EnBrogue on BBC Radio 4 (eek!) and more: it’s this week’s Shoes Headlines

EnBrogue goes high-brow

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A couple of weeks ago, the BBC asked if they could come to my house and talk to me about my flat shoes for a feature on their Saturday morning magazine show, Saturday Live. As an avid listener of the show (I love the bit where people phone in to say thank you to someone who they couldn’t thank at the time – sometimes it’s people who have SAVED THEIR LIVES!) I was thrilled to even be asked. A lovely producer popped round with a microphone and we stood around a pile of my shoes talking about them for an hour. It’s airing this Easter Saturday morning from 9am (don’t worry – it’s been edited down to a couple of minutes!), so tune in if you want to hear me harping on about brogues and Birkenstocks!

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My shoes laid out for the BBC to use as “props”

Hats and shoes: a good combination

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I love hearing the funny stories behind designer collaborations. In this instance, FitFlop founder Marcia Kilgour met celebrated hat designer Stephen Jones in New York years ago when she gave him a facial and they’ve been friends ever since. They’ve now designed a shoe together, which will be available to buy in May.

Shoe crush – Zoe Lee

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Livonia, £495, zoelee.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Earlier this week I had afternoon tea (doesn’t that sound quaint!) with delightful shoe designer Zoe Lee. Her life sounds idyllic; she’s just opened a shop in Paris, where she now lives, and it just so happens to be in my favourite area, The Marais (if you’ve never been, you must – it’s brilliant for shopping). The brand is only two years old, but it already has a gorgeous individual style of its own. I LOVE the summer boots in particular.

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Opelousas, £395, zoelee.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

High street shoe of the week

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Louise sandal, £150, swear-london.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Love them or hate them, chunky sandals are here to stay…for the summer at least. A key trend to look out for is a white sole, so these from Swear are about as on trend as it gets. They’re also available in white or silver. Wear with ripped boyfriend jeans and a slouchy white tee for a casual Easter weekend look.

EnBrogue – the gift that keeps on giving

Don’t forget all the exciting things going on with EnBrogue at the moment. You’ve got until the end of April to enter the Clarks ‘Loveable Brogues’ competition, where you can win a pair of shoes and a weekend away, courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith (read about how to enter here). There are still some of my limited edition Jemima Vine Edie slippers available, so head to the website (here) if you fancy getting yourself a pair now that it’s bare ankles weather. And until the end of May, you can get 15% off at Seven Boot Lane (read about how to do that here).

15% off at Seven Boot Lane with EnBrogue

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Remember that lovely boots brand I told you about recently? Well, they don’t just do boots. To remind you, Seven Boot Lane is a British brand with a focus on making really great quality boots (and now shoes!) as an antidote to throw-away fashion. I’m thrilled that it’s branched out to make shoes and sandals too, especially as they are REALLY nice. Here I am sporting the new Banjo style. They are made of the softest summer suede and have a sturdy wood effect leather sole.

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Banjo in khaki leopard, £110 – £93.50 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)

The good news doesn’t stop with lovely shoes though. I’ve teamed up with Seven Boot Lane to give you 15% off until the end of May (so plenty of time to make a decision on which pair to buy!). Simply enter the code ENBROGUE15 when you check out to get your discount. To whet your appetite, here are a few of my favourite styles. Happy shopping – and tweet me with pictures of the ones you buy!

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Bella in grey suede (also available in rust), £100 – £85 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)

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Bracken in natural leather (also available in rust), £85 – £72.25 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)

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Banjo in pale pink suede (also available in khaki leopard), £110 – £93.50 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)

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Blaise in khaki leopard suede (also available in rust, blue and grey suede), £95 – £80.75 with EnBrogue discount (BUY ME HERE!)

you CAN wear flat shoes to a wedding…even if you’re the bride

I got married ten years ago this September. I knew exactly what I wanted – from dress, to table settings, to location – but what to wear on my feet had me really stumped. This was back in the day when I still wore heels from time to time – for “special occasions” and job interviews – so I did feel a certain pressure to wear them on my wedding day. I ended up choosing a pair of awful sling back kitten heels; as much height as I could reasonably manage without falling over. I couldn’t bear to spend more than £35 on them because I knew that a) I would never EVER wear them again and b) I would kick them off and patter about barefoot the second the ceremony and pictures were over. I was right about both of these things – they were discarded before we even sat down to eat, never to be worn again.

If I was getting married now I would do things SO differently. My dress -rather than being long and very traditional – would be knee length, meaning it would show off my fantastic flat shoes (they’d obviously be fantastic these days). I’m helping a friend shop for flat wedding shoes at the moment, and as I’ve already done the research for her, I thought I would share it with you too…

If you want a traditional look

There are brands that specifically make flat shoes for weddings, and I’ve listed some of them here, but if you want that very traditional look you’re in luck as thanks to Simone Rocha (John Rocha’s daughter, a hot name on the London Fashion Week circuit), they’re also bang on trend. Look for lace, pearls and satin, and if you want a more modern feel, avoid ballet pumps and opt for a pointy pump instead.

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Pearl ballerina flats, £480, by Simone Rocha at selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Lille lace tulle rose, £199.99, harrietwilde.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

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Ella, 169 euros, prettyballerinas.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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floral lacer-cut leather shoes, £490 by Nicholas Kirkwood at matchesfashion.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

If you want shoes you’ll wear again

I think the best option for a pair of shoes you can then wear after your wedding is a metallic pointy flat. They look wonderful with anything from a classic little black dress to jeans and a white T-shirt. You can’t move for metallic pointy flats at the moment, both on the high street and at more high end brands too, so this is an absolute winner as far as choice is concerned.

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metallic T-bars, £575, by Tabitha Simmons at shoescribe.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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ballerinas with crystals, £29.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Irani, £165, lkbennett.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Attila, £395, by Jimmy Choo at net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

If you’re more unconventional

Who says you can’t adopt a less feminine look for your wedding day? Not me. Last year I read a wonderful blog post about a couple who had both got married wearing Grenson (read it here – they also have tiles to die for, and you lot know how much I love tiles!) which was inspiring. Not all women like to wear frilly dresses and delicate shoes, so here’s a selection of brogues that I think would look amazing with a trouser suit, or a short, A-line shift. In fact, I think this last category would be my choice if I were doing it all over again…maybe me and Mr Brogue should just have a good old knees-up for our anniversary. Any excuse for a new pair of shoes…

Rose, £195, grenson.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Rose, £195, grenson.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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Squawfish, £230, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Helen, £99, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)

So if you are getting married, don’t feel pressured into wearing heels if you really don’t want to. There’s nothing better than feeling yourself, being comfortable, and not being in so much pain that you can’t dance to the band you paid a lot of money to play at the reception. Oh, and tweet me pictures of you in your flat shoes at weddings too – whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid or a guest, I’d love to see you all being comfortably stylish!

Loveable Brogues: win a pair of Clarks shoes!

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And so on to a subject I know you’re all keen on: Clarks. The classic British shoe brand has a cracking collection for summer, with some old favourites reinvented in lovely new colours – like Hamble Oak in grey, white and silver (sketched by me below) and Hotel Diva in cream, taupe and tan – as well as some lovely new styles like Hotel Image (above) and Fenners Fun with airy cut out details. Lots of PERFECT summer shoes to choose from.

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But here’s the really exciting bit. Clarks are running a brilliant competition called Loveable Brogues – enter and you could win a weekend away, as well as a pair of brogues – of course! All you need to do is post a picture on Instagram either of you and your other half wearing brogues, or of you in an old favourite pair, and you’re in with a chance of winning (there are runners up prizes too). Me and Mr Brogue have been having some fun taking pictures with some of Clarks new season styles to give you inspiration.

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Having tried these shoes out I can confirm that they are as ridiculously comfortable as you would expect from Clarks, with their springy insoles and great fit. Mr Brogue – previously a Clarks Originals kind of guy – was also impressed, particularly with Darby Desert (top) as the fringe is removable, giving him two different looks in one shoe. You can see all of the Clarks new season flats here. So go on, enter now! Here’s all the official competition stuff from Clarks; don’t forget to hashtag your pictures or you won’t be eligible to win and you’ve got until April 30th to upload your picture.

Do you and your other half love a good brogue? Or do you have a pair you just can’t stop wearing? We want to find your Loveable Brogues! Snap a picture of your “couples brogues” or your most loved pair of brogues, upload to Instagram with #LoveableBrogues and you could WIN a weekend away, courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith, plus a brand new pair of brogues from this season’s collection.

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I have been more than a little obsessed with the boots shown at the Roksanda Illincic summer 2014 catwalk show since I saw them in the flesh back in September. They are a collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood; I call him the hardest working man in shoe business, as he manages to be creative director for Italian label Pollini (AMAZING), collaborator with fellow London-based brands Erdem and Peter Pilotto as well as Roksanda, all while running his own eponymous brand. These boots caught me by surprise though, because their main feature is a BOW.

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Roksanda Illincic’s s/s2014 catwalk show

See, I’m not exactly what you’d call a girly girl. I rarely wear pink, I obviously don’t wear heels, and bows aren’t an adornment I expected to set my pulse racing. These boots are just so perfect, though, I can’t help doing a little swoon when I see them. 

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Nicholas Kirkwood for Roksanda boots, £640, brownsfashion.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Thankfully for our bank balances, I’ve found some brilliant homages to these very boots for a few hundred quid cheaper. Remember last year when I wrote about F-Troupe’s rubber bathing shoes? Turns out this brand does some really cool leather shoes too. The black boots are perfect for recreating Roksanda’s modern Fifties look, though personally I prefer the two-tone loafer style to wear with skinny jeans.

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ankle boots, £170, f-troupe.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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loafers, £130, f-troupe.com (BUY ME HERE!)

And how about these from good old Russell & Bromley, who if memory serves have actually been doing this style for years. I love the white with the contrast bow running all the way around the foot. Sonia Rykiel also has a similar, more feminine version. Inevitably though, my search for bow shoes just brought me back full circle to the gorgeous mint green and black pair at the bottom of the page by…you guessed it: Nicholas Kirkwood! Maybe I should just bite the bullet and save up…

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Downton, £165, russellandbromley.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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Sonia Rykiel, £195 at shoescribe.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem, £420, browns fashion.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Ventilation, that’s what you need

If you’re a hardcore brogues and loafers fan like me, the arrival of summer either marks a complete change in your footwear habits (I tend to live in leather sandals) or months of very sweaty feet. Or perhaps you’re like my friend Jo. She has a thing about toes. She doesn’t like them (not even her own!), so the prospect of summer with its open toes and pedicures galore fills her with dread.
But last summer I discovered the PERFECT summer shoe for tomboys and toe-phobes alike: the cut-out. These shoes allow you to keep hold of your mannish aesthetic while getting some ventilation around your feet. The pair I bought last year were from Y.M.C. and are available again this year in navy or tan suede. 

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Punk sandal, £195, youmustcreate.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I sometimes refer to this closed-toe sandal style as ‘geek shoes’ (you can exaggerate this by wearing them with socks) and it’s a trend that has lived on for another year. I lived in mine last summer, so am very tempted to get some more. These by Northern Cobbler are BEAUTIFUL – I love the brogue detailing on the straps. And for a cheaper option, head to good old Topshop.

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Nibblefish, £210, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Kendra, £52, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Seeing as I already have a pair like this, though, maybe it would be more sensible (and less greedy) to purchase a pair of the new breed of breathable shoes. These are more substantial lace-ups with panels of leather missing or, in the case of these beauties from Paul Smith, perforated holes in the leather. Either way, they’ll keep your feet and your outfit cool; a brilliant investment for the androgynous dresser.

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Frank, £270, paulsmith.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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Charlotte, £135, swear-london.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Minimarket lace-ups, £190, shoescribe.com (BUY ME HERE!) also available in navy

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Hotel Image, £65, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

sporty sandals

So, I promised you earlier in the week a guide to summer sandals. And the news this summer is: they’re chunky and sporty. You can blame Phoebe Philo at Celine for this  - as you can for most trends you’ve ended up wearing over the past few years – as well as my favourite brand Marni, Prada and Kenzo amongst others.

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Nicholas Kirkwood sandals, £595 at net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

This style isn’t for everyone (I’m quoted in today’s Times Magazine on the very subject) but I LOVE them. They’re the ultimate in comfort (particularly if you have the nerve to wear them with socks, though if you’re going to do this I’d advise ribbed socks and NEVER towelling) and the high street has grabbed it with both hands. Good news! Ignoring this spectacular pair by Nicholas Kirkwood, which I can’t afford, so I painted them, I’ve rounded up my favourite more affordable designs available right now. Stock up now before they sell out!

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Selma, £129, hobbs.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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Erie, £59.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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strappy sandals with track sole, £49.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Hola, £24, topshop.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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Maite, £80, Calvin Klein at ASOS.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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Limited Maya, £225, whistles.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)