While I sit here writing this, the world faces perhaps one of its greatest challenges since the Second World War. In these troubling times, it is only human to have limited headspace for materialistic things like clothes and shoes, but at the same time I can honestly say that I’ve welcomed any kind of positive distraction in the last few weeks’ relentless news coverage.
With many of us stuck at home, either voluntarily or through government restrictions, the way we’re dressing has changed. Suit or sports coats are hanging in the wardrobe for the foreseeable, replaced by cashmere sweaters and flannel trousers. Heavy brogues, Oxfords and Loafers sit comfortably in the closet, while we all explore more homely options.
One of my personal favourites is the velvet Albert slipper, named after Queen Victoria’s beloved consort, Prince Albert. It’s a wholecut design with a thin leather sole, normally lasted in velvet with either a monogram, crest or club emblem embroidered on the vamp. Developed in early 1800’s as an attractive and practical indoor shoe, the Albert Slipper coincided with the fashion for wearing a smoking jacket indoors, and is therefore considered less formal than the pumps in patent leather traditionally worn with Black or White Tie.
My first encounter with the Albert slipper was years ago, when I tried to find my first pair of shoes to wear to a Black Tie dinner. I was drawn to a pair of Albert slippers because they lacked the conservatism of patent pumps (and their silk bows which I grown to love since then). The velvet, especially in black with a simple embroidered motif, is perfect with its silky deep blackness that complements the matte finish of a black mohair or high-twist wool tuxedo trouser feeling too formal.
On that note, perhaps the greatest advantage of the Albert slipper is its versatility. In contrast to a pair of pumps or patent lace ups, the Albert slipper fits right in at home, worn with a silk dressing gown a Sunday morning, or with a pair of flannel trousers on a short stroll. The soles might be thin, but they are still durable enough to wear in and around the house. Some friends of mine even wear their Alberts on a daily basis with denim and club blazers.
If you want to wear them with your Black-Tie rig I’d suggest choosing plain black or midnight blue velvet, but as a pair of house slippers the possibilities are endless. Burgundy, brown, purple or bottle green are just a few great alternatives. Or, why not consider something completely different and go for timeless herringbone tweed in navy or grey, finished with a quilted lining?
At Crockett & Jones, you can find a variety of styles available in either plain velvet or tweed with the most traditional emblems and monogram designs available for immediate mail order dispatch. C&J also offers customers the option to design a pair of customised velvet slippers with unique monograms such as family crests, personalities initials or the emblem of your favourite football team. Whether plain velvet, tweed or embroidered, they’re an absolute treat to wear, especially at a time like this.