The Manolo's suggestion
The Manolo recently suggested this lovely blue strappy sandal from Charles David, with good reason. Unfortunately, at $120, it is a bit much for the lowly graduate student. When looking for cheaper alternatives to the shoes you desperately want, keep in mind that a cheaply-made shoe will not save you anything in the long run (unless you just need something to bum around in on the beach). Stick with brands known for quality. I like Kenneth Cole Reaction, whose shoes are well-made and comfortable, and they have a blue metallic strappy sandal you can snap up for only $39.95, although I'd skip the blue and go for this lilac number instead; at $57.95 it is less than half the price of the Charles Davids. All these shoes are at Zappos, which has great return and price-matching policies, and free shipping, to boot.