“Abandon shoes, all ye who enter here.” – National Post
Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up. The subject of “peace on earth, goodwill to (wo)man” seems to no longer be a hot topic for this time of year. The new hot topic? Whether you should leave your shoes on or take them off when you enter a private home for holiday parties. About a week ago, the National Post devoted the front page to the subject plus half a page article within the pages of its arts, style & design, books, and food & drink pages.
It seems people have very strong opinions about the topic. In my opinion, sock and stocking feet are none too stylish, but I am letting the cat out the bag a little too soon. Suffice to say, I have a solution that will enlighten the masses about this seemingly very controversial question–but first, a few “experts” weigh in the subject.
Danielle Perry, an intrepid reporter at the National Post asked seven “experts” their opinion. Bernadette Morra, an editor at Fashion magazine said she did not mind if people left their shoes on, but noted she did not have white carpeting. Karen Kwinter from Canadian Living magazine put the responsibility squarely on the visitor’s shoulders. She said they should come prepared to leave wet footwear at the door, and bring a pair of shoes to wear inside.
Ryan Oakley, who is called an “avid sartorialist” in the article said that “guest should leave their shoes on. Any decent party will involve a lot of spilled drinks, passed out people, and possibly, a flood. If you’re worried about a bit of slush on the carpet, you’re probably going to react badly when your brother-in-law falls through the coffee table.” I tried to look sartorialist up in my thesaurus and dictionary, but came up with nothing. Sartorial though, relates to “the tailoring of clothing in general”, so we can assume the guy is a fashionista. A fashionista who goes to parties I have not been to since I was in university— but I get his point—leaving your shoes on can be a matter of survival.
Stylist, Samantha Pynn (are we supposed to know these people?) says that shoes must stay on as they “are the most important part of an outfit.” She says, “May as well wear my pajamas if I have to take my shoes off.” Noreen Flanagan from Elle Canada says that Christmas is “the one time of year when everyone prefers a “shoes-off”. But she says this takes some preparation, and suggests that one wear cashmere socks
Now, I want you to guess what the opinion of Ron White, the creative director of Ron White Shoes had to say. Predictably he fell on the “wear shoes in the house” side of the controversy. He agrees with Pynn that “shoes make the outfit.” He would never ask guests to take off their shoes—as he says it is rude and tacky. He believes it would be the same as asking someone to take “their outfit off as you welcome them into your home.”
Arren Williams of The Bay made a lot of sense. Williams said, “If you’re hosting a swish affair and expecting everyone to turn up in their finest, then the shoes stay on.” He or she ( I cannot tell from the first name if Arren is male or female) said that there is “honestly nothing sadder than seeing an artfully coiffed and maquillage’d guest padding around in stocking feet while attempting to still carry off a newly purchased cocktail dress with aplomb.” (Yes, I had to look up maquillage’d too– it means “made up”).
So what is my solution? First my opinion. I do not ask people to take their shoes off at the door—I figure they can decide for themselves how comfortable they are (and how dirty their shoes are). In fact, sometimes I encourage people to keep their shoes on if I am not expecting them and the dust tumbleweeds are so excessive you cannot even find the dust bunnies. But I agree, many times shoes help make the outfit, and really how dignified is it for a man in a lovely suit to be expected to pad around in his executive style socks? My solution is old fashioned. Shoe rubbers for men. And ladies, remember those little plastic boots that used to go on over your shoes, that folded over at the ankle and you did up the button with a little elastic loop? They were ugly, and as a kid I was made to wear them. But they did the trick.
Now, I will not bet using my own solution—I will either wear regular boots to the house and put on a pair of shoes I have brought for a formal occasion, or don cute little slippers if it is a casual. To be honest, I am comfortable wearing just my cashmereless socks when I have jeans on—but I always check to make sure there are no holes. That would just be embarrassing.
Next week: my solution to solving the whole “Peace On Earth” issue, now that we have taken care of the “shoes on, shoes off” conundrum.