5 shoe styles that do all the talking for you
Words: Rosie Goddard | Photographs: Carl David Jones | Styling: Mandy Nash
As I slipped off my kitten heels for the last time in 2006 and came to terms with the pointy-toed, miniature-heeled, bow-adorned mistakes that I’d made, it never once crossed my mind that these shoes would make a triumphant comeback. But here we are in 2017, and the kitten heel is one of this year’s most sought-after styles. And to add insult to injury, it’s not just a night-out staple; it’s reinvented itself as a high-fashion statement.
While the rest of this season’s standout shoe styles are decidedly less controversial, their reemergence (and subsequent reinvention) is deserving of a mention. Meet our favourites below.
How they wore them then: With 60s staples like A-line skirts and tunic dresses. Before Julia Roberts’ iconic Pretty Woman outfit, Balenciaga paved the way by reimagined the over-the-knee boot as a coveted high-fashion essential, and extracting it from its pantomime past. Flash forward 50 years, and their iconic ‘pantoshoe’ is back on the scene and bigger than ever before.
How we wear them now: With simpler layered looks like midi dresses and biker jackets. For A/W, we’re moving away from played-out minidress look. Need some help? Take a little inspiration from Yeezy Season 4.
How they wore them then: With classics from the 80 and 90s – think baggy jeans, bombers and tracksuits. Sneakers may have started out as a British 18th century tennis shoe, but they really owe their popularity to early American hip-hop acts. Without the likes of Run DMC, sneakers might never have become an intrinsic part of the pop culture landscape.
How we wear them now: In futuristic shapes and tonal shades. So ubiquitous are sneakers that almost any style goes. This year, chunkier 80s silhouettes are back on the scene, but this time round, they’re teaming up with streamlined sports-luxe looks. Keep it fresh and pair yours with pulled-up socks and dressier staples like culottes.
How they wore them then: With bolder looks like PVC skirts and jumpsuits. Fashion boots skipped staple and went straight to statement in the 60s after they were confirmed as cool by singers like David Bowie and Cher who donned bright patent, PVC and metallic styles on stage.
How we wear them now: In a glitter finish, and with interesting textures like pleats, prints and clashing hues. Gucci has updated the maximalist look for the season and metallic boots are very much still the star of the show. However – these shoes do basics too. If an over-the-top ensemble is a little much, opt for classics, like mom jeans, a simple tee and a blazer or smart sweats and a blouse.
The military boot
How they wore them then: As rebels did, with tartan, or ripped and rolled-up jeans with original band tees. Originally worn for utility purposes during and after the war, military boots only made the move to fashion essential in the 80s when certain sub cultures and new-wave musicians started donning brands like Dr Martens.
How we wear them now: You can thank brands like Saint Laurent for the luxe take on these combat companions. Lace yours up with a knit dress and an overcoat for newfound poise.
How they wore them then: It’s hard to say, as court shoes have been a part of fashion in some form or another since the 18th century. During Marie Antoinette’s time, they were crafted from patterned silks in soft pastel shades, and a few centuries later during the 80s and 90s, they featured a widened heel, straps, a square front and were worn with power suits and pretty floral dresses. The kitten heel phase came next. My prefered pairings? A rah-rah skirt and tank top.
How we wear them now: in pretty textures, and with interesting cut-out details.Thanks to the low heel, they’ll happily take the place of everyday shoes and will lend some polish to the most casual of outfits. Square toed or pointed? That’s up to you, as both are A/W approved.