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Attention, Imelda! Step up for a footwear Q&A

Pumps? Moccasins?! "Today" style editor Judy Gordon answers questions about the spring shoe styles. Plus: What-to-buy tips.
/ Source: TODAY

There’s nothing better than doing the spring fashion two-step.

No, we’re not talking about a dancing debut; rather, that sexy sashay and strut you can’t help but break into when you step out in some great new shoes.

No matter how many pairs you own – are you listening, Imelda Marcos? -- there’s always room for one more. And this season you’ll have a hard time limiting your picks! Get in step with the styles that are just right for you -- from office-perfect spectators to ultra-trendy wedges to the hot new moccasins in our quickie Q&A.

’For an haute fashion look, we adore Kate Spade’s sassy fuchsia, orange and white striped wedges. For inexpensive lucite – or wood-heeled wedges in acid citrus brights -- you can’t beat the hip “reinterpretations” of this runway style offered by BCBGirls and Boston Proper.

Q: What kind of shoe is feminine enough to wear with spring and summer dresses?
Yes, spring and summer dresses are fabulously feminine, and when only girly glamour will do, we say go for the low cut, open toe shoe! Known as the “D’Orsay,” the revealing cut of this high-heeled pump was designed to highlight the gorgeous gams of the aristocracy – and they’ve been a trendista favorite ever since. In keeping with their subtle sex appeal, this spring’s open toe pumps can be found in butter-soft leather or suede in an array of luscious colors, such as lilac, petal pink and mint green.  Also available decorated with details like bows, scallops, ribbon trims or floral cutouts, they’re dressy enough to wear with a suit, but also light and airy enough to complement the most feminine dresses. We do say “D’Orsay” and you will too!

’Go from runway – think Marc Jacobs-- to the reality of your very own closet with retailers like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. This spring they’re serving up D’Orsays in a rainbow of candy colors.

Q: I need to look professional at work – no open toes, no ankle laces -- but. I’m tired of my plain old pumps. What should I wear?

A: Step right up for your promotion – in fashion, at least -- because one of this season’s trendiest shoes is also perfectly polished and professional. The classic spectator, be it an oxford, a pump or a slingback, is the working woman’s new best friend. You’ll find that traditional black/white and navy/white combinations will add dash to almost anything you own. Slip a striped blouse under last year’s suit, tie on your lace-front spectators and voila – you’re styled to a T. If your wardrobe veers toward neutral browns, beiges and khakis, consider a spectator in beige and oxblood (burgundy) as a sophisticated update. And for the trendiest look, go for a Spring 2004 color combinations of white and delicious candy brights, such as coral, canary or lime. Instant chic!

’If you’re ready to splurge, head straight to Ralph Lauren or Manolo Blahnik for to-die-for spectator stilettos. However, if “reality” is more your speed, you’ll be delighted with the classic array of spectator slingbacks, slides and pumps available from mass retailers such as Spiegel.

Q: I’m invited to a big party/gala/wedding and I need sexy, flirty dancing shoes. What’s new?

A: It’s an election year, and this spring your personal party platform is the hot new sandal. (And do remember, it’s always trendy to register and vote!). On the ticket are slender platform soles topped with crossed and twisted thin straps, along with ankle wraps and ties. These strippy, strappy numbers are newest in gold, silver or colored metallics like hot pink or aquamarine, and they’re super trendy with see-through plastic straps and matching lucite heels. You’ll also find plenty of platform sandals in hot, bright color combinations like orange, fuchsia and yellow.

The secret to the most stylish looks are the whimsical, humorous finishing touches: You’ll find butterflies fluttering at the ankles and toes, feather tips on braided ankle laces and beads, rhinestones and charms galore. It’s a fashion fiesta! In terms of heel height, the higher the better (if you can stand it), with  stilettos still leading the way.

’We love the fantastic colors and trims found on trendista fave sandals from Hollywould. You’ll find equally enticing designs at a fraction of the price from young, trendy shoe manufacturers like Chinese Laundry and Carlos by Carlos Santana. Metallic sandals with kitten heels and rhinestone butterflies are an affordable must-have from Nina.

Q: Help! I can’t wear heels. What am I supposed to do?
Fear not, fashion friends -- there are plenty of options for those who prefer to keep things grounded. One of the hippest looks this season is the revival of the classic suede moccasin – sometimes known as the “driving moc” – which is quite possibly one of the most comfortable shoes on the planet. This low-key number is going for more than a walk in the woods, though; designers are showing the moccasin with everything from shorts and khakis to skirts and dresses. It all adds up to something surprisingly chic. To keep things interesting, the newest versions are gussied up just a bit in soft or bright colors, finished leather lacing, beading or fancy trims. If this is all bit too “granola” for you, opt for the sleek skimmer or the feminine ballet flat, both of which are polished looks that work with all of spring’s vintage-inspired styles.

’The must-have moccasins are from Miu Miu and the to-die-for ballet flats are from Chanel. Alternately, you might want to go straight to the classic moccasin source in the form of Minnetonka Moccasins, which are fabulous and very well-priced. You’ll find skimmers and ballet flats at every price point – some very pretty versions are available right now from Delman, Aerosoles, Sam & Libby, Payless, Naturalizer and Bakers.

Judy Gordon is a New York-based style consultant and the “Today” show’s style editor. She has been covering the fashion and beauty beat for the past decade. To learn more, you can visit her Web site,, which highlights style trends in America.