Shiny leggings - now worn by sexy ladies as well as fashion ladies.
I finally escaped the red circles of shame (as arbitrated by my friends and peers) on Saturday by debuting a super-simple Cos knee-length black shift (29 bargainous pounds). I felt really good in it but was quite surprised it got good feedback as it is very minimalist and I thought it might be considered boring.
It’s interesting how our tastes change – blogging buddy LON often notes when we are out and about that my taste from a few years ago now seems to be the popular taste (disclaimer: of women going to the O2 on a Saturday; these are my sartorial descendants apparently), for example, bright colours and gold; the return of “ugly” prints and patterns like leopard; super-high stipper or tranny heels; a trashy 80s vibe; leggings!
Some of these are now staples: leggings aren’t a trend anymore, they are a handy piece of wardrobe underpinning that can even be worn to work and instantly adds a modicum of modesty to outfits. I find it interesting to think of what the default, most mainstream possible outfit for someone my age is, and how it’s different from three, five or ten years ago. It’s not about early-adopters or those who pop up on the myriad streetstyle websites whose mandate is to photograph very slim people wearing ugly tat.
I don’t think it’s fun either to predict trends or try to be above them, but sometimes you do get a very powerful sense of what you yourself want to be wearing next and you just can’t feel comfortable in your own skin until you sort it out. Perhaps this is just a side-effect of our consumerist approach to clothing – I’m definitely trying to find a way to evolve my wardrobe without doing a lot of spending. However, I’ve always felt emotional about clothes but not entirely because it’s part of how you relate to others. I just feel very strange when I’m not matching on the out- and inside. A major trauma of my childhood was being dictated to by my mother on the clothes front (I had a very idyllic childhood okay).
Regarding my 90s-esque shift, it felt really good to hit on an item that made me feel like myself again (but the new me!) I have Cos to thank, this mighty shop, ignoring what everyone else on the high street is doing and going its own way. I’m pretty sure the 90s will be the next decade to make a comeback a la Alexander Wang or Childhood Flames’ minimalist outfit posts:
As a zillion style advisers and mothers have said – wear the clothes, don’t let them wear you. When I reach for the gold, embellished stuff, something in my head now says “step away from the spangles”, and off to Cos I trot.
For what’s it’s worth then, if you’ve read this far, just for me, I’m off heels. I see far too many women tottering about in uncomfortable shoes with mega-heels. It’s taking the fun out of it. Ladies: take care of your spines. Also, don’t wear heels with tight clothes. Obvious, no?
CONTROVERSIAL but true. Hadley Freeman takes on high heels in the Guardian today. She passionately defends the glamour factor of flats, noting that they allow you to do traditionally fashionable activities such as dancing, walking and not being in pain. Clearly Hadley doesn’t have feet for heels so they make her feel crazy but to be honest that’s most people who haven’t discovered gel inserts.
Hadley’s wrong that no heeled shoes are comfortable – if you need to wear them all day I direct you to Footglove at Marks and Spencer. Not the highest, of course, but there is indeed nothing charming about burning foot syndrome or just not being able to go anywhere unexpected. I recently wore patent Footglove heels shoes all day at my new job and was slightly horrified when I realised I had to take a health and safety tour of two six-storey buildings, but I did not stumble and my feet didn’t ache, unlike all my muscles.
But we’re not talking about “sensible” heels of course, we’re talking about shiny, sexy heels as seen on Gwyneth Paltrow etc. These are taxi shoes; we can’t all be celebrities and get chauffered everywhere. I personally think that if your shoes cripple you so much you can’t wear them to and from your destination, you shouldn’t be wearing them and I agree with Hadley that damaging your body for your appearance is insane. Super-flat shoes aren’t good for your spine either, all footwear needs padding and support. I will never wear shoes from Primark.
But I am not a heel-hater. I have a disproportionate number of heels in my wardrobe because I love them – they’re beautiful and much more alluring than ballet pumps when you’re wandering around the shoe shop. There is certainly more artistic flair possible in the execution of high heels than flats. Hadley mentions the idea of “making an effort” in her article and maybe that’s it – I have taken in the idea that wearing heels and makeup looks like you are making more of an effort and that the event is more special. Maybe it’s a bit sad that I feel a sense of achievement at wearing heels and revel in the extra va-va-voom they give an outfit. I recently gave away my first few pairs of heels and I was always adventurous with them (they literally could have been costume for a drag act).
Having said all this, the heels do not, of course, get as much day-to-day wear as the flats and while I keep my heels in pretty pristine order, I have let the sensible shoes get a bit tatty. Now I am quite excited to upgrade my flat shoes and I just have to find some with enough bows and features to make worth wearing.
***EDIT*** Blogger Solo Lisa has a short guide to making heels more comfortable, with more suggestions in the comments.
Now that I have a job I can once again start my favourite hobby of daydreaming about stuff I want to buy. Ranging from the expensive dreambuy, through to the little treats, this is my list.
- Ferragamo Varina flat pumps (£225!)
- A brown leather Miu Miu bag. Even if I could afford this ever, they don’t seem to have any pleasing dark brown leather ones at the moment.
- New GHDs.
- Lancome Adaptive foundation.
- Clinique facewash.
- Shu Uemura eyelash curlers.
- A haircut that will make me look exactly like last season’s Balmain catwalk models.
- Organic semi-skimmed milk. The drink of the gods.