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Shoes that woo

I don't imagine Cheryl Cole and Liam Gallagher are often of one mind, but on the subject of footwear they certainly agree that a shoe isn't necessarily worth wearing just because it has a sole, a heel and a leather upper.

Cole gave us her penny loafer's-worth when she told a newspaper recently: "When I meet a guy I check out his smile, his eyes and then his shoes." Gallagher, meanwhile, responded to a question about how he achieved his rock-star look by saying: "You start with the shoes and work up." The former Oasis singer has his own clothing line, you may recall, and knows a thing or two about good gear.

The message for the sartorially alert is clear, then: you have to start at ground level if you want to look the business or date Cheryl Cole. At least one of those options should appeal to most men.

Does the same hold true indoors, though? Are we expected to be as well-shod in the privacy of our own homes? The answer is yes on the evidence of the revival of the slipper. Gone are the days when a tatty pair of M&S tartan house-shoes would suffice.

On this front I'm as guilty as anyone else. My baffies of choice are a pair of woollen Giesswein bootees (a German brand made of felted wool). The soles are held together by gaffer tape but you can only tell when I've got my feet on the table. In the summer I go barefoot or – if the kids have been playing their Tour de France saboteur game and scattered upturned drawing pins across the upstairs landing – manky flip-flops with sturdy rubber soles.

As ever with the reinvention of fuddy-fuddy fashions, hip-hop leads the way. Californian rapper Kendrick Lamar wears a pair of what's known as Prince Albert slippers on the cover of his new single, Swimming Pools (Drank). His are made by Miami manufacturer Del Toro, fast making friends among the label-conscious, and have a skull and crossbones design on their blue velvet uppers. Another rapper, Mos Def, prefers Del Toro's Portofino slipper. As both he and Lamar probably live their lives going from air-conditioned limo to studio to photo-shoot to VIP club lounge, their slippers make perfectly acceptable outdoor shoes as well.

They're known as Prince Albert slippers, by the way, because it was he who popularised the style in the 19th century. Prior to this, he and Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy were the slipper's only real poster boys. Now even Brad Pitt has a pair monogrammed with his initials. He likes to wear them when he's sauntering up the red carpet to his latest film premiere. Nothing so grand for the rest of us, but your Saturday-night telly session might feel a lot more glamorous while wearing a really flash pair. Try it. This is the one moment in history when nobody is going to sneer.

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