by Helen Murray
Smoking slippers are hot, hot, hot this fall. The perfect hybrid of classic yet edgy, these quirky slip-ons are rapidly overtaking the ballet pump as the staple flat of choice. Spiked, beaded or be-jewelled there is quite literally something for everyone. Even celeb style gurus Olivia Palermo, Alexa Chung and Kate Moss are utterly infatuated. However, many of you are still hesitant to fully embrace this unlikely trend. For those who have yet to see the benefits in these bespoke beauties, here’s some gentle persuasion with a run-down of the best of the best and why smoking slippers are not just for relaxing in one’s library…
Much like the ever popular brogue, smoking slippers by design sit firmly within the masculine, unisex trend which has been huge this 2012. With this in mind, the ideal way to show them off is to combine with sharp tailoring like cropped trousers, or a boyfriend blazer (although the juxtaposition of an ultra-feminine mini dress can also look great – see Alexa Chung at the launch of the ‘British Designers Collective’ for inspiration). The true beauty of smoking flats lies in their versatility, chic enough for office wear and practical enough for Sunday morning errand running; they provide the ultimate balance of smart/casual.
Fall designers like Valentino and Christian Louboutin have this trend nailed with fierce looking studs and spikes featuring heavily in their collections. However, for those more skinted than minted fear not, there are a vast array of high street imitations out there which are deceptively expensive in appearance, with plush velvety fabrics and convincingly custom looking embellishments. Topshop in particular has really capitalised on this trend by creating laid back canvas versions in a range of muted shades featuring metal studs, and Zara has produced this elegant, luxe black suede pair with subtle gold accents. If statement shoes float your boat – Zara have also created this eccentric moustached pair. To avoid the ‘kooky’ look, pare down with neutral colours and clean lines (dark skinnies with a simple chunky knit would look great and not draw too much attention away from your fabulous footwear).
As animal prints and bold patterns are still big news for fall, the high street has made the most of this by creating an exciting menagerie of leopard, zebra, and snake prints to choose from, at stores like Schuh. These prints add a fun, light-hearted touch to what is essentially a very grown up style of shoe.
And if you’re still not entirely motivated to give your old faithful ballet pumps a rest and channel your inner Hugh Hefner, there are lots of great flats out there which combine the classic shape of a ballet pump with a subtle curve of a smoking slipper on the tongue. For slipper virgins, or just those looking for something a little more understated or demure, there also are many types free from embellishment, which really let the luxe fabrics and shapes do the talking (or rather, the walking). These suede Office pumps tick all the style boxes as mustard yellow is a dominant shade for this fall.