Sloane Crosley: 'My suede sandals make a mockery of practicality'

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The Independent Online

There are two periods of time during the year – the first weeks of spring being one, early autumn being the other – when all of one's limited-edition clothing can come out of the closet and play.

When I say "limited edition", I do not mean an expensive one-of-a-kind dress or some Louis Vuitton toothbrush holder designed by Banksy. I mean the highly specific seasonal purchases so wildly inconvenient, you can almost hear the designers laughing as they sketch out fleece bikinis and fingerless gloves.

I am the proud owner of a pair of white linen, closed-toed pumps and a pair of strappy sandals made of suede. You heard me: suede. These do not scream "practicality" so much as mock it. Next to the size printed on the box or further down on the "dry-clean only" tags should be a series of dates indicating the ideal wearability for these items: these items have life-spans similar to that of a pot of yogurt.

But to free these fashionable treasures from their boxes and drawers and under-the-bed storage bins is an act that signifies the start of spring. Scrubbing the floors, buying flowers and opening every window in the house doesn't have quite the same psychological impact as putting on a sweater so light and so sleeveless that it says "one stiff breeze and you'll be underdressed".

There is a hubris to the wardrobe of this time, an unreasonable faith that its owners will wake up one day and remember what it's like to wear colour.

Throughout most of the year, we dress like we feel. In spring, we tend to let the clothing itself take the first step – until we realise it's near-impossible to wear a straw hat and be in a pissy mood. This is not to say that things can't go wrong on the textile front in spring – consider mud, rain, people at work functions who gesticulate irresponsibly while holding full glasses of red wine – but this is the risk you took, removing a cream-coloured linen dress from the back of the closet to begin with. It was created expressly for the totally impractical and eminently unrealistic gamble of a fresh start.

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello)