Youre never too old to step into a blue suede shoe – telegraph
The headmaster of the school I attended equated the wearing of suede shoes – of any hue – with drug-taking and deemed it worthy of detention. This may well be behind my fear that the country is going to the dogs because its ruling classes have ditched their Oxford brogues.
I have always seen blue suede shoes as the cigarillos of the footwear world – a louche, straggly haired, Peter Stringfellow of a shoe, worn by people who say “groovy” to impress the pretty girl who serves them their flat white of a morning.
But I am assured that blue suede is very much of the moment. Not just among middle-aged men trying to make a statement, but across the generations and political divide, too.
Alastair Campbell owns two pairs of “powder blue” two-tone numbers (though when I challenge him on this detail, he insists that his shoes are “grey” – possibly for fear that blue suede shoes are this season’s red trousers: an item of clothing that mortifyingly brands you toffish and hearty).
He has no need to worry. “Blue suede is popular across the board,” says Nick Keyte, head of menswear buying at John Lewis, where sales of blue suede shoes are up 17 per cent this month compared with last year.
“Suede takes colour very well, from electric blue all the way to dusty, pastel blues. A similar colour in leather would be a bit in-your-face, but it works really well in suede.”
Selfridges says that it has increased its stock of blue suede shoes by 40 per cent this autumn, so confident is the retailer that this will be the look of the season. Sean Donnelly, a shoe buyer at the department store, says: “They appeal to the type of man not necessarily looking to make a big statement with his sartorial choices, but who nevertheless has a distinctive sense of style and wants something unconventional.”
Robert Johnston, associate editor at GQ, welcomes the trend for colourful shoes. “It is absurd that you should only wear brown or black shoes. You would never wear just a brown or black tie, so why can’t you have colourful shoes? After all, if the Pope wears red shoes, I don’t see why we can’t.”
His favourite is a pair of blue, pigskin ones by O’Keeffe. “I wear them with a blue suit. Why not?”
The final proof that they have become respectable comes from Tricker’s, London’s smartest shoe shop, around the corner from St James’s Palace and with a royal warrant above the door.
“We don’t just have blue, we have orange and red and even a pair of red-white-and-blue brogues,” says Clive Jones, the assistant manager. He admits that they appeal to a slightly older customer “because it is a confidence thing, and confidence comes with age. And I dare say it is a good deal cheaper than a red Ferrari.”