Being A Material Girl Is Alright With Me

heels_soleprescription
Photography by Stephen Schauer 

Is being materialistic a bad thing? Madonna’s hit song, “Material Girl,” came out when I was just a kid, and even then I felt myself torn between complicated emotions. I wanted to wear diamonds, like she did in her music video, and be hoisted in the air by a bevy of bow ties and biceps.

But, I’d never admit that to anyone, not even myself. I was afraid of my parent’s judgment of “material pride.” I was taught to believe those were bad people, the rich folks who could get through an eye of a needle faster than they could get into heaven. And I really wanted to go to the promised land of harps and angels someday… Heaven had to be better than the ugly place I was stuck in.

I’ve spent a lot of years wondering if wanting things made me less spiritual. I thought that being poor and wearing my beat-up Birkenstocks brought me closer to the universe somehow. I tried not to place a lot of interest in my looks or surroundings and spent a lot of time feeling superior to those who concerned themselves with such material matters. I’d constructed this better-than attitude when actually, I felt inferior to the celebrities I saw gracing the covers of magazines. Instead of letting myself work with those judgments, it was easier to shun them all as being less-than. Not spiritual. Materialistic.

One day during meditation, I had a moment of clarity. If we are indeed spiritual beings having a human experience, isn’t the whole point to be in the material world? To enjoy it, taste it, feel it, wear it, whatever it is? I realized that I couldn’t separate myself from the physical or the material. I saw Earth as a school and my life as one big lesson; all of the things of a physical nature that surrounded me were of spiritual nature, too. I realized it’s impossible to separate the two.

So what would happen if I decided to allow the beautiful, material and abundant nature of the universe to flow into my life? Well, for one, I started to let myself appreciate the gorgeous clothes I saw on the runways. Fashion was no longer something outside of my world; it was part of me. I loved it, all of it. And, more importantly, I knew I was worthy of it.

I appreciate great design and like to feel beautiful. Not to feel better than anyone, but because it makes me happy. The way a well-fitting suit can make me feel poised, or how the rounded lines of a coffee table can hold my glass with form and function—the material world impacts most aspects of our lives. In fact, my idea of heaven is a place filled with impeccably dressed people who appreciate good design in all of their surroundings. Sort of like the Oscars, but I get to live there, all the time. And I’ve created that heaven in my home. I mean, celebrities don’t saunter through my kitchen on a red carpet, but I am surrounded by beauty every direction my gaze lands. Heaven is here, today and now.

Embracing my love of design actually led me to my calling as a Style Editor and “Shoeologist.” I see fashion as a tool for healing. Like an acupuncturist using needles to heal her patients, I use shoes and unique life-coaching methods to work with the women who come to me for help. I believe the right pair of shoes can make an insecure person feel more confident, help a woman with a broken heart become more open to love, and even add spice to one’s sex life. I love sharing who I am and supporting others to express themselves through their sartorial choices.

My “sole awakening” happened several years ago when I was having one of those days. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt off balance and couldn’t shake it. I glanced at my feet and wondered if the wobbly heels I had on might have something to do with my unsteady state? I kicked them off and slid on a pair of ballerina flats I keep in the back of my car for emergencies. I felt more grounded in that instant than I had all day—not just physically but spiritually, too. I’ve always loved the elegant simplicity of a ballerina flat; the chic lines and versatile design work with almost any outfit, comfortably. They have an almost magical ability to connect me to my sense of inner balance. When I started to feel funky again, I reconnected with my ballerina flats and envisioned myself moving with a dancer’s steadiness. My shoes supported my posture and helped me shift my inner experience. The “material” had become a kind of “spiritual” tool for me.

Anytime I feel judgments about others surfacing, I ask myself: where do I hold that judgment about myself? How can I love that aspect of myself more? Sometimes I start the process of self-forgiveness by changing my shoes and releasing those judgments from my soles all the way up… And in this way, embracing my materialism has taught me how to really love others and myself. Some days when I’m feeling slumpy, I throw on a pair of sequined stilettos and let my inner diva throw down some Madonna-worthy moves. And while I’ve never been hoisted into the air draped in diamonds, I no longer feel guilty about indulging in that fabulous fantasy. Because, as the pop diva herself would say, “We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.”

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
11/21/2017
The ballet flat is prescribed for individuals who want to experience a greater sense of balance in their life. The design was modeled after a soft dance shoe. They are traditionally flexible with a hard sole and no (or very thin) heel. Some styles feature a decorative string throat, reminiscent of the ballet slipper's drawstring.
Symptoms
Signs of erratic behavior or mood swings, extreme or irrational thoughts, imbalance in how time and/or energy are spent, instability (emotional, spiritual, physical, or mental), lack of harmony between life roles (work, family, projects, etc.).
Warnings
May cause steadiness, a state of equilibrium, emotional and mental stability and centeredness. Extremists beware: continued wear may create an even disposition.

“I Am Beautiful” Are Not Dirty Words

Celine_boot_metalic_soleprescription
Open-toe, metallic heel boot by Celine

I’m much more comfortable behind a camera than in front of one. For a decade I’ve been an editor at various publications, working with top models and celebrities. So when many of my readers asked me to highlight more of my personal style, I cringed. No, my goal was simply to showcase the clothing (especially the shoes) that brought me joy, made me feel powerful, sexy, or more at peace.

Or was that really what was going on? I think something more complicated was brewing. I’m at ease with not being model thin and appreciate my classical features and sense of style. But, in the fashion industry, wearing a size 6 is considered “fat” and being over 30 is absolutely “old.” Frankly, no chic chick wants to be labeled as either.

Celine_boots_shannon_bindler
This is a vintage dress I’ve owned and worn for several years. I’m drawn to polka-dots and anything
black and white. It also reminds me of Miss Monroe’s iconic air-blown dress.

Call me fat, call me old (or too thin and young), but I’m not afraid to tell the world that I think I’m beautiful. Yup, I said it. And no, I’m not a self-obsessed narcissist. I am sick and tired of advertisers, corporations and beauty products telling me I need to fix myself. I like who I am and the way I look. Yes, I have a bit of a belly and wrinkles around my eyes, but I am comfortable about that. I want all people, especially my young daughter, to understand that not only is it okay to feel beautiful, but self-love is one of the most important and empowering things a person can feel (and practice). I am fit. I am healthy. I am just right, stretch marks and all. (I’ll tell you a secret, I’ve dressed a lot of models and most of them aren’t flawless either.)

Celine_boots_metallic_heel
These boots by Celine are my go-to “going out” shoe right now. I love the way they give an edge to a
romantic dress or steam up a pair of leather pants or skinny jeans.

I feel beautiful; I hope you feel that you are, too.

shannonbindler_viktor&rolf

Viktor_Rolf_blazer_bow
I’m a fan of a well-fitting blazer. While I tend to stay away from bows in general, I find this one by
Viktor & Rolf to be playful and flattering yet simultaneously polished.

If you don’t, I want to encourage you to take a long look in the mirror and focus on the things you like about your appearance. Then try it again, this time focusing on all of the places you despise (we all have them). Instead of hating, send each of those areas love. Practice this every morning, as you get ready. Just like working out, it may feel uncomfortable in the beginning but it gets easier the more you practice. There is scientific evidence that proves that repeating a thought (or affirmation) actually creates new neural pathways in the brain. This simple exercise has changed my entire outlook on my physique. It’s quick and free, and there is no product in the world that can give you the kind of confidence that comes from loving yourself. “I am beautiful,” is a mantra I hope every person, man or woman, chants inwardly everyday. Join me by posting a photo of yourself on Facebook or twitter with the hashtag #soleprescription

Celine_Viktor&Rolf_shannonbindler

twirl_shannon_bindler_celine
The stunning metallic heel is incredibly comfortable. I went out this past weekend and was the only girl
able to keep her shoes on for the duration of our “dance off.” I even dropped it low a few times
(don’t worry, there was absolutely no twerking involved.)

shannonbindler_viktor&rolf_celineboot

Because you are beautiful, just the way you are.

 

Peace Be Still

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
11/21/2017
The moccasin is prescribed for individuals who would like to experience a sense of peace. It is a sturdy slipper sewn from tanned leather. In its original form, it was made from one piece of leather that was drawn around the foot and stitched together from animal sinew. The sole is traditionally flexible, and the upper may be decorated with beads, embroidery or fringe.
Symptoms
A moccasin is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: insecurity or anxiety, violence toward self or others, discord or disagreements, hostility or conflict in any area of life, self-judgment, negative and/or harsh thoughts about self.
Warnings
Side effects may include feelings of harmony, an internal and external state of agreement, a sense of freedom, togetherness and amity. May cause unexplainable “ohms” and a strong desire to put two fingers in the air and “peace out.”

I spent the first decade of my life in Golden, Colorado. I remember the town embodying a true Old West vibe. The most memorable time of year was the “Buffalo Bill Days” celebration of the Wild West, with its lively festivities and period costumes.

I must have been around five years old when I first saw a woman dressed in traditional Native American attire, including a pair of lace-up moccasins. She seemed to me like a goddess of peace. Her clothing embodied harmony and comfort, which was a stark contrast to the fussy Western shoes and large parasols also on parade during “Buffalo Bill Days.”

My family moved from Colorado to Vermont when I was ten. When I was a teenager, we returned to Colorado for a family vacation. To say I was upset about spending my last high school summer crammed in a minivan with my family, instead of dancing at concerts with friends, would be a gross understatement. I sulked for most of the vacation – just to make sure my parents knew they were ruining my summer.

In Estes Park, Colorado, we stopped at a remarkable store called Charles Eagle Plume. More museum than store, it was filled with Native American crafts, jewelry, artwork, rugs and pottery. I was mesmerized by the tranquility surrounding the culture. I bought my first pair of moccasins, which I wore until they literally fell apart years later.

Something about those shoes changed the trip from a total drag to all right. I even stopped trying to hide my smile from my parents. While wearing those moccasins, I uncovered peace in my situation. Even after that trip, the moccasins helped me connect to a very centered aspect of myself that I could call upon no matter what my outer circumstances.

I still use moccasins when I feel short-tempered with my daughter. Instead of yelling, I take a few minutes and escape upstairs to my sanctuary—you know, my closet. I sit on the edge of my bed and slip into my moccasins, hoping the Native American notions of peace will transfer through the leather hide. Because that doesn’t usually work, I mentally try to call upon my “peaceful spirit guide,” which I imagine looks something like a cheetah with eagle wings.

While my totem animal may not immediately conjure images of peace for you, for me it works like a charm. A cat, even when in danger, is extremely agile and remains calm. An eagle peacefully soars above life’s little issues. And how cool would it be to ride on the back of a cheetah that could also fly?

To me, it’s a fantastic visualization, and the impossibility of this creature helps me realize when I’m taking myself waaaaaaaay too seriously and to just calm down. This too shall pass, as the saying goes…

I’m not a morning person. Instead of wearing slippers, I wear moccasins to help me stay peaceful until I’ve properly woken up. They are the best family and marriage-counseling tool. When I start to feel stressed about getting out of the door on time, I look down at my shoes, take a deep breath, and bring my focus to my “peaceful spirit guide.” Whatever challenges the day might bring, I’m able to tap into the calm perspective of the Cheetah-Eagle.

My daughter loves my moccasins. Because of them, I’m pretty sure she will actually thank me someday for being a Cheetah-Eagle Mom, rather than a Tiger Mom.

Friday Sole Candy


All photographs by Hadrien Lacoste

It’s Friday! I don’t know about you, but I’m moving into August summer mode. There are things my mind believes I should worry about, but I’m finding it easier than usual to set them aside and enjoy some family, fun, and of course fashion.

In that spirit, I wanted to share something playful and colorful, something that fits my current mood. And I found just the items.

My friend Hadrien Lacoste from A Private Collection hits all of the important fashion shows throughout the year, and I love checking out his behind-the-scenes photographs and musings. He recently took some fantastic street shots while attending Paris Fashion week and agreed to let me play with and share some of them here.

They conjure feelings of boldness, joy, and power. What do they bring up for you?

 

Check more street style accessories from Paris Fashion week here

Have a sole-ful weekend!

 

She Created Her Own Path


Shoe by Ann Demeulemeester

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

People constantly ask my daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. Her answers vary depending on the day, her mood, and occasionally the weather. No one seems a bit surprised when she comes up with a profession that’s never been invented, like, “An Astronaut-Ballerina who helps feed the hungry and can also determine when it’s going to rain, so people know if they can go swimming or not.”

What happens when we grow older? Where do all of our dreams and fantasies go? For many of us, our responses become much more limited; we need to be realistic, after all. How can we make a good living? What is the most direct route to obtaining our goals? What is a failsafe path?

When I was young I remember thinking it was rather odd how unimaginative adults seemed to be, and I still do. I’m more interested in taking the path less traveled or, even better, a path never traveled, a path only I can create. Each of us has the ability to invent a life that’s perfectly suited to our unique skills and talents.

Most successful people I’ve known said “fuck it” to someone else’s plan and found the courage to head off in their own direction. Yes, they experienced twists and turns, hills and valleys, but they also discovered passion, adventure and fulfillment. And a lot of them also found wealth, health and happiness along the way.

What is it that you really want to do? How can you overcome what you “should do” and choose exploration over comfort, intuition over reason, confidence over fear?

I, for one, am going to become a “Shoeologist” when I grow up.

She Held On To What She Loved


Photographed by Merry Brownfield / source: Vogue At Erdem

A year ago one of my best friends from childhood had a heart attack. She was young, healthy, didn’t do drugs, and had no family history of heart disease. It didn’t make sense. One moment she was training for a marathon, the next she was lying on the ground with no vital signs. Though she’s a petite girl she was always the toughest of our gang, and, true to form, she miraculously survived.

When we were young, all we had was time. Though we loved each other, we both couldn’t wait to leave our small town and explore the world. I suppose, while trying to discover myself, I’d inadvertently loosened my hold on our friendship. Only when I almost lost her permanently did I realize that I hadn’t been cultivating our relationship for some time.

She didn’t call me back, so I stopped reaching out to her. We lived three thousand miles away from each other. I had a family of my own and a full-on career; I just didn’t have the time anymore. We were different people now. The list of excuses continued…

The truth is, somewhere along the way I let go.

I messed up, big time. Even so, she invited me to stay with her a few weeks ago. We reminisced about old times, and, well, the new times ahead of us that seemed more precious than they ever had.

Now that we have a second chance, I’m going to hold on. I’m holding on to all of the people that I love, to the irreplaceable relationships that make life so dynamic. I’m shouting out to them, “Hey there, I appreciate you. The world is better because you are in it. I love you.”

I’m holding on tightly. And this time, I sure as hell won’t let go.

Wonderful Happens

PaulAndrew
Shoes by Paul Andrew

This past weekend I accomplished something wonderful, I finally figured out how to use Adobe Photoshop! The above image is my first attempt; clearly I need a bit more practice, but hopefully you’ll watch my skills grow over the coming months.

If understanding Photoshop has been a dream of yours, I suggest enrolling in Blogshop—they offer classes worldwide! Blogger extraordinaire Bri Emery of Designlovefest and Photographer and Commercial Director Angela Kohler pack the program’s essentials in a fun-filled two-day course. And this isn’t some stuffy conference room filled with geeky IT guys. On the contrary, it felt as if I stepped into the pages of Designlovefest and got to live there for the weekend, not to mention receive an unexpected goody bag that seemed more suited to a high-end boutique opening than a computer class—you’ll never catch me complaining about awesome perks like that!

It was also an opportunity to meet all sorts of funky and stylish bloggers on the rise (check out what some of my new friends are up to: ruthielindseydesign, redlovinpixie, tadpoleaudiomissglamdan). Most importantly, I walked away with a real understanding of Photoshop, which is more than I can say from the boring as hell DVD tutorial that’s been collecting dust on my bookshelf for almost a decade.

Then there is the why behind my newfound skills. I finally have the right tools to properly showcase my favorite “shoespirations!” This week I am dying over Paul Andrew’s spring collection. The brilliantly bright colors just feel like summertime, don’t they? And the light and airy designs are as refreshing as tall glass of lemonade.

Andrew has been designing behind the scenes for years with Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein, and his debut collection will undoubtedly establish him as an innovative and creative force in his own right. It shouldn’t be much of surprise that his personal line is beyond…

Try on a pair on at Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s New York or Saks Fifth Avenue—spoiler alert: his pre-fall and fall collections are pretty off-the-hook too!

It all makes me wonder, what wonderful things are happening in your world?

Let Love Take You Where Love Wants To Go

My daughter is wearing Michael Kors Mary Janes and I’m wearing boots by Celine

Love is the sweetest thing that I know,
You keep it around by letting it go.
You follow close and you follow slow,
And let love take you where love wants to go.

I didn’t write this (and don’t know who did– send me an email if you can help me give proper credit), but have always found it to be the perfect poem about love. When I saw my 8 year-old wobbling out the door in my heels this morning it was all I could think about as I hovered behind her in an attempt to prevent a seven am trip to the hospital. It worked, if you are wondering, which is why I am happily sitting here instead of the ER.

What do your shoes say about love?

 

 

Let’s Take the Long Way Home

Shoes by Valentino

Where I grew up, there weren’t many exciting options for teenagers. There were no movie theaters, arcades, or dancehalls. No ice cream parlors, skate parks or malls to wander. What we had to work with were rows of tree-lined forest, cascading waterfalls and empty dirt roads. And, most importantly, we had driver’s licenses.

My social life consisted of a few good friends “touring” back roads in our various vehicles. For fun, we drove around. Yup, you read that correctly. It was rarely about a destination because, hey, driving to a river gorge or to an abandoned fire road was not exactly that different or mind-blowing. Even so, we had some of the best times on the various rides we shared.

I now live in Los Angeles and hardly ever drive anywhere just for the heck of it. I avoid traffic at all cost. When I do have to face it, it’s a chore, not a hobby, something I do my best to get through without yelling, cursing under my breath, or, God forbid, hitting or being hit by someone. What used to be my personal mantra (it was even my senior year quote), “Let’s take the long way home…” is the exact opposite of my current mantra, “Get me the f#$ck home as fast as possible!”

I am struck with the age-old saying that it is the journey – not the destination – that we should be appreciating. Things that were so simple in our youth can become complicated in adulthood. There is always somewhere to be, something to do. These days, I can’t imagine having four consecutive hours to drive around and hang out. And that might be exactly what I could use right now.

This week, I’m making a commitment to put on a pair of driving shoes, get in my car, and just go. I’ll invite a pal, and we will intentionally “take the long way home.” And hopefully my friend will drive for a while so I can put my feet up on the dash, stare out the window, and allow my mind to explore the vast, unscheduled terrain.

I suppose sometimes we need to go “nowhere” so we can sit back and simply appreciate the ride.

Women + Their Shoes

Images used with permission from Mark Schwartz

When I found out Andy Warhol’s protégé, painter Mark Schwartz, launched www.highheeledart.com, I became engrossed by his work. After years of only sharing his paintings with private individual clients (think Oprah and Madonna) and designing for Barneys, Bergdorf’s and other elite boutiques, Mark Schwartz has finally made his famous shoe art available online for public viewing.

Schwartz’s paintings explore the intimate relationship between women and their shoes. For the past twenty years, Schwartz has been capturing the essence of his female subjects, one provocative stiletto at a time. His colorful high-heeled art oozes sexuality, while simultaneously encapsulating pop culture.

“I have always been fascinated by beautiful high-heeled shoes; the shape, the movement, and the mood that they create entirely on their own; they scream sex and they are whimsical.” – Mark Schwartz

Schwartz has a long list of celebrity clientele that includes Oprah Winfrey, Sharon Stone, Katie Couric, Madonna, and Natasha Richardson. Each bespoke painting reveals an incredibly personal relationship between the subject and her beloved footwear.

Looking at his paintings made me wonder what shoes I would commission to be painted if I could and why? Would I ask him to immortalize a pair of black stilettos that I received from a lover alongside tickets to my first Opera? What about the pair I wore on my wedding day? Or how could I ignore the ballet flats my father-in-law sent upon the birth of my daughter? They all represent a meaningful time period in my life.

I’m curious, what shoes would you have him paint, and what’s the story behind them?

 

* note all images have been cropped for this post. Please visit the artist’s site to view full-scale images