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brand focus: Havva

As fashion features editor of a glossy magazine, I often get the opportunity to order a pair of shoes months before they are actually available. Which is great, but then I have to endure weeks of waiting, often impatiently, for that new shoe box to arrive (first world problems…). So I was VERY excited when this lovely pair turned up this week, hand delivered by their designer, Havva Mustafa.

my new Havva shoes!
my new Havva shoes!

I met Havva a few seasons ago at London fashion week and was blown away by her beautiful shoes. They are exquisitely made, with both design and comfort in mind, and the prices are absolutely amazing given the quality. Havva told me that all of her shoes are hand made in Turkey – in her factory they literally construct the shoes on their laps – and it’s little wonder that where and how her shoes are made is so important to her. She comes from a long line of shoe makers, and both she and her father teach shoe making courses  at Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion respectively (massive hint to Mr Brogue there for my Christmas present!).

Gordon
Gordon, £165, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Havva boot
Edwin boot, £175, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I’ve been a fan of Havva’s sandals for a while now (there’s a pair featured in my book on page 42 – you can buy my book here) because they are so comfortable. They have a squidgy sole which is heaven on the foot, particularly with a sandal when you’re expecting a very flat, non-supporting leather sole. But now I have a “proper shoe” in my collection too I’m hooked on those too. I love the design of my fringed monks and having seen a sneak peak at next season too, am excited that a similar style in white will be available come summer, as well as an amazing two-tone black and white fringed sandal. Meanwhile, here’s a look at some more of my favourite styles that you can buy now.

Havva loafer
Madison in Oxblood (also available in black), £155, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Havva toe cap
Avenue in navy suede (also available in black leather), £145, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Havva T-bar
Tiffany, £120, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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10% off at Seven Boot Lane with En Brogue

I’m so pleased to tell you that for the third season running, Seven Boot Lane has teamed up with En Brogue to give you 10% off its gorgeous boots for a limited period. If you haven’t come across Seven Boot Lane before, it’s a lovely family-run British brand and its boots and shoes are INCREDIBLY comfortable.

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Comfort aside, there are many other reasons I would recommend Seven Boot Lane to you. Quality is really important to these guys, and you can tell the second you slip your feet into a pair that these are REALLY well made shoes. The design is very classic, so anything you buy will be a really good investment. And they’re also really nice people who are passionate about what they do; I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s great to know you’re buying from someone who really cares.

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Anyway, there are loads of beautiful styles to choose from. Below are just a few of my favourites. Don’t forget to enter the code ENBROGUEAW14 at the check out and you’ll get 10% off until the end of October. Happy shopping!

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Bayarma Chelsea boot in soft walnut, £140 – £126 with En Brogue discount – sevenbootlane.com (BUY ME HERE!) also available in bordo suede and black leather
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Connie in chocolate leather, £160 – £144 with En Brogue discount – sevenbootlane.com (BUY ME HERE!) also available in black leather
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Alice pull-on boots in black leather, £150 – £135 with En Brogue discount – sevenbootlane.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Alice pull-on boots in grey suede, £150 – £135 with En Brogue discount – sevenbootlane.com (BUY ME HERE!) also available in charcoal suede
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the coolest slippers around the house (and beyond)

I LOVE slippers. Really, I do. You might think I wander around my house in my shoes (because I love them too) but the first thing I do when I get home is take them off and put my slippers on. Because if there’s one thing I really value in life – and you might have gathered this by now – it’s being comfortable.

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why get dressed when you have slippers to road test?

Trouble is, most slippers are a bit ugly. Or look like they belong on your gran’s feet rather than your own. So I am delighted to have come across Mahabis – these cool, grey felt slippers actually look nice! If you’re a fan of Birkenstock, you’ll probably appreciate the clog-style aesthetic.

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classic slippers, £49, mahabis.com (BUY ME HERE!)

But the good news doesn’t stop there. Ever done that thing where you pop outside in your slippers, maybe for a bay leaf for your spag bol, and totally misjudge how wet it is outside? And by then it’s too late…your beloved slippers are ruined. Mahabis have the nifty option of a removable rubber sole (which also looks pretty cool if you ask me, particularly in a contrasting colour) that protects your slippers if you wear them outside. You can just keep them by the door and pop them on if you need to. There are loads of colours, from grey for a more subtle look, to bright yellow (my favourite).

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rubber soles, £15 per pair, mahabis.com (BUY ME HERE!)

If these nice lifestyle pictures from Mahabis are anything to go by, you might even want to wear yours down the pub! I’ve been pottering around the house in mine this morning and I can confirm the most important point: the are REALLY comfortable.

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would you wear them down the pub…?

brand focus: Vagabond

A brand I only really discovered earlier this year is Vagabond. It is HUGE in Sweden and is gaining momentum in the UK too, which is no surprise given the cool designs and great prices.  The new season styles are all now available online, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to review a few of my favourites.

Stomping boots

Stomping boots – that’s just big, clompy flats – are having a moment this season and you’re spoilt for choice with them at Vagabond. Take styling inspiration from Alexander McQueen and wear with an insanely pretty, white lace dress.

Cathy
Cathy, £109.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Kenova
Kenova, £109.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Kenova Chelsea
Kenova Chelsea boot, £89.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Monks

Whether a single monk (one buckle) or double monk (two buckles), this is style is still reigning strong on the high street and with designer brands for AW14. I’m particularly fond of the Amina monk with a leather kiltie, though I would buckle mine underneath the fringe for a look straight off the catwalk.

Kenova monk
Kenova, £79.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Amina kiltie
Amina, £79.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Classics

Vagabond is fond of a chunky sole but it has a good offering of chic classics too. Not only that, most of the styles here come in at least three different colours, so the choice is brilliant as well. Happy shopping!

Code
Code, £89.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Amina Chelsea
Amina Chelsea boot, £99.99, vagabond.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Take a hike

Following on from my recent observation of walking sandals on the SS15 catwalks (read about that here), I thought I should point out a related trend that’s a little more season appropriate: walking boots.

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an illustration from my book En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. (buy the book HERE!)

Now, I have genuinely been coveting Mr Brogue’s actual hiking boots for some years (we do a lot of walking on the Isle of Wight and he has a rather snazzy expensive pair) so was thrilled to spot these at Penelope Chilvers’ autumn preview back in the spring (although if I bought these beauties I wouldn’t be trekking through muddy fields in them!). I love the sturdy rubber sole, those contrast laces and the hooks in place of holes at the top. They’re called Atlas and you can buy them for £299 here.

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Rodriguez boot, £299, penelopechilvers.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Penelope must be as fond of walking as I am, as she’s also got the Rodriguez boot for this season (above), available in three different colours. I’d style them exactly like this with turned up jeans, but perhaps with the addition of a brightly colour sock. There are loads more hiking styles on the high street too…here are a few of my favourites.

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Raincloud boots, £103, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Zara
mountain bootie, £89.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!) (disclaimer: these have a small wedge, but only like a Grenson, so I’m letting them through!)
L.K. Bennett
Nolia trainer, £295, lkbennett.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Montana, £38, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

 

Me, Milan and Karl Lagerfeld

As Paris fashion week kicks off today, I thought I would share with you a few of the lovely flat shoes I spied for next season while I was away at Milan fashion week with InStyle last week. They were EVERYWHERE (yay!) and the most popular style by far was the flatform sandal. A few were a little too high for me, but there were plenty of beauts that totally count as flat shoes too.

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sandals at Moncler
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sport flatforms at Marni – too high?

Continuing that walking sandals theme I saw at London fashion week, Moncler was showing these sporty elasticated sandals (top). I LOVE them. They won’t come cheap though, so I am hoping for high street versions that won’t break the bank. Marni also showed sporty sandals – a sort of trainer-sandal hybrid – but that flatform might just be a bit too high for me.

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flatforms backstage at Fendi

These sandals at Fendi were pretty amazing too. As if they weren’t beautiful enough from the front, there’s a surprise at the back with the leather design up the heel (which matched a leather tag tied on each of the models’ ponytails). I was lucky enough to be backstage at this show working for InStyle, and even got to meet Karl Lagerfeld himself!

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it’s only me and Karl Lagerfeld!! #legend

Milan was also a haven for formal flat shoes. Although Church’s is a British brand, it shows its collection in Milan (because it’s owned by Prada) and it has some treats in store for SS15. There were a few more modern styles than you would expect from Church’s, including a perforated leather style with snazzy blue rubber sole, but it was the brogue sandals that really caught my eye. And Bally had some lovely loafers on offer; I particularly liked how they had styled them with mid-length leather skirts, though as a short person, this isn’t a look for me!

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shoes at Church’s
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brogue sandals at Church’s
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loafers at Bally

That’s all from Milan. Next stop: Paris!

the Walter White effect

Ever since I finished Breaking Bad I’ve missed it terribly, and the thing I’ve missed the most (other than Aaron Paul’s face) is Walt’s incredible selection of Wallabees.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 19.38.10Wallabees are part of the Clarks Originals range and were first introduced in 1967. They are a moccasin style (that’s the Cornish pasty-style stitching at the front) with two lace holes on either side, a little like a desert boot, and a crepe sole. Sadly, Clarks aren’t doing a women’s Wallabee without a wedge at the moment (boo!) but if – unlike me – you’re a size 5 or above, you can just buy a pair from the men’s range.

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Clarks Originals Wallabees, £85, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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Clarks Originals Wallabees, £85, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

I remember being about 12 and Wallabees were all the rage at my school. More than anything I wanted a pair in purple, but living on the Isle of Wight meant there wasn’t much choice, and I’m not even sure they made them in purple, so I settled for a pair of purple Converse instead (which actually I loved just as much). Although they’re an absolute design classic, I don’t remember Wallabees being in vogue with women since then, but they’re definitely having a moment right now, as other brands are also bringing out their own versions.

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Wallaby shoe, £179, penelopechilvers.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Wallaby shoe, £179, penelopechilvers.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I am REALLY excited that Penelope Chilvers is doing Wallabees this season (though she is spelling them with a ‘Y’). Aren’t they lovely? As usual, Penelope has put a lovely flash of colour on them – that orange sole is just GORGEOUS. I’m sad she hasn’t put into production the jumbo cord samples I saw a few months ago, but these ones are just as cool.

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UGG Azin shoe, £65, kurtgeiger.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Kurt Geiger has these Azin shoes from UGG that are a little more like a traditional moccasin, and if you can cope with a chunky heel you should head to Vagabond – although its Kayla shoe is too high for me to put a picture of on here. As for the styling? I’d go for turned up blue jeans rather than a pair of white Y-fronts….!

 

 

 

 

 

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what to wear when it’s too cold for Birkenstocks part 1: shearling Birkenstocks (!!)

I’ve been planning this blog post for a while because there’s a brilliant new brand coming to the UK that I’m dying to tell you about…but it hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t share it with you just now. However, as I just stumbled upon something completely amazing, I felt I should share it with you right away rather than wait. Really guys, this is AMAZING. Are you ready?

Free People is doing shearling lined Arizonas.

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shearling Arizona Birkenstock sandals, £118, freepeople.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

SHEARLING LINED ARIZONA BIRKENSTOCKS!!

If, like me, you have spent ALL SUMMER in a non-shearling lined pair of these, you’ve probably been wondering what on earth you are going to do without them when the mercury drops. Wear socks? (I’ve tried it – it doesn’t go down well with most people) No,   this – apart from the rather inflated price tag – is the perfect solution! Well, until it gets really cold, but that’s where the other new exciting brand I can’t tell you about comes in, so watch this space.

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so good they’re worth a look from another angle

This reminded me of another pair of snuggly sandals I spotted recently. Marni (another of my favourite brands) has been making this style of sporty sandal for a while – I have a pair in a vivid tile print – but in this lovely grey felt you’d get a bit of extra warmth until winter really kicks in. At which point, I’d pair them with grey ribbed tights. Hopefully these will end up at Bicester Village next season, as that’s where I buy all my Marni shoes once they’re past season and half the price.

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Marni felt sandals, £310, net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)

At the cheaper end of the spectrum, Celtic & Co also has a shearling sandal at just £45. So if you’re more of a single strap kind of girl, these might be the ones for you. They look the warmest of the lot, too!

Celtic and Co
shearling buckle sandals, £45, celticandco.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

London fashion week: what I wore

OK, I don’t usually do full look blog posts, mainly because I hate having my picture taken, but seeing as a) one of you lovely lot recently emailed me asking me to do a post with styling tips and b) I HAD to have my photo taken for my job at InStyle by a proper photographer, I thought it was OK just this once. So, here in all my full-length glory, are my London fashion week outfits (and why I wore them).

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Day 1: sweater and suede trousers, Eudon Choi; bag, Anya Hindmarch; sunglasses, Le Specs; shoes, Grenson (photo by Harry Cresswell)

I’m well aware that this look is totally mental, but I LOVE it! There’s also no getting away from the fact that these trousers were designed for a tall person, but I decided to go with a late 1980s Madchester-inspired baggy look and I think I got away with it. Top tip: those trousers you think you need to wear a heel with? Opt for some Grensons with a stacked sole. They’ll stop the hem dragging along the floor and getting ruined.

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Day 2: hat, Laird; dress and rucksack, Whistles; trainers, ASOS x Le Coq Sportif (photo by Harry Cresswell)

Every year, my New Year’s resolution is to wear more hats. And every year I make it to about January 3rd before feeling too self-conscious to continue. But if there’s one time I can guarantee there will always be at least one person looking more flamboyant than me, it’s at fashion week. So I wore a hat. But what about the shoes? These amazing beauts aren’t available until November but they’re a collaboration between ASOS and Le Coq Sportif and they’re comfy as hell. I like how they give this sweater dress a sporty edge.

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Day 4: Coat and trousers, Mother of Pearl; top, Fred Perry; bag, Baukjen; Stan Smith trainers, adidas (photo by Harry Cresswell)

I might look like I am (to quote Tyra Banks) “smizing” here, but the fact is I was probably about to sneeze (note the lack of a day 3 outfit due to illness). Anyway, socks and trousers are tricky territory at the best of times, but add an elasticated cuff into the mix and it can all go horribly wrong. I think the trick – as with all trouser-sock combos – is to make sure you’re showing a tiny bit of leg. It only needs to be a centimetre, but it makes all the difference.

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Day 5: Parka, Karen Millen; bag, Anya Hindmarch; skirt, Mint Velvet; socks, Topshop; shoes, Grenson (photo by Harry Cresswell)

I’ve recently taken to breaking all my own rules (“an A-line skirt that hits just above the knee is best for me because I’m short” – pah!) but this below-knee hem is my newest go-to skirt length. I don’t know why or how the addition of socks works (and you might not think it does) but it’s my new favourite thing. If I’m going somewhere less flash than fashion week, I’ll switch these red socks for something a bit more subtle, like a black crochet sock.

You can see what the rest of the InStyle team wore here (there are more flats!).

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).

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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.

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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…

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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!)