Step Into Fall in Style!

By Karen R. Smith


It’s hard to believe summer’s on the wane as the days are still hot and sunny, but with kids about to head back to school, we all know Autumn is coming. The good news is, there are great new shoe styles for everyone in the family, which means you and yours can step into the new season with a smile!

Sparkle Plenty

Every major designer showed dazzling silver shoes and boots for Fall, and I do mean EVERYBODY. This is a trend to embrace and literally make your own! Got a pair of shoes or boots that are worn and ready to retire? Paint them silver (any acrylic craft paint will do) and silver them either with plastic gems, rhinestones or glitter. If you use the latter, be sure to seal it after the glitter dries, because otherwise, you’ll leave a trail of pixie dust wherever you go.

This is a great project to do with your kids, and it will enable you to update their worn-out summer sneakers and shoe and make them new for the start of the term. There are lots of YouTube tutorials you can view for ideas; I particularly liked this one, which explains how to do non-shedding glitter step by step

If you’d rather stick with the summer’s biggest metal trend, turn your past-their-prime shoes and boots rose gold using one of the many metallic spray paints you can find at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Michael’s. Again, Youtube has lots of advice you can follow. It’s really easy: clean the shoes as much as possible; use painters’ tape to cover any parts you don’t want to color (white soles, for example) and stuff the shoes with newspaper or rags so you don’t get paint on the inside. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the spray paint correctly, and do your spraying outside (I surround the area with dollar store drop-cloths that I can roll up and toss when I’m finished).

Ready for Action

Last season’s biker trend seems to have morphed with traditional Doc Marten’s to produce this year’s combat boots: black and fierce, they look terrific on everyone, male or female, young or old. Again, you can use this trend as a way to change shoes that are past their prime. Decide if you’re going matte black or super patent shiny, get the right paint and go for it! Copy the ones I saw by Alexander McQueen and add blood red shoelaces when you’re finished!

Prefer cowboy boots? Of course, those are always in style hereabouts, but rest assured they were also in everybody’s fall and winter collections. Of course, good boots are expensive, even in kids’ sizes. Check the thrift stores and consignment shops for an incredible selection of gently worn cowboy boots at affordable prices. After all, you now know you can grab a can of paint and make them your favorite source for gently worn ladies cowboy boots is Persnickety on Oracle Road; for kids I’ve done really well making regular pitstops at the many branches of Goodwill of Southern Arizona.

Fabrics Galore and More

The velvet trend of last winter is still going strong, so dust yours off and bring them to your favorite cobbler for new soles and heels -- you’ll get another season out of them for a minimal investment. Besides, you’ll want to save your pennies for the new satins, which look fresh and edgy thanks to incredible colors and interesting heels.

The heels are more than interesting: they are spectacular! While I will not be buying a pair of the Thom Brown faux ice skate heels, I loved how they looked on the models. There were clear heels, and heels made out of dice, and circular heels, and carved heels, and lots, lots more. So if you have a favorite pair of shoes and the heels are trashed, this is the year to cover those shredded heels with something fabulous and give the shoes a new life. Whatever you want to adhere on those beat-up heels, use E6000 glue and it will stay put forever, as best as I can tell. I went to SAS (on Speedway just west of Craycroft) and bought strands of rhinestone trim, which I glued in tiers over the back of my navy pumps. Instantly fabulous!

Note that lots of the new Fall/Winter shoes are embellished with everything from embroidery to studs to rhinestones to all three. Again, you can do this yourself on shoes you already own, and it’s a way to jazz up kids shoes that are looking rode hard and put up wet!

I found embroidered dragon appliques on line, and glued them on the sides of my nephews’  black sneakers. I have been voted the coolest Aunt EVER!

Ah, Men…

Having gotten yourself and the kids ready to step into Fall, what about the men in the family? Personally, I’m getting everyone a gift certificate for the gents in my world so they can pick out a fabulous pair at

If you are not already familiar with this brand, get onto their website and look around. These are beautiful shoes, carefully crafted and they come in enough styles and colors to please every guy in your family. When they are not wearing sneakers or flip flops, they should be wearing Hubbards. I think you’ll agree!

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at