Category Archives: stylish flat shoes

LFW trend alert! The £25 catwalk shoes

I’ve just finished London fashion week (literally – I just pressed ‘send’ on my final show report for InStyle) and a curious catwalk trend has emerged for next summer. Maybe it’s because designers couldn’t ignore how much we’ve all loved the comfort of our Birkenstocks this summer. Or maybe my mum actually wrote to some of them in the hope that I would write the piece she’s been asking me to write since I started En Brogue: “when are you going to do a blog post on walking sandals?”

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Well, mum, I thought this wouldn’t ever happen but it’s totally happening! And just proves what a fickle creature I am. Because when one of my favourite designers at LFW – Christopher Raeburn – teamed every look in his collection with a pair of sensible walking sandals, I had to sit up and take note. I mean, look how amazing they look with this shortie (that’s a bermuda shorts onesie, if you were wondering).

Gola 2
Pilgrim, £25, gola.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

It turns out that you don’t need to wait until next season to get your hands on a pair of these catwalk sandals. You don’t even need to save up for them. Because the sandals in the show were from Gola, and they’re online now for twenty five quid. TWENTY FIVE POUNDS! The ones in the show were the grey/blue ones above, but I’ve just ordered myself some of these yellow ones below.

Gola 1
Pilgrim, £25, gola.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

I realise I’m going to get some stick for this (my colleague was refused entry into a fashion party in New York last week wearing her Tevas, so it’s a bit of a Marmite trend) but at least my mum will be happy. And to be fair to me, I do do a LOT of walking, so it’s sensible to have a pair of walking sandals. Right? #fashionvictim

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Burberry sandals

It wasn’t just Christopher Raeburn on a walking vibe either. Burberry got on board too, with brightly coloured double strap sandals that had a cork sole (so a bit of a Birk in there too). How ridiculously comfortable do they look? I’ve found a few more sandals in the same vibe. You might think I’m mad now, but come next summer I reckon we’ll all be wearing these! You heard it here first…

Teva 2
Teva Original sandal, £30, teva.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Jack Wolfskin
Jack Wolfskin Seven Seas sandals, £28, jack-wolfskin.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

En Brogue launch party at Grenson

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Look! It’s a party in a shoe shop!

Last week was a BUSY week for me, what with my book being published on Thursday and London fashion week starting on Friday (I admit, I headed out to the shows with a small hangover on Friday), so apologies for the lack of posts over the weekend!

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delicious sloe gin cocktails
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cashmere Pantherella socks

Anyway, I thought I would share with you a few pictures from the launch party which was in – rather fittingly – Grenson’s beautiful store on Lamb’s Conduit Street in London. We drank sloe gin cocktails (courtesy of Sipsmith) and everyone who bought a book got a free pair of socks (thanks to Pantherella). I also banned anyone from wearing heels, so here is a round-up of some of the flat shoes that partied with me last week. Flats are the future!

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Martin Fitzgerald in Oliver Spencer and Joanna Nightingale in Karen Millen
Elly Pear, Jemima Vine.jpeg
Elly Pear in En Brogue x Jemima Vine (she thought that through well!)
Alice Olins, Pretty Ballerinas.jpeg
Alice Olins in Pretty Ballerinas
Karen Dacre, Dior.jpeg
Laura Craik in Dior (OMGOMGOMG – AMAZING!)
Kate Miles, Greson.jpeg
Kate Miles in Grenson
Karen Dacre, Mother of Pearl.jpeg
Karen Dacre in Mother of Pearl
Maria Lamshore, Clarks.jpeg
Maria Langshaw in Clarks
Alice Laurent, Superga
Alice Laurent in Superga

 

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my Italian tile heaven, part 3: Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

OK, this is the last time I’m going to bore you with the Italian tiles thing (well, until I head off to Milan fashion week later this month but really, you’re not ACTUALLY bored of the tiles are you?!). Our final stop was the town of Ravello high up in the hills overlooking the Amalfi Coast – another place you would be well advised NOT to visit in heels (though I spied a girl teetering about in virtigineous Louboutins on her way to a wedding – I dread to think how that ended after a couple of drinks on the cobbles!).

Villa Cimbrone goldfinch
goldfinch tiles and Marni sandals at Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

We stayed at Villa Cimbrone, which dates back to the 11th Century AD, although I doubt these tiles are as old as that! It counts among its guests Greta Garbo, D.H. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and the Bloomsbury Group, though it came to our attention on the BBC’s The Trip to Italy with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan. The goldfinch tiles in one of the public sitting rooms (above) are just gorgeous, and were particularly fitting as I was reading Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch at the time.

Villa Cimbrone bedroon
The tiles in our room at Villa Cimbrone and Marni sandals
villa Cimbrone drawing room
sitting room tiles and Birkenstocks at Villa Cimbrone
Villa Cimbrone hallway 2
a hallway at Villa Cimbrone and Birkenstocks

That’s all on Italian tiles for now, and back to reality – my book is published on Thursday – SQUEEEE!!

Villa Cimbrone hallway
geometric tiles and Birkenstocks at Villa Cimbrone
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my Italian tile heaven, part 2: Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii

Welcome to the second instalment in my Italian tile extravaganza! I was delighted when we (eventually) ventured out of our amazing hotel in Sorrento to find that there are tiles literally EVERYWHERE. In this corner of Italy, nowhere is too “normal” for a beautiful floor, even the pavement outside a bog-standard supermarket. It’s a wonder I ever looked up to see the stunning scenery (I did though, obvs!).

outside a supermarket in Sorrento
supermarket exterior tiles and Birkenstocks, Sorrento
outside a hotel in Sorrento
pavement tiles and Birkenstocks, Sorrento
Farmacia in Sorrento
inside a Farmacia in Birkenstocks, Sorrento

At this point I feel I should point out that I travelled VERY light and only packed four pairs of shoes. I know! Brave or what? Hence the constant Birkenshots…

villa Nuttuno, Positano
tiles in our room at Villa Nettuno, Positano, and Ancient Greek Sandals

Anyway, after Sorrento we moved on to Positano, a delightful town perched on the cliffs. You wouldn’t want to visit this place in heels, that’s for sure, as it’s impossible to get anywhere without walking up or down steep steps. Our apartment (above) was only accessible by walking up around 70 steps (lucky we’re relatively fit!) had kitsch hand-painted tiles on the floor.

outside Positano cathedral
mosaic tiles outside the cathedral in Positano and Birkenstocks
Positano cathedral
mosaics and (surprise surprise) Birkenstocks

The square outside the cathedral in Positano features a number of quirky mosaics. Not 100% sure what they mean but they’re pretty cool! We also visited Pompeii, which was AMAZING. I couldn’t believe the condition some of the tiles were in – obviously you’re not actually allowed to stand on these ancient relics, but how beautiful?

Pompeii
amazing AMAZING tiles at Pompeii

Tomorrow, Villa Cimbrone in Ravello…

 

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my Italian tile heaven, part 1: Hotel Parco dei Principi

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be well aware of my unhealthy obsession with tiles (in fact, I’ve written about it a couple of times before on here). It’s only really been apparent since I started taking so many pictures of my shoes for the blog, but it’s got to the point now where Mr Brogue booked the hotels we just stayed in for our 10th wedding anniversary purely on the strength of their tiles (well, for the most part anyway) and I’ve just spent the week in tile heaven in the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast…

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stem design tiles and Ancient Greek Sandals in the Hotel Parco die Principi, Sorrento

I think our first hotel might be my favourite hotel in the world. The Parco dei Principi in Sorrento is AMAZING. Designed by Gio Ponti in 1961, it’s rammed with incredible mid-century modern furniture, Ponti’s hand-drawn architectural plans, as well as thirty (THIRTY!) different tile designs, all in blue and white (not to mention a lift through the cliff to a private beach, views of Vesuvius and a great restaurant). Sadly I didn’t get to see all thirty designs as they’re dotted throughout the bedrooms, but I got pictures of as many of them as I could!

Parco dei Principi 1
circular design tiles and Birkenstocks at the Parco dei Principi
Parco dei Principi 2
leaf design tiles and Birkenstocks and the Parco dei Principi
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the tiles on our balcony and Ancient Greek Sandals at the Parco dei Principi
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floral design tiles and Birkenstocks at the Parco dei Principi

There was also an older building within the stunning grounds that I’d happily move into a live in for the rest of my life! It housed my favourite tiles of the whole trip, featuring a floral design that was worn and chipped in places giving it a beautiful charm, as well as more older tiles within the building and on the terrace that overlooked the sea.

old Parco dei Principi
favourite tiles and Birkenstocks at the Parco dei Principi
old Parco dei Principe 3
clashing trousers and tiles on the terrace at the Parco dei Principi
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more old tiles and Birkenstocks at the Parco dei Principi

Tomorrow, more on Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii…

Orla Kiely for Clarks: the new season!

I love Clarks. You know I do. I’ve been wearing Clarks’ shoes for longer than any other brand (school shoes), they’re part of my favourite sub culture (mods and their desert boots) and they even appeared in the best TV show EVER (Walt’s Wallabees in Breaking Bad). I also love Orla Kiely. My house is littered with bedsheets, towels and mugs in the signature stem print; it taps into the bright, retro aesthetic that I’m really drawn to.

Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Dora, £110
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Dora, £110 (BUY ME HERE!)

So I’m delighted that Clarks’ collaboration with Orla Kiely continues for A/W2014 and the new season designs go on sale today! There are a lot of heels in the collection, but there are two offerings of flats too. The first is Dora, a lovely two-tone loafer with big chocolate buttons that look good enough to eat. It comes in three different colourways including a texture mixed black pair which you could wear with absolutely anything.

Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Dora Black Leather, £160
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Dora Black Leather, £160 (BUY ME HERE!)
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Dora Navy Combi, £110
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Dora Navy Combi, £110 (BUY ME HERE!)

I also love Daphne, a simple Chelsea boot with that same luxurious two-tone feel; both designs use pony skin (that’s just unshaved leather, not actual ponies!) as a contrasting texture which I think looks really smart. I would wear these with my fall-back turned up skinny jeans or even my Hobbs tartan trouser suit from a few winters ago. Dapper shoes like this deserve a dapper outfit!

Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Daphne, £150
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Daphne, £150 (BUY ME HERE!)
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Daphne Black, £150
Clarks X Orla Kiely, Orla Daphne Black, £150 (BUY ME HERE!)

What’s your favourite pair?

 

happy anniversary Mr Brogue!

Grenson and Folk tiles in Barcelona
Mr Brogue in Grenson, me in Folk

Mr Brogue and I have been married 10 years today! Sadly I don’t have a shoefie (shoe selfie) from our wedding day (though I spent most of the day in bare feet) so I thought I’d celebrate with a few of my favourites from more recent times.

Clarks
both wearing Clarks
desert boots Clarks with Mr Brogue
Err, someone’s going to have to get changed! Both in Clarks Originals desert boots
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Mr Brogue in Clarks, me in Toast

 

 

countdown to book launch: 2 weeks to go!

So, it’s getting exciting now. My book – En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels – is published TWO WEEKS TODAY on September 11th. This week I got an actual copy of the book sent to me, which was REALLY exciting!

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Up until this point, it’s sort of felt like a dream. The whole process – from getting a book deal with the wonderful people at Saltyard, to writing and illustrating the contents, to proof reading, to it being sent off to the printers – has all happened so quickly that I haven’t had time to stop and think about it! Although the book has been available to pre-order for a while now (you can do that here), until I actually see a copy of it in a bookshop, I think it’s still going to feel like it’s happening to someone else…only two weeks to wait until that happens! SQUEEEE!!

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the new brogue: fringed shoes

 

Marni 1
fringed shoes at Marni a/w2014 catwalk presentation

If, like me, you’ve become somewhat addicted to brogues over the past few seasons, you might be glad to hear of a development in the flat shoe department. While I was away at fashion week back in February, I noticed a trend on the catwalk that I’m pleased to say has been picked up by the high street.

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fringed shoes at Suno a/w2014 catwalk presentation

Fringed shoes appeared on models at Suno and (my favourite) Marni. The latter took the idea and ran with it, morphing the leather fringe into a solid flap with a metal trim. They make the perfect alternative to brogues (in fact, you can find brogued versions of them) as you can style them up in exactly the same way. They just have a slightly snazzier feel.

Russell & Bromley
Ghillie, £175, russellandbromley.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

The fringe itself is called a kiltie if it’s actually a removable piece of leather, and I think these shoes look their best when it is (or at least, looks like it is). It also means you have the added bonus of wearing the shoes two different ways! They were originally used by golfers to protect their laces from the dewy grass (more on kilties soon).  You might also hear fringed shoes referred to as ghillies. The Russell & Bromley pair above comes in five different colours but this shiny burgundy pair best mimics the catwalk versions, as do the green ones below from Clarks and the blue from Office.

Clarks, Busby Folly Dark Green Leather, £69.99
Busby Folly in dark green, £69.99, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Office
extravaganza loafer, £65, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

I also like the fringe on a monk shoe – I’ve been wearing the pair below from Toast for the last few summers and I LOVE them. Topshop is currently doing a very similar design, which comes in tan and black patent as well as the white shown here.

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