It’s a new year, so why not take steps to glamour up your pre-pandemic shoe closet? But just because you’re shoe shopping doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in a little luxury — and perhaps some swanky sips.
Starting Monday, January 10, Austinites can kick back with a glass of wine while shopping for kicks at Blue Suede, a new women’s boutique and lounge in South Austin.
The perfectly named Blue Suede promises a variety of designer women’s shoes and accessories in a warm, inviting space at 1600 S. First St. The goal, according to the boutique’s owners and co-founders, Jennifer Parkman and Cynthia McMillioan, is to remove the pressure of shoe shopping — no more awkward conversations with salespeople looking for the right size — while also creating an experience as chic as the shop’s luxurious footwear.
Blue Suede’s customers will have a variety of shoe sizes at their fingertips to try on at their leisure, all while enjoying a drink and light bites from some of Austin’s top food and beverage purveyors, available at the shop’s onsite lounge.
The lounge offers beer and cider from Austin Beerworks and Austin Eastciders, as well as red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines. Customers can also order cheese boards featuring Antonelli’s Cheese and coffee from Austin Roasting Company and Giddy Up cold brew.
The 1,500-square-foot shoe boutique gained inspiration from Parkman’s favorite shoe shop in Chicago, with Blue Suede aiming to offer women accessibility to a wide variety of top shoe brands and sizes in a space that encourages customers to recharge, relax, and catch up with friends amid tons of posh offerings, which also include unique jewelry items and handbags.
“I have spent a lot of time over the years sharing my idea with friends, asking them, ‘Shoes plus wine, right?’ and the answer has always been, ‘Yes!’ This is something I am very proud to finally bring to life,” Parkman says. “We have worked hard to make the atmosphere in Blue Suede warm and comfortable, hoping to encourage customers to stay for a while and enjoy.”
While the wine and nibbles, fashion accessories, and hand-picked art (including works created by female artists displayed alongside Andy Warhol-inspired “Shoes” wallpaper and a locally made custom neon sign) are certainly a draw, it’s the wealth of shoe brands that will likely have local shoppers rushing in.
Blue Suede features notable shoe designers such as Dolce Vita, Seychelles, Matisse, Donald Pliner, Yellow Box, Tamaris, and more. And the South Austin boutique is the exclusive carrier in town for sought-after shoe brands like Jeffrey Campbell and select styles of Valentina, personally sourced from Italy.
“It has been amazing to watch Blue Suede go from just a vision to the unique and creative space it is now,” McMillioan says. “We are so grateful to have an incredibly talented team that helped make it a reality. We strived to carefully curate every aspect of the experience, from the art to the wine and, of course, the shoes.”
The boutique’s showroom and lounge is open noon-8 pm Monday through Thursday, noon-9 pm Friday, 11 am-9 pm Saturday, and 10 am-6 pm Sunday. Follow Blue Suede on Instagram for more details and updates.