Do Your Civic Duty…at Maiden Lane

Civic Duty is an innovative footwear company founded upon the simple premise that a casual shoe can be more than merely practical. When properly designed, it has the potential to be attractive…a bit whimsical…comfortable…and environmentally responsible. The Civic Duty collections offer all of that—and more.

Before I tempt you with specifics on the sneakers, let me tell you a little bit about the brand. Civic Duty was created in 2009 by Steven Weinreb, who had recently lost his job due to the massive economic downturn. Concerned about his employment prospects and frustrated by government bailouts, he set out to create a company rooted in social, environmental, and fiscal responsibility. After a year of development, he conceived the perfect formula for a leisure shoe made with Tyvek(R), an amazingly strong, highly breathable, and recyclable material that is nearly impossible to tear. The result is a line of sneakers for both women and men that is stylish, fresh, and about as fun as it gets.

I’m adding a photo of Steven because…well…look at that smile. Look at his style. Doesn’t he look like someone you’d want to invite to a dinner party? Or have coffee with? Or have design your entire casual wardrobe?

If your heart hasn’t begun throbbing yet, here’s the part that will definitely get to you. Each year, the brand chooses a social cause and supports it by designing a unique shoe and donating 100% of the profits from the sale of that shoe to the cause. That just makes me feel good all over.

Okay…now the fashion/fun comes in. Civic Duty has designed five collections:

  • Fascination–preppy styling with a white rubber bump toe
  • Illumination–the preppy, bump-toe hightop
  • Exhilaration–classic styling reminiscent of the sneakers you’ve worn since you were five
  • Sensation–classic hightop
  • Dedication–traditional slip-on

Women’s sizes are available in white, periwinkle, yellow, fudge brownie, paper bag, red, gunmetal gray, navy, pink, lime, orange, sky blue, and black. Men’s sizes come in white, fudge brownie, paper bag, gunmetal gray, navy, lime, orange, sky blue, and black. All styles: $54.

I’m impressed by the mission, the inspiration, and the styling. But let’s face it…no matter how great it looks, it has to feel good. (Sure, we women will endure the requisite amount of pain and pinching in a killer pair of towering heels, but not in a sneaker.) When I slipped into my first pair of Civic Duty sneakers (I chose the gunmetal gray Fascination), it was like sinking into a jar of marshmallow fluff. The footbed is incredibly soft and cushy, and it’s obvious that you can walk in these for hours without a shred of discomfort. My fave is to wear them with skinny jeans, but they’re equally suited to shorts, skirts, and cropped pants. To say that these sneakers have universal appeal is almost an understatement.

If I’ve sufficiently tempted you, you’ll be happy to know that the news gets even better. The entire Civic Duty line is available at Maiden Lane in Nevada City, California. You can find the shop at 307 Broad Street, right in the heart of town, or by calling (530) 265-9520. Not only will they ship to wherever you are, they’ll also special-order sizes and colors for you. And service doesn’t get any more customized than that.

Now excuse me, but I need to get back to staring at how cool these sneakers look on my feet….

The Wrap Dress…Universally Flattering

Diane von Furstenberg knew precisely what she was doing when she created the iconic wrap dress. It’s flattering to every body type…to every age…and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Banana Republic offers the Gemma wrap dress in several patterns, solid black, and solid red. Even though it’s a low-price-point dress, it’s well made of substantial fabric with a nice drape. It can be dressed up or down, which is always a bonus in my opinion. While I wouldn’t necessarily pair this black-and-white number with the tan shoes shown in the photo, it looks great with sophisticated black patent peep-toe pumps and more casual black wedges.