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Fashion notes: Flats are fab, but don’t get too comfy

In November, vice president of global buying at Net-a-porter, Sarah Rutson, made a visit to ­Dubai. At an intimate gathering at Jean-Georges restaurant, she gave a presentation on her top 11 trends for spring/­summer, and a theme that became rather recurring throughout many of the trends, was the flat shoe.

It was enlightening to hear a top international fashion ­figure chat about the trend ­appeal of flat shoes – a refreshing change from the stereo­typical picture of snobby fashion editors and sky-high stilettos. While a big part of me is overjoyed to hear this, there’s a little voice in the back of my head anguishing over the depletion of heels in the market. It’s no grass-roots fad; the flat-footed trend has swept up the fashion elite.

Fashion notes: Flats are fab, but don’t get too comfy

Images: royal blue bridesmaid dresses

The fact that designers have taken to dressing their models in flats on the runway goes to show the power of the heelless shoe. It marks a certain drift from the typical high-heeled definition and portrayal of femininity to a more laid-back, pressure-less style, which somehow retains and can even add to the wow factor of a look. A good pair of metallic brogues, taupe loafers or even Nike trainers can certainly work wonders for an outfit.

When I get ready in the ­morning, sometimes the ­process of deciding what shoes to wear with my outfit becomes dreadfully time-consuming. Pointed flats or strappy sandals? T-bar wedges or printed Oxfords? For fashion girls, it’s vital that your shoe game is on point. Take a look at the ­image on the right. Which shoes would you pair the rose pink sweater and accessories with? Do you automatically gravitate to one or the other? Or would it depend on the kind of mood you’re in, or the type of event you’re attending?

Heels and flats are becoming more and more intrinsically interchangeable. And while flats are becoming increasingly acceptable in all aspects of fashion, you have to admit, they don’t always evoke the same overall image as heels do. If you know me at all, you’re aware of the fact that I hardly wear heels, and practically live in trainers. I’m not one to trudge around airports, shopping malls or the office in products that pinch my toes and make my heels sore. But I also appreciate that romantic and powerful attitude that high heels can project onto a wearer, and I don’t think that we should do away with them altogether. By all means, splurge on stylish flats, but at the same time, preserve your heeled beauties, too, and ­recognise when they should be worn.

After wearing only flat-heeled shoes for many months, when I tried out a pair of heels the ­other night, I just couldn’t take it. I felt like a clumsy ­kitten learning how to use its legs, and was so ashamed of my awkward walk that I kicked them off and put on a pair of ballerinas instead. Footwear can make or break a look – and these flats definitely broke mine. Worse, I turned into a ­depressed, snappy ­monster and was slightly insecure about my outfit throughout the night. I saw other women turn up in their Manolo Blahniks, ­Jimmy Choos and Zara ­renditions and wish I had just soldiered through my high heels – ­pinches and all.

Footwear really makes all the difference in an outfit – and while flats are appropriate for most occasions, there are some events, particularly evening ones, where heels hold all the magic. All I ask is that you give both a fair chance – and if you ultimately decide on flats, ­maybe carry a pair of heels with you in the car just in case you change your mind.

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Express's Holiday Collection Will Have You Dressing Like a French Girl This Season

Get ready to celebrate, because the season of stylish soirees and blowout bashes has arrived. And while planning outfits for such occasions may seem like a daunting task, fear not. Thanks
to Express’s new high-end Edition collection, which includes nearly 60 pieces of ready-to-wear and accessories, finding a fete- appropriate ensemble has never been easier.

sole sisters 01

Just ask 20-year-old twin models Kelsey and Baylee Soles, who tried out some of the line’s suit-inspired separates and dazzling black informal wedding dresses for our shoot. “I would definitely wear these pieces to holiday parties,” says Baylee, the brunette of the duo. “They look and feel like they’re by a luxury brand!” Considering she’s an expert in quality clothing— in fact, both sisters have walked for Miu Miu and Saint Laurent and appeared in a Lanvin campaign—we’ll take her word for it.

If you’re going for stronger more structured look this season, Express has got your back. Their new lineup boasts a ton of borrowed-from-the-boys styles that have been infused with a feminine twist. Take inspiration from both of Baylee’s looks and layer the oversized tuxedo vest or military-inspired jacket on top of a gauzy shirt for a strong, standout ensemble. Want to add a touch of rock n’ roll? Easy—just throw on a pair of leather pants, grab a statement clutch and we guarantee you’ll be turning heads.

You’re more drawn to Kelsey’s feminine outfits, you say? The collection has a stunning black princess wedding dresses for every taste—from glitzy and body hugging to long and flowy—so you’re in good hands. Top any of them off with the line’s luxe maroon faux fur and brimmed black hat and you’ll achieve a Saint Laurent-esque look that’s the perfect balance of glamorous and edgy. Hedi Slimane would approve.

Although we love both of the aforementioned aesthetics equally, the latter seemed to strike a chord with of the twins, who both chose the black lace minidress as their favorite piece from the collection. “It goes along with my personal style really well—Baylee and I are actually pretty similar and share a lot of clothes,” explains Kelsey. “Yeah,” adds her sister, “we love ’70s and ’90s style.”

The best part about being twin models aside from sharing wardrobes? The lack of career
rivalry. “At the end of the day,” Baylee explains, “if Kelsey
books something and I don’t, it’s still kind of my face, too.”

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Blessings abound in Fond du Lac County

During this Thanksgiving season, we as residents of Fond du Lac County should reflect on the blessings that come with living here.

We have been blessed and have much to be thankful for as residents. We have increasing employment because of strong employers, large and small. Mercury Marine has lived up to its commitments made in 2009, almost doubling its employment and investing nearly a half-billion dollars in Fond du Lac, including an innovation center that is developing new products. Alliance Laundry Systems in Ripon has had two major expansions in the last three years with significant new employment. Advanced Tooling in Mount Calvary has doubled its employment.

Swenson Tool & Die moved to Campbellsport from Washington County because they wanted to be in Fond du Lac County and closer to a quality workforce. Wells Vehicle Electronics has expanded its employment, production capacity and product development. Grande Cheese is building its new headquarters in south Fond du Lac, which will be a showcase for those approaching the city from the south. LaClare Farms built a state-of-the-art goat milking and cheese processing facility in Pipe that has produced international award-winning goat cheese and is now expanding. Fond du Lac has several national and international businesses headquartered in the county. These are only a few examples and there are many more.


Images: sweetheart wedding dresses

IGNITE! Business Success, a robust network of 17 organizations, provides a seamless resource to support the start-up of new entrepreneurial enterprises and to assist existing small businesses sustain and grow their operations. The Emergent Technology Center, a member of IGNITE!, is a business accelerator for technology-based businesses. IGNITE! is unique in the state of Wisconsin and now is a model for other entrepreneurial development systems in Wisconsin and other parts of the nation. This was founded and started in Fond du Lac County by forward-thinking, ambitious and positive people.

We have many cultural, recreational and educational facilities that other communities envy. The Children’s Museum is one of the best in the Midwest. The Thelma Madoff Center for the Arts is a facility that offers opportunities to experience fine arts, concerts and learning for residents of all ages. The Pankratz Arts Exchange in Mount Calvary offers exceptional, professional musical productions every season of the year. The Fond du Lac Public Library will soon open the Idea Studio, a “makerspace” to nurture creativity and innovation.

Waupun offers some of the best festivals in the region and is known for its public collection of sculptures by world-renowned artist Clarence Addison Shaler. We live in one of the most beautiful countrysides in the nation that provides year-round recreation or just a place to enjoy natural serenity. Again, this is only a small list of the multiple cultural, recreational and educational opportunities that other communities only wish they possessed.

The Commonwealth Companies have invested more than $26 million in downtown Fond du Lac and is in the process of redeveloping the old hospital in Ripon that will provide much needed housing for the city and county. In downtown Fond du Lac, Lillian’s and Edith’s Bridal draw people from throughout the region and state. Marian University has purchased the Nielsen Building and has converted it to the Health Professionals Center where it will house its nursing program. Agnesian Healthcare has occupied a floor of the building for its information technology department.

All of the above are extremely positive endeavors; however, it seems that there are people in the community who can always find and focus on the opposite. Many times when we take actions to improve the community, some communicate negativity and defeatism. There is a small group that wants no change; they want the community to stay just like it is now. In today’s world, that is a formula for decline and deterioration. There is nothing wrong with public discourse but only when it is constructive. Most of what we hear from a small but vocal minority is destructive and adds nothing to building our community.

Every community has challenges, including Fond du Lac County. But there are far more positives and opportunities for the future. There are many selflessly working and dedicated to the future of our community. To those, we say “thank you”!

It is time for all of us to recognize that our county is truly blessed with many exceptional attributes. If you care about the future and progressive growth of the community, please stand up and be counted. You are needed. Become actively involved and engaged so that we can claim the community we deserve.(Source:

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