Since the recent approval for the post My new fluffy gown, I felt compelled to share more wardrobe secrets with you. After considering my favourite warm jumper, and being unable to decide which of my many outdoor coats to feature, I settled on slippers.
There are lots of different types of bedroom, or house slippers. The flat towelling kind, often given free in hotels, are good for warmer weather, or navigating from the shower across to the bed. They have limitations though, so they will not be the stars of this post. There are the traditional mens’ slippers, often tartan in design. They sometimes have a fleece-lined interior, and are easy to get on and off. Younger men might prefer the sports-themed, modern slipper. These can often be confused with sandals or beachwear, but avoid the connotation of being for older wearers, who need to keep their feet warm. Also ubiquitous are the ‘mule’ styles, where the whole foot is covered except for the heel, which is left off. You have to walk carefully in these, to avoid stepping out of them.
There are a wide range of slippers that can be secured to your feet. Moccasin-style variants are very popular. They are often available in many colours, and have a choice of linings, from nothing at all, up to fur and sheepskin. They are secured by leather laces that run around the sides, and tie like a normal shoe. For many years, they were my slipper of choice. For those of advancing years, or unable to tie laces any longer, velcro fastening has become increasingly common. Large flap-over designs, or slippers that split in half to put on, are very popular with the elderly and infirm. Many mass-market slippers have small v-shaped elastic inserts at the instep, which help keep them secure on your feet.
Since moving to the countryside, I have less need of solid footwear. When I go out, I tend to wear wellington boots, or heavy walking shoes, both of which are unsuitable for keeping on after I return home. As I socialise less, my large collection of smart shoes, including my beloved tassel-loafers, are normally to be found in a box in the loft. I need something that is warm and comfy inside, to protect my feet from cold floor tiles, and keep them warm as I sit for hours at this keyboard. But they must be dual-purpose, able to survive a trip outside to collect a parcel, put something in the bins, or get some more logs from the store cupboard. This meant that they would have to come with a good sole, lightweight yet sturdy. And ideally, they should serve their purpose all year round, and not be uncomfortably hot in the summer months.
Research would need to be done, and it was. Real sheepskin seemed to be the right choice. Warm in winter, cool when it’s hot. Best worn without socks, for the full effect, everything I read assured me that I could not go wrong with this natural product. I decided to get some, and remembered a visit to the Cotswolds, where I had seen the sort of thing I had in mind in a shop there. Luckily, they are online, and I was able to get exactly the sort I wanted. The price was hefty, and a bit of a shock too. I remembered advice from my youth, that has always stood me in good stead. ‘You get what you pay for.’ I hit the ‘Buy now’ button, and waited.
When they arrived, they exceeded my wildest dreams. Bootee-style, covering the ankles, and with a solid rubber base, they were crafted with deliciously comfortable real sheepskin. So much wool was inside, I could hardly squeeze my feet in. Once on, they gave Julie cause for alarm. She thought that they looked strange, and she didn’t really approve of them. I grant that they do resemble the sort of footwear popular in the Middle Ages. Simply made, with a centre seam, they are hardly a design classic. But it is in the wearing that they excel, and the appearance is by-the-by. They were worn every day without fail since. From getting out of bed, until returning to the same, they were hardly off my feet, in all seasons. Despite the price tag approaching £70, that is very good value, at an hourly rate.
Towards the end of 2014, they were beginning to look a little shabby, which was only to be expected. The ankle parts had turned down, resembling the ears of a Spaniel. The wool inside was first trampled flat, then started to disappear, until there was little to be seen. But I couldn’t bear to part with them. They still felt ‘just right’, albeit rather loose. I ignored the random stains on the exterior sheepskin, and the fact that the ridges on the soles had worn away. They still went on every morning, and stayed on until bedtime, coming off only when I had to go outside the confines of the house and garden.
On Christmas Day, I received a new pair, as a gift from Julie. Exactly the same, from the same shop. I couldn’t have been happier. I still have the old ones though. I am keeping the new pair for ‘best.’
I know that you want to see what I am on about. Here’s a link. http://cotswoldsheepskin.com/communities/2/000/001/034/042//images/1853071.png