A daughter & me… two generations in ladylike shoes.
My love affair with this type of shoe began in my very early twenties... Straight out of college after a 6-month stint waitressing & living at my parents' house in Richmond, I took off for Europe with my brother Chris. We hopped around a few countries, but spent a full month in Paris at a friend's apartment.
All day, every day, we would leave our temporary home in the 9th arrondissement to walk the streets and roam from museum to café to museum. We didn't have anywhere to be, and so we had lots of time to just observe. The chicness of the French women there made a huge impression on me. Very simple clothes, maybe one accessory, and always a chic shoe. A shoe you could walk in, but one that still had a little heel... not a stiletto, but also not a tennis shoe. A shoe that was traditional and ageless... Chanel-esque. We'd walk past old women in their seventies, still clicking away on the cobblestones to the market to pick up their meat and bread. More often than not, paired with a straight, knee-length skirt, sensible cardigan, and Hermès scarf. Et voilà. And then, around the corner, we'd see a gorgeous twenty-something in the EXACT SAME getup. Perhaps the scarf was around her ponytail instead, and the sensible cardigan had nothing underneath it, and the skirt was above the knee and not below. But the shoes were the same. Perhaps the younger girl's were passed down from her mother... but if not, the streets were lined with tiny shoe shops all selling this same style of ladylike walking shoe. If they had a heel, it'd be sturdy (all the better to walk in) but many of them were flat.
And so began my love for what I would call (affectionately) an old-lady shoe... and actually, with this whole look. For me, being a little tomboy-practical, it was so easy! I wear this kind of shoe most often with jeans... the more worn the better. Worn this way, it's the attitude of "oh, yeah, I know this may look a little frumpy, but I will own that & make it cool." But when I do pair them with a pencil skirt, I just make sure it is tight enough to channel the insouciance of that young French woman (though my hair is moving towards the 70-year-old!) to make it a bit sexier. We just got a couple of slingback styles that are kind of perfect for this. I got a very chic taupe and black pair with a really good little cap on the toe. And my daughter, who is in her twenties, raced to get a pair of two-tone pointed flats that I will almost certainly be borrowing. See... multi-generational! (Though the buckle shoes absolutely fall into this category, too.)
I love these shoes. Trust me – your workday or everyday errands will be better in them (even if you're not grabbing a fresh baguette,) when you feel that you could have inherited them from a cool grandmother or might pass them down to a daughter someday. You need some, I promise...