With this nonstop, foul London weather about, one finds great happiness in the little things like wearing a lighter jacket, going out sans scarf, or having murky days without a drop of rain. For me, however, true joy comes on the first, proper day I can venture out in a pair of open shoes without feeling the nip of cold air about my feet.
To that end, I've been finally able to go about my affairs in these leather mules and slides from the understated Australian label, St. Agni.
In a classic and comfortable way, they remind me of home, my original home on Trinidad & Tobago, that is. And they especially remind me of my aunt, a seamstress, who plies her trade from a rather impressive 'workshop' outfitted with all manners of machinery, garment forms, and cloth rolls in the back room of her house that sat next to my father's place.
On any given day, I could peer into her workshop and see her attend to her regulars, the ladies who came for their 'going out clothes,' shift dresses, and semi-tailored wear. (My late grandmother would say that my aunt - who was actually her niece and my father's first cousin - sewed much better before she "got too damn fancy" and went to New York on a design course. In truth, what my grandmother should have said was that my aunt's specialization in precise tailoring didn't mesh well with her penchant for dramatic, flowing gowns finished with an excess of dripping, flashy adornment. But I digress...)
She essentially worked from home, but my aunt would dress up formally for each day, and this included:
Roller set and pinned hair.
A touch of lipstick and a light mist of perfume with a few gold pieces of jewelery about her person.
A neat column dress, sometimes with capped sleeves, but always cut at the calf.
A thin leather belt to cinch her waist and call attention to her formidable bust line.
A neat tank watch with leather or metal straps on the wrist.
And always, the tiniest pair of leather slides that announced her movements with the unmistakable clack-clack of heeled authority.
I find myself loosely following suit in St. Agni's Miyo slides; my aunt inexplicably wore hers to drive a stick around Port-of-Spain, to the occasional midday Mass at church, to walk down the Western main road to the St. James market, to the bank, and even to work the presser feet on her sewing machines. Somehow, they never slipped off...
I've only managed the errands bit and trips to the French Riviera in my own pair, but I can appreciate the allure of such versatile, essential wear. Particularly for those of us whose schedules require us to straddle home, work, family life, personal time, colleagues, projects, appointments, travel and the like, in the course of an average day.