Every fall, I like to celebrate my yearly anniversary at my awesome job with a new pair of fall/winter shoes. In the beginning, Nine West or equivalent felt like an appropriate splurge, but I can afford better now. In recent years, I've bought Frye boots, Fluevogs, and a pair from Anthropologie, but I can't find anything from any of those brands that's scratching my itch this year. I've looked on Zappos and at places like DSW, but there's just so much to look at and pick from that I quickly get overwhelmed. I have a much better experience and am more likely to find something I like if I can go directly to the brand's website, or at least filter by brand on Zappos. Can you suggest some brands (or specific shoes, of course) that would work for me?
1. HOTNESS. I want shoes that make strangers stop me in the hall or on the street and say "My god, I love your shoes." It's ok (maybe preferable?) if they're kind of wild or trendy, although I like classic styles too. They do have to be something that a real person could legitimately wear to (casual, creative-ish) work, or on a date. I'm not looking for red carpet or nightclub looks.
2. Quality. I want the leather to smell like leather. I want stitching where cheaper shoes would use glue. I want care taken so that the seams don't rub the wrong spots. Etc.
A distant 3 --- comfort. Obviously comfort is a plus, and they have to be comfortable enough to actually wear (not numbing my toes even when I'm not standing up, not causing blisters just from walking from the parking lot to my desk and back), but I don't need to be able to walk miles in them. 3-4" heels are a plus, not a minus.
4. Price. I'm thinking $300-$500 range, although if I could find something that hits the spot for cheaper I'd certainly take it. More expensive might be doable, but definitely nothing more than $1000. Value for money is really more important to me than price.
Styles I'm vaguely in the market for this year (no need to limit your suggestions to these, I'm just providing them so you can get a better idea of what I might like):
1. Ankle boots in an awesome finish and/or color, like these
from Chie Mihara.
2. Knee-high boots that button up the side.
3. Something absolutely effing crazy like these
pumps from Kobi Levi. (Unfortunately out of my price range or I would not need to ask this question!)
I did search before posting, but mostly found questions about comfort and durability. Quality construction is important to me, but looks are really the first priority.