A mule – not the most attractive name for a shoe, is it? And generally, I think the style matches the name in its (lack of) attractiveness. I’ve never been a fan: mules remind me of pictures of perfect retro housewives and boudoirs and Barbies. Or, if they are lower and have a sturdier heel, they just tend to look ugly on humans of non-model variety. But what is fashion for if not for making people to change their minds and wear things they thought hideous about two weeks ago?
Mules are, I am pretty certain, The Shoe of the Season. For the purposes of this post, I will define a mule very loosely as a backless shoe (unless it’s a sling-back or a slide). This is a wide definition, but it has its merits, because anything and everything backless seems in fact to be in fashion. So the heels can be high, medium, kitten or entirely absent. The toe can be open or closed, pointy or round or square. The colour can literally be anything. Even sling-backs (and slides!) are in fashion, although we have already established that they aren’t mules. Not entirely sure what the difference between slides and mules is, but never mind.
One of my favourite type of mule is basically an open-back loafer. This is a spin-off of the loafer trend in general and „inspired by“ Gucci Princetown slippers in particular. There isn’t anything too original about it, but having fallen hard for my Gucci loafers, I would totally wear this – it’s a great way to do loafers in summer. There is also a fancier, evening slipper version of the same idea, sometimes with added ribbons. I like this one, too – I’ve become quite fond of the fancy flat.
Then there’re the offerings for the cool and the minimal among us. There are several options, but I think the most This Season are the simple block-heel styles, often in neutral or slightly off colours. I find these the most difficult to pull off. They are deceptively simple, which means that the rest of your look has to make it very clear that you know your fashion – otherwise it can end up looking on the wrong side of normcore.
Last but not least, there are the pretty and the elegant versions. These usually have a slender heel, but range from extremely simple (see the black ones on the picture) to completely insane. Prada has a wide selection, but many designers have done them. My favourite flat ones in the “elegant” category are by Frances Valentine.
My main tip regarding mules is a practical one, though: make sure you try them on properly before buying. Some of them are incredibly comfortable – much more so than one would suspect -, others are only good for standing still on even ground. And it’s not always possible to tell the difference by just looking at them.