Stacy London, the snarky and sweet co-host of TLC’s hit makeover show “What Not to Wear,” has become known as a fashion maven. And with nearly 300 pairs of shoes and a resumé boasting styling gigs for celebs, designers and advertising campaigns, it’s no wonder.
The 39-year-old New York City native got her start at Vogue before becoming senior fashion editor for Mademoiselle and later landing the TLC job, where she helps the fashion blind find polished looks that match their style and personalities. The professed shoe addict says the right heel, flat or boot can make all the difference in creating the right fashion statement.
“I have a wonderful pair of round-toe, rhinestone-embellished emerald shoes from Prada that have very short heels. But with the perfect lady-like dress, they’re fantastic,” London said. “If you’re going for vampy or modern or architectural, the higher the heel, the closer you are to God. That’s my feeling.”
London has starred on TLC for six seasons and said her on-screen look has her in sky-high heels almost all the time. But when she’s kicking back in her Brooklyn neighborhood, making the rounds of her favorite shops, she has a much different shoe persona. “Flats are kind of my secret Brooklyn look,” she said.
Footwear News recently caught up with the style expert at her home and took a look inside her sprawling walk-in closet.
Organizational strategy: London gutted a spare bedroom to create her walk-in closet, which includes two walls for shoe storage. “I thought I had built a large enough space, but I was mistaken. I have 200-something shoes in my closet, but had to put the rest in storage.”
Oldest pair: A pair of vintage Anne Klein cork wedges from 1974 bought on eBay about 10 years ago. “Those are definitely the oldest made, [but] I’m a big recycler. There are shoes I’ll hold onto because I love them, but I try not to be sentimental about things. I never hold onto things because it’s like, ‘Oh, I wore that to my prom.’ That kind of attachment keeps you from moving forward and evolving stylewise.”
All-time favorite shoe: “Right now, it’s probably the 6-inch platforms from Christian Louboutin with the rounded toes. That man is a rock star.”
Most comfortable pair: Mike & Chris combat boots.
Most uncomfortable pair: “If a shoe is completely beautiful and tall with a super-high heel, I’m willing to suffer. [But I did have] a pair that I had to get rid of, and I sold them at a charity event. They were Givenchy gold, open-toe, 6-inch heels, and the reason they were uncomfortable is because they were at least a size too big, and it was impossible to manage the heel height and the size. It was so hard — so hard — to let them go because they were such beautiful shoes.”
Biggest splurge: “I was [about 23] and I bought myself a pair of patent, round-toe, stacked-heel ankle boots from Prada. I think they were maybe $570, and I wore them to death. This was back in the day. I ate peas and rice for a month so I could pay my rent and have those shoes.”
Best deal: Pointy toe Christian Louboutin kitten heels purchased at a New York thrift store for $30.
Biggest mistake: “I have two pairs of Michael Kors shearling boots. I’ve worn one of them once, the other one I still haven’t taken out of the plastic. They are the exact same shoe, but I couldn’t decide between the gray and the rust. So I had to have both, and I never wear them.”
Favorite shoe-shopping city: A cross between New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Chicago. “It’s weird, but I find great shoes [in Chicago]. I love the Wicker Park area because [you can find] designers not readily available everywhere.”
Favorite shoe-shopping stores: Barneys New York; Soula in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Diavolina and Satine in Los Angeles; and Christian Louboutin and Michel Perry in Paris.
How important are shoes to an outfit? “Essential. Shoes can push the same outfit you wore last season into a totally different look. If you’re wearing a pointy toe, flat stiletto, compared with a platform stacked heel, you’ve just gone from a 1980s look to a 1960s or 1970s look without trying.”
All-time favorite pair: “I have so many babies. I mean, that’s like asking me to pick a favorite child!”
Top five must-haves for women: Pointy toe stiletto; round-toe ballet flat; some kind of platform; a flat sandal; and a good day boot with a 1- to 3-inch heel.
Biggest shoe mistakes women make: “For one, they can be very safe with shoes. A lot of times they don’t go with anything that is outside the neutral. Every woman needs to have one pair of red shoes [and needs to try] shoes that are patterned or embellished or a great color. The other mistake is not knowing to what extent they can wear a shoe, and this is why women have so many troubles with their feet. There are certain shoes that really have a time limit on [how long you can stand in] them, and you have to be realistic about that.”
Trend you wish would go away: “This 6- to 8-inch heel. As much as I love it, I wish it would go away only because I feel like it’s going to do some damage to some women. It’s sexy as all get out — don’t get me wrong — but if that’s the new standard in high heels, I think we’re all [in trouble]. You better have strong ankles.”
Celebrity inspiration: “I have this obsession with wanting to look like Mary Tyler Moore even though I’m totally the wrong body type. But I keep buying these 1970s shoes hoping that if I just find the right A-line mini dress, it will all come together.”