5 stocking fillers under £20 for the girl who loves flat shoes

(NB: regular readers – you might want to leave this post accidentally open on the home computer…)

Hi boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/brothers/sons/dads and anyone else who is stumped on what Christmas present to buy the girl in their life who loves flat shoes! *waves*

Now, I know that what you REALLY want to do is buy her that gorgeous pair of Grenson shoes she’s been going on about ALL YEAR. But you can’t afford it and slippers from Primark just won’t do will they? So I’ve put together a list of stocking fillers that will set you back no more than £20 while still showing that you’ve been paying attention to what she likes. You’re welcome.

1. A pair of snazzy socks

Happy Socks 1
paisley socks, £8, happysocks.com (BUY ME HERE!)

If she’s into her brogues, chances are she’s also partial to a snazzy pair of socks. Happy Socks (designed in Sweden – totally cool) has a MASSIVE choice, with everything from multi-coloured leopard print to classic Argyle. There’s literally something for everyone.

2. A shoe care kit

John Lewis shoe kit
shoe care kit, £12, johnlewis.com (BUY ME HERE!)

For the most part, you’ll find these in the ‘for him’ sections in stores. Why retailers think that women don’t need to clean their shoes I don’t know. Anyway, this one is cheap enough to a) add a suede brush (essential – John Lewis has one for only £3.50 here) and b) put it all in a more appealing bag. Or you could just cover a shoe box in Liberty print wrapping paper and pop it all in there. Job done.

3. Sheepskin insoles

Hunter insoles
shearling insoles, £15, hunterboots.com (BUY ME HERE!)

These tick so many boxes it’s a no brainer. They’re a designer label, but nice and affordable. They transform a pair of shoes or wellies she already owns, so you don’t need to buy actual shoes. And I can tell you, because I have some, that they are AMAZING and keep your feet really warm. You might want to get a pair for yourself while you’re there…

4. A pair of shoe trees

Dasco shoe tree
Dasco cedar shoe tree, £15.50, the shoelace.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Anyone who cares about their shoes wants to keep them in good condition, and these shoe trees stop soft leather shoes losing their shape when they’re not being worn. Extra marks if you can find some vintage ones as the wood is so much more beautiful – try eBay and junk stores.

5. A book about stylish flat shoes

IMG_9507
En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. £10 (published by Saltyard) available at Waterstones, Amazon, Anthropologie and all good book stores (BUY ME HERE!)

*shameless self-promotion face* So….I just so happen to have written a book about stylish flat shoes that’s the PERFECT Christmas gift for your shoe-loving girl. It’s only £10 and it’s small enough to fit into a stocking! It’s full of interesting facts about shoes (did you know the Nike Air Max is modelled on the Pompidou Centre in Paris?) as well as my illustrations and photos of loads of lovely shoes. I reckon she’ll LOVE it.

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see all my favourite Clarks styles for next season now

I know you lot love Clarks, so I thought you’d like a sneak peak at some of the styles on offer for next season (yes, we magazine people are harping on about summer ALREADY). Clarks seems to be getting better and better each season, and although I always particularly look forward to the Originals and Orla Kiely collections, there are some lovely styles in the main line too.

Main line

Busby Folly in rose gold
Busby Folly in rose gold

I really liked the Busby Folly range for AW14 (especially the bottle green patent ones) so I’m pleased to see the style carried through for another season. They’ve gone a bit snazzier in rose gold and snake print, and are all the better for it.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CURRENT BUSBY FOLLY RANGE

Busby Folly in snake print
Busby Folly in snake print

I also really loved these loafer-sneaker hybrids in lemon yellow. Sadly it’s the only colour they come in but if you’re only going to do one colour, make it yellow I say!

sporty tassel loafers
sporty tassel loafers

Originals

The classic desert boot comes in chalky pastel colours for next season, and I was also delighted to see these floral Wallabees in small sizes. YAY! Let’s hope that goes all the way through into production – it’s annoying when we girls don’t get the chance to wear some of the styles in the Originals range. I’ve been dying to get my hands on a pair of Wallabees since watching Breaking Bad but haven’t been able to track down any size 4s. Unless they have a wedge heel, and I’m OBVIOUSLY not going there!

pastel Desert boots
pastel Desert boots
paisley Wallabees - I'll take t
floral Wallabees – I’ll take take those in navy please!

CLICK HERE FOR THE CURRENT ORIGINALS RANGE

Orla Kiely

This is the bit you’ve all ben waiting for, I know.

school uniform chic - love it!
school uniform chic – love it!

Next season’s Orla collection is Sixties inspired, as you would expect, and has a good focus on flats which hasn’t always been the case so I’m pleased about that! There are masculine loafers and feminine T-bars too, as well as the gorgeous geeky T-bars above. It’s a shame they don’t all come with these lovely display backgrounds too! I can’t get enough of an Orla print, me…

Orla Barbara (great Sixties name!)
Orla Barbara (great Sixties name!)
VERY snazzy loafers
VERY snazzy loafers

CLICK HERE FOR THE CURRENT ORLA KIELY RANGE

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WIN a pair of habbot shoes with En Brogue

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.

 

habbot with text

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.

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Journal, $390, habbotstudios.com.au (BUY ME HERE!)
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Hatter, $390, habbotstudios.com.au (BUY ME HERE!)

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!

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Journal, $390 (BUY ME HERE!) and Quill, $360 (BUY ME HERE!) both at habbotstudios.com.au

 

 

 

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Vans X Liberty: the new collection

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.

Vans x Liberty_Old Skool_Holiday 2014
Vans X Liberty Old Skool sneakers, £55, vans.eu

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!

Vans x Liberty_Authentic_Holiday 2014
Vans X Liberty Authentic, £50, vans.eu
Vans x Liberty_Sk8-Hi Reissue_Holiday 2014
Vans X Liberty Sk8-Hi Reissue, £57, vans.eu

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!

Vans x Liberty_Era_Holiday 2014
Vans X Liberty Era, £52, vans.eu
Vans x Liberty_Classic Slip-On_Holiday 2014
Vans X Liberty Classic Slip-On, £50, vans.eu
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new shoe brand alert! Ronnie Northampton

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.

Margaret Ghillie shoe, by Ronnie Northampton
Ronnie Northampton Margaret shoe

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”.

Ronnie Northampton Miriam shoe
Ronnie Northampton Miriam shoe
Ronnie Northampton Joycee shoe
Ronnie Northampton Joycee shoe
Ronnie Northampton Nelly shoe
Ronnie Northampton Nelly shoe

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.

Ronnie Northampton Elizabeth shoe
Ronnie Northampton Elizabeth shoe

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!

Ronnie Northampton Marlene shoe
Ronnie Northampton Marlene shoe
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wardrobe classic: the Derby brogue boot

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.

IMG_8787
Emma boots, £230, grenson.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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).

Massimo Dutti
double buckle boot, £125, massimodutti.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Acting Up boot, £55, asos.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Acting Up boot, £55, asos.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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!

Pollard boot, £120, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pollard boot, £120, by Bertie at dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Hazel boot, £120 by Poste Mistress at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Hazel boot, £120 by Poste Mistress at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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chunky boots, £65, riverisland.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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.

 

 

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Brrrillliant…the best furry boots under £150

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.

ankle boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
biker boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
ankle boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
biker boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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!

Aldo 2
Ileana boot, £90, aldoshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)
ALDO Ileana boots in store
ALDO Ileana boots in store

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.

Pingoo boot, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pingoo boot, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pingoo, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pingoo, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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!

Dr Martens 1
Dr Martens, £110 at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Red or Dead boots, £55, schuh.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Red or Dead boots, £55, schuh.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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.

 

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what to wear when it’s too cold for Birkenstocks: part two

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.

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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…

Prime visitkort

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.

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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.

it’s world vegan day!

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.

Stella McCartney 1
Frankie shoes, £675, stellamccartney.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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.

Stella McCartney 2
Brompton boot, £410, stellamccartney.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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!

Good Guys 1
Aponi2, €95, goodguys.bigcartel.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Good Guys 2
Marty, €169, goodguys.bigcartel.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Good Guys 3
Ayashi, €110, goodguys.bigcartel.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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

Melissa 1
Melissa It cat trainers, £90 at selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Melissa 2
Melissa It cat shoes, £120 at selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

To learn more about vegan fashion head to the PETA website.

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En Brogue LCF competition – the AMAZING winner!

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

4.1
Charlotte grey wool boot with crystal trim
4.3
Charlotte brogue boot

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.

4.2
Charlotte grey wool and glitter desert boot

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.

1.1
Nancy black lace pump with black satin ribbons
1.5
Nancy gold glitter tassel slippers
1.3
Nancy baroque pumps with ankle strap

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!

5.4
Mary black suede shoes with gold glitter soles
5.1
Mary bronze leather and beige suede shoes
5.3
Mary angel print buckle boots

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.

2.2
Betty loafer with glitter sole
2.4
Betty glitter brogue
2.5
Betty angel print pointy toe brogue

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!

3.5
Rose red velvet pumps with crystal embellishment
3.2
Rose angel print T-bar pumps
3.4
Rose green velvet pumps with satin ribbon

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!