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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.


About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

34 responses »

  1. I own lots of flip flops . Wear them everywhere . Some to the toilet ,some to class ,once to a wedding even .
    Also ,I pull them off. Awesomely so.
    Your argument is invalid. 😛

  2. Oh I don’t know. Some trainers are ‘sick’ and have their own bling-appeal. I’ve even seen some embedded with Swarovski crystals: Ain’t that high class enough for you? :o)

  3. Interesting. You seem like too free a spirit to be shackled to a convention as strict on the subject of shoes as you seem to be in this post. I refuse to be tied to any particular convention, especially if it causes me pain and discomfort, for no better reason that to please the eye of someone I don’t even know. When I was a young fellow, just my presence, no matter how I was dressed, was sufficient to enhance the scene, no matter who else was included in it. By the way, that photo of a gentleman wearing the bowler hat and three-piece suit looks strangely like a female wearing a bowler hat and three-piece suit. Notice that I didn’t make a judgement as to whether or not she was a lady. I’d have to know more about her before making that judgement. Please don’t take offense at the preceding comments, I’m just disappointed that your free spirit seems to have been diminished by the judgement on others’ shoe-wearing habits.

    • No offence taken, I’m all kinds of spirity things, free and otherwise so you never know what you’re going to get with me.

      I’m glad you realise how valuable your presence is to a scene. I hope you point this out to people when you enter a room?! 😉

      The man/woman thing looks like a strange English/Asian hybrid. Maybe it’s an Executive Ladyboy?

      • Very glad to hear you’re resilient. I will try to brace myself for whatever’s to come. I don’t need to point out my presence in a secne, everyone knows it immediately!

        With regard to the man/woman thing in the picture, I was hoping you could tell me whether I was right or wrong. There is nothing distinctive to draw me in either direction for sure. Perhaps he/she is not even sure her/himself?

  4. John Haslett

    I’m in your corner on this subject. I love pretty feet especially those properly attired. Keep up the good work.

  5. Geez, I wish I were from Britland…then I could say cool things like, “Poppycock and piffle.” I imagine you wake up in the morning, sing a song to the birds and then follow a magical nanny into a street painting. Sweet.

    Of course, I disagree about the shoes. I wear tennis shoes almost always (except, ironically, when I’m playing tennis), and I don’t think fashion should be painful. That’s where one should draw the line. Pain isn’t attractive. Why can’t one look good and feel good?

    • It’s all true. I had the chimney sweep round last week. Did a terrible job of the chimneys, kept dancing all over the furniture.

      I have nothing against trainers/tennis shoes/sneakers, far from it, I think there are some very cool pairs out there, I only object to them when accompanying a business suit. It just makes no sense!

  6. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I too steadfastly held to this belief. I wore heels to work every day and out dancing on the weekends. I also didn’t leave the house without makeup – not even for a quick grocery store run! Appearance was everything! Then along came a husband, a baby (thankfully in that order) and one day you realize you haven’t put on makeup in 2 weeks, you don’t own a decent pair of heels and you find yourself in Yoga pants a lot despite the fact that you never take Yoga. Enjoy your heel wearing days! They pass too quickly.

  7. The new fashion trend in the States is wearing bedroom slippers in public…no joke! I think I would rather see a young business man jogging to work in his suit and tennies than a suit and slippers!

    • Slippers? Oh dear lordy. We had a story in the news a few months back, about a woman who got turned away by a supermarket for turning up to shop in her pyjamas and slippers. Im not quite sure it was newsworthy but I’m glad some places take a stand against people too lazy to dress themselves.

      • Missy Amber

        The head teacher at my school recently told me that he had to ban parents wearing PJs on school grounds at his last place of employment. Apparently they couldn’t be arsed getting dressed to drop the kids off, as they’d only be going home to refill the dent on the sofa and watch Jeremy Kyle all day. Classy!

        I’m with you on the mix and unmatched combos. Unless it’s a suit with a t shirt, and a pair of converse. Mmmmm – gets me every time.

  8. Blame Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl. Maybe she wore trainers with her suit to draw attention away from her ludicrous hairstyle

    • I think she teaches a valuable lesson in that film. Trainers to work = down trodden frump. Sexy heels with stolen designer dress = well paid exec with Harrison Ford lying on top of her.

  9. Diego Serrano

    You’re a riot!

  10. Do you even own a pair of trainers?

    It’s not only a comfort zone for walking to work in, but you can ruin a beautiful pair of heels as well. Life is too short to be in pain and to disfigure your feet. I can appreciate looking good in a pretty dress or skirt, but it’s not worth it. I’m not out there to please anyone on my way to work. If I look like a dork in sneakers and great looking outfit, so be it.

    You’re a brave and strong woman to endure such a fashion endeavor. I bow before you! 😀

    • I can honestly say that no, I don’t own anything that doesn’t have a high heel. After years of running around on spikes, I actually find flats painful. I think that when I die, they’ll have to fit stilettos on the coffin!

      I can see that some people prefer comfort but then why not get a nice pair of ballet pumps that would look good with a suit? Why does it have to be trainers that look silly? I’ll never understand it, I’m doomed to a life of befuddlement.

  11. It also makes me cringe when I see people wearing running shoes with their work attire. They should be ashamed of themselves. I for one would never do such a thing. Running shoes are just wrong.

    I have a different way of getting around this running shoes vs discomfort dilemma. On my journey to work I wear my favorite sandals, they are nice and comfy, and my feat get the air they need to survive the day. If its winter time I put on a pair of white socks to keep me nicely warm and comfortable.

    You are 100% right, running shoes and work cloths do NOT go together!

    • I’m going to find it very hard but I shall ignore your implication of a sock/sandal combo. I’m haunted by childhood memories of a parent performing that particular crime.

      Ok, I can’t ignore it. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.

  12. I totally agree with you; Shoes can make or break an outfit.

    Here in Pakistan, people don’t have that sense, and most of people here wear sneakers with work clothes. AAAAAHHHH!!!! How weird is that????

    • They can not only make or break an outfit, they can make me want to hurt people who abuse their poor shoes by inflicting their poor fashion sense on them! 😉


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