It’s an obsession that started early. I remember one early trip to get my feet measured vividly….heading down to the basement of the Wheeler Gate store in Nottingham, there being a tv in the wall with a brightly coloured surround, dancing away to the Locomotion by Kylie Minogue while my mum tried to get me to sit down so I could have my feet measured.
There is a very good reason to why I’m so attached to Clarks as a brand….not just because of the childhood nostalgia that I intend to wax lyrical upon, but also because of the fact I’ve always had very broad feet which has meant as both a child and an adult I’ve struggled to get shoes to fit.
For quite some time, I couldn’t get my feet in a pair of the hallowed Magic Steps shoes…even nowadays, I have to find the right sort of cut in most shoes, i.e not a narrow cut, although Clarks is one of a couple of places that I’ve much more of a chance than anywhere else. But one day, that day when I danced around like a loon, I sat down, had my foot measured via that tap measure on a plastic board contraption they bring out, and then the sales assistant went to go get the styles they had. Out came the usual Clarks main line styles….practical looking,durable…..and one solitary box clearly containing one of those wonderous pairs of Magic Steps….
On they went to my foot, before any other pair was tried on, and for once rather than feeling like the Ugly Stepsister, I felt like Cinderella. The magic shoe fitted, perfectly in my eyes, probably not enough room for her liking in my mum’s, but they came home with me nonetheless….
I cherished those shoes so much….I was the generation that had the key in a plastic bubble in the sole of my shoe, and I was constantly checking it to clean it so you could see the key inside….which was probably a bit risky given that I’ve always been clumsy. I even wore them with my customised She-Ra costume when I went as a trapeze artist to a circus themed birthday party….they totally didn’t go, but running around their tree-lined garden, I felt like I was in my own version of the now cult advert.
They looked a little similar to this picture that I managed to find on the internet…
Oh, and here’s the still wonderful advert….
Like almost every other young girl, I wasnt allowed white ones like in the advert….I’d have gotten them too dirty!!
Anyway, I fell slightly out of love with Clarks in my teens as I ended up having the same style of school shoe for about three years running because my feet were so big by this point (I’ve got size 8, nearly 8 and half feet). The days since the Magic Steps were long since gone, and it had become a brand that was all about practicality and functionality, rather than prettiness.
I dabbled with pretty much every shoe brand going, in my quest to find those that fit, and generally speaking ended up wearing Evans, Asda, Office, Converse, Topshop amongst others….but I really didn’t ever get that excitement of buying shoes in quite the same way….well, apart from when going to Office….those are some nice shoooes!
During this time I wasnt completely without Clarks in my life….for about four or so years, we holidayed down South, and on the way home we would stop off at Clarks Village in Street….I loved that place, even if it didn’t provide me with any shoes….its got this kind of sepia tint to it in my memory….am probably remembering it different to how it actually was or now is…
But about four or so years ago I fell back in love with Clarks all over again. I happened to go to East Midlands Designer Outlet, as its now known although I always refer to it as McArthur Glen. They’ve got a Clarks Factory Shop there, and I happened upon a pair of black leather bow shoes, which fitted me perfectly and were ridiculously comfortable….during the time I owned them, I wore other heeled shoes, but these were always the ones I pulled out of the wardrobe if I knew it was going to be a hetic night.
They went to shoe heaven, unfortunately when I wore out the heels. But then, I went again to the same place and what did I find? The following season from the first pair’s patent sister shoes! I am currently wearing them to death….so far they were on my feet in the interview that got me my current job, and I’m hoping many more lucky things will happen while they’re on my feet!
Since these purchases, I’ve become reconverted to Clarks. I’ll often gaze in their windows, go and try styles on, mooch around their shops. But this season’s offerings are just sublime….I hope now you can cope with me drooling over my current lust-afters!
Hamble Oak in Camel Leather
Saw these in the window the other day and went ‘oooh’. Most of the styles I’ve picked as well as these beauties have their Softwear cushioned insoles in them….which is what makes them soooo easy to wear! At least the last two pairs I’ve owned have been, at least!
Now these dont look much, but again having seen them in the window, they’re really lovely looking….I’m a fan of a really masculine shoe to go with an otherwise girly outfit, and these would be great for workwear as yet again they’ve got the Softwear inside bit
Oh how I heart these…..imagine them with a longish thirties style skirt, a chunky knit, a Queen Liz style scarf around the neck and a Barbour jacket….or with a pair of wet look skinnies, a white embellished t-shirt, tons of jewellery and a biker jacket….you get the picture, they’re a very versatile shoe!
According to the website, this shoe is 70s trend inspired….which I can totally see, but I think they’d work well for most of this seasons more demure trends….or even if you’re just fond of a bit of a vintage esque look….
Arent these pretty? They’d work well with jeans, a casual tee, waterfall cardigan and a stylish bag for lunch with the girls, or alternatively, a little black dress, some colourful costume jewellery and a clutch for a night out if you’re heel phobic.
Now, it’s always felt a bit like my mum in the mid-eighties to have a bag from somewhere I’ve bought shoes, but this satchel is up there with some of the best I’ve seen so far. I’m pretty much satchel obsessed and could quite easily own about ten if I was to let myself unleashed…
Clarks have also recently caught my eye by pairing up with the Goddess of Shopping, Mary Portas. I cannot begin to tell you how big a fan I am of her, and how much I’d just like to have her follow me around for the day telling me how to dress better….
She’s paired up with a few brands for her shop within House of Fraser. Radley is another one, and I’m totally in lust with her collaboration with them too….Radley and Clarks are among many quintessentially british brands that I’ll happily go out and support any day….but thats mainly because I love their stuff rather than anything else…
Gorgeous, gorgeous shoes! Until this season, I’d never ever been that fond of any colour that would form either a berry or autumnal palette…..I like a lot of colours, but I thought these were ones I’d never be into. But this shoe along with a few other berry colour items, are totally rocking my boat atm….
These are the sort of shoes that demand to go outside. They need to be dancing. They long to be worn while you dance your feet off, and being a Clarks shoe, they’d keep up with whatever stamina you’d got…
So, a brief potted history of my love affair with Clarks….you can keep your Manolos and your Louboutins, give me a good old pair of comfy yet oh so stylish Clarks any day. Now, to try to persuade them to make Magic Steps for adults….