In or Out of Fashion

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How do you know if something is in or out of fashion?
20 year old shoes

How do you know if your shoes will stay in or go out of fashion quickly?

Today I wore these shoes.  They’re the height of fashion now aren’t they.  Look around, and you’ll see shoes like this in lots of fashion spreads.  These shoes are 20 years old.  That’s right, I bought them in 1991 (from Midas).  I’ve had them resoled once in this time.

When people ask me if garments come back into fashion (as in, should I keep this because one day it will be in fashion again) I generally advise against it, unless it’s a truly amazing garment.  But I take a different view with shoes as shoe fashions do come around more quickly than clothes.  If a shoe is well made and cared for, it can last and be in style for decades, as you can see with these.  They spent 5-8 years in a box in the garage, but have been back out for the past couple of years now.

How do you buy shoes that will stay in fashion longer or will come back more quickly into fashion?  My advice is to look for shoes that have elegance about them, but nothing too extreme.

  • So a slimmer or more elegant heel, stay away from chunky or clunky if you want longevity.
  • A neither very round nor pointed toe, almond is perennially classic.
  • Good quality materials and construction will also help them last longer.  I’ve danced all night in these shoes more times than I can remember, yet because they were well made, they’ve lasted the distance.

I recently went and saw an exhibition of clothing at the National Gallery of Victoria, there were shoes there from the 1920s that looked like they could be sold today in an exclusive boutique.

I find that shoes really withstand fashion trends far more easily than clothes, and are such an important part of any outfit, it’s good to invest in great shoes that will last.

How old are your oldest pair of shoes that are still in fashion?

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13 Comments

  • Your shoes DO look quite current, but I find that most shoes date VERY quickly. I was just at a second-hand store today, and all the shoes there looked extremely outdated.

    It's hard to know what will withstand the test of time and what will flop. All we can do is enjoy our clothes and wear 'em to death! =)

    Thanks for having such a fun blog.

  • What do you think about a low-heeled pump with a dramatically squared-off toe? I bought them for a wedding years ago, then forgot about them basically. Yesterday I pulled them out and wore them. They are in perfect condition, but I wonder about their squared-toe-ness.

  • My shoes are always style-free and I wear them until they're too old to look decent: naot or birkenstock sandals, merrell hiking shoes and boots, clarks or similarly comfortable and sturdy shoes for every day. Oh and espadrilles for summer! My dress-up pair is from naturalizer, bought around 10 years ago – i guess the almond nose shape and medium heel makes it look good at any time, like you said.

    – tall & slim anon

  • I'm with rebecca – even if your shoes look current, I think shoes date like clothes do, and when they come back in style they often look a little different. Since I walk a lot, I wear most of my shoes out before they date, only going out shoes survive, and none of them have come back in style yet 🙁

  • Those shoes look great! I am the 'queen' of clean out and I don't have anything 20 years old in my closet. Too bad for me!

  • Great shoes! I have a pair of brown shoes that look almost exactly like this but without the laces (low booties, I've called them) and they never seem to be "out." I've worn them about 18 years.

  • How do u accesorise but still look like your self i know this is off the topic of the picture and everything

    • It’s to do with your personality – check out the Accessories button at the top of the page -plenty of info there to give you some ideas.

  • I don’t have any shoes that rate more than 5-6 years, but I have a dress that is nearly 20 years old. It is a black sheath from the Gap and I cannot think of a single year since I bought it in 1998 that it would have been out of style. I paid $100 for it back then and it was well worth it. It is a perfect classic.

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