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Jellies – the retro classic that’s cheap AND stylish

I think Mr Brogue thought I was mad when I bought him a pair of jellies in a French supermarket last summer. But unlike me, he didn’t grow up on the Isle of Wight and he doesn’t half struggle to get in and out of the sea if it’s not a perfectly sandy beach. Although it always gives me a good laugh watching him walk in an ungainly manor out of the ocean after I’ve nimbly found my way back to my towel, enough is enough, and given that we were about to go on a trip to the Amalfi coast – not known for its perfect sandy beaches – I thought they would come in handy (and they were only FIVE EUROS!). Anyway, I was right – we had some great swims from stoney beaches that would have been a right palaver if he didn’t have his jellies. The weird thing is though, I thought they looked rather nice on him. And then I found this picture of Jarvis Cocker from the 90s, and my love for jellies grew even more.

Nice jellies, Jarvis!
Nice jellies, Jarvis!

I’ve got my own pair of jellies – of course I have! – and I’m more and more inclined to wear them even when I’m not swimming, though that added bonus is definitely useful when you like a good sea swim in the UK. Mine are from a brand called Sun Jellies and I can’t recommend them enough, not just because they do a really good range of colours, but because their jellies come in at just £14. Bargain! Rubber sandals are one of the few types of shoe you can buy cheaply and not worry about how they were produced – because they are genuinely really cheap to produce – but you don’t need to worry about animals, either. Jellies are 100% vegetarian shoes. Personally, I prefer jellies in a slightly smokey transparent finish, or in a navy or black as I think they look more chic (yes, I just used the words ‘jellies’ and ‘chic’ in the same sentence) but I am rather drawn to the milky lemon yellow ones (below). Oh, and Sun Jellies also makes the bags you will remember from the Eighties – and they’re only £10.

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Sun Jellies, £14, sunjellies.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Sun Jellies in banana, £14, sunjellies.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Some other jellies that I really like at the moment are these  (below, top) from ASOS. They’ve cleverly made them in a matt finish, because sometimes it’s the shininess of the rubber that puts people off wearing jellies. And there are loads more on the high street too – nothing over £20! Check back on the blog tomorrow when I’ll be looking at alternative bathing shoes (that are all totally stylish enough to wear when you’re not bathing).

ASOS black
‘Foresure’ jellies, £10, asos.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Jelly shoes, £4.99, newlook.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Topshop
‘HUEY2″ sandals, £20, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Ghillies: the new way to do ballet pumps

Something’s happening on the high street at the moment: there’s a ballet pump revolution. Because all of a sudden, the hottest shoe in Topshop, ASOS and Office is the ghillie. But what even IS is a ghillie anyway?

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Maxine Eggenberger in her Topshop ghillies
Like ballet pumps, ghillies have their origins in dance. They’re traditionally used by Irish dancers, as well as Scottish country dancers and Highland dancers. Their distinguishing feature is the leather laces that criss-cross the foot and tie around the ankle, or sometimes all the way up the leg. Now that they’ve appeared on the high street, it turns out that they look brilliant with jeans and skirts as well as traditional country dance costumes. The fashion versions have an almond shaped toe, too, which is far more flattering than a round toe that you’d usually get on a ballet pump. Oh, and they’re not exactly expensive, either – some of them are less than thirty quid!

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Alex from The Frugality in her Next ghillies
I don’t own a pair myself (yet!), but a couple of my friends have been wearing them and looking awesome over the past few weeks. Maxine, who writes for InStyle.co.uk (top) has posted a few pictures on Instagram of hers from Topshop (follow her on Instagram @maxfashwriter) and my pal Alex from The Frugality blog has been rocking her pair from Next, too (above: she’s on Instagram at @thefrugality). I think they’re really elegant, stylish and a great summer option for weddings, work and the pub. Oh, and dancing of course! Plus they look really expensive even though you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a really good pair. Here are the best ones available to buy right now.

Office ghillie black and red
Office ghillies, £60, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Office
Office ghillies, £62, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Topshop ghillie black
Topshop ghillies, as seen on Maxine, £69, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Topshop nude ghillie
Topshop ghillies, £69, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)

ASOS ghillie blue
ASOS ghillies, £28, asos.com (BUY ME HERE!) – also available in black

ASOS ghillie snake
ASOS ghillies, £28, asos.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Next ghillie
Next ghillies, as seen on Alex, £45, next.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

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What to wear to a wedding when you don’t want to wear heels

So you’re going to a wedding this summer but you can’t face wearing heels? Don’t worry! En Brogue is here to help. I’ve written about this a few times before, but I had a request this week for an update, because let’s face it, there’s going to be loads more flat shoes on offer now than there was last summer. If you’re still worried about ditching your heels for a posh do, I hope I can persuade you to switch to flats because you’ll have a MUCH better time. Tricky staircase to manoeuvre? No problem. Cobbled street to get to the venue? Bring it on. Amazing band playing you want to dance all night to? Just try and stop me!

wedding

This was me at my brother’s wedding last summer. I went about as unconventional as it gets – well, I didn’t wear jeans and a T-shirt, but you get the drift. No dress AND no heels. And I can tell you this: I had the BEST time on the dance floor. I even stole an older gentleman’s orange braces to complete my outfit and use as a dance prop…

Anyway, I digress – what about you? There are a few tricks that might help in your transition. If you still want to look feminine and have a similar effect to a pair of heeled courts, try a pointed toe flat. I’ve said it many times, but there’s something about that pointed toe that mimics the feeling you get from a pair of heels, and it also helps to lengthen your legs. Plus, if you find a shoe with a low cut vamp (that just means it shows more of your foot, and preferably some toe cleavage) you’ll give your legs even more of a helping hand. These are the perfect shoes to wear with a shift or fitted dress. There are lots of metallic styles around at the moment.

Zara
strappy shoes, £39.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Dune
Amarie flats, £55, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Sandro flats
Sandro pumps, £290, selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)

How about a bit of embellishment? I know some women feel they need to compensate for the lack of heels by wearing really snazzy flats (like those poor women who got turned away from the red carpet in their rhinestone flats at Cannes earlier this week) and although I don’t agree that you have to do this, there are some lovely shoes in the style that work really well for a wedding. If sparkles aren’t your thing, look for snake-effect leather or this season’s hot feature – ghillie laces. Just avoid it on round-toed ballet pumps or risk looking like you’re on your way to an 8th birthday party.

Office ghillie glitter
Ghillie lace-ups, £60, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Topshop snake
Voltage pumps, £18, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I also think white shoes are an absolute winner, particularly if you’re going for something more masculine. I felt great in my monks from Northern Cobbler (sadly they’re not available anymore). This is a good option for anyone wearing trousers, though I would advise picking something cropped or rolling up the hems so you show your ankles. It’s MUCH more flattering.

ASOS white
Maddison shoes, £28, asos.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Northern Cobbler
Damselfish loafers, £210, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!) – you can can 15% off with EnBrogue until the end of May – find out how here!
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Rose brogues, £195, grenson.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

I hope that helps any of you looking for wedding guest shoes (or brides-to-be come to that – because why shouldn’t the bride wear flats too?). The best thing of all is that you can invest in a pair of shoes you’re likely to wear again; all of these would looking brilliant just with a simple white shirt and jeans. I’d love to see what flat shoes you’re wearing to weddings this summer, so tweet me a picture to @EnBrogue or tag me on Instagram.

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The EnBroguelopedia: Clarks Originals desert boots

As this iconic boot celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, I thought it was about time for another entry in the EnBroguelopedia. It’s also worth mentioning that Clarks has brought out some cracking special designs to celebrate the milestone (as I’m wearing here) and has loads of colour options this summer, too (click here for the full range). So, what is a desert boot, anyway?

 
Clarks Originals Desert Boots were launched in 1950, but their concept dates back to 1944. They were designed by Nathan Clark (a member of that Clarks family), who was an army officer. He was inspired by the chukka boots made in the bazaars of Cairo that had been adopted as a practical option by the Eighth Army, who were transferred from North Africa to the Far East, where Clark was also stationed. Clarks weren’t sure the design would sell, but after editorial coverage in the US edition of Esquire magazine in 1950 the shoe took off, at first in America and later in Europe. The distinctive features of a Clarks Original Desert Boot are the crepe sole (my favourite type of sole – so comfortable) and just four lace holes – two on either side. 

Strongly associated with mod culture in the UK, they are an absolute design classic, and are always in style. Most men I know own or have owned a pair, but I think they look brilliant on smaller feet (i.e. mine) teamed with a skirt or shorts in the summer. Just make sure your other half isn’t wearing an identical pair or someone will have to get changed… 

desert boots Clarks with Mr Brogue

 
This is an extract from my book En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. which is published by Saltyard and is available at Waterstones, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Northern Cobbler and all good book stores.

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Dandals?! En Brogue checks out this season’s controversial shoes – velcro sandals

Continuing my weekend theme of velcro, today I’m looking at a hot trend for this summer: velcro sandals. I can’t take the credit for coining the phrase ‘dandals’, sadly – that accolade goes to my friend and fellow blogger Alex from The Frugality. It means Dad Sandals. Geddit? Anyway, I wrote about velcro walking-style sandals that your dad might wear (in fact, mine does…regularly) back in September when I spotted cheap Gola sandals on the catwalk at Christopher Raeburn’s show at London Fashion Week. I promptly bought myself a pair but I haven’t got round to wearing them yet – they’re just a little bit TOO practical to look stylish, but I am planning to wear them on summer walks on the Isle of Wight.

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Me wearing Hudson sandals (here) and Alex in Teva (here)

Since then though, many brands have got on board with the idea and produced much more wearable, fashion forward versions. Alex and I got together for a picture of us wearing our favourite ones around at the moment. Alex is wearing Teva – a brand that’s well versed in the skill of making comfortable velcro sandals. I’ve got a pair of my own, too, and they really are a treat for your feet! The shoes I’m wearing in the picture are from Hudson and I LOVE them – they almost feel like they could be from Marni. I borrowed the tan pair in the shot but I’ve ordered my own pair in black with a red trim. I literally can’t wait for them to arrive! They’re also available in silver.

Hudson Calypso
Hudson Calypso sandals, £60, hudsonshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Hudson silver
Hudson Calypso sandals, £60, hudsonshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Teva has a HUGE range of velcro sandals – my favourites are the Originals range but if you go as high as a flatform, they have some great fashion styles this season (also with a touch of Marni – the master of “fugly” sandals!). There’s pretty much every colour you could wish for but I went for a simple plain grey as I prefer it to the patterned fabrics.

Teva grey
Original sandals, £50, teva.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

The great thing about velcro sandals is that they’re often really cheap, too. Plus, if the weather is good enough, they’re absolutely perfect to wear to a festival. Free People has a really good range – I love the tropical feel of the printed pair below.

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Sienna sandals, £60, freepeople.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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Boundary Falls sandals, £128, freepeople.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Topshop also has a really great selection, including the bright, block coloured pair below that are a dead ringer for the catwalk versions that appear on the Burberry catwalk back in September (and are much cheaper, too!).

Topshop Reef
FUNKI Reef sandals, £48, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Topshop gold
FUNKI Reef sandals, £48, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Topshop velcro
HITCH Sporty sandals, £26, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)

And that’s the great thing about the velcro sandals trend – they rarely set you back too much money – although I have found a few gorgeous designer pairs too, if you have some cash to splash! Velvet velcro sandals? How decadent…

Sandro
Sandro velvet sandals, £199, selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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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.

0504_EnBrogue_Trainers_HB

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