Dressing from the shoes up is an adage that fashion likes to trot out from time to time. And, tellingly, shoes provide everything you need to know about where fashion is at any given moment. Fashion editors attending the latest shows weren’t in the regulation heels that anyone who has seen The Devil Wears Prada might expect. Instead, flats prevailed. The message? Suffering for your style is out. Comfort is in.
Forget the high heels and strappy dress that has ruled Saturday-night style for the past decade. Instead, trainers, wide mannish trousers, sweatshirts and pool slides are being pushed hard as the unlikely wardrobe staples of the spring wardrobe. The latest street style trend, Normcore, takes it to an extreme: it’s all no-label, not-skinny jeans, “Dad trainers” and a grey marl sweatshirt. Think the kind of clothes you pull on when hungover, in search of breakfast.
Accordingly, high fashion moved to the flipside. As the noughties reached double figures, “off duty” was style’s favourite buzzword and the clothes celebrities wore on coffee runs – rather than the dressing-up box of the red carpet – were under the microscope. The seeds for comfort dressing began to take hold. “I’d love to think this shift was that women have become more feminist and not so concerned about what men think of them,” says Shepherdson, “but I think it’s more cyclical than that. You need to have the opposite in fashion.”