All I want for Christmas is… a pair of velvet slippers to dance in

— by Alyson Walsh


Photo: Claire Pepper. Hair & makeup: Louise Heywood


I’ve spent this year either shuffling around in Birkenstocks or stomping about in hiking boots, it’s time for a touch of elegance. When it comes to partywear without the performance, you can’t beat a velvet tuxedo jacket over a dress shirt and old Levi’s 501s. Introduce a pair of beautiful velvet slippers ( borrowed for the shoot  from Le Monde Beryl) to pull the look together in a ‘Noel Coward at Noel’ kind of way. While I like to keep things pared down, I love the soft, rich texture of velvet and blending it with the toughness of denim creates the perfect casually glamorous contrast. I can imagine wearing this outfit to a business meeting when all this is over. Also. Double velvet, what’s not to like?

Researching a feature on ballet pumps recently, I spoke to Emma McConnachie Vice President of the College Of Podiatry and practising podiatrist and her advice was not to wear very flat shoes all the time. As I discovered years ago, when running around in Converse All Stars for weeks on end wrecked my feet. At this time of year, wearing super-flat, flimsy shoes with bare feet outdoors is a no-no, she advises, ‘ I see a lot of deep tissue bruising, purple discolouration, from cold feet flapping against the pavement.’ Ouch. But, not a problem this Christmas as I’ll be spending even more time at home with Mr TNMA, and when I do go out I’ll revert to my stompers.  To differentiate the holidays from the Year of Working From Home, we’re planning to liven things up with an understated Christmas Day Disco a deux and are currently compiling a playlist. All I want for Christmas is a pair of velvet slippers to dance around the living room in.



Shoe of dreams. Photo: Le Monde Beryl

Shoes that hold the foot in place (and I would definitely include these velvet slippers in that category) and have a cushioned sole (ditto), as opposed to low-cut, pavement flappers are best according to McConnachie. Having learnt my lesson the painful way, when it comes to decorative flats I wear them in moderation and choose shoes over mules to eliminate faffing and terrible toe-clawing. These Le Monde Beryl velvet slippers are handcrafted in Italy and an update of the classic Venetian gondolier’s shoe. The name apparently pays homage to the adventurer Beryl Markham the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west; and as we all know, that’s the best. In dreadful weather conditions this incredible woman (new style icon alert) made it all the way from England to Nova Scotia with only a chicken sandwich for sustenance. She should’ve popped a packet of fig rolls into her flight suit pocket…



More decorative flats you can dance in, here (and don’t miss the footwear directory for subscribers HERE):


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STYLE NOTES: the velvet tuxedo was from Jigsaw three years ago, similar HERE and Hobbs, Whistles and NRBY all have velvet jackets this season.  The dress shirt was from my John Lewis collaboration in summer and is no longer available (similar HERE). The vintage Levi’s 501s were uncovered in a second-hand shop, ages ago. And sparkly earrings were from a Lulu Frost x J. Crew collaboration – if you’re looking for cheap and cheerful statement styles try Mango and Bauble Bar.

And finally, it’s 100 years since Noel Coward’s West End debut and there’s an exhibition celebrating his art and style at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London.


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