See these Converse? I’ve had them for twenty three years. Yep, you read that right. TWENTY THREE years. And I still wear them from time to time. Being such a classic style, they were a brilliant investment back in 1990 (£25 was a lot of money when I was 13!).
In stark contrast to my last post, today I am going to tell you why it’s OK to spend a lot of money on shoes. I had a real eureka moment this week when I figured it out myself while I was on my way to buy yet another pair of shoes and was desperately trying to justify it in my head. It suddenly occurred to me that it was OK, because while my body will change shape over the years, my feet are always going to be the same size. They’ve been a size 4 since I was 12, when I probably still wore clothes marked ‘age 10’ rather the size 10 I wear now. Don’t listen to people who tell you that a navy cashmere sweater is a real investment piece; who knows how much weight you are going to gain or lose over the years. No, shoes are the real investments, and here are the four key styles that I think every flat shoe lover should have in their wardrobe.
1. The Chelsea Boot
You simply cannot beat a Chelsea boot. They are eternally chic and completely timeless. You’ll love wearing them in your seventies as much as you did in your twenties. Suede or leather, brogue or plain leather, find a pair that fits you like a glove and take pride in looking after them (it’s worth buying a protective spray and a suede brush. Try Clarks and Oliver Sweeney).
2. The Animal Print Slipper
I’m a bit addicted to animal print shoes (as you can see from the picture above!) and I’m currently favouring slipper styles, but ballet pumps work just as well. The reason I would suggest paying a bit more for for a simple slipper is because very cheap flat shoes with no support can harm your feet much worse than even heels can. You’ll be surprised how much of your wardrobe suits animal prints; try clashing with a Breton stripe.
3. The Brogue
Woman wearing brogues is a relatively recent phenomenon but I really believe everyone should have at least one pair. They can look classic with a pair of tailored trousers, cool with turned up jeans and a bright pair of socks, or kooky with ankle socks and a tea dress. I love the really mad styles you can get at the moment with flashes of colour, but if you’ve saved up, buy something more classic that won’t date. I recently spotted a woman in her sixties on the train who was wearing brogues with stripy socks – she looked brilliant!
4. The Go-With-Everything Sandal
A sturdy, well-made pair of leather sandals is a no brainer. It’s actually an area that you can get bargains that are still good quality – at a market on holiday or just at Clarks – but always look out for a robust leather and good fastenings. It’s also well worth checking the websites I mention in this post for heavily discounted designer sandals.
So there you go. Save up for those four styles and you’re basically sorted for life! Quality shoes should last decades. They may need repairing now and again (you can’t repair cheap shoes, once they’re dead, they’re dead), and you’ll need to take care of them, but if you choose well (remember: chic and classic), you’ll be enjoying them for years to come.