an ode to miss l fire, or how i learned to walk like a lady;

I suppose before we get started, I should first address the (BRILLIANT, wearing a HAT) elephant in the room. HELLO if you found this site via The List magazine, which has inexplicably ranked my overenthusiastic ramblings (sorry, “well-written and passionate… personal accounts sitting alongside wide-appeal journalism”) #9 on its list of Scotland’s Best Websites. I’m Lis. Well, Lisa-Marie. I have a hyphen. My mother is ragin’.*

And today I’m going to write about shoes.

irregular choice

It is a common misconception universally peddled by Glamour magazine, shrill television programming aired on HBO and late-night panel comedy shows aimed at “ladz” that women everywhere are obsessed with shoes. And handbags. Particularly those that cost a couple of months’ wages. Traditionally, these were not fixations I ever understood. Still don’t particularly in the case of handbags which are designed to be stuffed with packed lunches and too-big paperbacks, covered in pin badges and kicked about the sticky floor of the number 9 bus. As for your average pair of Manolo Blahblahs – have you considered how many baked goods you could divide into that purchase price?

I haven’t checked my bio for a while (yes! still in my late 20s!) but it was always a source of pride to me that I never learned to walk in heels. The first pair of ladylike footwear I purchased was for my undergraduate graduation in 2003, and even then they weren’t particularly ladylike. My increasing interest in all things pretty unfortunately coincided with the discovery that my flat feet do in fact severely limit the type of footwear I should realistically be wearing. Strictly speaking, if there isn’t room for a thick blue NHS orthortic inside I shouldn’t be wearing them at all. However, it has given me an excuse to never again buy footwear from Primark, even as a desperate measure (Asda kids’ footwear is actually where it’s at, if you’re looking for a cheapie that won’t make your toes bleed).

It’s only now, working in a professional environment that has very little indulgence for the way I usually dress that I have discovered the secret of an attractive pair of shoes: eccentric footwear is just about the only way to set yourself apart. And crossing the office for cups of tea a few times a day gives you all the opportunity you need to learn to navigate them apparently. Well, if you keep the heel under a certain height and indulge in adequate ankle strappery.

While like every young lady of a certain interest group I am fond of the zany designs created by Irregular Choice (see my glee at discovering the brand’s dedicated store on London’s Carnaby Street earlier this month) I have never met a person who can honestly say that their footwear is comfortable. I love my Stars and Stripes boots but their spindly heel and impossible angle scream “designed by a man”. No ladies, if you’re looking comfort and eccentricity, the brand you should be checking out is London’s Miss L Fire.

177. Roy Orbison Singing For The Lonely

I got my first pair of Miss L Fire shoes a couple of summers ago, and they quickly became the greatest thing I owned. The collection finds inspiration in 1940s and 50s pin-ups, sailor girls and tattoos. Some of the designs look absolutely bonkers. But each pair I’ve tried (I now own three) have a few things in common: gorgeous design, adorable details and the privilege of being some of the most ridiculously comfortable things I have ever worn.

Miss L Fire Picnic BlueMiss L Fire Bamboo

Pictured above are my two latest purchases. When the ones on the left, called “Picnic” (lol, see what they did there) arrived I nearly had a heart attack – I was not expecting a four-inch high wedge heel. Anybody who saw me tottering around in my Vivienne Westwood shoes for the hour I managed to keep them on on my wedding day (they cost more than the dress – but to be fair, most of what I own cost more than my wedding dress and I think I scrubbed up ok) will probably join me in my concern – but I wore them out to a party with my mum and was even able to dance, if considerably taller while doing so. The others have replaced the knackered Converse that fell apart after eighteen months of retail, and very pretty they are too.

The best bit? With the company’s Autumn/Winter range due imminently, absolutely everything is currently on sale. Click through and discover how you too can look as fabulous as Sarah Jessica Parker, without the bunions and with plenty of change for cake.

*Not really.