December 18, 2014

Spectator Sport


A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned here that one of the season’s big trends is the straight dress style of the 1920s. With nice timing for the fall release of the remake of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, we can expect to see a lot more of this silhouette through the year.

In keeping with clothing influenced by the Roaring Twenties, we’ll need the right footwear. One of the most popular (and enduring) styles from the era is the “spectator” or “correspondent” shoe. The famed English boot maker John Lobb claims to have created the first spectator shoe—essentially a wingtip with contrasting toe cap, heel quarter and upper—in the 1860s for the purpose of playing cricket. As cricketers’ garb was always white, the dark leather contrast areas made sense for a shoe that had to withstand the rigors of the sport. (What’s not clear is why a shoe designed for sport is called a “spectator”—or is that just me?)


In the jazz age, the shoe was known as the correspondent. Its rather flashy look apparently was favored by caddish characters who sometimes acted as correspondents in divorce cases. Allegedly. Whatever its origin, it’s a shoe that converts beautifully into versions for men and women; a classic that reinvents itself with a little twist every couple of decades. This time around, the twist is in the color combinations. Cole Haan (at Waterside Shops) has some of the most delightful, in both flat and heeled versions for women and in colors that’ll get you noticed every step of the way. Unusually, but most welcome, is that the men’s range has even more color options than the women’s, so break out of the (shoe) box and put some color in your stride. How spiffy!

Fashion expert Cheryl Lampard is the founder of Style Matters International, www.stylemattersinternational.com