How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: The ONLY heels we want to wear now

  • Shane Watson shares advice on how to wear platform heels this time round
  • Recommends opting for a slick and polished shoe for the everyday look
  • UK-based fashion expert says not to think of them as retro fun but as new heel

Platform soles — you may have noticed — are back in fashion, but not as you may think of them. 

The word platforms conjures up images of Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust best, maybe your first-ever pair of boots made of stitched-together jean patches (those were the days), but even those of us who love 1970s style know we can’t be going back there now. (I’m speaking as someone who got a pair of those Terry de Havilland gold platform wedge sandals for my 50th birthday, so I’ve got more skin in this game than most) . 

Platforms are great — leg lengthening and easy to walk in, irrespective of their height, as well as glamorous in a fun, uplifting way. But if you’re planning to wear them in everyday life (not just for a glittery party with your velvet loons) they need to be a lot less glam rock and a lot more slick and polished — and that’s what’s on offer this time around. 

Pictured: Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a stunning pair of gold metallic platforms with a colourful midi dress

There are plenty of candy striped and camp sandals out there — it’s sandals that you’ll get the most mileage from — but the grown-up modern platform is chic, plain and wearable with a narrowish sole. 

The idea is they will work with all those outfits that benefit from a high heel, at a point in our history when no one (no one I know) can bear to wear heels after a couple of years of not having to. 

Also, let’s face it, platforms are high shoes for those of us who view court shoes and stilettos as a bit uptight lady — when the attitude we are aiming for is great-for-our-age and still A Contender.

Last but not least, a pair of platforms will make all the clothes you own look bang up to the minute. Don’t think of them as retro fun. Think of them as the new moved-on heel you can wear all the time, because it’s like walking on inches of cushion. 

The feature that makes platform sandals look modern are block heels (never go spindly, whatever you do) and one with a slight flare gives them an extra contemporary edge. I like Russell & Bromley’s glossy orange sandals (£275,, but they are highish and, while a platform makes it so much easier to wear a heel, this one, at 9cm, would be too much for me.

Pictured left: Chanel features white platforms with floral detail on the runway. Pictured right: Vanessa Hudgens opts for a pair of black velvet platforms

Russell & Bromley also does a lower block-heeled style (the platform is 3cm, the heel 8.5cm) in lipstick red or black suede (£225) which, especially in black, will be a keeper for wearing with midi dresses, skirts and trousers. 

It’s similar to Prada’s muchcopied black suede platform sandal — the shoe style that works with literally everything at any time of year. 

London-based label Esska does an even lower one (7cm heel, plus 2cm platform), so even better in my book (£150, If you want a more 1970s look, Esska does a T-bar style with a 7cm heel that comes in rust suede, a mustardy gold, platinum and­ ­glitter slate (£160). I wouldn’t go for the glitter, but any of the others would be perfect for weddings and parties. If you want to go one fancier, Reformation does a satin strap sandal with more of a 1940s vibe — perfect with a polka dot dress (£248, 


  • KEEP platforms slimish
  • AVOID glitter
  • NEVER wear with flares
  • ALWAYS go for open toe 

I think platform sandals work better than any other shoes with wafty tea dresses and maxis, and they’re also a good way of dressing up A-line skirts and shirt dresses, all of which can look frumpy with regular heels. I haven’t worn a dress since lockdown unless it was with platform sandals — the Me+Em ones, black of course (£295, — partly because they’re so comfortable, and partly because they’re the ideal antidote to pretty prints and tiers. The chunkiness and elevation balances everything out, and you’ll still be wearing them, with opaque tights, come Christmas. 

You can find wilder platforms if you want to. Zara has a leopard-print pair (£32.99, or you could try platform Mary Janes (can’t bear Mary Janes, myself, so can’t help there). 

And if you’re looking for something completely different, there are always platform summer boots. For that you’d want to head to Miista and try the three-quarter Carlota (£189, or the space-age looking Susaye boots (£310, 

I wish I could say I wear my faux snake Carlotas — bought the winter before the first lockdown — but I don’t. 

They feel just a bit too retro and that’s not what platforms are about any more.

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