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Desert FlueReview: Fall 2013 Part II


Hi fellow Vogers! It’s time for another omnibus FlueReview from your resident Desert Voger. You’ll have to forgive me — I know it’s been over two months since my last post here! I owe you the next part of the Fall 2013 reviews (Part I is here), and whew are there a lot of shoes to review! Warning: This post is seriously photo-heavy.

My latest visit to the Melrose store was occasioned by an outing with two dear friends, Melanie and Emily, who live in my town. We’re in the same mom’s group, our children play together often, and we hang out together as much as we can. (I actually went to college with Emily years ago, and we reconnected when I moved here seven years ago.) While Melanie had been to Fluevog a couple of times already — and bought the beautiful Operetta Bartoli boots in burgundy as her first pair — Emily had never been. Between the three of us, we managed to try on close to 30 different pairs of shoes over the course of two and a half hours. Our dealers extraordinaire were Kate and Anthony, who were fantastic as usual. I walked in the door with a list of shoes I wanted to try on (my theme for the occasion was blue, blue, blue!), but my favorite part was being delightfully surprised with the pairs that Kate curated for me!

Just to clarify, I review here only the pairs that I personally tried on. However, I’m including photos of the other ladies trying on some of the styles, just so you can see what the shoes look like on and in different lighting than the stock photos. I’m wearing the burgundy tights with the owl skirt. Melanie is wearing the gray tights with the pink skirt, and she is between size 8 and 9, which high arches. Emily is wearing jeans, and she is between 6 and 7 (but sizes up if she wears arch supports for her flat arches), and has very narrow feet, ankles, and calves, which is why she can stuff her jeans inside many of the boots.

I’ve organized this post by family (alpha order), so just scroll down to the families you’re interested in.

Nota bene: what you should know about my sizing as you read my reviews. I am a true size US 5.5. I have relatively-flat arches, wide toes, and narrowish ankles. I regularly wear 5 in the Operetta, Mini, Attention, and Baroque families; 5 or 5.5 in the Bellevue and Fellowship families; and 6 in the Radio family. However, the sizing of certain styles within the same family can differ, and even the same style can differ in sizing from season to season.

7th Heaven Family

DerbySwirl7th Heaven | Derby Swirl in red calf hair pony (limited edition). Size 6. These fit the same as my purple polka-dotted Derby Swirls, which is to say they run true to size. For my 5.5 feet, that means there is wiggle room at the toes in the size 6, which is perfect for how I like to wear my hard boots (with thick socks). Anthony said this style is only available in certain stores — L.A., New York, and San Francisco were what I remember. {EDITED 10/20/13: Now available online! } It’s obviously very striking. I’m not a fan of the hairiness, however. I don’t know how I’d clean it. 🙂 I only wish I’d tried on the new burgundy and purple colorways and taken a photo because they look amazing. The black colorway with the confetti soles was cute.

Awake Family

PeakAwake | Peak in black. Size 6. This was a pair that Kate brought out for me. I knew that Miss Joanne had already reviewed it, but I didn’t go gaga over it. It was a different story when I tried it on. First, Joanne is absolutely correct that it’s very stable despite a very high (and uniquely-shaped) platform. What I’d like to add is that the leather felt like it was hugging my feet. I was impressed with the comfort level of these shoes. And if I ever need a pair of striking, high-platform wedge booties, these would be my choice. Given that the size 6 fit me perfectly, I’d say these run a half-size small, which was the case for Joanne as well (this finding contrasts with the sizing recommendation on the Fluevog website). Even though they’re boots, I’d definitely wear these with tights or bare skin rather than with thick socks.

Baroque Family

LorrainBaroque | Lorrain in blue velvet. Size 6. These beauties fit on me like the Rubens, which is a half size too big. I’d need a size 5. Like the Awake | Peak, I don’t think I’d wear these booties with thick socks, given the style and the softness of the leathers. So getting the size that fits snugly would work best. However, with my flat feet, I’d wear arch support with these, which might mean I should get half a size up (5.5). The arch supports would get rid of the wrinkling at the ankle that you see in the photo.

Bellevue Family

LauraEvansBellevue | Laura Evans in black. Emily is modeling one of the new colorways (with the burgundy buckles) in the very classic-looking T-strap from the delicate Bellevue family.

LibbySmithBellevue | Libby Smith in gray/burgundy. Melanie couldn’t help but try on these gorgeous boots. She asked why no one had ever invented boots like this in this colorway before. 🙂 They look fantastic on her with her high arches, and I like the way the gray blends with her tights. It went very well with her outfit, actually, and toned down the air of cos-play that I associated with the boots the last time (see my review of the boots here).

Big Presence Family

DavisBig Presence | Davis in blue/black. Size 6. I’m a big fan of the Davis, but alas these run true to size with the smallest size being 6. 😦 I love this colorway as well. That blue leather is fan-tastic and I wish it was in more of the styles this Fall.

Daily Miracle Family

DiscoveryBackDaily Miracle | Discovery in brown. OK, so these are not part of the Fall 2013 line, but the color and style are very appropriate for fall. They look amazing on Emily — who ended up buying them! — and the best part is they’re on sale, almost 40% off! The leather is like butter, and I really like that accent on the back.

FortuneDaily Miracle | Fortune in floral. Another non-Fall item, but Emily really fit into the Daily Miracle family so Anthony brought out the Daily Miracles they had. These floral leathers are so fun to look at.

MysteryDaily Miracle | Mystery in black. Emily said she liked these but wasn’t looking for oxford booties. These are also on sale. 🙂

Desire Family

TutorDesire | Tutor in blue/tan. Size 6.5. This was another surprise pair that Kate curated for me. Given my current blue obsession, these were perfect. What I loved was how comfy they were. I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been on a casual-Fluevog kick for the past year or so. I’m drawn to all the flats (that aren’t boots), although for some reason these didn’t even make the radar when I made my pre-visit list. This style is in the same family as the Mentor, which seems like a very comfy shoe. Kate suggested I go with the 6.5 in the Tutor and they fit well (which means they run a full size small). I could wear these with thick socks since the elastic at the back of the heel is very forgiving. These are very cute shoes that I could wear under jeans and with the occasional skirt. Sometimes I don’t feel like wearing ballet flats. These would be an awesome alternative. The stone/black colorway would be perfect for those who want a more neutral look.

Fellowship Family

SandraFellowship | Sandra in black/white. Again, here are shoes that aren’t part of the Fall 2013 collection but that would look great for fall. Melanie looks absolutely adorable in the shoes, and they looked wonderful with her outfit. Lucky for her, she doesn’t get the weird flapping issue when she wears the Sandra the way I do.

Fortitude Family

LutherFortitude | Luther in metallic. Size 7. Another delightful surprise via Kate. So the Luther runs small as well, at least a full size. Kate had me wear the 7, but I thought that it was actually a little loose at the heel for me even though the width was comfortably snug. Anthony said that since the leather would loosen up as the shoes were broken in, I should get the 6.5 to prevent myself from eventually walking out of them. So these run just one full size small for average-to-wide feet. However, if I’d been wearing thick socks when I tried them on, they probably would have fit better lengthwise. Up to you to size up 1 or 1.5 sizes.

Garden of Enjoyment Family

PizzazzGarden of Enjoyment | Pizzazz in blue. Size 6. These run true to size, maybe a little larger. I just couldn’t help myself from trying them on, even though they’re not really my style. I really like the blues on this shoe, especially with the texture of the faux-lizard leather. It’s too bad the leather isn’t on other Fluevog styles this season.

Hopeful Family

DivineHopeful | Divine in camel (orange). Here’s Melanie modeling the new camel boots in the Hopeful family. Both Emily and I tried them on as well, and our verdict was that they were very comfy. (I don’t have a more detailed review because I just put on the same size that Emily tried on. I only wanted to get a general feel for the height and stability of the boots. I believe they run the same as the Luxons, which means they’re half a size small.) The color reminds me of my orange  Prepare | Volunteer boots.

Kitschy Kitschy Boom Boom Family

LizKKBB | Liz in brown. Emily couldn’t leave the store without trying on the Liz. They’re such unique shoes, and she really liked this colorway, but they’re a little too wide for her feet. She truly needs arch supports for these. I believe the sizing for this season’s Liz is the same as the last (my past review here).

Lo F Family

StellaLo F | Stella in navy. Size 6. I think these are adorable boots — don’t they look perfect for the rain? — but they’re quite big on me. One of the Fluevogologists (on the website) says they fit like a galosh, so maybe bigness shouldn’t be an issue if you buy them specifically for rainy days. Indeed, given the very generous sizing for the ankle and calf, I could stuff my pants in these AND wear thick, warm, cozy socks.

Mini Family

BunnyMini | Bunny in green/brown. Size 6. This is for one of our readers (hi Jen!) who asked about this colorway on the Bunny. The sizing is half a size smaller than other shoes in the family like the Qtees. The size 6 was a little big for me, but it might be okay with thick socks. However, given the style, I’d probably not want to wear thick socks and go with my true size 5.5. (I’m a 5 in the Qtees.) I didn’t think I’d be fond of this colorway, but once I got a look in person, they’re quite lovely. It was the same with my first reaction to the brown/blue Vivs: at first, I didn’t like that 1970s mustardish brown in the stock photos, but in person it’s a lot richer and attractive. Don’t get me wrong, I do think there’s a retro feel to these shoes, but they’re a lot cuter than I thought.

Miracle Family

MedugorjeMiracle | Medugorje in gray glitter. Size 6. I couldn’t help but try these on! These fit just like other Medugorje in past seasons. The shoe runs at least one half size small, and for me the toe box is too narrow and tight for my wide toes. The Miracle family is beautiful, no doubt, but it doesn’t have the comfort factor for my type of feet.

Modvog Family

Jen2Modvog | Jen in black. Size 6. I had these at the top of my list. I think they look different from most of the styles this season (I believe they’re old school, though, right?). This one was a surprise for me in that I had thought 1) they would be too big for me and 2) they wouldn’t look as good on me as they did. I don’t want to mislead about the sizing, though. These run true to size, but because of the ankle strap, my feet stayed in just fine. I can make these work with some insoles. After I saw my feet in the mirror that day, I fell hard for these shoes. The copper accent is even cooler in person than in the stock photos. My only worry is that the stiff leather will be difficult to break in, but I’d be willing to work on it. 🙂

Munster Family

MunsterMunster | Ramona in blue velvet. Size 6. Another shoe I had to try because of the delicious blue color. Like other Munsters, these run true to size and are too tall for me. But they’re very cool to look at.

Operetta Family

BordoniOperetta | Bordoni in blue/cherry. Size 6. I think these shoes are so fun to look at, and of course I love the Operetta family with its usual comfort factor. The size 6 is only a little big for me, so these are probably close to true-to-size. I think the colorway looked awesome with my outfit that day. 🙂

MalibranBOperetta | Malibran in black/white. Emily tried on the Malibran, which she thought was a super cute shoe, as I do. I have these in black, but I like the stitched accents on this season’s styles of Operettas.

Passage Family

CairoPassage | Cairo in burgundy. Size 6. Very lovely color and leather. The heel height is comfortable as well. This shoe is quite narrow so unless you have very narrow feet, size up. The size 6 was uncomfortably snug on me, which means, for my slightly-wide feet, I’d size up one full size to 6.5.

Prepare Hi Family

SummitPrepare Hi | Summit in blue. Size 6. I tried these on for fun. This family is too high for me, but of course the blue was calling my name. When I got them on and looked in the mirror, I had to laugh because it looked like I was wearing roller skates! They’re adorable. These were a little big but my feet stayed in quite well, predictably, because of the laced-up ankles.

Queen Transcendent Family

EscarpinQueen Transcendent | Escarpin in black glitter. Size 6. Another glittery shoe I had to try on for fun! I totally love the Queen Transcendent heel. I believe these run true to size. Too bad they didn’t have a 5.5 so I could walk around and really see how comfortable they are.

VictoriaQueen Transcendent | Victoria in purple suede. Size 6. These are actually VERY purple, but they photograph blue on my iPhone. Sorry about that. The size 6 are a little big even with the lacing at the ankles (I could probably tighten them or use different laces that have more traction — these were velvet ribbon or something). If the Summit looked like fancy roller skates on me, these looked like fancy ice skates (at least from the front)! These are beautiful and delicate-looking boots. A nice addition to the QT family.

Radio Family

BBCRadio | BBC in brown. With jeans, the BBC look classic and rugged at the same time. The brown colorway adds to that theme. Emily liked how comfortable they were, but she was looking for sexier boots (she certainly found them with the Daily Miracle | Discovery knee-highs). I think these would go well with skirts.

KCRWRadio | KCRW in brown. I adored how these lace-ups looked with Melanie’s outfit. The boots are quite rugged, but the dress and tights softened them quite a bit; conversely, the boots toughen up the pink skirt. There’s a “prairie” look to the whole ensemble, but not in an overly-cutesy way.

* * *

Whew! So that’s it for this installment of my Fall 2013 reviews. Believe it or not, Anthony told me there would be some more surprises later this season, but maybe as early as this month. I’m trying to find a time to go with my husband so that he can try on the men’s collection. I’m quite excited about that because I really like what I’ve seen of the men’s styles this season. Hopefully, by the time we make another visit, the newest styles that Anthony told me about will have arrived at the store as well. I’ll post again when that happens.

Happy Voging! What a truly lovely season this has been so far!

xo, Gladys


14 thoughts on “Desert FlueReview: Fall 2013 Part II

  1. hi gladys!

    thank you so much for thinking of me! those bunnies look sweet. i do like that colorway very much. i stumbled across a used pair in my size of the blue/yellow colorway and wouldntchaknowit, they hit my ankle bone in a funny way. (i think i’ve heard another reviewer mention this somewhere). it’s the first time i’ve ever had this kind of problem with a shoe, so i guess they’re not meant for me! 😦

    happy vogging to you- great post!

    • you’re very welcome, jen! i’m glad you got to try on a similar pair. it would be terrible to invest so much money in them only to find out that they messed up your feet! having said that, though, i bet you could call one of the “dealers” and tell them about the issue, and they might suggest something like wearing a slight insole at the heel to lift up your ankle bone from the edge of the shoe. or a cobbler could soften that part of the leather for you. personally, if a fluevog i’ve fallen HARD for didn’t fit as perfectly as i’d wanted, i found ways to make it work. otherwise, i wouldn’t have the guides or the liz’s. i’ve never regretted those purchases, and they’ve accompanied me to some of the best events in my life. 🙂

  2. Hi Gladys,

    I’m curious if you or anyone you know has tried on the Prepare Ranger, and what you/they thought of it. It looks so different from different angles in the photos on the website.

    • hi sarah! i’m sorry to say that i have not tried on the rangers. i shied away from much of the camo AND black colorways during my last visit, which meant i overlooked the rangers completely. which is too bad, because they look awesome on the website! i’m a fan of the prepare family, and i love the knee high boots i have in that family (the volunteers). because these rangers don’t have zippers, it may be a little fussy trying to get into them via the elastic. but since they seem generous at the opening, hopefully it won’t be a problem for those of us with healthier calves. 🙂 next time i visit, i’ll try them on.

      of course, it’s also possible that joanne, shirley, and/or dorothy have already tried these on, in which case they will probably post on it soon.

    • Hi Sarah (and Gladys) – I have not yet tried on the Ranger. As a furloughed government employee, I’m thinking it’s time for me to do a little squatting at the Haight Street store and give my feet some Fluevog loving.

  3. Hi Gladys,

    Love this blog, thanks so much– the photos and the info on fit are really helpful for those of us not in easy reach of a brick and mortar Fluevog store.

    Yes, I’m not into the camo myself, either. The black is nice, though.

    I haven’t ventured into the Prepare family yet– I am more of a Truths/Swordfish/Coffee/Teapots person (I have been collecting pointy Fluevogs since the mid-90s). I am intrigued by the Prepares, but there seems to be so much conflicting advice on fit with them! The general consensus on your site seems to be to size up, but I called the Chicago store and they insisted that the family runs true to size. Hrm.

    • so glad to hear it, sarah! it’s hard to describe the prepares. i’m a 5.5 but both of my prepares — guide and volunteer — are size 6. HOWEVER, if i’d had the choice, i probably would have gotten 5.5 in the guide (when they first came out, the smallest size was the 6). as it is, i have to use insoles to get a snug fit. but because the volunteers are boots and i prefer to wear thicker socks with my boots, the size 6 is perfect for me. there’s wiggle room at the toes, but they stay on because they’re tall boots. i think for something like the rangers, if the chicago store says get your true size, then that’s what i would do.

      a workaround, just to try them on and see if you like them, is to buy them from amazon (ranger in black available here: ) for the free shipping. if you don’t like them or they’re the wrong size, it’s free to return them.

      hopefully we’ll get a chance soon to see how they fit on real feet, thanks to shirley.

      • Aha, I’d been waiting for them to show up on Amazon, and hadn’t seen them there yet! Thanks! I’ll let you know how the experiment turns out, if you’d like.

        • absolutely, let us know! send us a photo if you’d like. 🙂

          • An update for you: I finally ordered the Rangers, which were more or less true to size. I was worried that they would be bulky and clunky, particularly as someone who doesn’t usually wear platforms, but they are quite sleek.

            But then: sadness. The right foot fit perfectly. But the left foot did not. The center seam pressed down quite painfully on the top of my foot. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I don’t have an especially high arch, so I have to assume it’s manufacturing. I also recently bought a pair of Leaders, which fit like a glove.

            Anyway, I have to return the Rangers. 😦 And since I bought them from Amazon, which only carries one size per Fluevog shoe, I can’t swap them for another pair in the same size to see if it’s just a flaw with this particular left shoe. I can send you a photo of them before I return them, if you’d like. And if you’re ever interested in a guest post on vintage Vogs, I have quite a collection!

            • thanks for the update, sarah! i’m sorry to hear about the rangers — it’s possible it’s only that particular pair. (i’ve bought fluevogs from amazon that were stamped with the wrong size or where the right shoe was bigger than the left.) hopefully you will get a chance to try them on at your nearest store before they sell out.

              what do you think of the prepare heel, now that you have a pair? did you get the purple leaders? what a great color!

              we’d absolutely love a guest post on your collection! i love learning about vintage vogs as well so that would be perfect. send pix and your text to if you need inspiration, here’s our last guest post:


            • (there was no reply link to your last comment, so I’ll post it here.)

              To answer your questions: I did get the purple Leaders, and I love the Prepare heel! I walk a lot and also stand a lot every day (I am a professor), so as much as I love towering heels and pointy toes, I need something relatively comfortable for work. This is a great compromise– a heel that is totally comfortable for as long as I’m on my feet. That’s why I was so excited about the Rangers!

              And I would love to do a guest post! I bought my first pair of Fluevogs in 1996 or so, so I will start with those. =) I have sold or donated quite a few pairs over the years, but my favorites are all still with me (and I still wear all of them).

            • (yeah, it’s a little confusing!)

              anyway, i can definitely imagine the purple leaders on a university campus. glad that you found a new comfy heel that fit your feet and lifestyle!

              definitely send over the post when you’ve finished! i’m looking forward to reading. 🙂

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