Ballet pumps were all the rage, but now we're out of love with them

Fashion columnist Katie Trotter gives M readers her take on ballet flats.

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I never thought I'd say it, in fact I feel an impossible sense of betrayal in doing so, but I am afraid I am at the end of a long and drawn out love affair with my ballet pumps

It's been the best part of a decade, but all of a sudden they seem a little dated, a little sorry for themselves, and as I look down towards my toes they seem to know it too - they look sad, almost apologetic for still being there. The problem is, most of us have around 15 pairs of the sodding things, so where do we go from here?

As we know, good-looking pumps are more of a necessity than a nicety. We need pumps that are comfy, easy to wear and that will go with almost anything. We all own our fair share of ballet flats: Oxfords, loafers and lace-ups, to name a few - none of which we will wear when we want to be on top of our game.

So, dear friends, it is with much trepidation that I bring to you one of the season's biggest trends. May I introduce to you "the smoking slipper"? Indeed, perhaps not the most elegant or the most beautiful shoe in the world, but one we will all no doubt be giving a whirl this season in one way or another.

Confused? Think Hugh Hefner at home on the couch, not quite as tough nut as a brogue but masculine nonetheless. A little less precious and androgynous than ballet pumps, and a little simpler than Oxfords or loafers.

You would think we would be jumping with joy - finally we are being ordered to wear a pair of comfortable shoes - slippers, for goodness sake - outside, in order to impress. How delightful. But sadly no, we are terrified. You see, when it boils down to it, as my brother recently pointed out with equal measures of confusion and distaste. they are "not girls' shoes".

And I suppose he is right, I am not a man, and I don't even smoke any more. So, yes, admittedly the slipper requires a fair amount of gusto (and to begin with a fair bit of explaining).

But get over all the fuss, and, well, here we have the dream shoe - incredibly easy to wear and completely comfortable, all while looking like we stepped straight off the cover of Vogue.

My pair - a hot, studded, leopard pair covered in spikes - is the only part of me that will ever be truly tough and certainly something I would not have seen on my grandfather.

My brother took a long silent look. "Two words," I said. "Heritage dressing."

There was another long pause. His response? "Man repellers."


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