“I live in my sneakers,” said Lauren, who is on her feet 10 hours a day as the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar, a string of mega sweet shops. “I have a neuroma, so most heels are uncomfortable after 30 minutes.”
The busy entrepreneur often can be spotted running around New York in her favorite sneakers — a pair of black Skechers — but she hasn’t ruled out dressier looks completely. “I like cowboy boots on heels that are tight-fitting on the calf,” said Lauren. And when the occasion calls for something more elegant, she opts for a shoe by her father, Ralph Lauren. Among her go-to looks is a gold strappy sandal. “They look like jewelry.”
So it’s not surprising that Lauren went to dad to design the gown and shoes for her recent nuptials. She wore a white, high-platform wedge sandal that allowed her to stay balanced on the grassy terrain, while the bridesmaids echoed the look in gold. Though Lauren prefers to leave designing to her father, she does offer a selection of novelty rainboots at her store, featuring a colorful candy pattern, available for both kids and women.
And Lauren has found yet another way to marry shoes with sweets. Through a joint initiative with Rockport, 17 Rhode Island School of Design students created candy versions of Rockport’s fall ’11 Janae pump for women and Day 2 Night wingtip for men. The winner, to be chosen on Sept. 8 at Dylan’s Candy Bar during Fashion’s Night Out, will receive a $5,000 stipend courtesy of Rockport, as well as a year’s supply of shoes and a one-year membership to the Candy of the Month Club. That night, the real shoes, complete with a candy-inspired sock lining, will be available for purchase.
Pairs owned: 20, including boots, heels, sneakers and flip-flops
Brands owned: Ralph Lauren, Walter Steiger, Saucony, Reebok, Nine West, among others
Personal style: “Casual, sporty, sexy — like jeans and a cute top.”
Dad’s fashion advice: “Stand up straight and wear fitted clothes — together. [It’s] more flattering.”
Most comfortable pairs: “I love Sanuk flip-flops and Nike Free sneakers. Both are cushiony and don’t cause blisters.”
Best city for shoe shopping: “I love London. I walk everywhere, and the shoe stores there are [easily] accessible. They’re usually well organized with a large selection that’s on trend. Plus, the sales help makes finding a shoe that fits easy.”
Favorite footwear decade: “The 1980s had creative choices. There were lots of bright colors, pop-art designs, funky sneaker and patent leather shoes.”
Most expensive pair: Ralph Lauren Collection black high boots with a stiletto heel, at $800-plus.
For or against hosiery? “I rarely wear hosiery except in winter or to a conservative event. I like Donna Karan black sheers with control top.”
On-the-go shoes: Saucony running shoes or Nike Free. “Sneakers simply are more comfortable and healthy.”
Celebrities whose shoes I’d like to fill: “Gisele Bündchen and Elle Macpherson always look youthful, hip and sexy. My mom also looks great and has an awesome wardrobe.”
Worst footwear purchase: “All the high heels I didn’t really test [for] comfort long enough in the store. They have straps that fall down, V-shaped toe boxes, or straps that cut into my toes. And they’re so narrow they aggravate my neuroma.”
Best shoe-shopping companion: “I really prefer to shop by myself, but if I have to bring [someone], it would be my friend Nicole, who always makes sure I walk several laps around the store to ensure I’m comfortable.”
At-home footwear choice: “I either wear my Nike Frees, which feel like slippers, or go barefoot. In the winter, fleece socks rock.”
Dream shoe: “A black stiletto that’s simple enough for jeans and sexy enough for a cocktail dress. Most important, [it would] feel like a sneaker.”
Shoe advice for your husband: “I don’t like when he wears very white sneakers. They make young guys look like senior citizens.”