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Smoking Slippers, Yea or Nay? | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Smoking Slippers, Yea or Nay?

I’m just not sure about this whole smoking slipper trend.

(These are from Ralph Lauren. Sort of a “I stole the altar hangings from a church during Lent” look about them but in a nice way. Click image for link)

I actually quite like smoking slippers as a species for private use.

I even have a custom pair with my initials and Latin family motto and everything. Got ’em in London seven or eight years ago when I first girlishly dabbled in bespoke footwear.

I’d pinched my pennies hard and the brutal exchange rate at the time –2:1 dollars to pounds– pinched them harder so I’d juuuust about managed to afford two pair of whipsnake d’Orsays plus a cheap seat to Equus back when people cared about Daniel Radcliffe’s uh, hufflepuff (and, from what I remember of the show, well before he learned the elusive yet powerful manscaping spell.)

The shoemaker was running some promotion where the third pair was 50% off and the smoking slippers were the only kicks I could afford and still pack both of my kidneys on the long flight home (my liver I left somewhere north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.)

It’s just…I mean…do they feel a little  Let Them Eat Cake right now, given the current extreme levels of social and political divisiveness, in a way that’s just slightly different from regular “status” shoes to anyone else?

Like a little too eager to harken back to the good old days of Britain when we imagine everyone acted just like characters from an Oscar Wilde play and everything was great and too, too refined provided you were white, male and had scads of money (you know, as opposed to the times in history where being a rich white guy has been such a disadvantage) It just strikes me as tone deaf.

Is it me? It’s probably just me.

It’s like the old relative you know and love, the one who slipped you twenties in your birthday card when everyone else gave you two freshly-ironed dollar bills, but is, well, kinda racist.

It’s like you’ve brought your new boyfriend to meet the family for dinner and everything’s fine and all of a sudden your beloved great uncle says “You know what I like about Obama?” and you just sit there praying to God harder than you’ve ever prayed for anything that didn’t involve peeing on a stick that the big reveal won’t involve the phrase “so well-spoken.”

But of course it does, and it just hangs in the air above the decorative fish platter like this giant awkward thing (not unlike the decorative fish platter itself) until someone changes the subject or you commit ritual suicide with a bread knife

It probably doesn’t matter. In a few months cheap and cheerful versions of the traditionally British social signifiers will flood the market and with dilution of design will come dilution of the message, kind of like wearing delicate little slippers once either meant you were posh (in the UK) or quite possibly a prostitute (in Louisiana) I don’t know.

Am I overthinking this? Put it in the comments.


11 Responses to “Smoking Slippers, Yea or Nay?”

  1. Wendy September 25, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Methinks thou art overthinking it. Me, I’m just glad there’s going to be a different style of flat than the ballerina, which are invariably cut too low for me.

  2. Jane2 September 25, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I don’t think of this shoe style as class-based at all…I jusst know that I won’t be wearing shoes with Ralph Lauren’s initials emblazoned upon them. I do like the fact that the hell is more substantial than ballerina flats.

  3. os September 25, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    You are quite right, of course, about this latest fashion, privilege, and the times we are in, (especially the Ralph Lauren example you chose) but I tend to agree with Manolo’s post on the lounge loafers some weeks (or perhaps months?) ago, when he joked about the comfortable shoe being a reprieve from the trend to wear super-high, super-narrow “torture” heels. So I’m on board with this one!
    Congrats, Miss Plumcake, on getting Jane2 to comment on Hell!
    More stories about bespoke shoes, please!

  4. The formerly shoe-obsessed Wayne September 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    I never got the concept of a smoking slipper; I also never got the concept of a smoking jacket…even when Jackie Gleason used to wear them on his Saturday night TV show.

  5. daisyj September 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    For me, the issue is less about the class implications than it is with wearing indoor shoes outside– it looks like you stepped out to get the paper and somehow got lost on the way.

  6. Jezebella September 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    I am emphatically in favor of anything that brings more purple velvet to the shoe stores.

  7. Bronwyn September 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    They are slippers, right? You wear them in the house?

  8. Bronwyn September 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Ah, Google tells me not. No, I think they’re horrible. Slippers are slippers. Inside my own house, and even then I don’t like these ones.

  9. Lisa in SoCal September 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Overthinking, but it was funny so I say keep it up. :)

  10. kuri September 26, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    I quite agree with you.

    And, I’m personally not a fan of wearing slippers outside the house.

  11. Fausta September 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Overthinking, yes.

    Smoking slippers looked good on Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. In real life, Audrey wore Tod’s loafers, which are more attractive.