Shoe Rules explained to our men...again

A MATE of mine emailed me a few weeks ago and revealed that he suspected his wife has a problem with shoes, owning as she does around a hundred pairs.

Now look, all you blokes out there. I've explained this before in this column, but it's clear I have to go there again.

It's not our fault.

Yes, I know that you boys exist quite comfortably with a pair of each of the following: black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, everyday work shoes, joggers, work boots and thongs. That's great, and I'm very happy for you. I wish it were that easy for girls.

First up ... we can't wear black shoes with brown clothes, and vice versa. Don't ask me why, we just can't. I don't know who made up the Shoe Rules and I hope whoever they are, they don't sleep at night, but they must be obeyed. Shoe Rules make about as much sense as allowing parliamentarians to drink themselves into a stupor while on the job (Tony Abbott, you know I'm looking at you, and take another three hours on the naughty mat for lying barefaced about it for EIGHT YEARS). But The Rules exist and here are the rest of them.

If you have a head-turning outfit, your shoes must be neutral and practically invisible. A nude kitten heel is ideal. If the words "nude kitten heel" make no sense to you, you may as well stop reading now.

Conversely, if you are making like a '50s librarian with your clothing, you need the full "follow me home" stiletto pumps, preferably in fire-engine red or passion purple.

Open-toed shoes or sling-backs can only be worn in summer (but there's more wiggle room with a peep-toe). And please, never wear them with stockings. In some countries you can go to jail for less.

Genuine vintage cowboy boots go with everything.

No heels outdoors; wedges are acceptable. (This is based on sheer practicality, unlike all the other Shoe Rules. It's not a good look to pitch backwards while standing on a lawn in heels because they sink suddenly into the Sir Walter.)

Navy shoes go with just about anything except black, but you must wear them with one item of blue clothing. I'm not making this up - who could?

It's perfectly acceptable - for unknown reasons - for a big night out to buy a pair of shoes that are agony to wear.

It is also acceptable to carry a pair of truly daggy fold-up slippers (back in the day they were called "Jiffies") to slip into when your feet can't take any more pain.

The only Shoe Rule for blokes? No socks with sandals. Please.