Now I’ve got your attention, let’s talk snazzy shoes. habbot might not be a brand you’re familiar with unless you live in Australia, because that’s where this brand is based. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology, geography isn’t a problem if you want to get your hands on a pair of habbot shoes because they ship worldwide for a fixed fee of a very reasonable $35. Even better, if you enter the En Brogue competition, you could WIN this gorgeous pair of two-tone wing tip loafers with gold tassels. Mmmm, dapper.
To enter, simply share my illustration of the shoes on Instagram tagging @habbot and @EnBrogue and include the hashtag #EnBrogueloveshabbot before MIDNIGHT (GMT) on SUNDAY NOVEMBER 23rd. YOU’VE ONLY GOT A COUPLE OF DAYS SO HURRY! The winner will be picked at random.
If you’re not lucky enough to win the shoes, do head to habbot’s website to check out the rest of the beautiful collection. I love these unusual designs – perfect for those of you who want to let your feet do the talking!
One of my best ever purchases was a pair of Liberty print skate shoes. OK, I admit they aren’t by the original skate shoe brand – Vans – but my Y.M.C. floral print sneakers get me more compliments than most of my other shoes. So as they’re starting to look a bit tatty (I’ve worn them A LOT), I reckon it’s time to invest in a new pair. And it just so happens that tomorrow (November 17th), Vans launches its fourth collaboration with Liberty Art Fabrics.
There’s something about Liberty print that works particularly well on trainers – Nike has done it, Y.M.C. has done it, Gola has done it – so it’s great that Vans is into its fourth season and these prints are GORGEOUS. Though I don’t know how they ever make a decision; I had the privilege of seeing some of the hundreds of Liberty swatches in the store archives earlier this year (there’s even an Isle of Wight print – imagine how excited I’d be if someone put that on a sneaker!) and the choice is insane!
You’d be surprised how much of your wardrobe a pair of floral trainers goes with. They look great if you wear all black and make your feet a point of interest. They’d also set off a pair of grey tailored trousers a treat. And they look cool with a leather pencil skirt and a sweatshirt. I like to wear mine with a classic Breton stripe and denim dungarees – the ultimate stylish weekend outfit. My favourite style is the Old Skool sneakers (top) – what’s yours? Leave comments below – I’d love to know!
I always love to hear about new shoe brands, particularly ones that manufacture in the UK. Ronnie Northampton is the brainchild of Kirsty Ronnie who is based (unsurprisingly) in Northampton: the shoe capital of Britain. And her designs are GORGEOUS.
Kirsty was born in Northampton and spent some time in London before returning to her home turf to study a masters in footwear design. “I’m really really passionate about keeping the industry alive in the area” she told me “there is no better place in my eyes than Northampton with its rich hertiage in the footwear industry and ‘money can’t buy’ knowledge and skill that the workers within the footwear factories have”.
The first Ronnie Northampton collection isn’t available until January but I wanted to draw your attention to it now because Kirsty has set up a Kickstarter page to raise the funds to develop the brand (here). If you don’t know about it already, Kickstarter is a way of enabling people with brilliant ideas to get the financial backing they need to get their business off the ground. In return, you get a gift from the brand, and in this instance these range from a leather key fob to a bespoke pair of shoes, depending on how much you pledge.
It’s INCREDIBLY difficult to start a new fashion brand if you don’t have tons of money, particularly if you are passionate about producing in the UK as it’s so much cheaper to get everything made in China. I’m becoming more and more interested in where my shoes and clothes are produced and would ALWAYS rather buy British if I can, so I’m really keen to support this brand! And for as little as £2, you can support it too. But hurry, the Kickstarter page is only live until December 1st!
Trends are great and everything, but it’s always good to have shoes in your wardrobe that you know will be in style for decades. One of my favourite shoes of all time is a lace-up brogue boot. This pair by Grenson were the shoes that got me REALLY hooked on shoes. I mean, I’ve always loved flat shoes, but it was this pair that tipped me well and truly over the edge from shoe fan to shoe-aholic.
What do I love about them so much (other than the fact that they look good as new after years of wearing)? 1) You’d be hard pushed to find anything that looks better with blue jeans 2) That tan leather is a fool-proof classic colour and 3) the fact that they’re lace-up means you can put your own spin on them (I added these yellow laces after a couple of years).
There’s never been a better time to invest in a pair of lovely brogue boots as there are so many to choose from on the high street. The image of my favourites from ASOS (above) also demonstrates my other current obsession: frayed hem jeans. Thanks to London fashion week designers Marques’Almeida, it’s totally fine if your jeans are too long to just cut them off and let them fray. It’s also a great way of making your jeans short enough to display your snazzy boots!
Another good bet, colour-wise, is burgundy – it’s bang on trend at the moment, but won’t ever go out of fashion. I particularly like the Pollard boot (top) from Bertie with its double texture finish. And don’t forget, if you get bored of your brogue boots in a couple of years, just change the laces for a fresh update.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that there’s nothing more disappointing than trying on a pair of snuggly sheepskin or fleece lined boots, only to discover that the snuggly bit stops before it reaches your feet. I don’t get it! That’s where you need it the most! I really hate having cold feet, so I’m always on the hunt for winter boots that keep my toes warm. And you’ll be pleased to hear that not only did I spend today hunting, but also putting my hands inside these boots in store so I could tell you with absolute confidence that THESE boots are furry ALL THE WAY TO THE TOE.
Let’s start with these smart biker boots from Zara. They’re real leather so good quality but still come in way under £100 which isn’t bad value at all. The furry lining is really soft and looks great rolled over under the buckles. Plus that rubber sole will grip on slippery surfaces. Practical AND stylish!
Next up, ALDO. Rather short sightedly, they’ve not shot them for the website with the lovely sheepskin lining rolled over so I’ve included a picture I took in store as I think they look much nicer styled this way. I REALLY like these boots. They’ve got a bit of a workman’s boot feel to them but are very chic, too. Again, the lining extends all the way to the toe.
How nice are these sneaker-style boots from Dune? I have some old Puma high tops with a furry lining that I live in when it’s cold; you’d be surprised how useful a super-warm pair of trainers can be. My Pumas are lace ups, but the zips on these boots mean you can make a feature of that lovely lining. Good old Dr Martens has got on board as well – they only have this tan colour on the Office website but I spied black ones in store which I preferred as they’re such a classic. And Red or Dead’s desert boot style are great if, like me, you’re always drawn to mod-style shoes. Bring on the cold weather Britain – I’m ready for you!
NB: while all of these particular boots will keep your toes warm, some of these brands have other styles available that look like they will be lined all the way to the toe but the lining stops at the ankle! If in doubt, go in store and try for yourself.
I recently wrote about sheepskin lined Birkenstock sandals – definitely a Marmite idea, that one! – but here’s something that might be a little easier to imagine in your wardrobe. Primeboots are pretty much the ultimate solution to winter for those of you who are really missing that cork-soled comfort you get from a Birkenstock.
Why do they differ from other boots on the market? Well, they have that same cork sole technology as used in Birkenstocks, which allows the boots to mould to the shape of your feet. My new pair arrived this week and I can confirm that they are INCREDIBLY comfortable. Though I was a bit hot in them in the unseasonably hot London weather we had this week…
Another nifty thing you get the option of with some styles of Primeboots is a contrast coloured zip – mine are red like the pair pictured above. This style – the Engineer boot – is the perfect biker; just the right height on the leg, wide enough to tuck in skinny jeans but not so wide they look like wellies, and not too heavy on the buckle embellishments.
If biker boots aren’t your thing there are chic Chelsea boot styles available, as well as a healthy dose of leopard print in most styles! Primeboots are a little tricky to track down at the moment in the UK, but you’ll find them stocked at Katie & Jo on the King’s Road in London (not on their website yet but probably worth checking back soon) and at nelly.com. Prices start at around £220.
I thought I’d celebrate by showcasing some of the best vegan shoes out there. Now, while I’m not a vegetarian myself, I know a lot of you are and this is a post that quite a few people have requested that I do. If you’ve given up meat, chances are you’re also keen to give up leather if you haven’t already, but it’s not always easy to find vegetarian shoes that also have great design.
So thank heaven for Stella McCartney, whose GORGEOUS shoe designs have upped the anti as far as animal friendly footwear is concerned. She never uses leather but is a pioneer in finding materials that look and feel just as good. Her designs this season are a bit heavy on the flatform side for En Brogue for the most part, but there are a couple of really nice flats in there too.
If those are a little out of your price range, fear not! I have some more options for you. How about this lovely French brand called Good Guys? None of their shoes are made from leather and the designs are really cool. Plus they’ve gone to the trouble of shooting with a lovely tiled background as well. Good work!
Another good bet for veggie shoes is brands that specialise in rubber. These skate shoes from Melissa are available at Selfridges and are made from 100% recycled rubber. So they’re good for the environment in more ways than one! Plus they’re really cute, too. #winning
To learn more about vegan fashion head to the PETA website.
I am really happy to announce that the winner of the En Brogue competition is Anna Domnich. Anna, who is in her third year studying BA Hons Cordwainers Footwear: product design and development at the London College of Fashion, was a clear winner for me, as when she was asked to design the perfect flat party shoe, she ended up designing an entire collection! And within the collection are five sub-collections, designed with a certain type of girl in mind. Anna’s entry was a presentation with gorgeous vintage pictures and descriptions for each type of girl. “I chose five stereotypes of women,” she told me “and I observed my friends and thought of how they celebrate Christmas and what kind of shoes they would want to wear.” Is she one of them? “Hard to say.. I think I’m a mixture of all five”.
The Charlotte collection
I thought I’d start by introducing you to my favourite party girl: Charlotte. The Charlotte collection is made up from ankle boots because Charlotte “prefers a cosy Christmas night by the fireplace with her beloved in the countryside”. That’s definitely me. And I ADORE the grey woollen boots.
The Nancy Collection
Fancy something a bit more bling? The Nancy collection might be more up your street. “She’s a glamorous diva, she loves attention and she attends lots of black tie events, so her outfits are always elegant, tasteful and chic”. These are the perfect alternative if you usually wear heels to posh events.
The Mary Collection
How about if you’re a demon on the dance floor? Mary is a collection of flexible shoes with fun details like gold glitter soles for when you throw some amazing shapes at the work Christmas do. I’d like to adapt a pair from this collection by adding taps – the ultimate dancing shoes!
The Betty collection
“Betty is a naughty little thing. She loves to have fun, make jokes and have a good laugh all night!” I want to go to a party with Betty! Although I’d spend much of the night admiring her shoes. I LOVE these masculine styles with a party edge. That chunky glittery sole is to die for.
The Rose collection
Back to a bit of girly opulence with the final collection. “Rose is very feminine; this can be seen through her footwear choices. She loves ballerinas, especially with pointy toes”. These shoes are particularly on trend for AW14, using velvet and luxe finishes like pearls. They would look beautiful with a long, ball gown – just look on the catwalk – no-one styles gowns with heels anymore!
I wish Anna the very best of luck with her career, though I have no doubt she will be snapped up by a major brand or start her own line before long! She didn’t even set out to be a shoe designer. “I was actually applying to study fashion design & marketing course and randomly added a couple of shoe drawings to my portfolio. To my surprise the interviewers were really impressed with my shoe designs and suggested that I choose to do footwear design instead”. I’m so pleased she did!
All that remains is for me to ask you lot a question. What’s your party shoe personality? I’d love to know whether you’re a Charlotte or more of a Rose…do leave comments below. And I’m sure Anna would be keen to hear which ones are your favourite designs too!
This is the first of two very exciting blog posts. To celebrate the launch of my book En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels., I was asked to set a competition for students at the London College of Fashion. The candidates, all studying BA Hons Cordwainers Footwear: product design and development, were given the task of designing the perfect flat party shoe, and I loved all the entries. It was such an honour to see the work of these future shoe designers (could one of them be the next Nicholas Kirkwood?!) but I had to narrow it down to my favourites and today, I want to share with you the three runners up.
Such a cute design, this one. I love the slightly Glam Rock feel to them (very SS15!) but crucially they don’t stray into platform territory. They’d look brilliant with a metallic A-line party dress but I think I would wear them with skinny jeans and a metallic roll neck top. Maybe even a pair of flares (cropped ones, of course – so you can see the shoes!). Well done Ellie!
What I like about this design is that at first glance they appear to be quite classic, but look closer and this is a VERY modern shoe. Those cut out details are really unusual and the (virtually flat) heel is completely transparent. I’m also a big fan of an ankle strap as it’s a flattering feature. Congratulations Tarun!
So much to love about this entry – even ignoring the shoes I love the styling with the skirt and the floor tiles! But those shoes are gorgeous, too. They’re a sort of pump/ankle boot hybrid and I REALLY like the contrasting vamp that looks like it’s attached with elastic gussets. Nice work, Sarah!
I’d love to know what you think about these designs as well. Which pair are your favourite? Tomorrow I’ll be interviewing the winner and revealing her brilliant designs.
My last post explored the designers using trainers as inspiration for their clothing, and one of those designers was Mary Katrantzou. Now, obviously the thing you lot are most interested in is the actual trainers. So here, in all their technicolour glory, are the trainers in the adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou collection. WOWZAS!
While I don’t doubt that these are high spec trainers, performance-wise, you won’t catch me going for a jog across Blackheath in a pair of these beauties! Well, you won’t catch me going for a jog full stop because I’m too lazy but that’s beside the point. These are trainers to be treasured, cherished and looked after with the same care you’d give to a beautiful pair of Grenson brogues. Look at them! They’re works of art.
The collection is available from November 15th but don’t expect them to hang around for long. If you want a pair for yourself, you’ll need to be quick!