Lily’s Closet: The Return of the d’Orsay Shoes

Ahh, the d’Orsay shoe. Did it ever leave? Was it ever really here?

Recently, I needed to replace my daily flats which were beginning to rip at the heel. Like the cheapskate that I am, I found these comfy d’Orsay flats for just under $12 at Payless! Who would’a thought?

Lily's d'Orsay shoes Christian Siriano

“But Lily, the d’Orsay is soooo 2012. Didn’t you see that Forever 21 has already been suuuper saturated with this trend for years?!” No, the d’Orsay is actually soooo 19th century. This style, like so many other styles, has been in and out of popularity for, well, a while. Did you know that a gentleman named Alfred Guillaume Gabriel, also known as the Count d’Orsay, innovated this shoe? As a soldier early in his life, he didn’t like the military uniform and dress, so in 1838 he designed a men’s military shoe that was low-cut on the sides and fit more snugly to the feet. It eventually became popular among women as well.

Christian Louboutin says, “The curve of the [d’Orsay shoe’s] instep resembles the curves of a woman’s body, and it is normally not exposed, but hidden from view.” The modern d’Orsay does typically have an exposed insole, for both the aesthetic and comfort reasons. As many of us know, women’s clothing trends (unfortunately) have a long history of being influenced by hiding and/or revealing things from society. Fortunately, although there’s still some work to be done, many women are increasingly wearing whatever the heck we want to wear. Anyway, let’s save that topic for another day.

Because, really, we’re all late to the d’Orsay party.

d'Orsay shoes Christian Louboutin
Including you, dear Loubie-loo.

I’m typically extremely specific, nitpicky, and a total penny-pincher. Basically, it’s a very sad combination of traits when it comes to shopping for clothes and accessories. There will always be something wrong with an item: This shirt has an excellent cut, but I hate the studs. That necklace is exactly what I want, but it’s $bajillion.99 over what it’s really worth. These pants are a perfect fit, but why are they an electric purple?

In my quest for the perfect daily flats, my requirements were:

  • Relatively timeless in style
  • Business-casual appropriate
  • Comfortable for moderate amounts of walking (I commute to and work in downtown Honolulu)
  • Pointed- or almond-toe
  • Neutral-colored
  • Not suede/faux-suede. For the love of all that is fuzzy, I’ve had enough.

It just so happened that these shoes tended to fall under my requirements. Last weekend, I walked into stores with low-to-no expectations of what I’d find, because I know I’m so picky that I can go shopping at three different malls looking for a particular item and still not buy anything for another two months. What a pleasant surprise how more-than-acceptable these shoes are into my wardrobe!

Lily's d'Orsay shoes Christian Siriano

I adore neutral colors (or lack of color, if you want to be pedantic about it). I would wear all-neutral colors daily—or I would if I could pull it off. The grey-striped pattern is notable, but not loudly so. The material is a sturdy fabric. Overall, these shoes go well with almost any outfit in my arsenal. These are a part of a shoe line that Christian Siriano designed for Payless. Again, who would’a thought?

Lily's d'Orsay Christian Siriano
They sure can take a stand. But can they do tricks?

The d’Orsay silhouette is quite timeless. Typically, your d’Orsay shoes will only go out of style if their design is combined with a fast-fashion trend like studs or fringes, is in a loud, gaudy color(s), or uses a trendy, seasonal pattern. They can make your legs appear longer, but those with wider feet may want to be cautious as these can potentially make your feet look even wider. Again, though, you don’t have to heed anyone’s fashion advice—wear whatever the heck you want!

These shoes look great with business-casual outfits and daily casual wear. At the moment, most people are wary of wearing d’Orsays in more conservative work environments. But really, if the silhouette is similar to the Loubies and my shoes pictured above with the interior-only cutout, and not like the silhouettes below, I have to disagree with most people. Or maybe it’s just me. Feet are just not that “sexy” to me. To each his/her own, though.

They can work with practically any bottom or dress, but I especially love how d’Orsays look with slim-fitted pants and skinny jeans in particular. Flats or heels, they can be quite lovely and functional. An added skinny strap will only increase comfort and cuteness.

d'Orsay flats black
d'Orsay shoes heels
( Sorry for the bad resource.)
d'orsay shoes with straps
(, via

What do you think of the d’Orsay silhouette? Do you have any recent fabulous finds?

One thought on “Lily’s Closet: The Return of the d’Orsay Shoes

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