Wednesday, 17 February 2010

My favourite shoe

In a wardrobe littered with vintage heels, peep-toed courts, platforms and ballet flats, my Converse All-Stars stick out by a mile. Dirty, holey and on the brink of death, they’re the scruffiest shoes I own – and the ones I love the most. I remember the first pair I ever brought. Growing up on a farm I was desperately uncool as a kid – dungarees, woolly ‘animal scene’ jumpers and matching t-shirts and leggings being the sum of my wardrobe. But that soon changed (thank GOD).

As an angst-ridden teenager of the 1990’s, I idolised grunge bands like Nirvana and Incubus and hankered after their wardrobe of dishevelled jeans, plaid shirts and, of course, the ubiquitous All-Star trainer. Chuck Taylor may have given it superstar status way back in 1917 – before it rose to cooler than thou fame again in the rockability 1950’s and punk era of the 1970’s – but to me, as the shoe of my youth, those moody days of the late nineties was where my love affair started. When I slipped my feet into my very first pair – black high tops with gleaming white laces – they felt so amazing I practically bounced on paving stones made of clouds all the way home. They were comfy, lightweight, and without doubt, the coolest things I owned.

All-Stars have been a barometer of happy memories throughout my life. First gigs, first dates, first days at college... I even fell in love with my boyfriend over a pair. But perhaps one of the greatest things about them is their versatility. Anyone can own a pair of Converse All-Stars. They transcend age, gender and wealth, and there’s not one snoot of snobbery about wearing this sports trainer as a shoe in its own right – unlike sister athletic brands of say Adidas or Nike. They’re in a league of their own and their style potential is boundless. Equally great teamed with a floral tea dress and some pop socks than a lumberjack shirt and skinny jeans, they’re the perfect finishing touch to an outfit come summer, winter, rain or shine. You could even go all Florence Welch and team yours with a pair of glittery gold hot pants and a lace bolero.

And there are just so many styles to choose from you’ll never get stuck in a fashion rut. A never-ending rainbow of candyfloss pink, metallic gold, mint green, sunshine yellow, stripes, stars, spots – even ones emblazoned with colourful cartoons. Converse All-Stars; they’re their very own walk of fame.

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