Shoes, sandals and socks, perhaps the most controversial trend in fashion

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During my formative years working at vogueI was given a very surprising fashion lesson by the very chic editors-in-chief.

It was that sandals, and even stilettos, worn with socks could be very chic.

It was not an opinion shared by the mother, who looked up in disgust if she saw anyone wearing socks and sandals, the “bird twitcher look” she hated and considered very “no -Aussie”, whatever that means.

But when I started to vogueI noticed that a publisher came back from the ready-to-wear fashion shows in Milan wearing short, very fine, black or dark gray ankle socks, with either a low-heeled pump or a chunky sandal.

It’s a very Italian look, worn by the ridiculously stylish Milanese women with their tanned legs, Marni dresses and Prada pleated skirts, often seen on Miuccia Prada herself.

Take that back to Australia and it’s like ‘what the hell were you thinking?’ Men in particular hate the look, at least the men I talk to.

It’s not just women who have mastered the sock and the sandal. Photo: Getty

It’s like when the beautiful Olivia Newton-John (blessed) in Fat went from Sandy in bobby-sox to Sandy in stilettos and we all saw the effect that had on Danny.

When it comes to socks and “health sandals” or Birkenstocks, it’s an even more controversial combination. I tentatively tried the chunky, cabled chunky sock and Birkie look at home, and wore them out in public for the first time last month.

I went to a cafe under my building, so technically speaking it was only about 90 steps from my front door, but of course I met my neighbor and she made a comment. I felt like maybe I was stepping into the well-crafted part of my life, Mother Earth, but she clearly wasn’t buying it.

Even supermodel Bella Hadid draws columns to seriously discuss the subject when she sports the look, which she does quite frequently, and she looks amazing every time.

socks
Bella Hadid removes socks and sandals every time. Photo: Getty

post-war chic

I’ve always been a big fan of that 1940s sock and wedge sandal look, post war Parisian look, or a white cropped sock with black happy shoes and wide leg silk pajamas – very Judy Garland, Katherine Hepburn happily bouncing around the house aspect. But only true fashion lovers get the benchmark.

To many people, you look like an idiot, or worse, like a sheep dressed as a lamb.

Socks
Katherine Hepburn’s 1940s style epitomizes the playful sock and sandal. Photo: Getty

Dolce and Gabbana created the most fabulous collection of navy silk and white polka dot short pajamas many years ago with wedge sandals and socks, and I lost my mind. But if I had worn the look in Sydney, that’s what people would have assumed.

I could only afford the pajama pants anyway, so I wore them with a white shirt and sandals, but damn it, I wanted to wear the socks too. However, I recently celebrated a significant birthday and the only gift I gave myself was permission to wear absolutely anything I wanted, including socks and sandals. But I don’t think the pajama pants fit me yet.

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