Autumn encroaches and more substantial footwear is in order. This summer I’ve had a rare fashion success and I am sad to be putting them to one side. Sandals in the rain make for miserably cold feet, not very chic, even if the said sandals are designed for water.
Beauty decisions have been nailed, I’m happy to admit I struggle with fashion. Magazines present bewildering choices. Red magazine currently offers no less than six “looks of the season”; pastel hues, alternatively tartan grunge. Leopard print or a “seductive” post war look. Boyish grey competes with leather. How from that do I make a simple decision on what to put on my feet next? I sigh and shove my feet into a pair of old converse.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I still consider myself a Topshop target customer. Increasingly I grumble that a lot of the lengths are too short. The clothes are quirky, reasonably priced, fashion forward and it has a very British fashion feel about it and I love that, even it I rarely purchase anything.
Probably, looking at me, a mother 40’s, some young fashion PR type might suggest that my place on the high street is beside a personal shopper in Marks and Spencer. The thing that does for me in Marks and Spencer is that, on the rare occasion that I am drawn to an item, and stand idly running my fingers over the fabric, invoking the second element of shopping; touch (the first being see). Almost invariably, a woman old enough to be my great-aunt comes along and picks the same item up and tell me how “nice” it is. My heart sinks and I don’t want to dress like anyones great-aunt. I appreciate the irony is that some teenager in Topshop is probably more horrified to have the same experience beside me. Except, I know never to talk to a teenager in Topshop (they call security).
I like shopping on the high street, I like to see and touch an item before purchase. I like the opportunity to do a twirls in it before handing over the cash. I like to think that fashion still matters to me, I want the cool factor of ‘the latest item’.
As with most things in life, The Guardian is where I turn to in search of answers; The Measure on a Saturday informs me what is fashion and what isn’t. In truth, it just gives me ball park information so that if I were in some trendy bar in East London, I would know to part my hair in the centre . Seeing my centre parted hair some young trendy might then ask me for ice cream flavour advice and I would be able to reply “Carine Roitfeld doesn’t do chocolate, so I advise vanilla!”
Lets’s look at the chances of that happening outside of my head?
(Carine Roitfeld? Ex-editor French Vogue, of course. duh. Her ice cream choice is fashion).
Oh and in case you were planning a piglet. No. It’s all about sheep this Autumn. Fashion is fickle.
Anyhow, earlier in the summer The Measure mentions Salt Water Sandals, an American sandal are ‘up’. Up is good.
This is the type of simple fashion advice I want, from a million types of sandal they find one and that one comes in a basic style (when did I lose the ability to make decisions on my own?).
Then I see celebrities on twitter, Lauren Laverne and India Knight, discussing the very same sandals. Two sandal role models right there and my interest is piqued.
A quest begins. I want a red pair. A red pair will complete my life. Browsing on-line reveals that possibly, they are available in shops in Barnstaple or Brighton, either being a long drive for sandals.
Purple Ella and I meet and she is wearing a purple pair (of course) and I discover Salt Water Sandals can be purchased in one small store in my very own home town.
By this point, I am at the pre-purchase stage of; ‘I’m kidding myself that this is a ‘maybe’ but actually I am spending a lot of time thinking about these red sandals and soon nothing will stand in my way. I must have them’.
Does anyone else get that?
Cancelling all other plans, I find myself parked right outside the shop that sells Salt Water sandals.
Does this tale have a happy ending? There’s twist. My heart is set on red. They have sold out of red! They have sold out of most colours in my size. Like all fairy stories, there is a fairy queen in the form of the Salt Water Rep who is in the shop and informs me, that there will be NO MORE SALT WATER SANDALS imported into the UK this summer (the sky darkens). Once they are gone they are gone. Dun Dun Dun….
There is silver. Silver, like Strictly Come Dancing. I rack my brain to see if I can remember if The Measure has a view on silver sandals. My decision-making capabilities failing me (again). The mist clears, I focus on Salt Water Sandals, I am an explorer, against the odds I have found one of last remaining pairs, I cannot let this chance pass me by.
I buy them.
I get them home, still feeling a touch un-sure about silver sandals, my confidence is not boosted by my partner, who simply looks at them and utters: “silver sandals” in a way that is intended to convey ‘uncommitted’ but suggests ‘weird choice’.
What I discover about wearing Silver Salt Water Sandals:
Lots of people have remarked positively on them, which is frankly what you want from a fashion item over comfort or fit. A woman wants compliments.
They are super comfortable. Can be worn in water without fear of them falling apart. Fact. Which is why they are called Salt Water. Genius.
Lastly, unlike red, silver goes with everything. Thus I have worn them everyday all summer long. Best 40 quid I’ve spent in a long time. Happy Ending.