I have been on a long and arduous trek… along the High Street of Britain, trying to find some decent sandals for summer. It’s been a difficult process because there’s naff-all choice. Unless that is, you want ‘silly shoes’. What on earth makes shoe and fashion designers believe that we’re going to want to totter around in skyscraper heels and platforms for the summer?
I shouldn’t have gone into New Look, it was a bad move. Mostly, this is because when I venture in there I become seized with the overwhelming urge to tidy up. Not surprising when the rails are jammed in so tightly that you drag half the stock with you as you pass. Daughter was in there buying a couple of scraps of barely stitched-together condom-thin material. This is what passes for clothing for the under-20s. I wouldn’t know, I am old. I like my clothing to cover me up, not expose flesh that in all decency only three people in the known universe should ever see (me, my husband and any Doctor that absolutely has to).
As daughter was deciding which scraps of material to buy, I decided to take a look at the shoes, as I have been on a quest to find the aforementioned sandals. Now I know I am old, because I want shoes that apparently exceed the brief of modern shoe design:
I want to be able to walk in them for more than 500m without breaking my ankle or wincing in horrific pain.
Judging by the racks of shoes on display in New Look, the concept of being able to put these shoes on and walk in them seems to have escaped the designers. Apparently we live in a universe where we don’t walk in shoes anymore. Heaven alone knows what we’re supposed to do with them after purchase – stick them on a shelf and admire them? Even Stevie Nicks – who has made a career out of platform boots – is going to take one look at all this lot and bust a gut laughing.
If you want stupid shoes the world’s your oyster on the High Street this summer. There are entire walls of these things and New Look are not the only culprits. If you want sandals or shoes you can actually walk in, then you’re out of luck I’m afraid. Shoe designers have created a range that assumes that British womanhood has morphed, as one, into seventeen year old size six-ness. That is the only specimen that can carry off these shoes – and even then she’s unlikely to have the thigh muscles to lift the heels off the floor. Seriously, shoe designers? You should be very glad that Kirsty MacColl is not with us anymore, because I think she’d be issuing a re-work of her classic ‘In these Shoes‘ and tearing a strip off you in the process.
It’s been a long couple of months, but finally I have found sandals that I want. I needed them to have a low heel, to be a sensible colour (black or brown – now you can really tell I’m old), to not fall apart after five minutes and to be able to be on my feet all day from 5.30am until 10.30pm without giving me blisters, bunions or that agonizing ball of the foot pain that comes from protracted stiletto wearing – yes, I have done that in the past. We’re all young and stupid once… or twice.
But to get what I wanted, I had to buy a brand that literally screams middle-age: Hush Puppies. But I don’t care, I am unrepentant – mainly because I’m now the woman from Smugbitchfordshire confidently striding around in her comfies, overtaking the precious darlings in the slow lane wincing about their shoes. Ha ha suckers!
Life’s to short for shoes that are an effort to wear. Men would never wear this rubbish, so why do we think it’s a good idea to? I know they are beautiful things to look at, but they hurt, they screw your back up, they mess up your feet and now I’m wondering if shoes designers aren’t in league with chiropodists and osteopaths, generating future business for themselves…
I know I’m out of step with ‘fashion’, I don’t get most of it for one thing. I use clothing to keep warm and cover myself up, not to show off in. But is it too much to ask to have a good selection of the practical alongside the pretty – without having to spend megabucks in the process? My new sandals cost me three times the price of a pair of shoes in New Look. Admittedly, mine will last more than 5 minutes; but I slightly resent being made to shell out so much for sandals I can walk in.
Things will never change. Fashion designers will always treat anyone over 25 as if they have two heads and this eternal standoff will continue. So for now, let’s do the only thing we can do…
Keep Calm and listen to Kirsty MacColl.