Clockwise from bottom left: ? Grommet Mary Janes by Sergio Rossi, $650, available at Hu's Shoes, 3005 M St. NW. ? Marc by Marc Jacobs oxfords, $450, available at Nordstrom, 8075 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, and ? Co-Op brand suede and patent oxfords, $335, available at Barneys Co-Op, 3040 M St. NW, and ? Apt. 9 "Ana" oxford heel, $50, at Kohl's stores and ? Gucci "Bonnie" platform heels, $895, available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 5555 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase. ? Antique shoe last (similar to shown), $10 at Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot, 2473 18th St. NW. ? Andrew Stevens studio "Farrah" heel, $89, available at ShoeFly, 1520 U St. NW and 2618 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. ? Sinela stacked heel oxford, $295, available at Wild Women Wear Red, 1512 U St. NW. (By Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post)
Thursday, September 6, 2007

"They started as a trend a couple of seasons ago, but they were still very much under the radar," says Marlene Hu Aldaba, owner of the Georgetown boutique Hu's Shoes. She's speaking, of course, about the oxford lace-up heels populating nearly every brand, store and price point for fall.

Sinela, a Spanish label by Jeronimo Jimenez, offers a pair in dusky crimson. Marc Jacobs fastens his two-tone chunky heels with bowling shoe laces. An ankle-high pair by Andrew Stevens's secondary line, A.S. Studio (made in Italy), is cut in patent leather, while Gucci's 4 1/4- inch stacked heel and those from in-house labels at Barneys Co-Op and Kohl's chose the perennial fall favorite -- suede.

With old-school charm, and such natty details as wingtip perforations and signature laces, they're a softer alternative to the severe ankle booties that walked the runways for the past few seasons.

"There's always that carry-over in fashion, but these are just less extreme," says Hu Aldaba. "It's now progressed into a mainstream trend -- especially with all the menswear-inspired clothing this season -- that's a lot more accessible."

-- Cory Ohlend orf

© 2007 The Washington Post Company