The Daily Telegraph - Saturday
Seventies soles for summer
Clogs and flares are in, even if you wore them the first time around, writes Alyson Walsh
Hello 1970s, my old friend. Flared jeans, clogs, a floral print blouse – I’m really digging the retro look right now. And I’m not the only one; apparently online searches for clogs and bell-bottom jeans have increased by up to 45 per cent over the past year. There’s nothing wrong with rocking a little “seventies vibe”, even if you did wear it the first time around. I’m all for upholding the fashion classics – there’s a reason why infinitely wearable items reappear time and again. I bought these flared jeans in New York many years ago (and no, I wasn’t on my way back from Woodstock). The Summer of Unlocking feels like the perfect time to set them free. The Tana Lawn print blouse is a fresh take on a vintage style and the fabulous loafer-mule hybrid comes courtesy of Russell & Bromley. The key to bringing an outfit bang up to date is to add a new spin to old favourites.
Could this be the perfect shoe for coming out of lockdown? Part posh loafer, part Birkenstock-inspired mule, an ideal mix of comfy and chic. After spending a year in either runaround shoes or trainers, I’m firmly of the opinion that fabulous flats are here to stay. But having had issues keeping clogs on my feet in the past, I ask Emma McConnachie, vice-president of the College of Podiatry, for her advice. “If you wear clogs, choose a pair with a strap around the back of the ankle and a band over the middle of the foot – there’ll be less strain. If your foot is slipping and not held in place, the toes will claw,” she says.
As much as I love the cool aesthetic of traditional, wooden-sole clogs, if I’m honest, I find them difficult to wear: there’s a pair gathering dust under the bed. Rigid wooden soles bring out the fear of a sprained ankle in me. At a wedding once, I went over in a pair of cheap flatform sandals and ended up spending more on physiotherapy than on the blooming shoes. “It’s subjective. Some people get on well with wooden clogs, others don’t,” says McConnachie. “But, they lack flexibility so they’re not great.”
Going on to point out that no two feet are the same, she adds: “There’s not one shoe that works for everyone,
it’s such a delicate thing, getting the balance and equilibrium right. It’s about finding something that’s appropriate, a great shoe for your feet.” And on that note, my navy leather, woodensoled clogs are placed in the charity bag waiting for shops to reopen.
As we step out again this summer, McConnachie advises erring on the side of caution: “Be careful. Consider your shoes – if you haven’t worn a style for over a year, they’ll take a bit of getting used to. Maybe don’t combine heels and alcohol on your first night out.”
I’m thinking Birkenstock Boston mules would be perfect for the occasion. Clog on, I say.
Read more from Alyson at thatsnotmyage.com
Find out all about Foot Health Week, April 12 to 19, on the College of Podiatry website (cop.org.uk)