When I was small one of my favourite books was New Blue Shoes by Eve Rice. In it, the impressively fussy child protagonist Rebecca (oh hi Rebecca!), goes to a shoe shop with her mother to purchase some new footwear. Despite stipulating specifically that she requires Nice New Blue Shoes, the shop assistant repeatedly presents her with a succession of hideous pairs that are NOT what she asked for - brown, with a T-bar etc.
Before Vogue, there was Eve Rice's New Blue Shoes
I think this book has had more of an influence on me than I care to admit, because to this day I find myself bemused by the fashion world’s complete inability to give me What I Want. Whether it’s a pleated, knee-length skirt in a season where every shop on the high street is flogging frocks, or a simple pair of shorts when I can’t move for garishly-patterned hot-pants, it’s almost enough to persuade me to learn how to make my own clothes. Almost.
This season, all I am asking – ALL I am ASKING – is for a pair of simple leather sandals. Not strappy, studded, Hawaiian-printed affairs with fringing, metallic detailing and fancy fiddly bits that give me blisters just looking at them. No, all I require is two slim straps, made from good quality leather that won’t rub or disintegrate, in brown, black or navy, with a buckle. That’s it. Too much to ask? Apparently so.
The pages and pages of monstrosities I have clicked through online beggar belief. Most are too jazzy or too frumpy. I don’t want to look like an extra in a music video with silver gladiator sandals snaking their way unhelpfully up my calves, nor do I want to resemble a pensioner on a day trip to the seaside.
Once I succumbed to temptation and purchased the ‘must-have’ pair of the season. I now look at these multi-strapped monstrosities lurking in my wardrobe and shudder. It may seem counter intuitive for a fashion editor to shy away from trends like a truculent pony, but I don’t believe on wasting money on things that will look dated in a matter of months, if not weeks. Keep it simple, invest (tedious word) on quality and you’ll be able to wear them for years. Three cheers for stinginess!
So, I have managed to find a few chic, elegant pairs which fit my exacting specifications and here they are:
HOUPLA Leather Strap Sandals, £18, Topshop.com
Any of these styles would work with sundresses, shorts and skirts. You could wear them to the park, to work or on holiday - both on the beach with your bathing suit and in the evening for dinner or drinks. They're simple, elegant and extremely versatile.
Strappy sandals in caramel leather, 210 euros, APC.fr
Leather T-bar sandals, £13.49, Newlook.com
Ok I admit, this Surface to Air paire are a little bit jazzy, but I think you'll agree they're still utterly chic, and therefore qualify, according to my rules which I can bend and break according to my whim.
Surface to Air spotted leather sandals, £225, brownsfashion.com
See by Chloe mini wedge leather sandals, £235, johnlewis.com
Two-tone sandal, £29.99, zara.com
Isabel Marant Merry leather sandals, £245, net-a-porter.com
Madewell Jasper flat sandals, £40.25, shopbop.com
Is there a fashion holy grail that you are searching for? Let me know and I'll track down some stylish options for you.