Am I getting older or are flat shoes getting more interesting? I ponder this question while browsing my new favourite fashion blog, Enbrogue.com, which is entirely dedicated to fabulous flats, and casting the occasional contented glance down at my Marc Jacobs mouse shoes, a recent MyWardrobe.com sale purchase.
Cartoon mice in ballet pump form. I'm not getting older; it's the flats that are improving (I mentally pronounce this à la Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard: "I am big, it's the pictures that got small").
Don't get me wrong – I'm not swearing off heels forever. It's just that in recent years, as they've got higher and more outrageous, I've found myself losing interest. Shoes are for wearing after all and it's one thing to admire an impressive piece of foot architecture, quite another to squeeze your own imperfect trotter into it and then go about your daily business. (For more on this, see the recent agonising-for-all-parties-concerned interface between Kim Kardashian's pregnancy ankles and her Perspex Givenchy sandals). I don't want to be an awful judgy-pants about this, obviously. Sure there is a coltish, hubristic charm to groups of young ladies tottering in and out of nightclubs atop vertiginous concoctions. But trying too hard is never cool, and it can be downright dangerous. One minute you're prancing around with legs four inches longer than the ones God gave you, the next you're at the bottom of the stairs with a broken nose like poor Carol Vorderman. Think on.
So. I reserve the right to wear heels whenever my fancy (and a taxi there and back) takes me, but at the moment you'll usually find me in flats. I'm grateful to British designer Charlotte Olympia and fashion maven Alexa Chung for spearheading the fashionable flats movement. Here is my pick of the season.
Charlotte Olympia's covetable Kitty slippers kickstarted a clutch of trends when she first introduced them a couple of years ago (Low heels! Slippers! Anthropomorphic footwear!). Each season since has brought pleasing iterations like this embroidered pair.
For cutting-edge flats, get to know Hackney brand Miista (headed by Spanish-born, London-trained designer Laura Villasenin). It's all about holographic brogues.
If you're skipping summer (like the weather is), why not invest in these Asos loafers? They come in an autumnal bronze brocade and (since they were crafted in Britain's historic shoemaking capital, Northampton) they're an ethical buy, too.
Lighten your loafers with this cute pair of Topshop Marple pumps – nan chic at its best. Trainers are having a hot fashion moment. Take your pick from Nike at Liberty to these floral APC slip-ons. Show off a well-turned ankle with a cropped trouser and a little strappage from Kurt Geiger at Selfridges.
Finally, if you have classic style but are over ballet flats, opt for these Aldo smashers. They're a snip at £45 and they come in three go-with-everything shades. Race you to the shops?
Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenLaverne
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