Day 78 of the Shoe Challenge – Reverse, reflect, rewind

I’ve not been able to write anything much for weeks and can’t figure out why.

It is winter – I sleep well sandwiched like a jammy clad beef patty inside a flannel-sheet-feather-duvet-patchwork-quilt-like hamburger bun.

The Minx only wakes up occasionally to shriek for her Daddy in the middle of the night to retrieve DogDog.

Theoretically, therefore, I well and I am rested and I should be capable of blethering on ad nauseum about footwear. It’s not as it I have not had enough practice by now. But my mind has been elsewhere. Maybe it’s symbolic or maybe I am just being lazy or maybe I just needed a wee break.

You’ll be glad to know that meantime I have been elsewhere occupied mostly doing things that I have no intention of writing about. That and watching a lot of videos.  Retro kids videos like Chip n Dale.

Still from "Two Chips and Miss" Walt Disney 1952

Despite featuring worryingly adult themed rodent love triangles Chip n Dale cartoons have a soporific effect on my children. While the chipmunks are squeaking away merrily on the piano, the weans cuddling up together and giggling on the sofa instead of trying to decapitate each other. Good times. Times to relax, to rewire the brain off and recharge the batteries.

Or maybe it has just been too cold and wet to get my toes into most of the shoes that I want to wear. Cue these Amanda Starr beauties which I wore yesterday despite the fact that there was frost on the ground. My toes felt brittle, about to break off. It was just like a Glasgow autumn morning. Not the best day to wear open toed shoes.

Amanda Starr Silk Leather Open Toed Floral Pumps (made by Anna Fiori, Italy)

My husband is not that keen on them. He reckons that the leather flowers look like badly crafted plasticine models created by a bored eight year old. To me finding these shoes was an unexpected delight after a week of eBay bidding in vain for 5.5 inch covered platform skyscraper heels like these:

and trying not to bid for ridiculously expensive Gianmarco Lorenzi shoes like these:

The Amanda Starr’s cheered me up because they are a little piece of Australian shoe couture history. Ms Starr is an Australian accessories designer who once used to create  shoes and handbags from vintage fabrics and leathers. Everything that she made was strictly limited edition, lusted after and featured regularly in all the Australian fash mags. One of my favourite pairs of boots were from her 2002 Fall collection.

Somewhere along the line, probably when I was off having children and not wearing heels, she gave up shoe making to make jewellery with vintage bits of fabric and leather instead. Her shoes are now virtually impossible to find.

It is smashing whimsical jewellery that she makes but it is nowhere near as wonderful as her shoes were. Now I am destined  to reflect on what I should have bought more of nine years and attempt to retrieve her shoes and boots from wherever I can find them.

A while ago I emailed Amanda Starr to ask why she had eschewed shoes. To date she has not replied.

Not everyone likes to press the rewind button and many prefer not to revisit their past. Perhaps for her designing footwear would be a retrograde step.

Retro is one of those words and concepts which catches your tongue like a piece of apple skin stuck in your teeth. Such a twee word in so many ways and yet so apt in that it simultaneously means remininiscent of, reverting to or recreating a style. Let’s face it, we have been reviving and revamping clothing and footwear for a long time. Recreating items that we remember from the past evokes a tender emotional response that resonates inside us.

On the wall of my office to my right hand side above my computer screen there is a vintage film poster that the Boss may have placed there to inspire me to dress up a bit more:

Being in such close proximity to Marilyn Monroe’s curved buttocks and calves for two years has had a strange effect on me – I’ve stopped wearing jeans and opaque tights and started buying stockings with a vengeance after a fifteen year break.

For a while now, I have been stocking (excuse the bad pun) up on Leg Avenue hosiery (my pal Nomes Messenger’s favourite brand) and revelling in coming across new brands including Trasparenze which my new shoe gal pal Erin over at Shoe Love has blogged about.

To channel Marilyn (in a short, non-blonde, bespectacled West of Scotland  sort of way) I even bought myself a few pairs of Levee full contrast nude with black seamed stockings.

These are not fully fashioned but they are silky sheer and have reinforced heels and toes. I’ll have to pick up a pair of hosiery gloves before I splurge on the real deal. Oh, and a hosiery hanger:

Stockings hanger & hosiery gloves from Pandora's Choice

Then I just need to figure out how to line up the seams  – a skill that has always escaped me.

Even once I have managed to get seamed stockings on straight, during the day the seams go off on a frolic and curlicue round my legs like drunken worms.  But the allure of having legs that look like Marilyn’s even for a milli-second is too strong a pull to resist. The effect is a bit more haphazard, but surely there is room for individuality within the confines of a straight line?

25 thoughts on “Day 78 of the Shoe Challenge – Reverse, reflect, rewind

  1. i love being mentioned as the doyenne of stockings…

    also who is looking at the red flowers when you have seamed stockings on? outrageous Mister!

  2. oh how i love the world of stockings. It lasted a brief year of my life, when I would wear stockings all through winter. The seamed ones were my favourite. Many people would stop me in the street to inform me that in the 40’s during the war, women would use a marker or makep to create a seam on their bare leg so it looked like they were wearing stockings.

    Alas my klutz-like nature began to make my stocking habit very expensive. I was putting runs in my babies the first time I would wear them meaning I needed a new pair every day. that didn’t come cheap and drastically cut into my drinking money.

    I then tried the much cheaper and tackier “stay ups” which just ended up giving me excema on my thighes where the plastic glue would rub and sting.

    Maybe one day soon I will rediscover my stocking love!

  3. Chip N Dale! Thank you for the inspiration… Curious George is driving me to insanity.
    I’ve missed your musings, but we all need a self imposed holiday occasionally. I’ve been feeling hermit-ish myself (jumping into bed at 7.30pm… it’s the only place I feel true warmth at my core).
    I love your red leather flowered shoes & love your seamed stockings. I’ve never had success with seams myself (i can’t even get the toes or the gusset to sit appropriately & comfortably… let alone visible seams!?!)
    Hope to catch up with you soon xox

    • At the time of writing the Noisy Boy is in his room wearing a polo neck over his flannel jammies ‘reading’ Charlotte’s Web in his car seat with his feet up on the electric fan heater. He likes his creature comforts as Mr CC likes to say.

      Curious George – best thing is to listen to the soundtrack and so one’s best to ignore Will Ferrell’s manic rantings.

  4. I got a laugh out of your curlicue stockings! That would so happen to me!

    I don’t often wear nylons (as a full-time rockin’ it mom my “uniform” usually starts with jeans) – but you’ve made me think I might want to invest a little in some awesome stockings…for those occasions when I do dress up.

    Thanks once again for a fun post!

    • For a long time I was collecting jeans for exactly the same purpopse – good mom ‘uniform’. You can get away with a lot in denim – it is an easy way to be chic in a dégagé manner getting a pair of well fitting jeans.

      Now & again though it is a lot of fun to do the dress up thing. Particularly for work.

  5. For someone who is struggling to write, that was one stellar post, Ms Law and Shoes! The Amanda Starr shoes are just WOW.

    It’s hard when you want to write and it feels a little harder than usual. I seem to be doing the same thing of late. I’m a lot more comfortable with it (well, I can afford to be, seeing as it’s not my profession) than I used to be – and then as soon as I tell myself “hey, it’s okay, just take this non-writing time to soak up other pursuits”, I’m back in the thick of it.

    During the times when that doesn’t happen, I get lost in reading. It only takes one sentence, a captivating photograph and such and bang! the seed on inspiration is planted and the content doth flow.

    G x

  6. Those shoes are STUNNING. They have my favourite colours, as are the Advent Violet Boots. Wow. And I agree with Gem, wonderful post…I think you’re past the writer’s block!

  7. I have to agree with Kristen. Bed is the only place I really feel warm, due to the stringent heating restrictions Mr Eco- He Who Pays The Power Bills has instigated. 21 degrees inside is just not toasty, unlike the UK where you could gad about in jeans and a t-shirt inmost people’s centrally heated homes. Aaahhh…

    I too have succumbed to the impratical winter shoe purchase and wearing thereof. Anything to get out of black. The soft as silk leather is vintage-y fawn colour, folded and arranged across the square toes with a cheeky bit of hardware on the side. Wide enough to fit my chunk of a foot, the heel is well placed and sturdy making them COMFORTABLE. Problem is, they are back-less with just a strap to keep out the damp chill of winter. I bought them anyway. They were 30% off. When I wore them, I happily sufferred the achingly numb sensation of the feet, basking in the glow when I caught a glimpse of my feet in a mirror. And yes, I am (at times) that vain. 🙂

  8. Subscribing to your blog today…what a great post. My mom (Anne), emailed me the link.
    I’ll have to consider stockings to add some style to my wardrobe when the weather cools down again. (It’s been hovering around 100 degrees here lately, so they are definitely not an option for a while!)

    • Hi Collette

      So good to meet you! Your mum is an unusual and interesting lady – I am so glad that we ‘met’ on Twitter. Reading this blog is subject to the disclaimer that you may find your shoe collection increasing in size. Shoe buying, like menstrual synchronicity, appears to be on the increase with CC readers. Gentlemen in particular should be warned to sit on a pair of well used football socks for protective purposes.

  9. You have officially killed any thought I had of going shoe vegan. But that probably is a good thing.
    Great cite to the Onion — it is America’s finest news source. Nice trench coat, by the way.

  10. Hi,

    Glad to see you like Australian made shoes!! Unfortunately manufacturing shoes in Australia is difficult. It costs us more. People like Amanda Starr cannot afford to have shoes made in Australia anymore. It is a pity that shoes more so than clothing is cheaper to buy made in China. Fashion unlike bygone era’s are a throw away commodity and as such lacks value. This situation will change but how many true crafsman run factories rather than the mass produced factories will remain? Goodluck anyway


    • Julie thank you so much for your comment! Australian shoe and clothing design is so innovative and it is such a shame that manufacturing costs have driven production overseas. I do hope that you tell Amanda how very much I miss her shoes when you speak to her next.

      Very best wishes

  11. Hi there..
    I am so sorry that I didn’t reply to your email in regards to the reason as why I am not doing shoes anymore … yes feels almost a lifetime ago that I hung up my handbag and shoe hat … after having two beautiful girls (Charlotte 7 and Maddie 5) I decided to get creative again and began working on my jewellery range .. & I must say I derive a lot more creative satisfaction from making by hand “one of a kind” couture necklaces than styling a shoe range … I know, I know shoes are heaven and soooooo necessary but you could almost say that a statement necklace has become almost the equivalent … what could beat wearing an item that no-one else has … for me it’s been a wonderful journey discovering treasures from the past and re-working them into couture necklaces … and a wonderful way to recycle and resist all the mass production from manufacturing offshore.
    However I will be doing a bag range in future (again couture”using vintage elements manufactured within Australia)…..

    Thank you so much for your interest and for linking my website!

    Amanda Starr
    P.S I loved those shoes and had a pair myself …

    • I am absolutely over the moon to hear from you Amanda! I still have a pair of your purple boots and a pair silk leopard print stilettos similar to these. The eBay search continues for more.

      Let me know when you launch your new range x

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