style police

These shoes were made for walking

Wear girlie kitten heels with the season's pedal pushers? It's just a little too Denise van Outen. That's why flatties are back after all this time. Grown-ups are thinking sandals and loafers

STYLE POLICE doesn't like to gloat but look at you all. Pedal pushers are go. They are the people's choice for Summer 98. The pedal pusher demands a serious rethink on shoes. Style Police is thinking flat.

Kitten heels, especially strappies, are still key because we know some women still want a lift. But you only have to look at "Dolly" Denise van Outen in denim pedals and kitten heels to see the danger. Pedals are quite a girlie garment and heels only accentuate the teetering teenage Lolita look. Flatties, however, are grounded and grown-up.

It's a pretty safe bet that sandals will be major for high summer. Let's start with the glory that is Clarks's new sandal. They are plain suede bands in fuscia, aqua, camel, yellow and navy. Simple and pounds 17 a pair. Last summer, Style Police went all Anne Robinson about the Converse suede sandal. I think we called it a "booby trap" and still have the scars to prove it. Well, the design fault has been rectified and the colour range has broadened to include the most fabulous baby blue suede one-band backless sandal (pounds 29.99).

Designers have sensibly looked to cultures who traditionally wear slippers for their inspiration. So we're on the road to Tokyo for this season's shoes. The high street has sensibly copied them to perfection. Office have a pair of red velvet geisha sandals for pounds 30. Paul Smith's Moroccan- style embroidered mesh backless slipper weighs in at a remarkable pounds 20.

The thong sandal, also known as the flip-flop, can be picked up for under a tenner anywhere.The sleekest thong sandal, in black patent leather, is by Gucci (pounds 95). The squared-off toe and heel nod to Japanese influence but don't look too Teahouse of the August Moon.

You know those towelling slippers we all half-inch from hotels? Hush Puppies have designed a homage to them in white towelling for pounds 29.99 with the HP logo. And the cool quota of HP versus a hotel logo? I suppose it all depends on which hotels you pilfer from.

Still, you've got to hand it to Hush Puppies for their Lounge label: a hymn to Miami poolside kitsch. They lead the field with the great suede loafer in slate blue or bright pink plum (pounds 49.99, codename Tyler).

Loafers are infinitely safer until high summer. Joseph's satin loafer (pounds 169) with an elasticated back panel are to die; albeit a bit Red Shoes ballerina. But if you want the absolute knock-out label for this season then it has to be JP Tod's. Dickins & Jones gave JP Tod's a window last month for delectable pastel patent loafers. Then there's the Wallpaper magazine choice: JP Tod's satin mules for pounds 175. Do you need any more convincing?

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