Sandals, Back Jewelry and Invisible Belts…for the Woman Who has Everything?

I’m afraid if I post another less than glowing review, I’m going to get a reputation as the mean blogger around here…

Nevertheless, I’ve had a pair of shoes from Zuzatz for several weeks now…and I can’t beat around the bush any longer.

For those of you who don’t have a super-nice PR guy sending you shoes in the mail, allow me to explain: Zuzatz makes sandals that come with a brown or black base and a seemingly endless supply of interchangeable straps that you’re supposed to be able to click in and out with Zuzatz’s (try saying that three times fast?) patented “QuickClick” technology.

I admit these shoes are a (relatively) good idea in theory. Space is notoriously limited in New York, for example, so I can see how they might be appealing to Manhattanite sandal-lovers who don’t have enough room for all the pairs they want. Or…if you were going on vacation and didn’t want to haul around more than one pair of shoes in your suitcase, they could also be a good option. (And as the greenest guy I know prepares to move to Colorado next week and New York begins to mourn him, I can’t help but feel there has to be some sort of environmental angle here, too. Like, surely it’s better to have one pair that you can wear over and over again instead of buying new pairs and extending their, ahem, carbon footprint. Or something.)

But…in reality, I’m not sure these shoes are such a good bet. (And I’m not just saying that because I have huge, giant monster feet and the super-nice PR guy found me on Twitter and announced my shoe size to the world when he told me he had mailed me a pair…)

When I unpacked my new Zuzatz sandals, I was eager to try them out. However, when I slipped them on, QuickClick technology or no, the Style Straps clicked right out in all three spots on *both* shoes. I attempted to force them back in. After all, each fastener is supposed to withstand up to 70 pounds of pull force. But…I wasn’t having a ton of luck with the black straps, so I decided to see how the silver ones would do…and then somehow in the flurry of clicking Style Straps in and out, I ended up with one black shoe and one silver shoe and I could not get either Style Strap out. Oh, how I longed for the time just moments earlier when my black Style Straps popped right out. I pulled and I prodded, and…nothing. They were stuck. Eventually I had to have the manfriend pry out the silver strap so I at least had a matching pair of shoes. (But…now I cannot get the black straps out. And it is perhaps less than ideal to have to rely on a big, strong man to replace my Style Straps each and every time.)

And…I guess maybe my huge, giant monster feet are a little delicate…because these sandals really hurt the space between my toes. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, so I wore them a couple of times…but I never really got to a point where I didn’t notice they were uncomfortable…and, in the end, one of my black straps broke.

A base and two Style Straps from Zuzatz retails for $49.95. Additional three-packs of Style Straps range from $28 to $50. So…given my experience, I would probably pass on Zuzatz…but I guess it could be an okay gift for someone with limited closet space and/or who travels a lot?

And…speaking of things I probably wouldn’t ever wear, we also have the Bra Barrette.

I have to be honest: I didn’t even take this out of the package. I couldn’t bear to wear it…nor would I ever wear anything like it in 1,000 years. (See for yourself: What is a Bra Barrette?)

Don’t get me wrong – I can see how maybe it might be fun and/or functional for the right person and/or in the right scenario…in fact, when I was coming home from the Yankees/Mets game this weekend, I saw a woman on the train who had her bra straps fastened together with a safety pin and I thought, “That woman needs a Bra Barrette!”

But…as far as I’m concerned, if falling bra straps were a big problem, I would probably just drop cash on a new brassiere. I could not wear something like the Bra Barrette with a straight face.

And admittedly, I don’t want to draw a lot of attention to my back. I had scoliosis and had to wear a stupid back brace when I was kid (like the one in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, actually)…and even though you probably couldn’t tell my spine’s all twisty unless you were really looking for it, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even if I had a perfectly straight back, I still wouldn’t want a margarita charm (or maybe it’s a martini?) dangling between my shoulder blades.

So, I’m sorry, Bra Barrette, I guess I’m the wrong person to review something like this. You bill yourself as “Jewelry for your back” and I wear very little jewelry as a general rule (at most, I wear a couple of gold hoops, an L necklace and my grandmothers’ rings). But…then again, I did an informal poll of my girlfriends…and most of them laughed when they saw this product.

And — apologies for the tired old segue, but — speaking of bra straps, we also have isABelt, the virtually invisible belt that looks kind of like a bra strap, but warns you in big capital letters not to adjust it like one.

Of the three products, this has to be my favorite because there’s at least a viable purpose –- say goodbye to belt bulk, unwanted slippage and back gap! — although a friend saw it and asked, “Why can’t you just wear a normal belt?” and I didn’t really have a good answer for him. I guess if you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a belt, isABelt’s a product for you.

And for all the times I’ve sat down and worried about whether my shirt is covering my pants so I’m not inadvertently exposing myself, this is not a bad idea. (Although the black isAbelt looks kind of pleather and S&M-y…)

About the author


a Brooklyn, NY-based food and business writer who has worked for Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, the Financial Times and Dow Jones. She also blogs for the Huffington Post and started her own blog – – to chronicle her preparations for the American Pie Council’s National Pie Championships.

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