I was chatting to a friend the other day who has finally left full-time corporate life and is heading into part-time work at home – board positions, trips to Aldi on a weekday, things like that.
“You can change your wardrobe now” I said, flipping through all the expensive suits, blazers and tailored pants in her closet.
“You can give everything to charity and just wear what you want”.
She looked at me blankly. My friend isn’t used to casual dressing.
“What do I wear?” she asked.
“Separates” I replied. “Great basics like cotton and crushed linen shirts, T-shirts and cardigans, soft oversized sweaters, silky pants. Jeans even.”
She looked hesitant.
“What shoe do I wear?” Now there’s the million-dollar question. The shoe is the game-changer.
If I said rubber thongs, the resultant look would be lot different than if I said, for example, Chanel ballet flats, or Tods loafers. The safe bet is a crisp white sneaker but she wanted something more fashionable.
“What shoe is in?” she asked trustingly, packing up her old high heeled pumps, destined for the charity store. I paused, wincing as I answered. “Um, pool slides”.
Yes, apparently pool slides are the shoe du jour.
I don’t mean a delicate flat Pucci silk linen slide. I mean a big, ugly plastic backless scuff. The more hideous the better.
The really sought after ones come in fluffy fake fur, in colours such as dead bush rat or lurid purple. Crocs have a range too I believe, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.
The ultimate scuff may also come with a fake fur inner sole, and I don’t even want to think what that will smell like after a half a dozen wears.
They started on the catwalks at houses such as Celine, Gucci, Chanel and Christopher Kane, but they have made it into the mainstream – sans irony – and with price tags that are staggering.
I mean we all know that label snobbery can convince a person to make terrible financial decisions, but c’mon, you don’t have to be Anna Wintour to look at an ugly plastic scuff and say, “ I can’t see how that is worth $750”.
That, however, is the bad news.
The good news is, if the shoe that will update your wardrobe is a pool slide, then we are all in luck.
You can find very good ones for less than $40 in the cheaper chain stores. Or maybe a service station. Definitely the night markets in Bangkok.
In general, the new season shoes are hit and miss – the trend of the ankle boot with the open toe continues, a baffling and awkward design that makes everyone’s legs look shorter and weirdly states “party in the front, workday in the back”.
The stiletto-heeled boot looking for an open grate to slide into is also back, as are block heeled slides with open toes that scream Homy Ped.
My friend looked confused.
“Okay, let’s talk about espadrilles”