NO need to be embarrassed by your grandad if you take him to Filey this summer and he turns out in open toed sandals and socks. Major fashion houses say it’s the new look.
The knotted hanky might be pushing the boundaries too far too soon, but who knows? Maybe next season the string vest will make a comeback and we could have Rab C Nesbitt as a fashion icon.
As a child, I wore sandals that sensibly encased your toes. These were specifically designed to make me run faster. At least my mum told me they did. This was well before trainers were invented.
But since the age of 10 I have never looked upon them as a male fashion item. As an adult, I was amazed to discover there was a breed of men who choose to wear them, even though they were not a member of a religious order that made it compulsory, like hair shirts and regular self flagellation. They choose to wear them!
My chum Donkin (author, award winning journalist, round the world yachtsman) was a devotee. We often had deep intellectual debates about them when he worked at the Examiner.
“They’re classic,” he said.
“They’re horrible,” I replied.
“I wear them,” he said.
“You look a prat,” was my riposte.
Game, set and match, I think.
As an example of Donkin’s sense of taste, we went together to Lisbon on a research trip and he took an hour choosing a black beret from a shop’s display. “Does my head look big in this?” Not only did it look ridiculous, he insisted on wearing it until we got back to Heathrow. I’m amazed immigration didn’t arrest him for impersonating Benny Hill. At least, he didn’t have his sandals with him.
The brilliant Victoria Wood summed up sandals for me when she said: “Do you want a drink or a kick up the bum with an open toed sandal?”
The image will stay with me for life.
And yet designer labels like Givenchy and Gucci and Burberry are giving them a new launch, with and without socks. And they are not cheap. To look ridiculous this time round, can cost hundreds of pounds.
Come to think of it, perhaps I should keep my opinions to myself for fear of upsetting committed fans of this particular style of footwear.
During the summer I wear shorts and the last thing I want to attract is a kick up the bum with an open toed sandal.