If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I bought a new dress this week. Not groundbreaking news, I know, but it’s a very particular dress that’s a little tricky to wear for a number of reasons, and I wanted to tell you about how wearing flat shoes has really helped me to style it up.
I’ve written before about age-appropriate dressing, and how I basically think it’s a load of nonsense (just wear what makes you happy for goodness sake!), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a few hang-ups about the way my body looks in certain clothes, particularly since I am now in my Forties and certain bits of me don’t behave quite as they used to! For me, being happy comes hand-in-hand with feeling confident, and wearing clothes I feel comfortable in has to be a part of that. But I do find that I feel comfortable in a lot more silhouettes and hemlines when I pair them with flats than I ever did when I wore heels.
Topshop ditsy deconstructed midi dress, £49 (topshop.com). I am 5ft3″ and wearing the petite size 10 (remarkably, as I am usually a 12 in Topshop sizes. It’s roomy!)
Anyway, back to the dress. The first problem is that it’s from Topshop. I’ve been shopping there for 25 years and when my Mum was a couple of years older than I am now, I remember her saying she didn’t want to go in as there was nothing for her age group. But then she would always compliment me on my Topshop clothes, and drop massive hints for me to give them to her. Eventually I persuaded her that it didn’t matter how old she was – if she liked the clothes then she should just shop there. I think she might still have a jumper with little buttons on the shoulders from around that time. But now I know what she means; it’s not so much the clothes as the shopping experience that makes you feel out of place in Topshop. The music is SO BAD. And the sizes are all over the place. But if you go early when it’s quieter, and just have peace with the fact that you may have to go up at least one dress size from your normal one, then it’s actually full of gems (the dress wasn’t the only thing I bought while I was in there).
READ MORE: WHY I DON’T WEAR HEELS
Turns out sitting down with a huge side split wasn’t an issue
So, I’d got over that hurdle, but then I tried the dress on. It looked FANTASTIC from the front (if I do say so myself) but it has a massive split up one side. I actually don’t have any hang ups about my legs, but it still made me hesitate. So I asked Instagram. Everyone said to go for it (and one person even got a bit cross that I’d doubted myself just because of my age, which was a fair point), and it bolstered my confidence. It’s also backless, though, and although I don’t mind going bra-less in the summer, I’m a DD cup, so I would always rather have a bit of support. Thanks to Erica Davies, then, for coming up with the genius idea of wearing a front-fastening bra or a bralet in a contrasting colour – there’s no need to be apologetic about your boobs, guys! I mean, I’d avoid flashing an old, grubby, off-white back-fastening bra, but something like this in pink or blue from Free People would actually enhance the overall look.
Free People ‘Galloon’ lace racerback, £18 (freepeople.com)
Now I’ve got all of that sorted, it’s time to think about shoes. With one leg on show, Angelina Jolie-style, and my back exposed right down to my pants, there’s quite a lot going on. If I was to add a pair of heels into the mix, I’d have to worry about falling over, or getting my heel caught in the long hem, as well as checking the split positioning when I’m sitting down and monitoring my side boob. I’m just not into that level of outfit maintenance, so flats are the ONLY option. Well, they are always my only option, but you know what I mean. I think this style of dress goes brilliantly with white sneakers (what doesn’t?!), as well as pool slides and Birkenstocks, so I’m sorted.
Sure, flats, but WHICH ONES?!
Which brings me to the great thing about flats – they make EVERYTHING easier to wear. I still wear short shorts because I never look like the cheeky girls in my flats (my Greek nan wore short shorts well into her Eighties, and she’s my life icon, so I’m not giving up any time soon!). I’m not one for a low cut top, but a cleavage is definitely less suggestive when paired with sneakers. And a posh frock not only looks less OTT with flats, it’s WAY cooler than teaming it with heels. And yes, I know you’re all already on board with this, but flats really are the future, and I thought it was worth celebrating again!