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Slip into Nine West's comfort zone

July 05, 2009|Melissa Magsaysay

Nine West, the company that can turn on a dime to mint hot heels and strappy sandals, is getting back to basics this fall, eschewing the trendy for classic Americana.

Its new Vintage America Collection, a line of footwear, accessories and denim, features distressed leathers, relaxed jeans and motorcycle, cowboy and moccasin boots, some with "Old West" details of fringe, patchwork and rustic metalwork. Even though the aesthetic is far from fast fashion, the prices are (thankfully) the same. Shoes will range from $59 to $99, boots $79 to $169, denim $59 to $69 and handbags about $145.

Nine West follows the lead of brands such as Frye, Woolrich Woolen Mills, Pendleton and Red Wing, all of which have found commercial success this year by drawing on a history and vintage flair that remind consumers of a more secure, less complicated time. These "comfort" pieces make sense, not just for nostalgia's sake but also because they're lasting and practical. And it's refreshing to see people wearing the same boots and carrying the same bag (gasp!) for more than one season.

To make the most of these updated classics, mix the old and new, the traditional and the trend-conscious. Throw on your favorite old plaid button-down with some skinny distressed denim, or pair worn-in lug-sole motorcycle boots with a sexy miniskirt. It's the fresh (and frugal) approach to getting dressed.

The Nine West Vintage America Collection will be available for pre-order on Thursday at www.ninewest.com/vintageamerica collection and in stores in mid-July.

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melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com

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