The Investment Dresser: Espadrilles

Apparently, André Leon Talley, the voluminous contributing editor of American Vogue, and Diana Vreeland, the pin-thin former über editor-in-chief of American Vogue, once discussed espadrilles for three hours.

One probably needed to be there.

Even if you went into the darkest corners of the espadrille's socio- and geopolitical origins, that still leaves a lot of time for jute. And while there are many good things to say about jute - it's natural and biodegradable, for starters - I have my reservations.

SHOP: The Trendy 20 - flat espadrilles

Such as how jute beats up the soles of your feet. But maybe I'm being a bit Princess and the Pea here. Chic-erati of all sizes love an espadrille, from Picasso on. I wonder about their calluses but maybe, after a while, the espadrille functions like a loofah.

The problem for those of us with only two weeks' access to a hot beach rather than three months' cruising around the Med, is that our feet don't have time to acclimatise to all that rubbing.

Perhaps we should wear them in town more. The espadrille is a classic. It began life in northern Spain, gained traction with fishermen, looks terrific with floppy trousers and even more so with a long evening dress.

That said, the espadrille isn't the most flattering shoe since it moulds accommodatingly around every defect, whether your feet are pronate or buniony.

That's why they're so comfortable and why I'd opt for as thick a sole as possible. (Keep clothes long if your ankles aren't your favourite feature.)

Céline's animal-print espadrille has the right idea, but that price tag! The espadrille is a shoe of the people. Many a cheapie is now made in China.

Not so Penelope Chilvers' Spanish ones, which come in deckchair-striped canvas or soft leather with that all-important hand stitching on toes and backs.

The leather (currently half price in the sale) lasts forever and gets softer. They make sleek slippers. But you can buy espadrilles for a few pounds almost anywhere on holiday - better souvenirs than a tacky sarong that you'll never wear again


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