The Return of the Mule


I’ve been trying to avoid this one.  Ever since the 90s, when I first experienced this trend as a fashion newbie, I’ve been aware/wary of this accessory.  My first foray was a pair of black soft suede, block heeled mules.  They were so cool.  I thought I was so cool.  Teenaged and trying to find my style, I’m not sure I nailed the style part, but I did have one thing going for me: young feet and untarnished heels.

Youth makes everything easy when it comes to clothing.  Only when one looks back do we wish we knew what we know now.  Perfectly gorgeous bodies that didn’t get as much empathy as they should have. And perfect feet.  Feet that hadn’t been squashed and squeezed and abrased and mistreated.  Feet that had no callouses, bunions, cracked heels. Just un-mottled, smooth and baby-soft.

Bliss. We didn’t even know we had to grateful for them.

Fast forward 20 years.  The mule is back. Only this time, there’s an older foot to put in it.  Nothing fully-exposes a woman like a mule.  It reveals your darkest secrets to the world.  What we can hide with Spanx and hair-dye remains between us, but a mule will out you.  Its a candid screenshot of a woman’s lifestyle just by the mere inch or three of skin on show.  It is an unforgiving  footwear piece that many love because of its slip-on ease. Who pampers her feet and who does not.  Don’t let that irony be lost on you – if the appeal of a casual slider warrants, the prep and hard work must be done beforehand.  Unsightly heels are an outfit-breaker. Nothing can save it.  Nothing.

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Gucci Suede Mules

In summer, I’ve seen many attempt diversion tactics from un-kempt heels by painting toenails in candy colours.  Nah. Doesn’t work.  Good, old-fashioned putting your back into it does the trick (or getting someone to do it for you)!  Rub shea butter into those feet, scrub, pumice, soak, paraffin wax – do whatever it takes, but don’t let cracked heels out into daylight!

It doesn’t stop there.  In Autumn/Winter it may have been tempting to neglect ones feet because of the cold weather, but no.  As shown by Gucci, these new mule hybrids, lined with softest shearling, are to be worn without socks.  Your entire rear must be in good shape for these babies, but when they look good, they look really good.

To avoid looking like and old donkey from the knees down, here are the Mule Rules:

  1. Heel health – prep those feet.  Pamper them until they are saturated with moisture. Hobbit feet are a no-no.
  2. Exfoliate feet, heels and ankles.  Unsightly self-tan doesn’t go well with these backless beauts.
  3. Blisters – avoid a mule if you’ve been hiking across The Alps.  Best wait for those sores to heal and soothe them with Vitamin E oil.
  4. Buy the right size! Nothing more unsettling than foot overhang.  I find it mesmerising, gross, but mesmerising. If you happen have larger feet, you’re not going to make them look any smaller by buying the wrong size, it’ll have the adverse effect.
  5. Heeled v flat.  If you struggle to walk in heels, then heeled mules are harder. Just something to bare in mind. Walking in heels is an art. Running in heels deserves medals.

Please sign up for more of my musings.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Ava x

Note: All images have been credited to their original websites

Helen Bordon showing us how it is done. 

Image: Christian Vieri Getty Images


Tabitha Simmons’ ‘Diana’ Mule
Alberta Ferretti Embroidered Mules
Gucci Shearling lined loafers
Tods loafers

How to care for your Cashmere

Image (c) Alabaste 2016


Firstly, don’t over-wash your knit pieces. It probably isn’t necessary to wash your Cashmere after every wear, so clean sparingly and only if absolutely necessary. Place your Alabaste into a laundry bag and into the washing machine. Never use everyday detergent, as these are too harsh, but a soft soap such as Woolite. Wash on hand wash setting at cool or 30 degrees. Do not wring dry. Lay as flat as possible, after re-shaping, to dry.


Never dry clean your Cashmere – a major faux pas for any natural fibre. Akin to giving your Cashmere a perm!


Due to the nature of the fibre, wearing equals abrasion which results in little balls appearing. The easy way to remove these is with a cashmere comb (coming soon on alabaste.com) or an electric de-fuzzer. They should come off very easily (unless your “Cashmere” has been blended with other fibres.


Firstly, wash your Cashmere as per the wash care instructions above. Allow to dry and place into the freezer for 48 hours. Depending on the scale of the damage, our team may be able to salvage your favourites! Contact info@alabaste.com, if you live in Cape Town- we can help!


It is virtually impossible to determine, by the naked eye, if Cashmere has been blended with other fibres. Due to higher demand and offering Cashmere on a mass-scale, cheaper fibres are blended together to get the costs down. The exclusivity of Cashmere warrants a mass-following but the quality can be compromised.

Each Alabaste piece has been tested by our technicians and a certificate of authenticity is provided. We strive to offer our customers only the best and we will never compromise on quality.

If you have any other questions, please send us an email: info@alabaste.com and we will gladly help.







New Service for Cashmere Lovers!

Cashmere Fix 2016

Are moths eating your favourite Cashmere pieces?  Alabaste is offering a new mending service for Cape Town dwellers!  Call to arrange a time on +27 793 548 959 and drop your items off at 15 Prince Street, Gardens, Cape Town.  Prices depend on damage caused!  For more information on how to care for your Cashmere please check out our Facebook Page Alabaste FAQs

Update Your Winter Wardrobe!

monochrome FB

Ease your way into Winter with the Fashion Editor’s choice: MONOCHROME.

This is quite possibly the simplest way to update your Autumn/Winter wardrobe.  And with such easy colours, these scarves will last you for seasons to come.  100% Cashmere AND machine-washable – low maintenance luxe at it’s best!

Email info@alabaste.com for more details.


Mwah! x