Entertainment Style Best foot forward: how to buy shoes that last the distance

Best foot forward: how to buy shoes that last the distance

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I was reorganizing my wardrobe last week, and I came across a bag of shoes that I had forgotten about.

They were all stacked together intriguingly, in white cloth shoe bags.

What could they be? I don’t hang onto things, I tend to be a reductionist rather than a hoarder.

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I stupidly threw all my high heels away last year, when I made the rather rash decision never to wear anything but flats for the rest of my life.

I then started to develop a trainer fetish, but I’m moving on from that. People don’t comment on your trainers, and if they do, they’re the kind of people who are obsessed with trainers which is, well, weird. I don’t want to be one of those people.

Pretty shoes start conversations. My mother and mother-in-law would sit together and discuss shoes for hours, despite the fact one was speaking English and the other French.

I was in Myer in Melbourne last week and a woman came up and complimented me on the new jewelled Marni sandals I was wearing and we had nice chat for about 15 minutes. It’s like men and sport – bonding.

Anyway, back to the bag of shoes. I opened the first bag and to my very great delight and shock, there was a pair of flat, black leather Gucci gladiator sandals I bought at a press sale about 15 years ago. They are so right now, so on-trend.

Gladiator sandals are the trend that keeps giving. Photo: Getty
Gladiator sandals are the trend that keeps giving. Photo: Getty

How had this happened? This was a Christmas miracle. Normally there is always something wrong with your old shoes, the toe is wrong or the heel isn’t the shape of the season.

I pulled out the next pair. Christian Louboutin pale gold leather gladiator flats I bought on sale in Bergdorf Goodman in New York for $150 on a work trip in 2005.

Perfect – absolutely the right shoe for now. Next, Yves Saint Laurent black grosgrain gladiators. I was dizzy with disbelief. All of the shoes were more than a decade old, but looked totally current.

I don’t know why I had stashed them away, probably because I was so time poor I couldn’t be bothered with all the lacing, but I was very happy to see them again. It was proof, once more, that in fashion, what goes around comes around and that classic design is always relevant and a good investment.

Think about the shoes that you go back to time and time again – ballet flats, a lace-up brogue, an espadrille, a black stiletto heeled pump and a gladiator sandal. They have a history, an integrity of pure design that means they will always be in fashion.

Brogues are a great timeless option for men and women.Photo: Getty
Brogues are a great timeless option for men and women. Photo: Getty

The price of designer shoes continues to rise, and most of us don’t have the means, or the inclination to spend upwards of $1500 on one pair of shoes.

If you are shoe shopping on a budget, avoid the designer knock-offs, and look for beauty in simplicity, like a dark brown leather K. Jacques sandal, or a rope-and-denim espadrille, a white canvas sneaker, a leopard-skin ballet flat. Remember, animal print and snakeskin and crocodile are always in fashion. Regard them as a neutral and wear them with everything.

I think it’s better to have a wardrobe of these ongoing classic styles, and then save and splash out on that one designer shoe of the season that updates your look.

Wear them all season and until they have had it, then throw them away and replace with whatever is the new style the following season. It’s much more economical than having a cupboard full of shoes, gathering dust and mould.

Moroccan Babouches – so hot right now. Photo: Getty
Moroccan Babouches – so hot right now. Photo: Getty

I opened the final bag. Leather backless slippers (traditionally called babouche) from Tunisia, bought for me by my gorgeous mother-in-law.

They couldn’t be more on-trend right now. Bless her.


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