Dhaka, aka family, fuchka and flip flops. Packing our holiday bags on Christmas Eve 2017, we gleefully collected our skin baring, breathable footwear from the dark corners of negligence and went overboard packing one too many pair of shoes for a 2.5 week trip. It was time to treat our souls and soles to warmth and sunshine.
Almost half of my Dhaka-bound footwear consisted of Monroés. For the uninitiated, Monroé is a local khussa brand in Bangladesh owned by two young women entrepreneurs, Badria Anis and Sahar Rahman. I am hugely biased towards this amazing, local-talent boosting venture because these boss ladies also happen to be my best friends. That being said, I am not the sort to shell out my hard earned money behind anything that I do not approve of wholeheartedly. Especially footwear. Given how hectic my life is as a busybody hurtling from the demands of an engineering job to the daily grind of domestic chores, I find myself perpetually juggling my universe on a wide, mismatched pair of feet. A good pair of shoes is dearer to me then her glass slippers were to Cinderella.
I am the kind of person who spends agonising hours hunting for the right kind of footwear, always struggling to strike that comfort vs. stylish balance. Ballet pumps and khussas bring out the worst of this problem as they are not as forgiving as boots or open sandals. Monroé takes all that headache out for me with a dreamlike fit that perfectly moulds my queer feet.
I have made Monroé a household affair. I have purchased these beauties for my sisters and friends and received them as Eid gifts from the Husband. Admittedly they are not the kind of shoes you would find yourself reaching for too often in the cold climes of UK. I was only able to flaunt mine on one lone sunny Eid Day in August last year.
A trend has formed, Eid for me has become synonymous with my trusted Monroés. For Eid-Ul-Fitr 2017, which I was lucky enough to spend with my family in Dhaka, I opted for one of my most favourite pairs called Mayfair. What makes this a powerhouse in my shoe wardrobe is it’s simple yet statement making versatility. It’s nude base with an unassuming white embroidery is elegance personified. You can either dress down with it in chic fusion wear or dress up in more snazzy attires without taking attention away from your clothes. I wore it in a variety of styles in my trip to Dhaka. In fact I found myself reaching for it almost every other day.
For Eid-ul-Azha, I selected the fun and funky Popping Candy, a vibrant and fitting pair for my gypsy-esque kameez from West London’s Southall area. I sorely miss dressing up in deshi clothes and I am always overly excited when I do. I felt considerably trendy with my tassel earrings and Monroé clad feet despite being out of sync with the hot trends of the ever evolving Dhaka fashion scene.
Fast forward to Dhaka Decembers and I was still wearing my Monroés everywhere. Monroé’s floral range is one of their bestselling lines – no wonder I own so many! Meet Candyfloss, Popping Candy‘s soul siter. This boho outfit is quintessentially me: fuss free kurti from the Pakistani clothing line Khaadi (available in London Westfield) and the most comfortable pair of Monroés to boot. This effortlessly sets me up for a typical Dhaka Day: it’s weather appropriate and roomy, making me swish elegantly from one dawaat to the next, whether meeting friends and family or sipping maltar chaa from roadside tonger dokaans.
Here is another casual kurti look that got upgraded with a beautiful pair of Monroés, the Forbidden Leaf (a steal from my sisters’ wardrobe ;)).
If there is a true mark of how much I adore and trust my Monroés, teaming them with a sari, that too a heavy number that weighs like a ton of bricks, is probably the best one. I was in my second trimester and heavily reliant on comfortable shoes to swaddle my queer, preggers feet. Heels were a total no-no. Enter Vintage Garden, a gorgeous pair of glimmering gold that saved the day AND made me feel pretty.
Nothing changed in the third trimester, when my feet were one of the biggest sources of discomfort, along with heartburn, indigestion, hot flushes and backaches. There was swelling, making 95% of my footwear useless. There was aching from carrying 20kgs of extra weight. So when I gingerly put my feet into Popping Candy for a Pohela Boishakh dawaat, I was pleasantly shocked to find that they STILL fit me. That, for me, was a till death do us apart moment!
If your shoe obsession has been satisfactorily stoked and you are raring to check out these wonderful designs, visit Monroé’s Facebook and Instagram page for more inspo. Deets below:
Meanwhile, I am daydreaming of my next Dhaka trip – as always. My list of must-buy Monroés grows happily ever after.