THIS WEEK: on unrequited fashion yearnings

Falling for the wrong shoes

The bugger of the thing about unrequited love is that the more you lust after the object of your desire, the less it seems to want you. My first case of it was in my early teens; his name was James and he was in my class at school. After dropping several ‘subtle’ – ahem – hints, I finally bit the bullet and confessed my feelings for him over MSN messenger. His swift status change to ‘offline’ suggested that he did not feel the same way.

Thankfully my romantic life has since improved, but recently unrequited love has come back to plague me. This time, however, it’s in the sartorial sense; I’m in love with a pair of shoes that don’t love me back. 

They first caught my eye on the internet – how all great modern love stories start. Black sandals with a squared-off toe, low-heel and spaghetti-thin straps that crossed low on the foot, they had my heart racing as I envisioned slipping them on with a silky wisp of a dress and sashaying into the sunset. 

Restless nights followed as thoughts of the strappy sandals filled my head: we’ll be so good together – they’ll go with all of my wardrobe –  I’ll even take them on holiday with me – we’ll have the summer of our lives! And though I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more shoes for the foreseeable (if you saw my hallway, you’d understand why) it all got too much for me to resist and I made a date to visit them in person with the intention of taking them home.

I wasn’t even going to try them on, so sure was I of our connection: in the words of Love Island, they were A Bit Of Me. But eager to see how we looked together I discarded my wedged espadrilles (sorry darling but we’re over), wiggled my feet in, then trotted over to the mirror to observe us in our full glory.

Oh. No. 

They say that love is blind but even I could see that we made a terrible pairing. The cheesewire straps cut into my end-of-day hot, puffy skin, turning my feet into trussed-up pink hams and my toes into chipolatas. The exposed back unkindly revealed my sandpaper heels while what masqueraded as a chic, nineties-inspired slim heel made my legs look stumpy. The worst of it? The noise. With nothing to fasten the shoes to my soles, every step I took came with a loud CLACK. What was 100% my type on paper wasn’t even half a percent my type in reality. I removed the shoes and went home. Alone. 

A wise person once said that the best way to get over someone is to get under somebody else and that, dear reader, is what I did. After being scorned by my dream shoes I’ve sought solace in a rebound pair which, though not quite as lovely, have the advantage of not making my feet look like cured meet. We’ve already had several successful dates together and I’m even planning on taking them on a long weekend away next month.

As for the others? What can I say –  their loss. 

A bunny short of a breakdown 

Frankie gives up too easily. When I really fall for something, nothing will stand in my way. 

Emphasis on the something. I’m not the same way about men – I’m far more likely to develop The Ick when they text in emojis / breathe / eat a mayo-and-anything sandwich in front of me (flashbacks to my teen Saturday job in a cafe, and the dreaded vat o’ mayo) – and, as anyone who’s ever had The Ick will know, there’s no going back. But when it comes to clothes… well, I have the capacity to go all Glenn Close in a bathtub.

When the passion strikes, I can’t be talked out of it, or even shaken out of it by a revelatory (in a bad way) changing room moment. 

Case in point, Olivia Rubin’s pink polka dot Elizabeth dress. Elizabeth is a really good pink, pepto bismol pink, and 100 per cent silk. She has little puffed shoulders, long sleeves, a high neckline. She is a very good looking dress, a hard 10 out of 10. We met on set – I was being photographed wearing potential bridesmaid dresses for today’s Stella Magazine – and our eyes locked, as much as your eyes can lock with an inanimate object (worrying thought: am I in the early stages of becoming that woman who’s in love with a fairground ride?). She fit like a glove, albeit a slightly too tight glove that would give you pins and needles after a while.

But after just a few stolen moments together, I had to give her back: I couldn’t afford her. I was Wayne Campbell: Elizabeth was the ’64 Fender Stratocaster. 

I mooned over her for weeks. I told friends, family, colleagues; I found myself visiting her webpage daily; I polled Instagram for opinions (ok, enablers). I searched for a replacement, but no one measured up to Elizabeth.

And then, true to form, I lost my shit, and clicked buy.

Every time I think I’m getting better with money an Elizabeth comes along – like the time I spent the money I’d put aside to pay off my credit card balance on not one but three Loewe bags at a sample sale, or the time that I Ubered to and from a Manolo Blahnik sale in between meetings and bought three (it’s a magic number) pairs of satin pumps covered in crystals. One pair isn’t even my size, though that hasn’t stopped me wearing it. 

Elizabeth played hard to get – first, the size 12 I ordered was smaller than the 10 I’d worn on set, then all the 12s and 14s sold out completely. I finally tracked one down at Fenwick (with a lot of help – it takes a village). The slip was missing, but at this point I was too far gone to care. 

Elizabeth and I went public last week, on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. The two of us spent the day together, drinking Moet, cavorting across lawns… It was magical.

What’s that? Frankie was there too? Oh yeah, I forgot.