Features, Opinion, Trend Alert
By Andrea Petrou on March 4th, 2010
Lauren Bravo writes: Spring is here! For once in our worryingly incongruous meteorological climate, the weather has got it right. March started and BAM, the sun is out, chill has gone and we can all venture out in our second-warmest jackets with all-over thermal insulation, just as fashion intended.
But despite all the gaiety and the promise of daffodils, baby chicks, crème-egg-and-hot-cross-bun sandwiches etc, there’s also that nagging feeling at the back of my mind. Because spring means, inevitably, summer. And summer means, inevitably, shoe dilemmas. Or sweaty tube rides, blisters, and shoe dilemmas.
As a lifelong adversary of the flipflop, warm weather footwear has always caused me issues. Instead of the beautiful colours and pleasing, clunky form of proper shoes, in summer we’re suddenly expected to do little more than strap a sole to our feet with a bit of flimsy metallic lacing and try to keep them on as we negotiate miniature golf courses. Summer footwear doesn’t contribute to an outfit; it is demanding, with its rubbing and its chafing and its necessitating a pedicure. Gone is the powerful stomp of the Alpha female, and in comes the pathetic flap-flap of the summer trudger.
Thankfully, this time round it looks like we’ll have other opinions. Spring/summer 2010 is presenting us with two intriguing shoe options: the Midi Heel Mum Shoe and the Clog. Both offer more substance and coverage than the average summer shoe trend, thus should be greeted with happy gratitude by shopper bored with sloppy Havaianas, and, even better, we don’t have to wait till the temperature hikes to start wearing them. But which will you be sporting?
First up is the midi heel, which one suspects will be the more enduring trend, a) because they are less ridiculous and b) because you can wear them, and, like, still walk and everything. They are a gift to women with feet everywhere. After years of heels growing more and more vertiginous, until our current point where shops seem to have lost sight of what shoes were originally intended for and lapsed into some form of masochistic battle weaponry, fashion folk are finally lowering the stakes again.
I have had a midi heel fixation for a little while now, hunting out those elusive 2-3 inch styles in a sea of six inch beasts. Midi heels confirm the theory that women really can have it all – we can have feeling in our toes AND a sexy clip-clop when we walk, AND look presentable all at the same time. Life really is better in the middle, it’s just like that Clover ad says.
As a wider trend, midi heels will be around for a good few seasons, but this summer they’ll be used more specifically as support for the 1970s-style Mum shoe; a beachy, sturdy, hippieish affair normally spotted on middle-aged eco campaigners and librarians. With espadrille soles, ankle ties, low wedges and wide, comfortable straps all key features, it’s a daunting trend for those of us who’ve spent winter glued into our biker boots. But you can always toughen up the look with a leather jacket and a slash of vibrant lipstick. Hemp kaftan optional.
Then there’s the other contender, a far less user-friendly prospect. As far as street-worthy trends go it’s in its infancy, but best make your peace with them now because it won’t be long before they’re ‘it shoe’ du jour. So far, this is what we know about clogs: Dutch people are supposed to wear them; Dutch people don’t really wear them, but they do sell them in souvenir shops; Alexa Chung wore them on the cover of March Vogue; actually, Alexa Chung’s been wearing them everywhere; Alexa Chung looks good in them; we may, or may not, also look good in them (sources are yet to confirm whether this is in direct proportion to one’s resemblance to Alexa Chung).
But before we dismiss them as crazy shoes for crazy women, we should consider the advantages of clogs. They are chunky, thus far easier to wear than spring’s other heel trend, ‘the spindle’. They are wooden, thus far less likely to come apart in the middle of Oxford Street and require you to hop home. They are actually pretty flattering, if worn with a teeny skirt and black opaques or, when it gets warmer, bare legs with some sort of sundress and denim jacket. They are a subtle nod to the prairie trend that’s set to hit, far preferable to a broderie anglaise smock and a stetson. And if anyone mocks you, you can kick them where it hurts and do some serious damage.
So there we have it, forget the summer trudgers and embrace the new spring stompers. And by the time you’ve mastered your clog dance, it’ll be winter again without anybody noticing.