Many years ago I signed up for a “free” membership in a CD club where you’d get the special CD of the month, or you could choose the ones you preferred. The prices were good, but I always forgot to skip, cancel or change the monthly selection. As a result, I have a cabinet filled with wierd CDs I have never even listened to and didn’t want. That make me a bit wary about ShoeDazzle, since the format is a membership/subscription/shoe-of-the-month one. But I love shoes, and I couldn’t resist checking it out.
Shoe Dazzle is an online “membership” shopping site that works a bit like my CD of the month club did, but with a few unique twists. You don’t just get a pre-selected, one-style-fits-all item, you get a range of selections in handbags, accessories and shoes, selected by stylists who have looked at your preferences and have chosen items from ShoeDazzle’s collections that they feel you’d like the most. There are also dazzle deals every Tuesday and Thursdays where members can purchase “girly stuff” such as a colorful curling iron/glove set. The ShoeDazzle.com web site was launched in April 2009 by Kim Kardashian and some stylists (Anya Sarre, Provi Fulp, Heather Zweigel and more). The ShoeDazzle selection of shoes goes up to size 10 which is nice for women with hard to fit, feet. To get your personal, monthly selection, first you fill out a little survey (it took just a few minutes and was kind of fun). Then, a ShoeDazzle stylist will email you back with five suggestions for your monthly pair of shoes/ handbags/ accessories. If you don’t like what you see, you can ask for other items, re-do your preferences, or simply skip the month. Each item is just $39.95 with free shipping both ways (if you need to send something back).
It sounds enticing and fun, and it is. If you are a true shoe fan, you are on a limited budget, you don’t have a lot of time to shop in stores, or you live in an area with limited fashion choices,ShoeDazzle can really delight you, But on the flip side, no one knows my style preferences as well as I do. If I go to a store, or even a web site that sells shoes, handbags and/or accessories, I can easily pick out what I love (on my budget limit) without having someone suggest what I would or should like. ShoeDazzle’s questionnaire is a bit too basic for my taste. The survey is really just a way to categorize members into loose groups, but not really so much by detailed taste and needs. It didn’t take into account some of the basic things that an in-person stylist would immediately learn, such as your body type, or age, foot issues (most of the ShoeDazzle shoes are high heels or big wedges), or even lifestyle. The questionnaire relies mostly upon what celebrities you admire, but while I might love a celebs’s look, it doesn’t mean I’m all that interested in looking like her (not that I could, anyway). There isn’t any place that I can see for notes or special instructions that would help the stylist hone the selections. For example, I need comfort as well as style due to knee and foot issues, but the shoes selected “just for me” all had very high heels. When I re-did my preferences, I still got high heels or a lot of very high wedges. I realize that for 99,9% of ShoeDazzle customers, a sky high heel –the higher the better–is going to be the most coveted, but most are impossible choices for me to walk in. I would look sexy and fabulous in some of the selections, sitting down.
At $39.95 per item, I was initially dubious that obviously inexpensive shoes would be of good quality. And I wondered how they would fit. But I was pleasantly surprised. My my first ShoeDazzle selection arrived quickly, packaged in a hard-sided hot pink box the rivalled the one my way more expensive shoes from Barneys New York came in (and they were certainly NOT $39.95)! Inside this ShoeDazzle treasure chest, my shoe selection was lovingly packaged in tissue, and a hot pink fabric shoe bag was also included. This was impressive, especially for the price. You’d never get this level of attention and detail from a regular, budget shoe brand store!
Although the heels were high, I couldn’t resist “Carmella” from Shoe Dazzle’s “Signature Sole Collection.” Carmella, recommended by Celebrity Fashion Stylist/Personal Shopper/Makeup Artist/Photographer/personal shoe stylist at ShoeDazzle, Merika Rock, have a hot pink sole (the color of the ShoeDazzle box) that are a nod to the now iconic red soles of a famous shoe designer. Carmela was fancifully described as: “This Signature Sole reptilian-print platform pump is a temptress. A curve-hugging dress in an eye-catching print or stripes plays off Carmela’s snakeskin pattern with ease. Strapless or sleeveless, you pick! Just be sure to accentuate your arms with sculptural cuffs or a wrist-ful of bracelets.” While that’s not exactly the vision I had for myself in these shoes, I loved the pink sole and the ivory and white faux reptile skin pattern with black accents. The shoes were surprisingly nicely done, with a sexy, metallic lining. For the price, you’d expect man made materials (these shoes are made in China) and that’s what you get. I have read reviews that the shoes run relatively true to size, so with faux materials that don’t really stretch, and a 3.5" Heel Height with a 1.25″ platform, , I decided to go up a half size to accommodate inner padding. It was a good decision and the shoes fit remarkably well.
I was also curious about the jewelry designed by Anya Sarre, such as the “Flash of Feathers” peacock bracelet and rhinestone earrings that were December’s selection. Anya Sarre, is Chief Handbag & Accessories Stylist for ShoeDazzle, and Head Fashion Stylist for “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider,” created a collection just for ShoeDazz;e of statement-making necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings inspired by her own jewelry collection from all around the world. Everything in this opulent collection called “Must Haves by Anya Sarre” pieces are priced at $39.95 for members. In addition, signature “keepsake” pieces that are personally inspired by Anya’s signature glam-resort style will become available each month through ShoeDazzle.com.
Alas, the earrings are about the size of a silver dollar, heavy, and hard on pierced earlobes. If I’d seen these in person first, I wouldn’t have purchased them because of the weight. But the round, double circles of rhinestones in a “gypsy” style earring are pretty impressive. If you are trying to add some bling to an otherwise bland outfit, these alone would do the trick. It’s the peacock feather styled bracelet that truly (shoe)Dazzles. The large, rhinestone-and-faceted-gem-encrusted bracelet with peacock feather motif is stunning. You can wear it up further on your arm, or let it dangle at the wrist. Two green, blue and pink “feathers” with clear crystal “stems” encircle your wrist with a pull-apart clasp making it easy to put on and take off. You can get this stunning bracelet in green or pink. Each piece is glamorous. I have seen similar pieces in New York, but for those who might not have access to the rhinestone/trimming district of the Big Apple, $40 with shipping free both ways, is a good deal, maybe even a bargain.
The Bottom Line: When Freud asked: “What do women want?” the answer might just be: SHOES! If you love lots of them, you’ll get a dose of monthly joy from ShoeDazzle. But think before you sign up as a member with your credit card, because even at $39.95 (shipping both ways, included) it’s going to cost you hundreds of dollars a year to satisfy your desires. If you really do want a new pair of shoes each month with which to (shoe)Dazzle your friends, Then ShoeDazzle is a deal.