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Walking into the Aviator Nation store on Abbot Kinney in Venice, Calif., is like stumbling into a frat house with a feminine touch. Steely Dan, Doors and Grateful Dead album covers and vintage skate decks nailed to the walls, a record player spinning Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," a "720 Degrees" arcade game in the corner, stacks and stacks of foam trucker hats, T-shirts and hoodies spreading good vibes like "Pray for Surf" and "California Is For Lovers". ... It's such a sensory experience, you half expect your shoes to be sticking to the floor from last night's kegger.
Ellen Bennett launched an apron company last year not knowing how to sew and not knowing how to run a business. Now she has the world, so to speak, by the strings.
Thanks to the fashion world's enthusiastic embrace of surf/skate culture over the decades, the Vans-style slip-on sneaker - a simple, unadorned, lace-free upper attached to a rubber sole - has become an instantly recognizable Southern California silhouette and an uncluttered canvas for self-expression, not only for Vans but also for countless other brands. In recent seasons, luxe versions of the humble skate shoe have been rolling out to retail and serving as less-formal, summertime iterations of the ever-popular smoking shoe. Here are a few slip-ons that might make slipping out that rainy-day credit card worthwhile.