As Christian Louboutin prepares to open a new dedicated men’s footwear store on London’s Dover Street, a City lawyer found himself quoted in the Financial Times last week as part of an article about men showing greater daring in their choice of footwear, writes Legal Cheek's sartorial advice guru Auntie Em(ily Jupp). Here's the quote:
"I wore dark brown lace-ups as a change one week and those were considered 'statement' enough. I was mocked for weeks by my conservative colleagues, so I am not sure [elaborate Christian Louboutin creations] would go down well. Perhaps in media..."
Oh, shoes. Women have been worrying about what to wear on their feet literally since shoes were invented, probably before – so the anxiety men appear to now be feeling about their footwear is nothing new.
The first-ever shoe dilemma was recorded on the inside of a cave in Pembrokeshire 1.7m years ago. The drawing (re-produced above), though eroded, appears to show a foot alongside two wrap-around coverings, one calfskin, the other sheepskin. In the centre of the etching a confused face appears between the two images, while a group of stick men wearing zebra skin footwear point and laugh in the background.
As our pre-historic Pembrokeshire cousins knew all too well, the problem with shoes arises once you engage with the possibility of choosing different styles. At which point, shoes cease being merely something to put between your bare soles and the pavement, and become a door to the very workings of your soul.
Needless to say, there are myriad pitfalls associated with selecting the wrong shoes, particularly for women, who have heels to contend with. But I digress. This is about men. And let's be honest here, men, compared to your female counterparts, the footwear dilemmas you face – and, indeed, sartorial dilemmas in general – are very tame.
Nevertheless, I sympathise. Choice is a befuddling thing – so befuddling, in fact, that sometimes it's best to eliminate it altogether. That doesn't mean surrendering to the fear of ridicule from your loser colleagues, however. Instead, let the shoes take the initiative.
Visit a shoe shop, close your eyes and simply wait in silence until a pair of shoes CALLS TO YOU. Be they flower-patterned clogs or wide-fit basketball pumps, just go with it. The fact that you and your shoes have met like this will arm you with a spiritual calm that I can guarantee will prove impervious to mockery.