Shoe Sha

I had my fashion faux pas of the year last week.

Written by Namrata Zakaria | Published: September 5, 2012 2:40 am

I had my fashion faux pas of the year last week. Running around on errands one very wet morning,I showed up for my 10 am meeting in neon green flip-flops.

This isn’t usually an incongruity among journalists — we are known to be the worst dressed among worker bees. But when you get to be of a certain age and income,office etiquette demands a wardrobe upgrade. If you are in the fashion field like I am,with these shoes,you may want to consider politics or crime as your options.

If this was a day in the office,I’d breeze through it with ease. But a new project had me showing up at a super swanky building discussing the finer nuances of ultra luxury homes. It was an unforgivable gaffe in this mise en scene. I sat on my swivel chair with my toes curled,fidgeting like a nervous teen,and pretended that my boss and new team hadn’t cottoned on.

I am,what you may politely call,a shoe snob. I don’t own a hundred pairs like the many Marcos me-toos that fill our society pages,but I’m happy to own up to one or two pairs that cost well over $ 1,000. It may sound spoilt or unnecessarily extravagant,but they are my favourite investments. I believe the transforming power of shoes is absolute,think of what a beautiful red pair can do to an ordinary black dress.

I was possibly the first person in the city to own Chanel’s beautiful jelly slippers. My pair was a bright green Kolhapuri-style with glitter in its transparent rubber and a sassy camellia at the centre. It was to maintain my fetish through the rains,but I wore it all year round. And followed it up from newer collections.

Jelly shoes became all the rage shortly. Louis Vuitton,Stella McCartney,Gucci — almost every label that loved leather was coming out with bright delectables in rubber. In a few seasons,anyone and everyone had a pair of designer jellies and the excitement at owning a pair had faded.

Eventually,as it is with every wonderful thing that fashion throws up,the fake markets started making pretty good copies of the expensive ones. Streetside shops were lined with copies in cheap rubber and tacky styles.

I had begun to carry a working woman’s pair of mustard-yellow pumps in my everyday tote,but clearly I had forgotten it on an important day. The Old Navy neons (an apology for $ 5) were grossly inopportune.

The cruel truth is that India is a hard place to be a shoe lover. Its shoddy roads weren’t made for beautiful shoes. Its torrential monsoon won’t allow you anything but PVC. Try a label that isn’t so popular to have copies — like LL Bean or Chinese Laundry.

Or maybe Wellingtons (call them gumboots if you wish) are the empirical answer. Any woman with a sense of stylish footwear will own at least one pair of boots. Let’s make the second a sensible choice. I’ve discovered a wonderful British label called Le Chameau (available online) that makes cotton-lined wellies in moss,red and violet. Pippa and Kate Middleton are fans. As is Prince Harry,when he prefers to get dressed that is.

If you can’t weatherproof your wardrobe,make it weather-friendly.

namratanow@gmail.com

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