Twice a year I’m delighted to join forces with gorgeous shoe brand Seven Boot Lane to give you a special discount on their new season shoes. I love this British brand and have been a fan of its INCREDIBLY comfortable shoes and boots since it first started, but I think this collection is the best yet. Some of the designs are a bit more edgy for AW15 but there are still plenty of real classics, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding which pair to treat yourself to. I think my favourites are Eva and Eliza (below) because of their sporty feel, and I’ve got trainers on the brain at the moment.
Elektra is another boot with a distinctly trainer-like feel to it, and that leopard print is really snazzy! Pair these with skinny jeans and a Breton top for a timeless look. Speaking of timeless, SBL’s more formal shoes are an absolute winner as well. Estelle, the polished black leather Derby lace-ups, have a really luxe finish which means you could wear them with an LBD for party season. And there always something about blue suede shoes that’s pretty special, so Evita gets my seal of approval as well.
To redeem your En Brogue discount, simply enter the code below at the checkout. You can use it from today right up until the end of the month, and on any shoes on the website (including heels, if that’s your bag – I won’t judge you for it!). Happy shopping, and don’t forget to tweet me a picture of your shoes when they arrive!
I love hearing about new brands, as they’re often started by people with a real passion for what they’re doing. Baabuk is a Swiss company started by a couple who love wool and wanted to recreate the Russian ‘valenki’ boots that they had been given as a gift. The result was a stylish pair of slippers (you can see those here), which they got off the ground with a Kickstarter project. Kickstarter, if you haven’t already heard of it, is a way of raising money to get your great idea off the ground, with the opportunity to back even a small amount of money. In return, you get something nice yourself. Cool, eh?
Baabuk’s new project is these gorgeous wool sneakers. They don’t just look good, they have all sorts of added bonuses because of the way they’re made. For starters – and I’ve spoken about this before – wool is a natural material that lets your feet breathe and adapts to your body temperature, so these trainers will keep your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They are also antibacterial, so you can wear them without socks and they won’t get smelly (they were thoroughly tested and there was no pong), although if you do need to wash them, you can just pop them in the washing machine, no problem.
There are two models to choose from. The first (above) takes its name from the project – the Urban Wooler – and is a running shoe style. It comes in four colours – black, grey, purple and red. It’s quite unusual to see a trainer of this shape in a natural material like wool and I really like them. The details on the laces are really cool, too – they’re elastic and just knotted at either end so you don’t actually need to do them up or undo them. They retail at €120, and you’ll need to add €20 for shipping.
The second style (above) – which I am wearing at the top – is more of a sneaker with a rounded toe and comes in grey, navy or pale blue with bright coloured laces. Having actually tried these out on my own feet, I can tell you they are dreamy! The wool lines the entire shoe so it feels a bit like you’re wearing slippers. And not only do you not need socks because they don’t smell, but they don’t rub, either. My problem area is always my boney heel, but the back of these shoes is so soft and malleable that they don’t dig in at all. They also retail at €120 BUT….if you fancy backing the campaign, you can get a pair for yourself that way AND save money. For example, if you put forward €100 to back the project, you get a pair of trainers, saving €20. If you’d rather pledge less money, €50 will get you some slippers. €330 will get you two pairs of trainers and two pairs of slippers. You can read the full details about the Kickstarter here. It started yesterday and you have until mid November to bid, after which point your trainers will go into production and you should receive them in March.
I’m over mourning for the summer we never had, because now it is autumn, and autumn means ANKLE BOOTS! This is my favourite time of year as far as fashion is concerned, not just because you can still have bare legs and if it’s dry you can do a sweater without a coat, but also because the shops are jam-packed with new stuff. Lovely new things to swoon over! My favourite boot of the season came up and hit me in the face out of nowhere, though. I didn’t see it coming at all (which, given my job, I often do about 7 months in advance of it being available). It’s not a catwalk trend. I’ve not written about it in InStyle. But I have been quietly obsessing over it since I went to the Grenson press day a few months ago. It is a white ankle boot.
Aside from the fact that these are monkey boots (proper cool, very rock n roll), I really do love the fact that they’re white. I’m all about a pair of shoes that are so eye-catching you don’t really need to worry about the rest of your outfit because everyone will be looking at your feet. They come in black and tan too though, and I nearly went for the tan ones instead (a bit easier to wear), but that white pair had my name on them.
Of course, I’ve been harping on about how great Grenson is for as long as I’ve been writing this blog, but it’s not the only brand with an offering of a white ankle boot (or slightly off-white, if you’re not as keen on shoes that might require sunglasses just to look at them. A sort of stone colour is good too). They come in all shapes and sizes; chukkas, moccasins, Wallabee-styles and Chelsea boots. If you’re brave enough to go for such a statement on your feet, there are loads of options as far as styles are concerned. And if you’re worried about what to wear them with, I’d advise just keeping it simple. A pair of turned up jeans and a shirt will suffice nicely, or make the most of the weather (and your tan, if you managed one) while you still can by pairing them with bare legs and a skirt. Here are my favourite pairs available to buy now.
Remember that lovely brand Seven Boot Lane who I often give you guys discount codes for? Well, they’re running a competition to design a pair of boots and anyone can enter! How cool is that? Not only that, I’m on the panel of judges (no pressure!) who will decide the finalists. The brief is simple – you just need to submit an idea for a winter boot to compliment their classic Eva boot (see below), which, I might add, is a LOVELY boot. The winning design will actually be manufactured, so you’ll be able to see your boots available to buy if you’re successful.
I can certainly vouch for Seven Boot Lane as being a brand that makes comfortable, great quality shoes, so if you win, your boots are going to be pretty special. You’ll need to hurry if you want to enter though – we’re judging on Tuesday next week! You can read full details on how to enter here and there’s a contact if you have any questions. Good luck everyone! I look forward to seeing your ideas…
August bank holiday is my favourite of the year. Since I worked in an ice cream kiosk on Ryde seafront when I was 14, I’ve been fascinated by mod culture. The Isle of Wight hosts the largest scooter rally in the world every August bank holiday, and the mods and scooterists used to congregate on the green opposite the kiosk I worked in (well, they still do) to admire each other’s Vespas and Lambrettas and do a bit of posing. You get all sorts, from Sixties-style dudes in sharp suits and A-line dresses to proper skinheads in short jeans, braces and Dr Martens. And yes, you guessed it, there is a whole host of footwear to get excited about. Here’s what I wore…
The desert boot One of the most common shoes you’ll see at a scooter rally, the desert boot is a staple in the wardrobe of any mod, and they’ve got to be Clarks Originals. Mine are a bit more snazzy than usual because they’re a limited edition pair to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the boot’s creation, and are a collaboration with the artist Amy Stephens. Here I am playing one of my favourite bank holiday games: find a scooter that matches your shoes. The pointy flat An authentic Sixties pump should really have a small block heel but that’s not how I roll, so a good pointy flat is a must for my evening get-up. This is a two outfits per day affair, as there are music events on in the evenings and I never miss the opportunity for multiple outfits! This pair are from French Sole and I love the double strap T-bar. Oh, and they’re dead comfy for dancing to Northern Soul in. The monkey boot These Dr Martens monkey boots are brand new – I need to scuff them up a bit! I can’t believe didn’t discover monkey boots earlier in my life. They come up shorter on the ankle than classic DMs so are much more flattering if you’re short and are low enough to show off a bit of a snazzy sock with turned up jeans, too. Oh, and they have a bouncy sole that makes walking a real pleasure! The tassel loafer I have two pairs of these and really couldn’t decide which ones to wear! So I asked Instagram and the answer was the brown ones (they’re from Ted & Muffy if you fancy them for yourself). They look lovely with a dress but I’m also partial to teaming them with turned up jeans and yellow or leopard print socks. Oh and they’re very VERY comfy – first wear with no socks, walking, lots of dancing and no blisters to report. Excellent shoes. Until next August then….when hopefully Mr Brogue and I will have our own scooter to complete our outfits!
UPDATED: You can now buy the pair above at Size! Link here…
It’s a bit mean of me to do this blog post right now, because you can’t actually buy these socks in the UK at the moment, but I was given some to try out and they’re so good I had to tell you about them immediately. Oh, and the PR assures me that they’ll be available at ASOS.com soon. So as soon as they are, I’ll update this post and let you know! Anyway, on to those socks, because I reckon you’re going to be pretty excited about buying a pair for yourself.
The brand in question is Stance, a company that makes all sorts of lovely socks, not just trainers socks, and there are a few very interesting pairs available at ASOS.com now (and they’re in the sale, too). They have great designs and are big on the snazzy sock which, as you well know, I am too. I have a couple of pairs of their “normal” socks and they’re really nice; a good fit with a proper heel and very nice quality. But when I heard about their amazing “invisible” trainer socks, I had to get my hands on some.
I know SO many of you are going to be with me when I talk about the pain of finding the right trainer socks. They’re usually too big, so you can see them. Very annoying, and kind of defeats the object. If they’re small enough to only just be visible, they’re likely to fall down. Oh, and they’re almost always really, really boring in their design or horribly girly. So most of the time I just wear my trainers with no socks at all, and we all know the outcome of that scenario: smelly trainers.
As you can see, no-one can accuse Stance of making boring socks. These beauties are so nice it’s a shame that they are totally invisible! But they are, I’ve tested them out with the trainers that are most difficult to hide trainer socks in. OK, you can see a TINY bit of them in my Stan Smiths, but they didn’t show at all with skate shoes. So that invisible claim is true.
“But surely they fall down!” I can hear you crying. Well, no, actually. When I first wore them I kept thinking they were falling down, but they weren’t, I was just being paranoid. It’s down to the fact that they have a little patch of silicone on the inside of each heel, and that grabs onto your skin, keeping the socks in place. Genius. Check back for them being available here – I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as they are!
Birkenstock’s Boston clogs are selling fast, and have become a surprise hit with fashion folk…but why? I thought it was about time I tried some out for myself to see what all the fuss is about.
First things first, let’s talk about clogs in general. They’re having a moment. Gucci – the designer brand that everyone in the fashion world ADORES at the moment, headed up by its new creative director Alessandro Michele – showed them on the catwalk for AW15, so there’s your fashion proof for starters. Sure, his weren’t Birkenstock Boston clogs, but then Celine didn’t show Birkenstock Arizonas on the catwalk a few years ago – rather they were their own version with fur lining – but that’s exactly what boosted their sales over the past few summers. It might even be why you bought a pair.
Second, and obviously, there’s the convenience factor that comes with a slip-on shoe. I’m familiar with this style of clog mostly because my friend, the food writer Elly Pear, wears hers every day at work in her lovely café, The Pear Café in Bristol. “You have to wear closed toe shoes in the kitchen but when it gets boiling hot I can slip my foot out and air it” she told me “and in the winter, they’re roomy enough to wear cosy thick socks with”. In fact, loads of chefs wear them, and food is certainly very fashionable at the moment; perhaps that comes into it too? I wondered how Elly felt about the fact that they were making a fashion comeback (if indeed, they were ever actually fashionable in the first place). “We jokingly call them Troll Shoes and they’re cafe shoes really… Although I have mates who wear theirs out in the ‘real world’ – my mate Julian has rocked his all over the world for years!”
Thirdly, there’s the way they look, and that’s the stumbling block for most people (Marmite alert!). They’re not exactly what you’d call elegant, and hiding away your toes makes quite a bit of difference to wearing a pair of Arizonas. But a shoe that’s tricky to wear and comes with “uncool” connotations scores high in fashion terms if you manage to get it right. I’ve tried mine with a few outfits and by far the best is just with a pair of skinny jeans – my tightest pair, in fact, and preferably black – and bare ankles. I tried a snazzy sock and I didn’t look as cool as Elly in her café! And they just didn’t seem to quite work with a skirt, but maybe that’s because I’m short. I also prefer the matt black styles to the snazzy metallic ones, although the taupe suede are rather nice too.
The last, and most obvious point, is to talk about how they feel. They are, of course, completely dreamy. They feel exactly like my Arizonas, but that bonus of the covered toe makes them brilliant when the weather is rubbish in the summer (thanks for that, Britain). If Birkenstock were to make these babies with sheepskin lining, as they have in the past, I’d be first in the queue to get a pair.
One thing I’m sure of, is that you’ll be seeing a lot of these shoes on your Instagram feed in the coming months, like Arizonas before them. I would LOVE to know what you think. I imagine there will be some difference of opinion! But that’s what makes fashion fun, right?
WOAH! How nice are these shoes? They’re from a brand new shoe label called Ted & Muffy, created by the team behind DUO Boots. I was always a big fan of DUO, with its emphasis on getting the correct fit, and Ted & Muffy has the same ethos but packs a lot more of a punch where style is concerned. Head to their website and you can learn how to measure not only your shoe width, but your CALF width too, meaning that their boots fit like an absolute dream. Genius.
But back to those dreamy shoes. Ted & Muffy let me borrow a few pairs to try out for myself, and it was a real pleasure to get my hands on these in real life. The quality is really high and they’ve very much got the cool factor going on, but the shoes are INCREDIBLY comfortable too. They have rubber soles, which only add to the comfort but are also extremely practical. Here’s the low-down on my favourite four pairs from the new collection, all of which are available to buy online now.
Zoom in pewter embossed leather
I’m not always a fan of a metallic lace-up but these have won me over big time. That almond-shape toe is really flattering and adds a feminine touch, and I love the way the embossed croc effect “fades” out towards the toe. The leather on these is so malleable that I can’t imagine anyone having any trouble wearing them in, but they still have the sturdiness of a classic dress shoe. Wear with jeans, a white shirt and bare ankles for timeless chic. Also available in black or cherry patent leather.
Rhapsody in black leather
When a boot has a rock ‘n’ roll edge, I like it to be subtle rather than all buckles and zips a-blazing, and these work for me very nicely indeed. The minimal metalwork isn’t too in your face, and the beautiful leather and another almond toe makes them a really classy boot. I’ve recently taken to pairing black ankle boots with a ladylike knee-length skirt (and sometimes a peek of a black lace or brightly coloured sock!); Rhapsody would be perfect for that look.
Olivander in chestnut leather
Oh, how cute are these! With their petite proportions and low-cut vamp, they’re a lovely shape and flatter the legs nicely. Well, if you don’t team them with a pair of mental socks, as I have, but I do love a snazzy sock with a loafer! Sometimes slip-on shoes can slip off just as easily which is annoying, but these cling snugly to the foot without any pinching. The perfect tassel loafers (also available in black).
Riddle in cranberry leather
Every girl should have a pair of Chelsea boots in her repertoire, and in my book, a deep red pair like this will be far more versatile than a black pair. Why? I just find it easier to pair burgundy shades with socks and jeans, and as that’s what I’ll be wearing them with most of the time it makes more sense. That said, these are available in black and should that be your preference, I’d suggest wearing them with black skinny jeans, rather than blue, or a skirt. Either way, you can’t go wrong as far as walking is them is concerned because they’re so very comfortable.
Ted & Muffy has a LOAD more styles available on its website, so check it out!
I recently was treated to a dinner hosted by the American shoe brand Hush Puppies (at the Sky Garden, an amazing rooftop restaurant in London, since you ask), where, right between the main course and desert, one of the representatives grabbed a lovely pair of orange suede desert boots and chucked her glass of water over them. “See?!” she cried, “it’s Worry-Free Suede!”. Worry-Free Suede is not a new thing – Hush Puppies invented it decades ago – but I had never seen it in action before. The water just formed into droplets and slid off the suede, leaving no trace or marks whatsoever. Genius! I was convinced it wouldn’t work but I double checked the boot on my way out at the end of the night (after it had had three or four more glasses of water chucked at it – poor boot) and it looked perfect.
The brand Hush Puppies dates back to 1958 and was popular with hip musicians in the Sixties (it’s even thought that a pair saved the life of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards when he was nearly electrocuted and his crepe soles insulated him from the shock). They fell out of favour for a while but had a resurgence in the Nineties and have caught my eye again with these snazzy desert boots. Not only are they super comfortable and have a rubber sole (those pesky crepe soles are a nightmare in the rain) but they’re made of the aforementioned Worry-Free Suede, making them unlikely candidates for the mantel of Perfect Boots To Wear In The Rain (I would NEVER normally recommend this of a desert boot).
They’re currently only available in black camouflage and brown, but I’m hopeful that those snazzy orange ones will make their way over from America soon, too.
Disclaimer: these boots have a very subtle, very small concealed wedge. It’s so squishy you barely feel it, in fact, I’m not 100% it even exists. But just in case…
There are pool slides, and then there are Pool Slides; super high-quality sandals that are customisable to such an extreme that they make me pull a ridiculous face like this (above) and deserve capital letters. I ordered these babies a while ago and they arrived yesterday to squeals of excitement from both me and my editor at InStyle, who couldn’t quite believe that something so brilliant had happened (and it hadn’t even happened to her!). Have you got the gist of how much I love these shoes? Good. That’s that sorted.
Now, often in my line of work I am lucky enough to have things customised – to pick my favourite colours to use on a handbag, say, or to have my initials monogrammed into anything from a pair of Marks and Sparks pants to a set of petanque from Dior. Which is GREAT and everything, don’t get me wrong, but when someone says “ooo, I like your bag, where did you get it?” I can’t direct them to a place they can get one for themselves, because it was just a special thing they did for the fashion press. This is NOT one of those situations! Because with mi adilette, you can customise your own Pool Slides however you want them just by doing it online. That’s all I did. And that’s how I got the excited face and the excellent shoes.
There are a few options – go to adidas.co.uk to see them all – so check them out before you start to make sure you have the right pair for you. For example, if you’re not really a rubber shoes kind of a gal (or guy, come to that – guys are not excluded from this game!) you’ll want the mi adilette Premium, where you can choose luxurious finishes like a ponyskin strap and suede sole.
If you want to make a statement or perhaps are thinking of giving them as a gift (it’s just occurred to me that a pair of these would be a brilliant present for a new bride to change into on the dance floor at a wedding, if her new surname is short enough), you need mi adilette Your Call, where you can choose four letters to put on each shoe (I really lucked out that En Brogue is only eight letters!). These have a leather strap and the letters are embroidered in cotton, so they look really cool and are top quality.
Even the classic mi adilette original design from 1972 (you know, the one with the stripes that footballers wear with socks in the changing rooms) is available to pimp, as you’re able to choose your colours. And these are the cheapest option, too, starting at just £27. And the benefits don’t stop there! They have a moulded sole (a little like a Birkenstock but less exaggerated) so they’re REALLY comfortable. A word of warning though – they come up slightly small so you might want to go up a size if you have long toes!
Anyway, I’m just happy that the sun is coming back out this weekend so I can wear them and wear them and wear them!