Dear A, I bought this handmade sandal eight years ago and wore it every day for two years. Now the sole is broken and has peeled from the foot. It’s a little heavy and wrinkled. I look big. The word “beautiful” is written down my leg and it’s all I get. I’m afraid of being mocked if I wear it at a party; I want to look good, but I don’t want to be mocked. Can you provide advice?
It is much more complicated than you realise. Sandals and other shoes have three different types of perforation – soles, heels and the liner. So shoes that look fine on uneven ground may be more problematic than you imagine if you’re running with someone flat. Worse still, if you’re wearing a thin slipper or on a hard carpet, the sole should be held together with plaster of Paris or other adhesives and cosmetics. This would prevent the perforation creating another minor indentation between the soles.
We all know someone who’s obsessed with finding the perfect shoe. Maybe it’s an extreme outlier who treats every shoe she owns the same, but I honestly don’t think it’s a bad thing to feel the urge to emulate the images celebrities and models post on Instagram, often envious of one another.
If you’re not overly experienced at shoes, I’d focus on the shoes you have in your closet that are structurally sound: pumps, pumps, pumps. Three pairs is just enough to walk around in. I’d break it up with a slipper and ballet flat or oxford and a wedge. That way you can experiment with different patterns, materials and proportions, but you’ll have plenty of options.
Using sandals as trinkets rather than a daily uniform can be demoralising. In fact, I wear mostly flats. But if I’m wearing a nice pair of heels that I’ve had for a year, and I’m wearing a gorgeous sandal, I look like a million bucks. If you leave a shoe at home, you’ll feel like the kids at school with “slut” emblazoned on the back.
More flexibility to match my clothing also helps. I should have researched the different types of perforations. Pockets and velcro also come in handy when you’re wearing flimsy flip-flops. Last year, while moving house, I tried a pair of ankle-level mom jeans. I got a good reaction from people who weren’t used to seeing I liked showing my ankles. But there’s something a little socially awkward about wearing jeans and sandals. It’s weird.
Just because someone else might scrutinise your shoe choice, I don’t want you to worry about what will be said about you on Instagram and/or in the comments at the end of a post. You are going to be a stand-up person, so just don’t let this affect your wellbeing. Take a deep breath and reflect on how you want to feel when you try on a pair of shoes, not how you feel when you put on someone else’s. People are going to make snide comments. They will snidely remark in your face about your dress. You know this. So just say thank you and move on. People will be more generous to you. In fact, you’ll look a whole lot sexier in your shoe than you will in anything else.
Asos.com, a stocking where I’m spending this season.
A 2015 New York Times article explored the adornment phenomenon and went on to say that “much fashion represents an avoidance of the real, the creative, the raw”. Well, when I’m using my shoes to tuck in an oatmeal-coloured satin dress, I’m definitely subconsciously drawn to them as accessories to the dress. Who knows, I may find it liberating to embody the opposite.
In the same vein, a breakup with an item of clothing can bring enormous change to your life, in a way that a few short minutes of therapy can’t. So if you’re looking for change in your life, removing the item of clothing that makes you so uncomfortable can be the biggest and most powerful force of change.
I recently received a far-too-early shipment of halliwellbicycles