Tuesday, 13 September 2016

In for a penny...

Out and about in my pennies
Do you take your shoes to the cobblers? I winced a bit at my bill from Timpsons last week, as shoes repairs aren't cheap, but then I realised that for what I'd spend on a new pair of penny loafers, three pairs of shoes had been restored to a wearable state. I've been wearing my penny loafers again today, and enjoying how comfy they are.


I have Gemma (Retro Chick) to thank for my penny loafer habit; in 2014 I won some Debenhams vouchers on her site, bought my first pair of pennies, and the rest is history. Last year when I needed shoes I bought some brogues as well as penny loafers, and loved those too. They seem more formal, and possibly more blokey, but they're comfy and look great with trousers. They were a bit slippery, but last time I had them resoled Timpsons put grippier soles on them too, so they're even better to wear now. (Since spraining my ankle a few years back, I've been terrified of doing it again.)

For a while I would look at my feet and feel sad for two reasons: I wasn't wearing pretty shoes like everyone else seems to like, and they weren't really 'vintage' enough. Those are stupid reasons to feel sad about anything. The shoes I bought were plain black, so of course would be more practical than pretty, but there's a world of loafers and brogues out there, I don't have to stick with black. Silver. Patent burgundy. Mustard. So many colours to choose from. As for not liking the same thing as everyone else, that was all in my own head – surely liking something a little different is part of personal style. We all want personal style, right? All those people I'd lumped into the 'everyone else, who all wear pretty shoes' group have very different styles anyhow, from Cate's dainty deco shoes to Vix's saucy boots. I should stop assuming that the things I like are inferior just because no-one else seems to be wearing them. No-one I know dresses exactly the same as anyone else.

You are your best you, and only inferior when you try to be like someone else – because the original is always the best.

The not-vintage-enough thoughts were particularly ridiculous as penny loafers were very popular for women in the 1940s and 1950s. College girls would wear them with ankle socks, teddy girls wore them – even Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot wore them. Katharine Hepburn rocked a ladybrogue with her suits. Instead of beating myself up for not immediately purchasing whatever footwear everyone else seems to be lusting after, I should be thinking about where to buy ankle socks or woolly tights to match my favourite knitwear.

So, I'm sticking with the boyshoes. I'm going to explore different colours and materials, and fun socks. Given the amount of blues and navy I wear nowadays, I really fancy some navy mock-croc or fake-snake pennies. What do you reckon? Sound good? Or should I go completely off the wall and get a completely different colour? Sky blue brogues appeal...

29 comments :

  1. I do take my better shoes to the cobbler for repairs. If the shoe is worth buying, it is worth having shoe-savers put on the heel and toes (but yeah, not cheap).

    Loafers are great. I had a pair of Bass Wejuns I wore straight through High School and University until my dad finally binned them when I wasn't paying attention (they were getting a *bit* worn through). If you have a pair in black and oxblood, then you're pretty well set for whatever your wardrobe needs. Land's End used to have colourful ones in red and powder blue with gripper soles-you might be able to find some NOS online.

    I like YOUR look (not that what I think matters). Besides, it isn't as though you took a vow or something-you're entitled to change your mind and buy whatever shoes/clothes/handbags you like at a given moment-or keep wearing what works for you.

    I really like the crazy Irregular Choice shoes with gnomes and unicorns for heels-but I don't wear them. There's nothing wrong with admiring someone's taste without feeling compelled to try it out (Mostly, I wouldn't want to explain how I broke my ankle/hip/knee..."But look doctor...gnomes!"

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    1. I've been thinking of getting Blakeys - the metal heel protectors, not sure if that's just a British brandname for them - put on mine to prolong them, though the replacement heels and soles are excellent.

      I do sometimes eye up the Irregular Choice shoes, and coveted the Star Wars ones with R2-D2 in the heel, but the heels are just too high for me. Having to take those to the chazza after five years unworn would be GUTTING.

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  2. I'm sure you know that we aged Yanks who wore penny loafers actually wedged a penny into the nice little slot on the vamp. Of course US pennies are much smaller than British pennies, especially in the 50's. I have no idea why that was de rigeur, but most loafers did indeed have pennies on them. Love your individual point of view, Kate in Oregon

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    1. I did know that! I couldn't work out how it worked, as the slot is detached from the rest of the shoe with all the pairs I've seen, only stitched at each end, so the penny would just fall out. Were the slot pieces on American loafers stitched to the vamp?

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    2. The 2 little flaps top and bottom hold the penny in. The slot has to be detached so you can get the penny under the flaps. But maybe you mean that it might slip out the top or bottom? I can't really remember how the essential part was attached to the shoe, but I do remember it was damned difficult to get the penny out if you wanted to put in something shinier,like a dime. Maybe it was my nice solid feet that secured the coin with pure pressure!

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  3. Sod everyone else, it's what you like that matters! :) I personally cannot stand most modern day shoes with sky high heels and cheap plastic patent finishes. A cousin of mine sneered when I mentioned how fab Hotter shoes were the other day but I'd much rather wear their super comfy styles than the sorts of things she wears.
    Btw, you mentioned woolly tights, did you see the mustard ones on one of Emmy Design's latest posts? - https://www.instagram.com/p/BKQz4h3huYn/ I so want a pair of those! xx

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    1. I kind of went off Hotter after a couple of poor-quality pairs of heels from them, and I do find their current ubiquity among bloggers off-putting, but they have a pair of burgundy patent loafers that I keep going back to stare at. As My black ones will last me another year, I can buy some colourful ones this year. Might get the Hotter ones.

      Those mustard tights are ace! I have a grey pair like that - from M&S, of all places. Nothing as colourful as those mustard ones, though. (I darn favourite woolly tights if they get holes in.)

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  4. You should wear whatever you want, your feet, your tastes! I'm sure people think my penchant for flat black ballet shoes dull but I don't care. I have heels which are fancier, of course, but need basic shoes too, to which ballet flats fit the bill.

    I saw silver shoes like yours in a charity shop window today! No idea of the size, I was hurrying past.

    We get our shoes mended. I don't have my ballet flats done as the cost would be higher than the price of the shoe when new. I've just gone through the rubber sole, so they're on their way out :( so begins the search for flat shoes in manmade materials without metal studs, a suedette finish and so the list goes on. I loathe shoe shopping.

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    1. That's the funny thing, I really like my shoes, I just felt sad that other people might think they were boring. Now I've decided 'Sod it, I like boyshoes and that's that,' I'm perfectly happy again.

      As for ballet flats, if they're good enough for Audrey Hepburn, they're good enough for anyone.

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  5. I think one of the best bits about ageing is caring less and less about what others think! I have far more respect for people who do their own thing. I love your style, and how you've really made it your own.

    Do you have an independent cobbler locally? Ours is about £14 cheaper than Timpsons for a full heel and resole.

    I think coloured loafers would be ace on you - purple? Green? Loads of choice these days!
    X

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    1. We don't have an independent cobbler. I don't mind Timpsons so much, they're a really ethically run company and do loads for rehabilitating ex-cons.

      I'm craving the patent burgundy pennies. Maybe next month...

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    2. I had no idea about Timpsons, I'll have to look them up and read a bit about them!

      Yes, burgundy would be so lush for Autumn...

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  6. By all means: go for the brights! :)
    If there is anything that makes you stressed out, sad or just plain annoyed - change it. That's why there are so many choices out there.
    For instance, taking a closer look at your feet (yeah, I did that) I have realized that we are wearing quite the similar shoe style. Unlike you, I don't mind mine. So, I will not be chaining anything. Also, fixing the kind of shoes I'm wearing is as expensive as buying new ones (I buy inexpensive shes, because my feet tend to destroy shoes, no matter the money I pay for it)
    But you.. Oh, I can't wait to see you in some bright foot-wear. :)

    Happy Wednesday
    Marija

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    1. I do like my shoes, that's the silly thing. I worry that no-one else will like them - which is stupid, because no-one else has to wear them!

      The thing I am going to change is my ATTITUDE. As Jack Sparrow wisely said, 'The problem is not the problem. Your attitude to the problem is the problem.'

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  7. Unlike so many of the wannabes out there you've got your own style and you own it. I don't think there's anything wrong with your choice of footwear - not that you're asking for approval - you love them, they're comfy and that make you happy. A win-win all round.
    I love metallic brogues and loafers but when I've tried them on they never feel like "me". What shoe size are you? I've passed up some gorgeous ones recently in chazzas.
    Jon and I are always visiting the cobblers, we're lucky enough to have a really good independent one in town. xxx

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    1. I'm a 5.5. Fewer and fewer manufacturers make half-sizes nowadays, it's really annoying.

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    2. I know, I'm a 6.5 but usually end up in 7's with an insole to stop my feet sliding around.
      I shall keep my eyes peeled for you. You never know! xxx

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  8. I too take my shoes to the cobbler's for repairs, unless it's a really cheap pair and not worth it. I once bought a pair of adorable vintage shoes, but part of one of the soles fell off when I was in a shop, so I had both soles replaced completely. Then the heels fell off, but I still persevered. In the end I paid much more for the repairs than I did for the shoes. And now I have completely gone off them ... I haven't got a pair of penny loafers, but I'm all for comfortable shoes, especially for going into work, so I wear the same shoes again and again. Nothing wrong with comfortable shoes. It's you/your feet that's got to be happy with them. xxx

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    1. Yeah, the older I get, the more I prioritise comfort over style. Though if I start wearing those padded leather shoes that look like trainers before I'm 60, slap me!

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  9. Yes, penny loafers are brill! And now, thanks to your blog I know why they're called penny loafers! They are so practical and comfortable and having them in different colours and textures is a great idea to mix and match with outfits. Ditto with brogues.Go for it, Mim!

    I passed up a pair of silver brogues in the charity shop last winter (WHY? WHY?) and I'm still mourning them now...

    Don't worry about what anyone else thinks - you have your own style and nobody else matters if you are comfortable with it. You always look very chic to me.

    Have a good week

    xxx

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. If I found a pair of silver brogues in my size in a chazza, I'd grab them. My local ones seem to have mostly plasticky stilettoes, though they might put more laceups out for winter.

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  10. I don't have any loafers, no idea why, I just find myself going towards the brogues when I look at shoes. I have a lot of colours and would definitely say get some coloured loafers in your life, you won't regret it!!! I can't wear heels, I can't walk in them I have a couple of pairs I've never worn but can't bear to part with.

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    1. I still have a few pairs of louis-heeled shoes, but that's about it. I swear 'mid' heels nowadays are what 'high' heels were when I was younger!

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  11. I really enjoyed being privy to this thought process. Isn't it funny, the things we think and worry about? Glad you resolved the footwear issue for yourself. Now you can be comfortable at every level. I do go to the cobblers if I want the shoes to keep going. However I've a pair of boots I've been wearing for about 15 years and I'm willing them to give out so I can buy a new pair. They're not glam, but I can walk miles in them. I love seeing more photos of you. Your hair looks fab and which one is this dress? Shift dress and loafers is a classic look. Nailed it, Mim.

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    1. This dress is a 'Potty Lotty' from Mistress of Vintage. They do some fab fabrics, I'm really surprised more people don't wear their stuff. (That said, their website is so slow now, it makes me wonder if they're still going.)

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  12. I do but partly cause I walk like a duck with m feet turned out and my shoes run down on one side. I also second freckle face your hair is gorgeous

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    1. I walk like that too! *Quackyfistbump*

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  13. I do big time. I have hard to fit feet and try to keep shoes that work well for me "alive" for as long as possible. Some pairs have been with me for 10+ years that this point. I love that cobblers still exist in this day and age and hope that they never go the way of the dinosaur.

    Wishing you a splendid weekend,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Cobblers still seem pretty common over here. Timpson do all sorts of things - key cutting, passport photos, engraved gifts - as well as shoe repairs.

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