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Daily Archives: 18/01/2012

If The Shoe Fits

Gentleman wearing bowler hat and three-piece suit

This man is smiling because he knows his shoes don't make him look retarded.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a less than concise collection of footwear and that this consists entirely of high heels, not a flatty in sight. Shoes are very, very dear to my heart. Now, before you zone out, I would like to reassure you that this isn’t going to be 1,000 words, selfishly wittering on about how much I love shoes and how pretty they are. Happy? Let’s continue. Ok, I do love shoes and this may come up along the way. I’m sorry about that. (I’m not really sorry, just bear with me). I would actually like to talk to you about other people’s shoes and in particular, a shoe crime.

What I would like to discuss is a phenomenon that causes me much distress and brain-ache. I’m not sure if it’s something that occurs much outside larger cities but it presents itself to me every morning and evening and is an affront to my high heel toting nature. The phenomenon, the thing I will never come to terms with, is men and women wearing their running shoes with their suits on the way to work. It’s ridiculous!

Those of you who indulge in this bizarre act of fashion sabotage will protest that it’s all in the name of comfort and that you only wear the trainers while you wend your merry way to work. You will also posit that you wear really nice shoes once you get to the office. In your head, this justifies the travesty and makes everything ok. Well listen up. You, as well as your “look” are just wrong, plain wrong.

Let us look at the ‘comfort’ defence argument. Poppycock I say to you. You heard me, POPPYCOCK AND PIFFLE! Fashion is not comfortable, get over it. It takes years of training to become a fully fledged heel wearer (I received my Level 10 Cobble and Uneven Terrain Proficiency Award just last year) and if you want to wear high heels then you must suffer the agony of training your feet and legs. If you can’t handle a few blisters and arch-ache while you break in your feet, errr, I mean your new shoes, then you don’t deserve to wear high heels. Harsh but true.

If you can’t handle the height, there are many fine shoes out there of a less vertiginous persuasion that encompass comfort and style all in one and would look prefect with a suit. I wouldn’t know of any specific suggestions off-hand because the thought of a ballet pump makes my feet cry but I’ve been told they exist.

Men; you have no argument here. Your brogues and loafers could never be accused of being a challenge in the pain stakes and if you can’t handle breaking in a new shoe, then perhaps you can ask mummy to do it for you, you big baby. You cannot use this excuse when I catch you with your smelly gym shoes at the bottom of your pin stripes so don’t bother embarrassing yourself by trying.

So, you “only” wear your trainers on the way to and from work? WE CAN SEE YOU! Your trainers don’t come with the magical power of invisibility, they do not shroud you in a cloak of darkness and they most certainly do not prevent hundreds of the general public from thinking that you dressed in a darkened lost property box. The love of your life, your future soul mate, could have passed you in the street and when you wonder why they didn’t stop to beg you for your phone number, look at your feet. They almost certainly did.

When you get to work, you change from your sporting clown shoes to your smart, sexy Prada stilettos or your chic, masculine Jeffery West brogues. Aaaand hide them under your desk. Well done. A beautiful compliment to your outfit they may well be but no-one can see them, not even you, unless you have a weird glass desk, in which case, I would question your boss’ motivations for installing furniture that allows a permanent view of your crotch. Your chance to show off this stellar ensemble has been and gone and instead, you were out there looking like you suffer from mild congenital retardation.

I don’t arrive at work in my pyjamas and change into my working attire on arrival, even though that would be delightfully comfortable. I also don’t wear a suit to the gym, not just because that would be utterly ludicrous in terms of restricting my Herculean efforts on the cross trainer but also because I would look like a demented Fatboy Slim video (It would also never happen because I’m allergic to gyms – they bring me out in a sweat) so why ruin a perfectly good business outfit with bright white running shoes when it is a clearly inappropriate and illogical combination?

If your morning commute involves a trek across highlands and swamps, perhaps a pencil skirt and blazer aren’t the best attire so pair your walking boots with waterproofs and save the smart ensemble for when you’ve arrived safely in metropolis and have been hosed down. If, however, your journey is through urban streets and doesn’t take you via an Olympic running track, suck it up and dress yourself like an adult before you leave the house. (Don’t even get me started on the city dwellers who wear wellies.)

Ladies and gentlemen, shoes have the power to make or break an outfit and an outfit can make or break a first and final impression. There are so many styles and varieties out there that compliment a suit, a veritable buffet of footwear for you to pick from. Enough with the mix and (not) match, there really is no need for you to parade your stinky gym kit in public unless accompanied by the rest of your sporting wardrobe while exerting yourself on some physical pursuit. I think I’ve made myself clear.

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