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my new obsession: velcro trainers

There’s a theme to my blog posts this weekend – velcro. And today I’m looking at velcro trainers. They are not something I knew I loved until a couple of weeks ago, when I first put my new Nike Air Rift Liberty print trainers on my feet. Once they were on I was smitten – what’s not to love about a pair of trainers that you don’t have to lace up?

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Nike Air Rift Liberty print trainers, £84.99, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

I love these Liberty print ones, but I know they’re a bit mental! So if you’re after something more subtle you might prefer them in plain white or black. What I like about them is that they are really flattering on the foot and ankle. I put it down to the vamp being so low cut, exposing some of the top of your foot.

Air Rift white
Nike Air Rift trainers, £84.99, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Air Rift black
Nike Air Rift trainers, £84.99, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

But my velcro story doesn’t end here. On Thursday I went to Alex from The Frugality‘s shopping event at Fenwick, where we enjoyed 20% off everything in store. Now, I had already bought myself a T-shirt and some Happy Socks and was leaving, but couldn’t resist a quick peak at the shoe department on my way out. And then this happened: Marni velcro trainers.

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I know, I know – they’re REALLY expensive and it’s not like I need any more shoes, but you all know how much I love Marni. And there was 20% off. AND I hadn’t yet bought myself a “well done on getting your second book” present, so these seemed perfect as I can even put them in the book! They are trainers after all. Plus they’ll look great with everything – including tights! – so I reckon they were a good investment. I’ve convinced myself they were worth it…if you like them they’re available in LOADS of different colours, too. I love these bright ones below.

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Marni velcro trainers, £330, matchesfashion.com (BUY ME HERE!)

These all quite expensive but just launched this week are the Clarks ones below, which come in black too and will also be available in a snake print. Nice one, Clarks. As this is such a marmite trend, I’d love to know what you think – I won’t be offended! Leave comments below. :)

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Clarks Junelle Polly, £60, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Jil Sander
Jil Sander trainers, £257, farfetch.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Fisherman sandals – the perfect transitional shoe

Dear The Weather,

What’s going on? We had a heat wave in April and now it’s windy and rainy one minute, then sunny but not all that warm the next. Which makes deciding what shoes to wear really hard! Please sort it out, thanks.

Love, Hannah x

I don’t know about you, but I get really excited at the change of season when I can bring out all my summer clothes, and I brought my sandals out of hiding about three weeks ago, but it’s just not been the weather to wear them. Well, with the exception of my fisherman sandals.

YMC punk sandal
Punk sandals, £220, youmustcreate.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Fisherman sandals are a sort of cross between a traditional flat sandal and a Mary Jane T-bar shoe, with a slightly covered toe but plenty of ventilation. They’re often referred to as geek shoes, but traditionally speaking, they’re what fishermen used to wear, hence the name. Having that extra bit of coverage on your toes does actually make you feel warmer – I don’t know if that’s just a psychological thing or an actual fact – and it also means that you can get away with wearing these sandals with socks. I’d recommend a thin, ribbed pair in a similar shade to your shoes – Topshop do some great ones. The pair I have are a yellow version of the Y.M.C. ones above, but there are loads of other styles around at the moment, too. Here are some of my favourites.

Salt-Water
Shark sandals, from £60, salt-watersandals.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Northern Cobbler
Nibblefish sandals, £210, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!) – you can get 15% off at Northern Cobbler with En Brogue until the end of May, read how here
Vagabond Lejla
Lejla sandals, £74.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Hudson Sherbert
Sherbet sandals, £85, hudsonshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Topshop 2
Techno sandals, £32, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Deena & Ozzy
Jessa sandals, £39, by Deena & Ozzy at urbanoutfitters.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Liberty print trainers – we just can’t get enough

Liberty print trainers are always a winner. I have had a pair of skate shoes from Y.M.C. for a few years now, and they never fail to pep up any outfit, as well as garnering me plenty of compliments. So I know you’ll be excited to hear about not one, not two, but THREE Liberty print collaborations coming your way this summer.

Nike

The first is from Nike, whose Liberty trainers I have been swooning over for years now, and I’ve finally managed to get my hands on a pair of my own.

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Nike Air Rift, £85, liberty.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

The print that Nike has chosen this season is a bit of a departure from the twee floral prints we’re used to and I have to say, I wasn’t sure about them at first, particularly on the Rifts I am wearing here as they’re a bit of a Marmite shoe in the first place. But once they were on my feet I was absolutely smitten. If you’ve never worn Rifts before, they are ridiculously comfortable, and there’s something about that cloven hoof toe that makes you feel really nimble! Maybe it’s better for balance…

Air Max
Nike Air Max 90 Ultra, £110, liberty.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Cortez
Nike Cortez, £72, liberty.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

And that print – which is from a silk scarf from 1972 and called Merlin – has really grown on me too. Although it’s actually from a two decades earlier, it reminds me of the prints that were around in the early Nineties (I had a shirt in a very similar design), which means they look brilliant with dungarees! Bonus. You can see the full collection here.

Superga

If those more traditional Liberty prints are more your thing then the Superga collaboration is the one for you. These florals lend themselves really well to the simple tennis shoe design of Superga sneakers, and I reckon if you bought a pair, they’d be a staple in your wardrobe for years (if they get a bit grubby, just bung them in the washing machine). Just pair with my old favourites – boyfriend jeans and a Breton top.

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Superga Pepper, £55, superga.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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Superga Michael, £55, superga.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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Supergar Misti, £55, superga.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Vans

Finally, something a bit more tropical from Vans. I love how these work so well with the Vans history – I can just imagine wearing these with Bermuda shorts and a surfboard tucked under my arm (not such a weird thing to imagine when I was 16 and did actually surf in the freezing waters surrounding the Isle of Wight!).

Vans classic
Vans Classic, £50, shop.vans.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Vans Authentic
Vans Authentic, £50, shop.vans.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

And if none of these take your fancy, just try popping ‘Liberty print trainers’ into Google, as loads of past season styles are still available to buy in various places, too. I’d love to know which ones are your favourites – leave comments below!

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Exciting news! En Brogue: The Trainers Guide is coming soon…my second book!

So today I can bring you some VERY exciting news. In October, Saltyard will publish my second book, and this one will be all about trainers! Trainers have always formed a huge part of my shoe collection, and are probably responsible for me falling in love with shoes in the first place. From my very first pair of Converse that my kind parents helped me track down for my 13th birthday (this involved extensive pre-internet research and a trip on a Hovercraft), to the adidas Superstars that I’ve found difficult to take off in recent months, trainers, sneakers and plimsolls have always been a passion of mine, and I can’t wait to write a whole book dedicated to them.

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I’ll be writing about over 40 different styles of trainers, from the Liberty print Nike Blazers that will adorn the cover (above) to some of the luxury styles that have been appearing on the catwalk of late, as well as some styling and shopping tips to boot. And of course, the book will be peppered with my watercolour illustrations of trainers – with their bright colours and bold designs, I can tell you that so far they’ve been an absolute pleasure to paint!

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my first ever Converse (yes, I still have them!)

Anyway, that’s all I can really tell you for now as I haven’t actually written it yet! But I hope you are as excited as me. And thanks for all your support – without you lovely lot reading the blog and buying my first book, this wouldn’t be happening!

Superstars
My Superstars over three decades, from 1995 (left) to 2015 (right)
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The best wellies for UK festivals

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again, when all anyone can talk about is festivals and what to wear to them. And while I love the romantic thought of swanning around in a floaty dress and Ancient Greek Sandals with a flower garland in my hair, Great Britain ain’t Coachella, so you’ll need something a bit sturdier if you’re heading to a festival on home turf.

Regular readers of this blog will know that as far as Wellington boots go, I am a big fan of the Anklington for a festival – so that’s an ankle length wellie. Why? Well, I AM a fan of a knee-high boot for, say, a country walk in the Autumn, but if there’s a chance that the sun will be out, I will be in shorts, and a tan that stops at the knee is NOT a good look in my book. So here are some of my favourite Anklingtons around at the moment.

Meduse

Meduse started life making Jellie shoes in France (watch this space for a post about bathing shoes later in the summer) but also make these super cute ‘Jumpy’ boots that come in loads of great colour options. Have you ever seen a lemon yellow wellie before? No, me neither, but I like it. In fact, all of these pastel colours make me wonder…if Prada made wellies, would they look a bit like this?

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Jumpy boots, £45, shopatanna.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Jumpy boot, £45, shopatanna.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Ilse Jacobsen

Isle Jacobsen’s lace-up wellies take some beating as far as the cool factor goes. They look brilliant with a pair of jeans and a chunky fisherman jumper, but they’d be pretty amazing to wear at a festival, too. They’d also be totally acceptable if you happened to find yourself in the VIP area rubbing shoulders with the stars. These really are the most chic Anklingtons around.

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£94.99, cloggs.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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£94.99, cloggs.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Hunter

OK, I know it’s obvious, but Hunter do make great Wellingtons, particularly since they started showing at London Fashion Week (the clothes are well worth checking out, too). I love that they’ve really brought the wellies on a level this summer, with some really cool, modern shapes and colour combos.

Hunter purple
Chelsea boots, £80, hunterboots.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Hunter olive
Chelsea boots, £80, hunterboots.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Hunter twelve
Chelsea boots, £80, hunterboots.com (BUY ME HERE!)

If you find yourself at a festival this summer, be sure to tweet me a picture of your wellies! @EnBrogue

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Get 15% off at Northern Cobbler with En Brogue

Good news flat shoe lovers! As one En Brogue special offer ends, another begins, and from today until the end of the month you can get 15% off at Northern Cobbler. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with this lovely brand, but for anyone who hasn’t heard of them, they come highly recommended from me. Traditional shoes with a modern spin, these beauties take their inspiration from traditional men’s dress shoes and, in a similar vein, are absolutely beautifully made. This in turn means they last a really long time and are incredibly comfortable – both very important things when you are splashing out on an investment shoe.

What I love about Northern Cobbler is all the little details. Even on a pair of summer sandals you’ll find a nod to men’s shoes like a kiltie (that’s the fringed leather bit) or brogue holes on the straps. All the shoes are named after types of fish, which is a lovely touch. And when you buy a pair of shoes they arrive beautifully presented in a gorgeous box – those little things really mean something!

NC white
Platy, £185 – £157.25 with discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
NC fisherman gold
Nibblefish, £210 – £178.50 with discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Stonefish
Stonefish, £145 – £123.25 with discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Here are just a few of the styles on offer but there are even more on the website and remember, Northern Cobbler does fabulous men’s shoes too, so your other half can use the discount too if he likes. To get your 15% off, simply enter the code ENB16 at the checkout any time from today until the end of May. I’d love to know if you buy something, so tweet me a picture of your feet when your shoes arrive. Happy shopping!

NC slim sandal
Dory, £145 – £123.25 with discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Northern Cobbler gold sandal
Platy, £185 – £157.25 with discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
NC black
Pompano, £240 – £204 with discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Looking for new sandals? Try Havva…

A really nice part of my job as fashion features editor at InStyle (and as a blogger, too) is that I get to meet many of the designers of my favourite shoe brands. Some I meet right at the beginning of their brand’s life; Havva Mustafa is one of those people – we first met by chance at London fashion week a few years ago – and I caught up with her last week.

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Havva (bottom) wears Gordon, £210 (BUY ME HERE!) and I’m wearing Akira, £140 (BUY ME HERE!)

Havva comes from a family of shoe makers (her dad still teaches shoe making courses) and she makes beautiful shoes herself, too. All of her designs are lovingly made in Turkey from gorgeous leather and have a comfy, squishy insole. She makes all types of shoe, but something I think she is particularly good at is sandals.

Athena white
Athena, £145, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Circle in black and snake
Circle, £130, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Athena (top) is also available in black and is one of Havva’s best sellers. I have a black pair (they feature in my book En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels) and they are ludicrously comfortable. The quality is such that they feel totally appropriate for special occasions (I’d happily wear them to a wedding) and the same can be said for all the other styles. I love Circle with its two-tone black and snake, but it’s also available in black and white for something more subtle.

Akira
Akira, £140, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Ronin in snake
Ronin, £160, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I’ve been swooning over Akira (above, top) since I first saw them in Paris in September and I’m so happy that mine have arrived! That monochrome is somehow classic but really edgy too, and I love the studs on the kiltie fringe. I also like that they have a toe post, so my feet will stay put inside the sandal. Ronin (above) looks great in this pale shade with a snake contrast, but is also available in plain black. For something totally fashion though, how about the tall version (below). Knee high gladiators were a massive catwalk trend for this season – though are a little more tricky to wear than an ankle strap if you’re short like me! I’d love to know what you think of Havva’s sandals, so leave comments below!

Ronin tall
Ronin Tall, £245, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Why you should buy your shoes on Amazon

So, you’ve all used Amazon before, right? You’ve bought DVDs on there. You might have bought a camera. You’ve definitely bought books (hey, maybe you bought MY book on Amazon). But had you thought about buying your shoes there too? No? Thought not. I was recently asked by Amazon to pick my favourite 8 flat shoes currently available on their website, and it turns out there are TONNES on offer. I figured I should probably share this information with you lovely lot, so here are my top reasons why you should try Amazon next time you’re thinking of buying a pair of shoes.

1. There are some great trainers brands available. Some of my favourites! You’ll find classic Mexico ’66 trainers from Onitsuka Tiger, everyday sneakers from Superga and Converse, and fashion slip-ons from Vans.

Onitsuka Tiger

2. The prices are great. As with everything on Amazon, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for at a fraction of the price you might find it elsewhere. A pair of Havaiana flip-flops could set you back as little as 99p!

3. It’s particularly well stocked with sandals at the moment. As well as Havaianas, they’ve got Birkenstocks, Fit Flops and this season’s hot brand, Teva.

4. You’ll find a good selection of fashion shoes, from fisherman’s sandals by Hudson to the Isabel Marant-style pool slides that were so popular by Dune last summer.

Hudson

5. It’s super convenient. As someone who has used Amazon a lot to buy all the other stuff for my life, I know I can rely on it to deliver really quickly, when it says it will. I recently ordered some trainers from another online retailer and they were left out in the open on my doorstep (even though they said they’d been left somewhere secure) so I’m keen on using people I trust from now on!

For my top picks of what’s available on Amazon right now, click here.

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I’ve seen Clarks’ next season shoes…and they’re LOVELY

One of my perks being fashion features editor at InStyle, is that I get to see next season’s shoes so far in advance. And the most recent collection I’ve been swooning over is from Clarks. I know lots of you are big Clarks fans anyway, but I’m happy to report that the design has come on even more for the new season, and I literally don’t know where to start in terms of telling you about it. I am the bearer of bad news as well though – sadly next season will be the last collaboration with Orla Kiely (boo!) but I’ve been assured that we can look forward to an equally exciting collaboration for summer 2016. Anyway, down to business – let’s take a look at those shoes!

Clarks womenswear mainline

I have to say, I was a little disappointed with this summer’s collection, but winter has gone up a gear again and there are some REALLY cool shoes to choose from here. I much prefer the Anniston loafer to the Busby Folly loafer, for example, and there are some really interesting colour combinations and textures. A few favourites are Anniston Fudge and Empress Moon (white ankle boots are BIG news for AW2015).

Anniston Fudge Cognac Interest Leather
Anniston Fudge
Empress Moon
Empress Moon
Anniston Vale
Anniston Vale
Hotel Secret
Hotel Secret
Busby Fayre
Busby Fayre

Clarks pre-fall

“What on earth is pre-fall?” I hear you cry? Well, it’s just a collection that designers bring out between their summer and winter collections to keep the customers interested, and this season, Clarks is doing it too. These shoes should hit stores in May, and I love their sporty designs.

Glove Candy
Glove Candy
Glick Avalee Black Interest Leather
Glick Avalee
Junelle Polly
Junelle Polly

Clarks England

This new range is, as the name suggests, made in England, which I think is great as so many of us are now interested in the provinance of our clothes. The prices will be quite a lot higher than you’re used to from Clarks – over £200 – but the quality is excellent.

Isabella Carla
Isabella Carla
Isabella Carla
Isabella Carla
Isabella Daisy
Isabella Daisy

Clarks x Orla Kiely

I am SO sad that this is the last season that Orla Kiely is collaborating with Clarks, but we’ve had a good run! You won’t be disappointed with next season’s prints; I think my favourites are the floral print ponyskin ankle boots.

Orla Alice
Orla Alice
Orla Andie
Orla Andie
Orla Alice Black Mock Croc Leather
Orla Alice
Orla Angelina-Clarks_Orla_Gold Sparkle
Orla Angelina

Clarks Originals

Originals are my favourite section in Clarks. I’m glad to see that there are plenty of Wallabees and desert boots (WITHOUT wedges) on offer, but I think I am most taken with the Trigenic shoes. They’re a sort of moccasin-trainer hybrid, and the pair shown here are unisex. I’m glad Clarks realise that women don’t always want a feminised version – we just want the men’s shoes in our sizes!

Trigenic
Trigenic
Priddy Desert
Priddy Desert
Phenia Point
Phenia Point
Wallamoc Trek
Wallamoc Trek

I’d love to know what you think – leave comments below!

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a totally new shoe brand you are going to LOVE

There seems to be a bit of a trend emerging in flat shoe design: there are loads of new brands that are headed up by women. This is BRILLIANT news (obvs) and a brand I’ve had my eye on for a good few months now is Rogues, whose website launches today.

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Tutti Frutti, £150, roguesshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)

The lady behind Rogues is Katie Harland, and I really like what she’s doing. She decided to start Rogues when she struggled to find comfortable shoes that were also professional looking. Trainers were too casual, and traditional brogues often tricky to wear, so she decided to make shoes that were a hybrid of the two. The result is the Rogue lace-up; a simple, flattering shoe with the formal feeling of a traditional shoe as well as the fun (and comfort) of a trainer. I think they look a bit like a desert boot, too (thumbs up!), plus you all know I’m a big fan of a bouncy, white rubber sole.

taffy 1
Taffy, £150, roguesshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)
bubblegum 2
Bubblegum, £150, roguesshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)

All the shoes are lovingly made in Portugal (Portugal makes great shoes, so the quality will be good) and they are all priced at £150. You can also buy a pack of laces for £5 so you can get different looks (and give other shoes in your collection a new lease of life, too!). In fact, the only problem I can foresee with this brand is that I love ALL of them – I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite! I’d love to know what you think too – leave comments below!

nougat 1
Nougat, £150, roguesshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Rogues white
Marhsmallow, £150, roguesshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)