Thursday, 7 May 2015

Shoe boo-hoo

Well, I was going to blog about my new Miss L Fire 'Betty' shoes today, but they arrived and didn't fit, and instead I posted them back. Miss L Fire have sold out of the next size up, so I guess this is something I will have to mark down as Not Meant To Be. (The shoes were horribly expensive, meaning my sorrow is tempered by a sort of relief, especially as Vix's recent post on her car-boot boots has inspired me to look harder at footwear in my local charity shops.)



The thing that excited me about the shoes was that they were yellow. Gloriously, uncompromisingly yellow. I can tell you exactly what the last pairs of non-neutral shoes I bought were: a pair of dusky pink crushed velvet ones with Louis heels, bought circa 1995, and a pair of purple suede stilettoes, bought circa 1990. This is the effect of a skint childhood; I grew up with the idea that you had ONE coat and ONE pair of shoes, and to this day I've never been prone to buying many of either. It felt so frivolous to buy yellow shoes. Shoes that would NOT go with everything. Shoes that shouted, “I'm fabulous!” rather than muttered “Forget me, I'm just getting the job done.” I bought a midcentury dress by Mode O' Day earlier in the year, and while the print is exuberant it's in mostly neutral colours, and these shoes would have been perfect for perking it up, whereas black or brown ones will look a bit drab.

My disappointment at having to send the shoes back is making me think: maybe the things I wear, aside from my jewellery, do need to be less staid, though I'd like to achieve that without veering towards kiddy things. I'd like more playful elements, but still to look like a grownup. Some of my favourite bloggers manage this with aplomb, but their tastes are very different to mine and while I admire their looks, I can't imagine dressing the same as them. That's a good thing; it'd be a rubbish, uncreative sort of world if we all went around copying one another all the time. However, there are things they do that I could learn from without slavishly imitating.

A woman in a cream cardigan and brown dress standing in front of the Toledo-Moctezuma tower in Caceres
A shot of the brown dress. Not my colour!
One thing I do love about many of my favourites is how they use colour; no beige there. That could be a good lesson. Today I am wearing a cappucino brown shirtdress, more to avoid looking like I fervently support any particular political party on election day than anything else. It's really comfortable and I love the large-scale broderie fabric, but every time I see a photo of myself in this dress, I think, 'Girl, that's not your colour' – and so there could be an encounter with a box of Dylon in its future.

How do you inject a bit of fun into an outfit? Does it mean wearing ruffles? (Please say 'No'!) More novelty prints? More bright colours instead of brown and navy? Or should I just embrace the frumpitude and accept – nay, revel in the fact - that I instinctively dress like a grandma who's also been given her pick of Liberace's diamante drawer, and keep my eyes peeled for another pair of yellow shoes?

26 comments :

  1. Such a shame that the Miss L Fires didn't work out. I would love to own a pair myself if the budget ever allows it!
    As for colour if I'm wearing a more simple outfit I will always add one bright thing, usually a cardigan. I have a cardigan in every colour so even if I'm in a very muted dress it brightens it up. xxx

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    1. Hopefully if - WHEN! - I ever get my Fair Isle cardigan finished, that will put a cheerier spin on things. Cardigans are brilliant.

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  2. Boo to the shoe disaster but hoorah for the saving of many pennies, The couple of times I tried Miss L Fire I found their sizes odd.

    I do like a quirky novelty print, I feel safer in those than full on colour. I bought a whole load of colourful tights having seen other bloggers I admire wearing them, but have still never worn any of them I always end up shying away from too much colour.

    I would definitely try the box of dye personally I'd go for a richer chestnuty brown.

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    1. I tried coloured tights for the first time a couple of years back, and they are fun, but it can feel weird wearing them.

      I'm thinking of getting a box of the dye-out stuff to take the brown out, then redying in turquoise or teal. I like those colours.

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    2. Good plan I was just going for the easy option!

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  3. I have a pair of bright yellow shoes and I haven't found anything they don't go with yet!

    One of the really interesting things at the Fashion on the Ration exhibition was how colourful the clothes were. Somehow, because all the photos are black and white, I expected the clothes to be drab, but they really weren't. And colour is definitely how I inject fun into my clothes. On the other hand, my look tends towards the cheerful toddler if I'm not careful, so I'm probably not the person to comment on how to look grownup...

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    1. Hehehe, I love your use of colour, it always really inspires me. And I never think of you as looking like a toddler.

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  4. Boo to wrongly sized shoes but hooray for saving money. Do keep your eyes peeled for coloured shoes in charity shops & car boots. What size are you? I'll look, too.
    Your post makes me feel a bit sad. I want to take you by the arm, buy you a pint and drag you off to second To None for a mammoth trying on session.
    I'll have none of that frumpitude and Grandma talk.
    Ease a bit of colour in gradually. A vintage patterned scarf knotted at the neck to add interest in a subtle way. Add a brooch and a couple of bangles to match one of the less obvious colours in the scarf and you've got colour without going all kid's TV presenter. xxx

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    1. Ha, don't feel sorry for me. I do actually revel in my frumpitude at times, it feels like a good fat middle finger at the expectations of the world, a full-on refusal to please any onlookers. Nantastic is one thing, I'm more concerned about accidental frump, which is a bit sad.

      The money ended up being redirected after the election result - I've donated to my local hospital and signed up for a monthly direct debit with Arts Emergency, a mentoring charity helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into the arts professionally. Much better than yellow shoes!

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  5. Ah, sorry about the shoes. Although just because the Miss L Fires weren't to be, I'm sure there are other yellow shoes out there to consider! (I've seen a pair of last season's yellow Clarks sandals on Ebay which are tempting me for summer...)
    Yes - colour. I love it! I think most people look better and brighter in colours other than black, brown and beige. Prints definitely add interest without having to be large or novelty, if that's not your thing. Florals are pretty, stripes and polka dots too. And actually, there's nothing at all the matter with brown or navy, it just depends what you put with them - navy and orange is a great combination, I like brown with red, gold/mustard or chartreuse.
    But ultimately, it's all about what you feel comfortable with, isn't it? Nothing wrong with some cheaply-bought secondhand brights and prints for the sake of experimentation though (you can always sell on of you decide they're not for you.) xxx

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    1. I wish I could find more really good atomic prints. Need to keep my eyes open. Navy works really well on me, and I'm okay at combining it but the brown... I need to make a 'luxe fabrics only' rule for myself and brown, and stop wearing brown with brown. And NO MORE BEIGE.

      I'd never looked on eBay for shoes - there's some great stuff there!

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  6. I like to think my huge feet are saving me from spending all my money on Irregular Choice shoes (I would consider surgically removing toes for a pair of those unicorn heels that would fit). Used shoes are great because they cost so little, and you can buy several that you'd otherwise not splash out on.

    Scarves are a nice way to add some interest to an outfit without straying into something too outrageous. I'm also a fan of silk flowers,either on a hair clip or a pin.

    So what size shoe do you wear (is that too personal to ask?) so we can all keep an eye out for a used pair of Miss L Fires in yellow? They DO turn up once in a while.

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    1. I'm a UK 5.5, European 39, but quite wide. I like my chubby little feet!

      Unicorn heels? *Goes to investigate*

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  7. Bad luck with the shoes - I know what its like to loose your heart to a pair and find that they don't fit :-(

    I'm not one of the most colourful of bloggers, but I find that adding one bright item of clothing against my usual black works for me. This could be a 70s floral jacket, 50s cardigan or novelty print skirt. Oh and bright nail varnish is a way to go too...Good luck!

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    1. I like the idea of nail varnish, but generally trash it while washing up!

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  8. I know what you mean about the one thing etc. Any shoes I have that are not in the useful colour category were bought either second hand or in a sale. I recently bought the Hush Puppies Imagery in wine suede, had to get the 6 as 5 too small, but they are very comfortable, which surprised me as I usually need a wide fit, £27 in sale.
    I suppose it's what you are happy in, and comfortable. If you fancy brighter things and would feel comfortable in them then fine, but little point if you feel all fidgety because it's not really you.
    Scarves, bright bags and shoes, hats...if you wear them...colour without too much. Prints rather than block colours, perhaps. A colour that goes with the beige, cardi or scarf etc.
    I tend to go by what or who/era I feel like on the day and take fads for a while. But I definitely prefer and look better in Winter clothes than Summer.

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    1. Hush Puppies are great, though they seem to have embraced the 70s this season, which is Not My Look.

      I love my tweeds and knitwear in winter. Summer is harder to dress for!

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  9. I don't own any yellow shoes either, and I think this needs addressing! I'd keep your eyes peeled, they're bound to turn up in the perfect style for you at some point. I really like all the jewellery you wear and your up-do in your hair with the lippy always makes you look so put together and grown up. I do sometimes feel a bit childlike as I am drawn to some less grown up things often than not. I think as far as accessories go I just go red with everything! I have about 3 red handbags now and they're great for perking everything up. I'm sure the yellow shoes would do the same. x

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    1. All my bags are neutral. Well, I have a couple of furry animal backpacks from when I was younger... maybe I should get out the red panda next time I think the rest of my outfit is a little dull!

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  10. I love bright colours of all sorts, blue, red, purple, green etc. and I own exactly no brown or beige. Neither suit me and, quite frankly, make me look ill, as do bright citrus yellow and orange. With citrus colours I always go for the pastel versions as they sit with my skin tone much better.I did go through a pink phase but decided it was too girly so only have pink things that have a more grown up cut to the garment now.
    If you're not comfortable going full on brights then bright accessories to contrast your outfit can be just as good. I have to admit I'm very different to you and have a range of different coloured shoes, bags and coats! I do like to have a choice and love mixing and matching them with different outfits to create different looks.

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    1. It was about eight years ago that I bought TWO coats one winter. Couldn't believe my own daring. And one was BOTTLE GREEN. But last winter I lived in my boring beige mac, must try harder this winter.

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  11. I love patterned shoes with a plain outfit but practical they are not. Unless you are me and clash leopard print and polka dots on purpose. Today's outfit is a khaki vest, black cardigan, rolled up trousers and black flat shoes with little silver studs all over them. Seconding the bright cardigans though as I have a mint green one that looks great with blue, purple, navy, black, white, cream, stripes... inatant interest. I struggle in summer though. Too much black and navy in my wardrobe!

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    1. Navy is good. I used to shun it because it was my school uniform colour!

      Intentional clashing is good.

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  12. Yellow shoes are such a great idea, I'm sorry that they weren't meant to be. I have such terrible luck with shoes and rarely have success with ordering them online, so I feel your pain.
    I struggle with dressing "my age" and often feel like I'm either dressed like a little girl or like an old lady. The line between frumpy and classic seems to be a fine one for me. You are so right, though, about adding a youthful pop of color to an outfit. Perhaps I'll look for a pair of yellow shoes myself!

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    1. Yeah, I should stop ordering shoes online. It's just that most of the high street options seem so dull.

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  13. Boo to the shoes. I have quite wide feet and find shoe shopping a bit of a difficulty. When I was a student my auntie sent me a bit of money with strict instructions that it was to be used for something frivolous like red shoes and not bills!

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