Do my feet look young in these?

How do we decide if our clothes match our years? Maybe it’s time to let the next generation cut themselves on the sharp edge of fashion.

They were suede, a neutral pale greyish non colour, with purple, pink and orange straps. They were truly gorgeous, a shoe to sit nicely amongst the other truly gorgeous shoes in my gorgeous shoe collection.

Wedge Heeled TrainersMind you, they were £375, but no doubt there will be a sale, or a copy coming soon. Perhaps I needed something rather like them to catapult me into the forefront of shoe coolness.

“What about these?” I said, waving the magazine in front of my enabling husband. (He likes it when I get stuff that puts a big grin on my face.) He screwed his mouth up to make his doubtful face.

“What?” I said.
“A bit young?” he said.
“Well, they’re for teenagers, aren’t they?”

Just a minute! They’re shoes. They’re for everyone. That’s like saying that Smarties are for children. Oh, wait a moment…I do think he was right. Not just because of the £375, but because the idea of wearing them felt incongruous; there was something about them that made me feel uncomfortable. But what was it?

What are the rules for deciding the age at which you don’t wear something? What’s to stop us taking up the new new thing? Are there even any rules?

I had a think and I came up with one for myself. Here it is:

No matter what shape my body is in, my clothes need to suit my face.

Say I’m sitting in a café reading a newspaper. The people opposite me don’t know who I am are or what I look like; they can only see my clothes on my body. When I put the newspaper down, they shouldn’t be shocked when they see my head. Or, given that I’m not that fussed about what a bunch of strangers thinks, if I put the newspaper down and saw myself in the mirror, I shouldn’t shock myself.I’m not saying that you can’t wear whatever you want, yourselves. But for me, I want my personal identity to be reasonably consistent from my feet up to my face.

To be fair, my personal identity is a bit bonkers sometimes. I’ll happily wear a genuine vintage kimono, but probably with jeans and some pink brogues. I’ve a collection of vintage and foreign clothes that fall well outside the boundaries of of mainstream fashion.

But what I’m talking about here is which of the catwalk-to-highstreet new trends to go for.

Some new trends are wonderful for those of us who’ve probably passed our half way point. Others, not so much.Shiny flat sandals – thank you fashion gods. Tailored shorts for work – errrr… no. Ankle length skirts in pastel colours – as long as you don’t have to have them dry cleaned. Animal print tops – yes, but only if they have sleeves.

And as trends spread, we get used to them. They don’t look so outrageous in their second or third year. It could be that in a couple of years’ time, when everyone’s wearing them, I might buy a pair of wedge-heeled trainers. Just not this year. Right now they’re fine on women up to the age of about 33. A couple of years ago there was no way I’d have been seen in skinny jeans. Boot cut all the way for me. And now? Well, all thanks to Uniqlo and their irresistible flower prints, I’ve a couple of pairs and they look fine, I think. The young chappesses are all wearing dresses and flat lace-ups with pointy toes, or shorts, black tights and ankle boots, so now us older birds can adopt the skinny jean and look relatively normal.

I do like to push a few boundaries, but I’m not interested in pushing them backwards through time. Instead of the trainers, I went for the United Nude wedge heeled Helix Lo.

Down with fashion, long live quirky, up with personal identity.

Sarah McCartney

About Sarah McCartney

I’m a writer, perfumer and yoga teacher, and I like sharing what I know.