I’ve been wearing them for years. Everything from the first low-wedged versions to the 4-euro grocery-store variety you can buy in France that are reminiscent of the sea and striped-shirted sailors to the new high-wedged variety with ties and bows. I had a Latin teacher who wore them every day of her life in a variety of colors. I can’t remember how to decline “puella” (OK, actually I can), but I remember more vividly her feet in red, blue and apple green canvas, perched atop woven bottoms. She wore pencil skirts and red lipstick, and her blond hair was stiff in a downsized beehive. Sort of glamourous in her own way. But I had a thing about her feet.
When I moved to Europe, I noticed that with the warm weather, shoe-store windows (if you knew where to look) filled up with “her” shoes, except in modern varieties. And I began to wear them myself. Covered toes, uncovered toes. Patterned heels, unpatterned heels. Long laces, short laces. Black, white. Canvas, linen. I would wear them until the bottoms unraveled. Summer would be over by that time, so it didn’t really matter. Espadrilles are strictly a warm-weather love affair.
This year, my heart was seized (it was love at first sight) by a blue-and-white checked pair of Casteners with open toes. If you’re familiar with the “Gilligan’s Island” test, these are definitely Mary Ann, not Ginger. Last year, I bought a cheap pair at Zara with black bows for a combo seaside/evening wear look, and a more expensive pair in a boutique in France. This summer I’ll rotate all three…and when they are threadbare and in need of re-treads, I’ll know that autumn has replaced my favorite season, and it’s time to get down to business again. Until then, it’s free, easy and breezy. And if you want to throw some Latin in there: pulchra. Quite pretty.