There was a time in my life when I had a normal amount of love for shoes. I liked shoes and owned an average amount of pairs. In my thirties, I always had a nice pair of high sandal wedges that I wore through the summer with flared jeans, one nice pair of work shoes (always mary-janes) and a good pair of boots for winter. When I got married in my mid-thirties I nearly spent more on my shoes than my dress (I still wear them now). So, you see, I had a healthy respect for shoes.
Fast forward a decade or so, and things have moved on a bit. I can’t tell you exactly when, or why, but I know it’s something to do with having children, leaving the “baby years” behind (my girls are 5 and 7), rediscovering myself, and realising that being a mum in my forties can actually be a bit fabulous. And that, even when you feel less than fabulous (far far less than fabulous!), you can still wear fabulous shoes. A case in point, I am not a good sleeper (an understatement) and sometimes you’ll see me in my most eye-catching shoes after a horrendous night, like the footwear dazzle is inversely proportional to my sleep deprivation.
The best shoes aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones (Topshop and Zara do fantastic shoes, see also Mango, H&M premium, Office and Clarks). They do have to be comfortable, and wearable, STAY ON, happily get you from A to B, but when you look down, your heart should lift. Maybe you’ll feel edgy, fun, happy, stylish, a tad mysterious even (!) or just less exhausted, less weighed down, less anxious, less GREY. Other people might smile at the sight of you in your shoes. You might want to keep them on long after you get home (or even put on different shoes!). And if you’re like me, you’ll want to take photos of them. Here are a few of my favourites:
My beloved Red Brogues.
Purchased in Siena, Italy when on holiday earlier this year (we took the kids back to show them where we got married. We also bought 9 pairs of shoes), these are my happy shoes. They remind me of Italy, they are comfortable, happy, cool, funky, fun. I am too, when I wear these shoes.
Red shoe love
Red shoes encapsulate what I love about shoes. They are a hint of cheekiness, of not taking it all too seriously. On an evening out they can be elegant and classy while still suggesting that the wearer is open to the night spiralling out of control (Oh yes!). Of course, they go well with denim. Yes they look fab with leopard. They look hugely awesome with black. I don’t believe you can’t wear them with green. Wear them with anything! Red shoes are amazing, and so are you, when you wear red shoes .
I love trainers these days, and as much as `I am a fan of the Stan Smith (I have a back up fresh pair waiting under the sofa, with other patient shoes), very few things please me more than the sight of a jazzy trainer – be it rose gold, velvet or leopard. If you do one thing for yourself in the new year, get yourself a pair of Air and Grace trainers with their cushioned insoles. I doubt you will ever love anything more on your feet.
I’m not a huge fan of the traditional court shoe – to me they’re a bit dull (unless red or possibly leopard) and anyway I can’t keep them on my feet. Not so the loafer, which manages to be girly and manly at the same time (fabulous with jeans), nor the heeled brogue for work with a pinafore or the cut out or perforated brogue with a summer dress. One day I hope I might be lucky enough to own a Gucci pair (oh husband if you’re reading this, what a fine Christmas present that would be! Red, of course.)
And finally, Babelicious Boots.
Maybe it’s my non-boot wearing Aussie beach upbringing (we wore thongs, not the sexy kind thank goodness. Think Alf Stewart…), but I really do have quite a penchant for boots. Ankle, knee, over the knee, seventies, embroidered, RED, gold, leopard, oh and WHITE (recent discovery!). Frilled and fringed even. I’ve taken to storing them under the sofa in our front room, while they mature like a fine wine until one day they are revealed in all their glory (and how can you get into trouble for something you bought months ago?? I promise you, you can’t.)
So that’s it, in a shoebox. I love my kids, my ever-patient husband, my family, my friends, I go to work, exercise, draw, love white wine, music and dancing when the opportunity arises. But I have a disproportionate love for shoes, and how they make me feel. It’s like that often quoted insta-phrase “ Life is short, buy the shoes”. But don’t just buy them, OWN them. Channel your inner (young) John Travolta and strut around your town or village in them. And when the mood takes you, paint that town red.
A Guest Blog from Dana (and her red shoes.)
Dana is Australian and has lived in London for 15 years. She came over with a backpack and (believe it or not) one pair of shoes! She is married to a lovely man from York and lives in Twickenham with their two girls who are 5 and 7. She graduated from the University of Queensland with first class honours in law, and works as a government lawyer, part time, while juggling school runs and a passion for fashion and shoes. You can follow Dana on Instagram.