A go-to glamour shoe for summer dresses and skirts, which also works a mean cropped-trouser look. Less visually heavy than a full court shoe, a slingback is a defining Sixties shape with a hint of Motown’s Diana Ross, and is particularly great for making even large feet look dainty in low heels. Hence it being a style favourite for very tall women; frequently worn by Diana Princess of Wales and much loved in bright colours by Michelle Obama. (And PS: a closed toe means you can still wear tights. Sorry to mention. But there it is).
Jackie Kennedy was frequently seen in what appeared to be completely flat shoes and yet the look was altogether more elegant than today’s ballerina flats. The Sixties style was a fully shaped shoe with a low ¾” block heel (even men’s flat shoes have a heel, much more comfortable than completely flat). A square toe delivers more gravitas and balance than a round toe, making this style of flat shoe credible for smartwear with suits or trousers.
A block heel transforms a sandal from beach wear to a style statement. More stable than a kitten heel, it is also kinder to the proportions of the leg, and hides any less-than-perfect heels early in the season. An enclosed heel enables the sandals to be worn with full length linen trousers without risking them tucking in between the shoe and the wearer’s heel.
Many girlfriends talk of the lack of stylish alternatives to boots, for skirts and dresses. A dull court shoe can ruin an entire outfit. The answer is subtle embellishment without being fussy. Sixties styles included Pilgrim buckles, buttons and straps, or folded fringing - often in the same colour as the main shoe, balanced by a squarer toe and a block heel. Don’t be afraid of lustre and colour, patents and exotics or even metallics – though reconsider the role and colour of tights (if an exact shoe match cannot be found, dark grey opaque is often a more pleasing bridge than black)
The holy grail seems to be a high instep and (ahem) a longish tongue. Nothing trashes a full-length trouser ensemble quite like an unintentional two inches of pop-sock making ‘jazz hands’ of your feet. The shoe needs to continue the visual line of the trouser leg to elongate the leg, with a squarish toe providing a more favourable comparison to the width of your legs than a narrow pointy toe. Style icons from Anita Pallenberg to Raquel Welsh worked this look with 1.5” block heels but it can stretch to an elegant 2.5” and still be comfortable.
Italian styling and sumptuous leathers transport this flattish shoe into an aspirational jet set look, seen in the Sixties on Ursula Andress amongst others. As with the higher heeled trouser shoe, the loafer achieves elegance with trousers through a higher instep and tongue, thereby concealing too much sock or foot. Opt for a slightly narrower square toe and a low block heel for an elegant Italian tailored look
To be continued...