Saturday, 15 September 2012

A shoe in...........


September will for me always feel like a new beginning. More so than January 1st. It’s because of the back-to-school syndrome. Even though I’m not at school and I no longer have to get anyone to school, September is a fresh start. It’s a new class, a different teacher, a new bag without a broken strap, clean pages in virgin exercise books un-curled by the abuse of pupil or scared by the red-raw pen of teacher, weary from late-night marking and bored by excuses. And new shoes. Back-to-school shoes came from Clarks when I was a child. And they were horrid. Laced or buckled, they came in thousands of width fittings and only two colours: black or brown. They were fitted by frumpy women or spotty youths who were still growing. Going shopping for back-to-school shoes took hours and hours and was the most boring thing in the whole world. Ever. Being told to sit still and wait while 48 other children had their feet clamped and measured by tape and rule that would denote the only two styles that fitted that particular ratio of length and width: ugly or really ugly. There would be much shouting and distress from my young mother as she tried to wrangle me and my brother into the shop and make us both sit down and stop fighting, which was never going to happen. Fighting was what we did best and my mother was no Kofi Annan. And then after all the waiting and shouting and threatening we would leave with bright green boxes of dark, sombre, sensible shoes that looked like they were only missing the calliper, and would never wear out. All I could do was pray my feet would never stop growing so there might be a chance we would next time go to Dolcis or Freeman Hardy and Willis, anywhere but Clarks.
But that was then and this is now. Now Clarks has changed. Clarks does shoes of fashion. The change came some time ago and this year they seemed to have excelled themselves. They have brought out a fab selection of Mary-Janes …. in a range of width fittings…… snakeskin, suede, patent, I was spoilt for choice. Growing up used to mean not having to get you shoes from Clarks. Not anymore.
Top tip: Hunderby........Julia Davis's hilarious period piece on Sky Atlantic........Autumn telly starts now book the sofa.

29 comments:

  1. Clarks i by far thebiggest label on my blog. Almost every pair of shoes I own are Clarks although I hated wearing them as a child.

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  2. Hello:
    This post brings back so many memories for us both of the dreaded, in our case, Clarks' sandals for the summer which, if we recall correctly, were all of the same pattern and style. Happily things have moved on as you point out here.

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  3. How I used to hate those shoe buying sessions at Clarks.............. I am with Jane and Lance re the summer sandals: they always seemed to look SO wide and I just wanted to dirty up the white crepe soles.

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  4. They do have some gorgeous shoes this season for sure. I hated Clarks so much I never bought them for my four!

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  5. I do love Clarks...but haven't yet seen the new season...your preview looks promising!

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  6. My poor daughter had feet so wide as a growing child (an H fitting) that even the sensible Clarkes selection was a closed book to her. We had to order hers specially from Start-Rite. Meanwhile her bog standard C-fitting schoolmates could have narrow patent shoes with straps that might be swivvled back around the heel to turn them into slip-ons, or those truly dreadful "princess" shoes with plastic gemstones set in the soles (made by some trendy manufacturer that only did one average width).

    What I mostly remember as a parent, though, is every time she went up a size that was a new pair of school shoes, a pair of plimsolls, a pair of boots or wellingtons, a pair of ballet shoes, a pair of modern dance soft-soled shoes, a pair of heeled character shoes and a pair of tap shoes that had to be bought. Seven different lots of footwear!

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  7. Love these shoes - those mustardy ones are glorious. I have hugely wide feet and after giving loads of shoes away I've realised I'm a pronater, don't worry its not catching. I'm going to check this collection out for sure!

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  8. I don't think we had Clark's shoes in the US, or maybe we did. I don't remember the brand of my school shoes, but they were certainly ugly. Love those mustard ones.

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  9. Oh, how I remember that same senario but never had the joy of putting my feet in that special measuring machine ..... perhaps our local Clarks couldn't afford one but it's one of the regrets of my childhood !!!!
    ....... and, 'Bad Sugar is my favourite programme of the moment .... I just LOVE Julia davis ...... do you remember her in ' Nighty Night' and 'Human Remains' ..... Brilliant. XXXX

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  10. I remember the smell of new shoes, new pencils!
    Good post


    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^=

    > < } } ( ° >

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  11. Ha ha yes - the dreaded old clarks shoes - how times have changed. Have a couple in my ever growing collection now too - lovely! x

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  12. I love new beginnings each September - new shoes are even better !

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  13. I loved Clarks shoes. Do you remember the X-Ray machine they used to use?

    Before they banned the use of high energy Electromagnetic radiation by untrained civilians, becuase of the risk of mutations and bone cancer.

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  14. Clarks have certainly changed, love their boots stylish and good fitting.

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  15. They've got rather a cute pair of ankle boots in an advert in The Guardian this weekend, well out of my price range though! x

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  16. Yes, you captured my feelings exactly! All those teenage tantrums over the wearing of "sensible" shoes, and now I cannot wait to slip into something sensible and Clarks-like. Those are beautiful autumnal colours too, a treat for the feet!

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  17. Pretty much all the shoes I own are Clarks... but they are for the large part all black (apart from two pairs, one of them rarely if every worn), and most are brogues... So I'm hardly pushing at the forefront of footwear fashion am I... ;-)

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  18. No Clarks here, instead I remember the dreadful 'Buster Browns'. Not as cute as the name by a long shot!

    Thanks so much for commenting on my blog by the by.

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  19. I love both those shoes. Thank you.

    I'm not over-keen on Clarks because I don't find they last. Once, a pair started to split so I took them back to the shop. A week or so later they said they weren't replacing them because their "expert" had said the split had been caused by excessive perspiration!

    I'm very willing to accept my flaws, but sweaty feet is not one of them.

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  20. I remember the 'back to school' Clarks shoes - they were hideous.

    My mother always insisted they had to come from Clarks and I always looked like the kid with clumpy grannie shoes...so I rebelled and cut my long locks short and had one of those 80's long flick fringes - just to avert the eye away from my hideous 'back to school' shoes.

    Thank gawd they've come up to the modern day, but then again....are they made in Britain?

    Nina x

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  21. Dolcis and FHW!!! I'd forgotten about them. Clarks have gone very trendy. Lovely shoes.x

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  22. You've clearly hit a nerve!
    I still remember the joy, as a boarding school pupil with parents abroad, of buying my own school shoes from Dolcis or FHW: with heels and platforms - only later do you realise just how ugly they were!

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  23. O gawd-they were called Stride Rights and they were awful brown lace-up oxfords. Yech. But one year she bought me patent leather dress-uo shoes. Those were splendid.

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  24. I love September, although there is always a tinge of sadness as the warm weather and sunny days disappear for a long siesta. Apple and Blackberry pie month.
    My regulation shoes had to be black. They didn't say what had to be on the sole though, so I got to buy Clarks Trackers, with animal foot prints on the bottom and a compass in the heel. What a little rebel.

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  25. So this is the history of Clarks shoes. They have been my favorite brand of shoes since discovering them a decade ago (they had daises imprinted on the soles. Snappy styles bordering on the orthopedic is what I look for.

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