in league with Pour la Victoire and Belle by Sigerson Morrison, two lines that I love but tend to buy only on sale. Considering they're a bit more refined and conservative, E&J might qualify as full-price-worthy for many, so I wonder if they'll even make it to sale. It's a gamble, but I'm willing to bet E&J shoes are worth the price.

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