While some fashion obsessions can be fleeting (doorknob shoulders) or fickle (It-bags), our love affair with shoes shows no sign of fading. It's hardly surprising, really, seeing as they can make the wearer look taller and thinner; a pair of four-inch heels can be as effective as hours in the gym.
So the opening of Selfridges' new shoe galleries will be exciting news indeed for anyone with the merest hint of a shoe fetish. Designed by architect Jamie Fobert, the floor space is greater than the turbine hall at Tate Modern and its contents are showcased as works of art for the feet. Brands are displaying their shoes in luxurious and individual mini boutiques; Christian Louboutin's has an eclectic feel, while Prada's is an elegant octagonal space surrounded by cream corrugated-leather wall panels. Topshop has its first dedicated shoe shop there and other affordable labels include French dance brand Repetto and Kurt Geiger. With more than 4,000 shoes on display, however, trying to decide which pairs match this season's key trends best could be overwhelming. Selfridges' personal shopper Kirsty Attwood has the lowdown on which shoes will make – not break – an outfit.
The mid-calf length – as seen at Louis Vuitton – can be difficult to wear because it cuts the leg off, so you need to extend it with the right shoe. I would recommend keeping the foot clear and the toes slightly tapered. This LK Bennett mid-heel is perfect, and the almond toe is more comfortable than a sharp point. Prada's pointy shoes with a bow would also pull this look together by elongating the length of the foot to compensate for the width of the skirt – and it comes in two heel heights. The kitten heel is
fabulously on-trend this season, as is the stiletto, and the pointy court just keeps coming back because of the elegant line it creates. It's a true classic.
Pink ‘Selina’ courts, £170, LK Bennett;
Red 'Escarpin' bow shoes, £415,
Isabel Marant; check flare skirt, £39.99, Zara, 020 7534 9500
Cropped Trousers or Jeans
From J Brand's Gigis to tailored trousers, these were a popular choice at London Fashion Week, and they create a chance to show off a statement shoe. You can really experiment; these Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, which are exclusive to Selfridges, are perfect. Don't wear anything higher than a shoe-boot as it will argue with the hem of the trousers – and the point of cropped trousers is to show off the ankle. Shoes with a strap at the base of the ankle are more flattering as the strap should be away from the crop. A sandal also offers a feminine edge to what could otherwise be a masculine look, while a high heel will extend the leg, which can be truncated by a short trouser. To take the look from day to evening, Louboutins will always work.
Multi- coloured sandals, £1,030, Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte
Bow sandals, £395, Prada
Trousers, £38, Oasis, 01865 881986
The Lace Cocktail Dress
Lace is a key trend this season, as seen at Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana, but with the party season on its way it's important to put as much thought into your shoes as the dress. Lots of people assume that you must pair a coloured dress with plain black or silver shoes, but I don't think that is true at all. You can wear lace shoes with a lace dress, for example, and I like mixing different textures.
'Lady Comet' courts, £1,635, Christian Louboutin
Mesh boots, £1,095, Jimmy Choo
Lace mini dress, £49.50, Marks and Spencer, Limited Collection, 0845 302 1234
Wide Leg Trousers
I would aim to wear a heel with these trousers; particularly a chunky style. The Balenciaga block colour loafer is exclusive to us in this colourway, and the stack heel looks great with wide-leg trousers – particularly in camel, as they incorporate some of that shade – and is quite easy to walk in. They might be partially hidden by the hem of the trousers, but when you sit down you'll be able to see them. To keep this look really sleek it's important to get trousers tailored to fit with the height of your shoes, so that they fall about about a centimetre from the ground. Work out in advance which shoes you will wear when you get them tailored. If you can pull off head-to-toe camel with a coloured shoe it is an amazing look.
Heeled loafer, £1,750, Balenciaga
'Dolly' Sandals, £510, Opening Ceremony by Robert Clergerie
Trousers, £50, Next, 0844 8448 939
Minimal Shift Dress
These Dior ankle boots are good for curvy calves because they come in at the ankle to focus attention on them. I wouldn't cover up your ankles if you have thick legs. You could also make any old shift look modern with shoes like these. When winter really kicks in, I would go for a higher ankle boot, and look for buckles and shearling which are key trends this season. If you want a more conservative look, a toned-down ankle boot with a fine high heel would work well.
'All Saints' wedges, £295, Alia
Buckled boots, £860, Dior
Wool dress, £100, Cos, www.cosstores.com
The Maxi Dress
I would avoid anything too prissy with a maxi; a wedge ankle boot with a gothic edge would look great, especially if you aren't too tall. They add height but they're still comfortable.
Turquoise wedge, £80, River Island
Lace-up boot, £335, Opening Ceremony
Maxi dress, £45, Warehouse, 0845 122 2251