English House Shoes

Clothes intended for the great indoors should be given the same consideration as clothes worn out of the house, even when visitors are not expected. Do we dress for ourselves or other people? Exactly.

The great indoors
Indoor-specific clothing, as with any specialist clothing, should be comfortable, well made and well equipped for its purpose. Most importantly it should induce the right mood. Clothes for the home should exude an anti-work aura. If you are going to be spending eight hours in a set of pyjamas, that's a fair chunk of the day to be spending in one item — they should be decent pyjamas that make you feel ready to hit the hay. Same too with the choice of slipper or house shoe. The slipper should announce, in no uncertain terms, that drudgery is off limits.
Time off from cat burgling
Sir Charles Lytton (top), also known as the 'The Notorious Phantom', understood that when he slipped on his 'CL' monogrammed slippers, and picked up his martini, there would be no more cat burgling of priceless jewels that day.
The right slipper
It's surprising to think sometimes of the time spent in slippers in a typical week, particularly in wintertime. They'll be the most worn footwear more often than not. So choosing the right slipper needs thought. Broadland Slippers of Norwich can help. For many generations Broadland has specialised in manufacturing the classic English slipper and house shoe. Broadland makes slippers in the classic Grecian and Albert styles. They also make the beloved evening pump.

The Grecian slipper
The Grecian has low sides with a vamp and heel construction. I tend to favour this style for the morning. I think my Grecians have made an appearance in a previous post, but they're less than immaculate now and a little photo-shy. Some find the low sides expose too much cold in winter. This style looks more slipper-like than the Albert. The Broadland Grecian has the traditional hard leather sole capable of withstanding a wee walk - though this style is considered a firm 'insider', as well as a traditional leather lining for smooth on and offing. Sometimes the Grecian has a soft leather sole for the tame personality. Socks are recommended for this style because of the lining and also because the shape might expose too much foot for common decency.

The Albert slipper
The Albert slipper typically has velvet uppers and a quilted lining. Material maketh slipper. A leather variation — upper and lining — brings the Albert into house shoe territory. This style of slipper is considered an excellent evening choice, but works well as an all-dayer. In fact, it is sometimes worn with evening dress outside the home as an alternative to the evening pump. Albert slipper linings vary from unlined, to fully leather-lined to being lined with a soft satin-like quilt (our favourite).

Broadland velvet Albert slippers have the traditional quilt or leather linings. You can choose the outer velvet colour and the colour of the quilt lining. Be daring, go for a nice contrast. Here we see a black velvet example with red lining.

If you want to push the traditionalist envelope, then Broadland can add a family crest or monogram to the vamp. A monogram is hand embroidered in gold or silver wire. A crest is sewn in with gold and silver wire and coloured silk threads.

Evening pump
Broadland's evening pump — or opera pump, or court shoe to give it its traditional English name — is definitely for outside when you are going to be inside, if you see what I mean.

The pumps are intended to be worn with evening dress. This type of whole-cut shoe with low vamp has an ancient pedigree, its antecedent being the buckled court shoe worn with stockings by Regency bucks. The buckle was replaced by a ribbon. Broadland offers the pump in velvet or patent or plain calf leather, with choice of linings and a pinched or flat bow of petersham ribbon.
Performing roundhouse kicks
You don't see many men confident enough to wear the evening pump nowadays, yet they are perfect for a cavort. What we need is Jason Statham to wear a pair in his next action film. Once he's seen in a pair of opera pumps taking out half a dozen goons with roundhouse kicks — for good reason — people might see them in a less epicene light. We don't want to see this style of shoe die out or the barbarians have won. So I recommend at least one pair for the classic wardrobe.


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