Even though I wore a uniform at school growing up, I still loved ‘back to school’ shopping and stocking up on fresh basics. Crisp new khakis from the Gap, polo shirts and button-down oxfords from Ralph Lauren (the outlet, never the real store), and whatever badass black or brown leather shoes I could get away with. After convincing my visiting aunt that yes, Doc Martens were definitely something my parents would let me wear and would even have purchased for me themselves had she not beaten them to it, there was no looking back. I eventually outgrew my Docs (truthfully, they were really heavy for my skinny legs to lift) and graduated to some frighteningly-chunky platform loafers that were probably no less heavy than combat boots. Loafers seem to be one of THE big trends for this fall, but I don’t know, part of me can’t do it without having middle and high school flashbacks. Besides, there’s another shoe I’ve really been smitten with lately: the D’Orsay...
What's in a name, you ask? Known for having low-cut or non-existent sides, the shoe was the product of Count Gabriel Alfred d’Orsay, a 19th-century dandy who was a regular on the “aren't we fabulous” circuit between London and Paris. At the time, men wore pumps too, and it’s said that d’Orsay’s custom-made versions from the late 1830s had the sides cut out to accommodate wider feet. Eventually the style gave way to women’s’ footwear, featuring a deep v-shaped vamp in the front to reveal a bit of toe cleavage, as well as the low-cut sides to show off the arch of the foot—double risqué!
So now you now.
Anyways, I find them more feminine-looking than loafers, and even though they may have pointier silhouettes, they actually make my feet look less massive. So thank you Monsieur d'Orsay. He died at the age of 51, by the way, but the man definitely made a major sartorial contribution in that short time. I’m getting a few pairs for this fall—since I still do love back to school shopping (just not the back to school part).