It’s toe-time again. With sweltering temperatures and long, sunny days, my sandals and flip flops have slowly inched to the front of my closet, stepping on and over boots and pumps, and finally kicking me in the ass to say “Hello! It’s time!”
I really thought I’d be ready this year. I’d planned to take a long luxurious day to dust off the cob webs, and polish and pamper my peds with a decadent spa pedicure. I guess because my feet are way down there at the end of my legs—snuggled in socks, securely hidden from the public in shoes, just toeing the line, doing what they do—they’re way down there at the end of my list, and beauty budget too.
So this year, like last year, and the year before, I fell back on my girl scout powers to prep my piggies for the public. My DIY route requires a long soak in hot water, an exfoliating scrub, and intensive moisturizing. Sing it with me “easy as 1,2,3.” To moisturize, I apply a liberal amount of lotion, wrap my feet in Saran wrap, pull on a pair of cozy old socks, and spend a few hours on the sofa, watching old movies and letting the lotion do its thing. Yes, I suffer for my style. Then once my shiny soles are unmasked, I add a lick of paint and go about my summery way.
This year, I fell asleep during my intensive moisturizing routine, and when I woke up the next morning, I had a serious crick in my neck, a serious drool stain on my cushion, and … a serious pair of shiny happy feet. I’m talking born again feet!
Now I can’t just pick a random polish and squash ‘em into last Summer’s slides—the fashion Gods have obviously given me a second chance and I’m determined to thank them by showcasing my feet in style.
What’s The Perfect Polish?
According to nail technicians at the snazziest salons in San Francisco, summer colors are generally lighter than winter ones, and this year is no exception. Pale pinks are always hot for summer and most nail technicians will suggest a light color for that natural look. Light colors are more flattering on your feet and they don’t chip so obviously either—so I’m sold. (I’m all about getting mileage out of my pedicure.)
Essie has a new line of polishes for this summer called “It’s Better in the Bahamas,”  and I think Essie is on to something. The Atlantis Pearl Shade is perhaps my favorite pale pink yet and I just need to book my flight to the Bahamas now. Pale pink in hand (or rather, on foot), I found myself looking longingly at the fiery shades of red the women in the chairs next to me were selecting. It seems that the technicians suggest pale colors, and it makes sense to pick pales, but what do women want? Hot toe-males! When I asked three women waiting for a pedicure, what color they most prefer, all three immediately answered “red.”
Doing The Bling Thing.
Pretty, polished toenails are well and good, but a well-chosen accessory is sometimes just the thing to add a little bling to my step. I used to love toe-rings, and then for a while they seemed a little trashy, but I have to say I’m coming around again. They’re available in all styles and price ranges from the delicate little crystal wire toe ring  for $6.50 to the white gold and diamond eternity ring  for $1100. I may go with a dainty sterling silver ring  for a little understated bling.
Likewise, anklets come in endless styles, cost anywhere from under $10 to over $1,000, and go in and out of vogue. Originally worn in India, most ankle bracelets maintain that Southeast Asian feel, particularly the more delicate metal chains, with or without beading, and these delicate accessories are not likely to go out of style. Whether you’re into charms, crystals, or pearls, you’re likely to find an anklet out there that reflects your style. I love a simple teeny-tiny pearl anklet on a leather string to accessorize my summer dresses and tanned ankles, but I’ve found tons of other options online, including a white gold filigree ankle bracelet  (beyond my ankle-budget at $250), and an inexpensive hemp bracelet , which may be a more natural choice. The ankle is really not my favorite place for sensory overload, but a delicate little touch looks great on the beach.
I already have so many sandals. I have dress sandals, work sandals, walking sandals, beach sandals, and disco-dancing sandals. What I do not have are barefoot sandals . Often worn at beach weddings, this unique accessory consists of an anklet and a toe ring, connected down the front of the foot. Because of their association with weddings, they’re usually made with precious stones and metals, but several companies are now producing more casual alternatives with stones like turquoise and quartz. Despite the name, the barefoot sandal can actually be worn with some shoes. I’m not sure they won’t overwhelm, instead of accentuate, my newly buffed feet, but I may feel like having a little foot-fun at the next beach wedding I get invited to …
I’ve often thought about getting a tattoo, a little one on my toe or my ankle perhaps, but the idea of needles, and having to stick with one fashion choice forever, have kept me from committing. For centuries, Indian brides have decorated their hands and feet with henna and in recent years, the henna trend has made its way west to allow me to play with paint, without having to live with it for the rest of my days. Henna is temporary—it lasts one to four weeks, depending on several factors such as where on the body it’s applied, how often that part is washed, etc. and it’s also widely available (even some K-Mart stores carry it.) I’m planning to experiment with some classic and contemporary designs  to showcase my pretty feet, and to make sure I never forget them again!
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