I'm a Fashion Editor, and I Can't Live Without These It Shoes

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Introducing I Can't Live Without, our latest fashion feature series that celebrates the most-loved items in our wardrobe. Here, the shoe lovers, bag worshippers and jewellery collectors that make up some of the world's most stylish people will pen an ode to their most cherished piece and showcase exactly how they style it in their everyday life. 

There are some things in life that are imperative to our survival: air, water, love and The Real Housewives of Orange County, to name a few. And then there are other things that feel equally essential to a fashion lover but are far more superficial, like shoes and handbags. Of course, accessories of any calibre are not actually required to survive, but there are a select few items in my wardrobe that I’ve invested in to elevate it on a daily basis, and since doing so, I can’t imagine my style without them. It’s the key to lazy dressing—a way of life I adhere to—which allows me to throw on baggy jeans, my boyfriend’s T-shirt and an old blazer, with the secret ingredient of some fabulous shoes or a timeless handbag that provides a very put-together, well-thought-out look. To celebrate this, I’ve started a new series, I Can’t Live Without, in which stylish people from across the globe will share the key item that they simply can’t imagine their wardrobes without

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To kick things off, I was more than willing to share my most-treasured fashion possession, my Gucci GG Crystal Slingback shoes. In all honesty, I'm a bag girl at heart, but since their release earlier this year, these beauties have given me a shoe fetish that I can't quite seem to shake. Just look at them! They're nothing short of a work of art. "Black mesh with GG embellished crystals, a kitten heel and pointed toe”—the product description alone is pure poetry. Drawing inspiration from the late '90s and early '00s Gucci archive, they celebrate the house's Tom Ford era, which was as potent to fashion as the renaissance was to art. 

Whilst many like to save their luxury pieces for best, you'll see I like to get plenty of wear out of mine, choosing them for work, play, dressed-up and dressed-down occasions. So from coffee runs to eating pasta alone in my kitchen at 2 a.m., I've styled four key looks for four occasions and asked myself all the questions I'd want to know if I were you and considering them as your next big purchase. Read on! 

LOOK 1: LEND A TAILORED TOUCH

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(Image credit: Michaela Efford)

Style notes: I've just stepped off the tube from a meeting, and now I'm buying supplies at my local store. Guess who came with me. The Guccis, of course. Whilst they don't quite have the comfort of trainers, with such a low heel, I don't think twice about picking up dinner on the way home from work. Here, I've paired them with my favourite Frankie Shop suit and a white T-Shirt. It's simple but effective. 

Describe them in three words…

Nostalgic. Divisive. Photogenic.

How did you come to get them? 

As it often is with these things, it was love at first celebrity sighting. The second I saw Dakota Johnson snapped in them at the beginning of summer, I knew it was a crush I wouldn't be able kill. So I saved for three months, gave up Pret lunches and matcha lattes until I had the funds. 

I know what you're thinking…

Kitten heels? Seriously? Yes! I know they're very 2003, a bit Paris Hilton in her The Simple Life era, but I love that! They reference this era in a way that feels elegant, and we all know it was a time period starved of that. Also for you taller people who hate heels, here's your answer!

LOOK 2: JEANS, A NICE TOP AND EVEN NICER SHOES

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(Image credit: Michaela Efford, Location: Bloom Of The Block)

Style notes: It's the weekend, and I'm buying flowers for my mum. (It's her birthday, and we're going for lunch.) I can't get enough of the juxtaposition of these ripped jeans with such a sparkly Cinderella shoe. When I want to really elevate this outfit for evening, I keep the blouse (a vintage one I picked up from my favourite thrift store in Brooklyn, 10 ft Single by Stella Dallas) and swap the denim for some black wide-leg pants. 

The finer details? 

Mine are black mesh with rhinestone GG embellishments, but they also come in a nude pink as well as the the iconic logo-adorned canvas in black, brown and navy. The heel height is less than one inch, and there's a crystal G on the back of each.

How often do you use them? 

I limit myself to about once a week, when not too much walking will be involved. 

If they could only be one, would they be practical or pretty?

Most definitely pretty. Being mesh, they're not particularly practical.

LOOK 3: GOING OUT-OUT AND COMING HOME AGAIN

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(Image credit: Michaela Efford)

Style notes: One of my favourite outfits ever, my beloved Batsheva leopard dress (a Christmas favourite), which looks equally great with bare legs as it does tights (just so long as they're low denier). These photos really epitomise me and my style. I've been out with friends on a Saturday night and come home starving. Naturally, this calls for pasta and red wine. It's just me, my shoes and the dog… and the photographer, of course. 

Would you lend them to a friend? 

No, not even on their wedding day. Sorry! 

Would you recommend them to a friend?

100000% yes. 

What have they done for your wardrobe?

Mainly elevate it. I love how I can wear a high-street dress or a pair of jeans and know that these shoes will just transform it into something chic. The rhinestone logo touches on the Y2K trend in a way that feels age appropriate, the silhouette of a slingback is quite pretty, but the Gucci logo and mesh material give it a fresher, cooler edge.

LOOK 4: SWAP SANDALS FOR SPARKLES

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(Image credit: Michaela Efford, Location: Ruttle & Rowe)

Style notes: Whilst most people will think of these shoes as those best kept for work or evening events, I was really on a mission to prove that they can be styled in the day, even with a cotton dress. Any dress can be elevated from just sandals with the right accessories! 

What do they look best with?

Tough one, because I'd wear with them with bin bag if you asked me to and still think they look chic. I think I love them most though with an oversized tailored look, so some extra-wide pants and a blazer. To me, that's the epitome of sexy. 

Finally, why can't you live without them? 

I'm not really a heel person. I'm all about comfortable, easy elegance. As these are kitten heels, they're easy enough to walk in and therefore pass the test. Also—and it's a bit narcissistic—I'm obsessed with the compliments I get whenever I wear them. They're such a hyped item, seen on many influencers, editors and style icons. I've become dependent on the second glances, comments and likes they guarantee me. So sue me!

SHOP GUCCI SLINGBACKS

Love shoes? Read our autumn/winter 2022 shoe trends story to discover what's hot. 

Rebecca Rhys-Evans is the branded content editor at Who What Wear UK, where she leads the editorial side to commercial projects. Previously a freelance writer and content consultant, she has written for a variety of publications and brands such as Polyester, Screenshot, Marie Claire and Culture Trip, reporting on everything from fashion NFTs and internet culture to sustainability and sex work, and held editor positions at Buro, Koibird and Shop Magazine.

Having got her taste for luxury fashion (as a very green graduate) in her first position as content editor at Flannels.com, she was quickly promoted to managing the company's e-commerce and content teams. Since then, Rebecca has moved to East London with her partner and cocker spaniel Joni Mitchell and has also delved into styling, copywriting, art directing and social media consultancy, where she loves helping brands carve out their tone of voice, strategy and aesthetic. Fully immersed in the contemporary fashion landscape—the one with TikTok, Y2K and the Metaverse—she is enthusiastic about personal style, pop culture and digital trends.