Glimpsed at Milan: Cynthia May

February 07, 2010|By Sloane Brown | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Ask Cynthia May to describe her style, and the 33-year-old business operations manager for Walden University says, "Sophisticated, fun." Ask the Owings Mills resident to elaborate, and you begin to understand what is central to her style: her shoes. "I'm not the type of person who will easily walk up to strangers and have a conversation. I find that my shoes really get people's attention and force them to get into conversation." We can vouch for that. It was May's fabulous leopard-print 4-inch heels that reeled us in.

The look: Mohair, nylon and wool sheer knit sweater with rose brooch embellishment. White camisole. Black microfiber boot-cut slacks. Silver hoop earrings. Gray and camel snakeskin-patterned fabric satchel. Leopard print Carlos Santana platform pumps.

Where it came from: Her sweater is from Arden B. She picked up the camisole and the slacks at The Limited. Her handbag was a gift from her mother. She found the shoes at Macy's.

How she shops: "When it comes to shoes, my favorite is Macy's shoe department, Bakers and Bare Feet Shoes. ... As for clothes, I would say Macy's, H&M and Cache. ... If I'm going to do online, I tend to do Zappos for shoes, and my new favorite, shoedazzle.com. ... You fill out a survey and pick out what styles are most appealing to you. They have a team of stylists that each month will send you an e-mail of a selection of five pairs of shoes. ... You pick one pair and they will send them to you."

It's all about the shoes: "They're a great conversation piece. ... I was at the gas station one day, and I hear this woman from a minivan with kids in the back jumping around, and she yells out, 'I love your shoes! Are they comfortable?' First, I thanked her. Then I replied, 'I don't buy shoes for comfort. I buy them for what you just gave me right there.' "

She blames her mom: "This is a hereditary disorder. ... Every time I go home, [her mother's] statement is 'Don't you want to go shopping?' And I can't turn that down. She has boxes upon boxes upon boxes of shoes. Ever since I was little, she would pull out boxes of shoes she forgot she even bought."

Her subtle style: "I tend to be subtle in my clothes because I want the shoe to speak. I usually wear more separates, but I am starting to buy more dresses. I like things that fit but things that leave to the imagination. ... And usually prints are just on my shoes, not on my clothing."


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