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Walk In My Shoes - if you can... Ayesha Charles tells Elle why it is orgasmic over this new „grown up‟ a necessity that she own a pair of trend that boasts „real‟ clothes. They took up valuable page space the new Louis Vuitton pumps. When I first got wind of this new mature fashion movement, admittedly, I was not bowled over. In all honesty I was deeply perplexed. It was as though fashion had suddenly put a parameter around it and fenced many of us out, women under thirty that enjoy playing dress up (which most of us do) need not apply. This wasn‟t a trend created with the young and whimsical fashion lovers searching for their next „GaGa‟ moment in mind. This was a trend for women nicely self assured and settled in their lives. Looking good may be their prerequisite, but fashion may no longer be their priority. They seek out investment pieces as opposed to the hot item of the season and are likely to find great quality and beautiful materials more rousing than conceptual or unique designs. Journalists grew

celebrating pragmatism and practicality, characteristics I was certain contradicted the very essence of fashion. I felt alienated and estranged. What was it that I wasn‟t getting? I watched the catwalks. I saw the pussy bow blouses at Chloe, the Vneck sweaters at Stella McCartney and the plethora of sexless garb at Marc Jacobs and Celine. For me it was a complete anti-climax. Where had the frivolity, the excess and the complete and utter uselessness of fashion that I had grown so accustomed to gone? I spoke fashion with my friends, as we do. They couldn‟t understand what was niggling at me so much. „You‟re the most mature dresser I know,‟ one of them said nonchalantly. Excuse me, I wore the crimson pink Marc Jacobs lookalike coat last winter. „Look on the bright

side,‟ she went on, „you won‟t have to spend too much money shopping for your winter wardrobe.‟ „How is that a good thing?‟ I love shopping. „You‟ve just a bought a house. Priorities change.‟ Her words lingered for a while, haunting me. But I shrugged them off, because that‟s what young people do. That night we readied ourselves to leave the bar at ten o clock. I unlaced my peep toe boots, slipped my city pumps on and dropped my boots into my shoe bag. It was obvious that what I had conveniently decided was alienation was evidently denial. There was a time when I would not have dreamed of wearing flat shoes anywhere – now they accompany me everywhere and my handbags have to be sufficient in size to accommodate. Albeit, my shoes are not tame, they come with heels not far off the height of a stripper shoe and an architectural blueprint. I have always offset the safety of my


excessively black wardrobe with statement making costume jewellery and a collection of shoes that are powerful, commanding and entirely frivolous. Once upon a time, to be precise, up until a year ago I was girl on a pursuit of frivolity and my shoe collection was a reflection of this. With my partner in crime (an airhostess) I could be at a club any night of the week till any hour of the morning. I could be at lunch dates in the afternoon, a concert in the evening and the after party by night. I could be in Italy at Christmas to visit family, again to celebrate Valentines with my partner and then to New York just for the hell of it. This was the consequence of a concoction of being underworked, overpaid, without responsibility and living with my parents. It was one of the most exciting times of my life and I lived it in the most exciting of shoes. There are indeed occurrences in life that requires us to be pragmatic, sensible and forces us to grow the hell up. Mine all occurred within the space of a year and

almost shot me into a Peter Pan ping. I have a new house, a new complex worst than Michael Jackqualification, a career which reson‟s. Firstly I embarked on a Masquires the utmost focus and, I might ters, which I slaved away at day and add, a much lower level of alcohol night. I spent the majority of the tolerance. My social life takes the year dressed in jeggings, jersey tops shape of Sunday lunches with the and pumps and went nowhere barparents, dinner and cinema with my ring the library or to class. Within partner and civilised meetings with that year my partner moved back to friends. I have outgrown my frivoLondon from Italy and we lous lifestyle and with bought a house together. it I have outgrown my “Now the Saving for the new house frivolous shoes. The left me with very little „Wealthy Lady‟ bottom line is, I‟ve money for a social life or and the parvenu grown up. shopping and my studies This season‟s theme is can blend.” left me with no time. t i m el es s, cl as s i c, Completely un-fabulous? I wealthy and comknow. So each month I would treat pletely classist, with an air of „I‟ve myself to a new pair of shoes, each too much money to display my one with a heel or a platform just as wealth wearing cyclical fashions.‟ ridiculous as the last. They stayed This „refined‟ trend may contradict on the top of my wardrobe boxed the very definition of fashion and it and bagged, awaiting my fabulous may have left some of its followers comeback. It was my intention, on out in the cold. Fashion followers completion of my Masters to slip aren‟t self assured, stable or settled. right back into the frivolous shoes They are pretentious and seek pleasof the exciting girl that I once was. ure from the perception of their faThe shoes are still yet to be worn. cade. They are insecure and narcisYou see, there was a glitch in my sistic and love appearing to be plan and an error in my shoe shopsomething they are not – hey,


maybe we‟re onto something here. Now the „Wealthy Lady‟ and the parvenu can all blend in as one great formal happy class. Thank God. Yes, sadly, but admittedly so, this makes me very happy. Now I have a mortgage and „priorities‟ I am also more than happy to look down my nose at capricious trends that last six months so I can too appear like the „Mature Wealthy Lady‟ I most certainly am not. Young fashion lovers may feel disheartened, but for me, it‟s the perfect exchange and in spirit of my new attitude and my new feigned wealth it is only natural that I put my best foot forward in a much needed perfect new shoe. Elegant, everlasting and dreamy; It is of course the Louis Vuitton block heeled, flat bowed pump. Any colour will do fine, but, naturally it must be of the highest variety. ■

Walk in my Shoes  

Ayesha Charles tells Elle why it is a necessity that she own a pair of the new Louis Vuitton pumps...an op-ed written for Elle's writers com...

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