Be shoe-tastic in autumn
At what point did shoes move from being merely an accessory - albeit a crucial one in making your clothes work or not work - to being a style statement on the same elevated level as an It bag (and approaching similar price levels).
Indeed, footwear has become so vital that the front row pictures during New York and London fashion weeks have shifted their focus from the clothing that celebs and fashionistas had on their backs and which handbag they were carrying, to what they were wearing on their feet.
And what they were slipping their tippy-toes into, predictably, were strappy, bondage numbers from Burberry, the YSL Tribtoo court (seen in black and cobalt), Louboutin's studded ankle boot (in fact, almost anything by Louboutin), and the cult Swedish brand Acne.
What these shoes, ankle boots and shoe-boots all had in common was either a vertiginous heel, or a towering platform - sometimes both. Because their wearers know that in order to look fabulous rather than frumpy in a below-the-knee pencil skirt, a midi skirt or a pair of Marc Jacobs-inspired wide-leg trousers, and in order for their legs to look longer and leaner, it is essential to rock a pair of very high, very edgy shoes/ankle boots/shoe boots.
And while this is fine if you have a limo purring at the kerb, it is not so fine if you are a woman who lives in the real world, has to do actual walking and is, therefore, irresistibly drawn to her 17th pair of ballerinas.
So here lies the dilemma: how do you reconcile the need for a bit of a heel (actually quite a lot of heel for some of autumn's key looks), with the need to walk, occasionally run, and possibly even negotiate the London Underground or the cobblestoned streets of Manchester's Northern Quarter?
The answers are: a wedge, block heels, stack heels, medium-heel-plus-platform or a kitten heel with attitude, all of which we have found for you. Alternatively, you could choose a mannish brogue or, even newer, a Chelsea boot. I concede the last two tend to be flat, but both are sufficiently edgy to ensure that most autumn buys (pencil skirt excepted) won't look frumpy.
The new block and stack heels seem to reconcile the diametrically opposed objectives of comfort and height. Tabitha Simmons and Marc Jacobs have done them, as has Topshop. There are also lots of wedge heels around this season, which also give you height and the ability to walk. And for stiletto addicts, we have those, too.