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The Boston Globe

Style

Fall shoe buying secrets, from style pro Leah Karp

Leah Karp (right, with Erika Szychowski, Nine West’s senior VP of marketing) says leopard styles should sell well.

Allison Shelley/Polaris

Leah Karp (right, with Erika Szychowski, Nine West’s senior VP of marketing) says leopard styles should sell well.

InStyle accessories director Leah Karp hosted a party at the Copley Place location of Nine West last week to celebrate the magazine’s latest collaboration with the brand. The InStyle for Nine West collection was first introduced in Fall 2013, and this season marks the third iteration of editor-designed and curated styles. The fall line includes handbags and jewelry alongside six footwear styles, ranging from a lace-front stiletto pump to a zipper-accented flat.

What are some of the footwear trends we’re going to see this fall?

The biggest trends that I tried to incorporate into this collection were jewel tones, suede, and different contrasting textures. We have suede but then we have calf hair, as well as a black-on-black camo print. I’ve found texture to be a huge trend this fall.

I think a lot of women tend to stay away from buying suede or calf hair because it can be kind of difficult to take care of. Do you have any advice?

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I think that one thing you can do, and that I’ve always done with shoes that I really want to keep in good condition, is take them to a shoe service place and get a rubber bottom put on the front sole of the shoes. You can also get something called a toecap which is just a tiny little piece of rubber that’ll keep the pointed curve from the calf hair or the satin from getting rubbed off on the toe. There’s also always a spray that you can use that won’t change your color or texture, but it’ll protect it from water.

Just looking at the collection, what do you expect to be the bestseller for the season?

My guess would always be the leopard. I think that it, across the board, it becomes a neutral for people and it adds a little fun to your wardrobe. To these women who like myself wear almost exclusively black, it’s a fun way to add a pop of excitement and color to your wardrobe and it really sort of makes the outfit. I mean you can be in head to toe black, throw on a leopard pump or grab a leopard clutch and you look fully accessorized.

What about for the woman who wants to branch out of her usual black pump, but isn’t quite ready for leopard?

I really think that a burgundy, navy, or an olive green are all very muted neutrals and if you don’t want to strike too, too far from black but you’re not ready for leopard, I would say try a colored suede. The old rule of not pairing blue and black or brown and black is so outdated.That’s what I’ll be doing this fall at shows. I’ve already set my shoes in mind for that.

What do you have in terms of sizing for women while shoe shopping? Should women be buying a half size larger, a half size smaller? Should they be expecting there to be some stretch?

There are two tips I always tell women for when they’re shopping for shoes. A great time to try on shoes is at the end of the day when their feet are already swollen from being on your feet all day or running around, because the moisture in your body goes down to your feet so it’s a good time to know if they’ll fit when you’re kind of at your worst, per se. I would also say to make sure that you walk on a hard surface. Don’t just walk on the carpeted area in the shoe store. Walk on a hard surface. Make sure that you’re comfortable and take your time. There’s no rush. Nobody’s rushing you out of the store.

Rachel Raczka can be reached at rachel.raczka@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @rachelraczka.
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