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Brrrillliant…the best furry boots under £150

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that there’s nothing more disappointing than trying on a pair of snuggly sheepskin or fleece lined boots, only to discover that the snuggly bit stops before it reaches your feet. I don’t get it! That’s where you need it the most! I really hate having cold feet, so I’m always on the hunt for winter boots that keep my toes warm. And you’ll be pleased to hear that not only did I spend today hunting, but also putting my hands inside these boots in store so I could tell you with absolute confidence that THESE boots are furry ALL THE WAY TO THE TOE.

ankle boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
biker boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
ankle boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
biker boots, £89.99, zara.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Let’s start with these smart biker boots from Zara. They’re real leather so good quality but still come in way under £100 which isn’t bad value at all. The furry lining is really soft and looks great rolled over under the buckles. Plus that rubber sole will grip on slippery surfaces. Practical AND stylish!

Aldo 2
Ileana boot, £90, aldoshoes.com (BUY ME HERE!)
ALDO Ileana boots in store
ALDO Ileana boots in store

Next up, ALDO. Rather short sightedly, they’ve not shot them for the website with the lovely sheepskin lining rolled over so I’ve included a picture I took in store as I think they look much nicer styled this way. I REALLY like these boots. They’ve got a bit of a workman’s boot feel to them but are very chic, too. Again, the lining extends all the way to the toe.

Pingoo boot, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pingoo boot, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pingoo, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pingoo, £140, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)

How nice are these sneaker-style boots from Dune? I have some old Puma high tops with a furry lining that I live in when it’s cold; you’d be surprised how useful a super-warm pair of trainers can be. My Pumas are lace ups, but the zips on these boots mean you can make a feature of that lovely lining. Good old Dr Martens has got on board as well – they only have this tan colour on the Office website but I spied black ones in store which I preferred as they’re such a classic. And Red or Dead’s desert boot style are great if, like me, you’re always drawn to mod-style shoes. Bring on the cold weather Britain – I’m ready for you!

Dr Martens 1
Dr Martens, £110 at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Red or Dead boots, £55, schuh.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Red or Dead boots, £55, schuh.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

NB: while all of these particular boots will keep your toes warm, some of these brands have other styles available that look like they will be lined all the way to the toe but the lining stops at the ankle! If in doubt, go in store and try for yourself.

 

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what to wear when it’s too cold for Birkenstocks: part two

I recently wrote about sheepskin lined Birkenstock sandals – definitely a Marmite idea, that one! – but here’s something that might be a little easier to imagine in your wardrobe. Primeboots are pretty much the ultimate solution to winter for those of you who are really missing that cork-soled comfort you get from a Birkenstock.

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Why do they differ from other boots on the market? Well, they have that same cork sole technology as used in Birkenstocks, which allows the boots to mould to the shape of your feet. My new pair arrived this week and I can confirm that they are INCREDIBLY comfortable. Though I was a bit hot in them in the unseasonably hot London weather we had this week…

Prime visitkort

Another nifty thing you get the option of with some styles of Primeboots is a contrast coloured zip – mine are red like the pair pictured above. This style – the Engineer boot – is the perfect biker; just the right height on the leg, wide enough to tuck in skinny jeans but not so wide they look like wellies, and not too heavy on the buckle embellishments.

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If biker boots aren’t your thing there are chic Chelsea boot styles available, as well as a healthy dose of leopard print in most styles! Primeboots are a little tricky to track down at the moment in the UK, but you’ll find them stocked at Katie & Jo on the King’s Road in London (not on their website yet but probably worth checking back soon) and at nelly.com. Prices start at around £220.

it’s world vegan day!

I thought I’d celebrate by showcasing some of the best vegan shoes out there. Now, while I’m not a vegetarian myself, I know a lot of you are and this is a post that quite a few people have requested that I do. If you’ve given up meat, chances are you’re also keen to give up leather if you haven’t already, but it’s not always easy to find vegetarian shoes that also have great design.

Stella McCartney 1
Frankie shoes, £675, stellamccartney.com (BUY ME HERE!)

So thank heaven for Stella McCartney, whose GORGEOUS shoe designs have upped the anti as far as animal friendly footwear is concerned. She never uses leather but is a pioneer in finding materials that look and feel just as good. Her designs this season are a bit heavy on the flatform side for En Brogue for the most part, but there are a couple of really nice flats in there too.

Stella McCartney 2
Brompton boot, £410, stellamccartney.com (BUY ME HERE!)

If those are a little out of your price range, fear not! I have some more options for you. How about this lovely French brand called Good Guys? None of their shoes are made from leather and the designs are really cool. Plus they’ve gone to the trouble of shooting with a lovely tiled background as well. Good work!

Good Guys 1
Aponi2, €95, goodguys.bigcartel.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Good Guys 2
Marty, €169, goodguys.bigcartel.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Good Guys 3
Ayashi, €110, goodguys.bigcartel.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Another good bet for veggie shoes is brands that specialise in rubber. These skate shoes from Melissa are available at Selfridges and are made from 100% recycled rubber. So they’re good for the environment in more ways than one! Plus they’re really cute, too. #winning

Melissa 1
Melissa It cat trainers, £90 at selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Melissa 2
Melissa It cat shoes, £120 at selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

To learn more about vegan fashion head to the PETA website.

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En Brogue LCF competition – the AMAZING winner!

I am really happy to announce that the winner of the En Brogue competition is Anna Domnich. Anna, who is in her third year studying BA Hons Cordwainers Footwear: product design and development at the London College of Fashion, was a clear winner for me, as when she was asked to design the perfect flat party shoe, she ended up designing an entire collection! And within the collection are five sub-collections, designed with a certain type of girl in mind. Anna’s entry was a presentation with gorgeous vintage pictures and descriptions for each type of girl. “I chose five stereotypes of women,” she told me “and I observed my friends and thought of how they celebrate Christmas and what kind of shoes they would want to wear.” Is she one of them? “Hard to say.. I think I’m a mixture of all five”.

The Charlotte collection

4.1
Charlotte grey wool boot with crystal trim
4.3
Charlotte brogue boot

I thought I’d start by introducing you to my favourite party girl: Charlotte. The Charlotte collection is made up from ankle boots because Charlotte “prefers a cosy Christmas night by the fireplace with her beloved in the countryside”. That’s definitely me. And I ADORE the grey woollen boots.

4.2
Charlotte grey wool and glitter desert boot

The Nancy Collection

Fancy something a bit more bling? The Nancy collection might be more up your street. “She’s a glamorous diva, she loves attention and she attends lots of black tie events, so her outfits are always elegant, tasteful and chic”. These are the perfect alternative if you usually wear heels to posh events.

1.1
Nancy black lace pump with black satin ribbons
1.5
Nancy gold glitter tassel slippers
1.3
Nancy baroque pumps with ankle strap

The Mary Collection

How about if you’re a demon on the dance floor? Mary is a collection of flexible shoes with fun details like gold glitter soles for when you throw some amazing shapes at the work Christmas do. I’d like to adapt a pair from this collection by adding taps – the ultimate dancing shoes!

5.4
Mary black suede shoes with gold glitter soles
5.1
Mary bronze leather and beige suede shoes
5.3
Mary angel print buckle boots

The Betty collection

“Betty is a naughty little thing. She loves to have fun, make jokes and have a good laugh all night!” I want to go to a party with Betty! Although I’d spend much of the night admiring her shoes. I LOVE these masculine styles with a party edge. That chunky glittery sole is to die for.

2.2
Betty loafer with glitter sole
2.4
Betty glitter brogue
2.5
Betty angel print pointy toe brogue

The Rose collection

Back to a bit of girly opulence with the final collection. “Rose is very feminine; this can be seen through her footwear choices. She loves ballerinas, especially with pointy toes”. These shoes are particularly on trend for AW14, using velvet and luxe finishes like pearls. They would look beautiful with a long, ball gown – just look on the catwalk – no-one styles gowns with heels anymore!

3.5
Rose red velvet pumps with crystal embellishment
3.2
Rose angel print T-bar pumps
3.4
Rose green velvet pumps with satin ribbon

I wish Anna the very best of luck with her career, though I have no doubt she will be snapped up by a major brand or start her own line before long! She didn’t even set out to be a shoe designer. “I was actually applying to study fashion design & marketing course and randomly added a couple of shoe drawings to my portfolio. To my surprise the interviewers were really impressed with my shoe designs and suggested that I choose to do footwear design instead”. I’m so pleased she did!

All that remains is for me to ask you lot a question. What’s your party shoe personality? I’d love to know whether you’re a Charlotte or more of a Rose…do leave comments below. And I’m sure Anna would be keen to hear which ones are your favourite designs too!

 

En Brogue competition: I challenged students to design the perfect shoe

This is the first of two very exciting blog posts. To celebrate the launch of my book En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels., I was asked to set a competition for students at the London College of Fashion. The candidates, all studying BA Hons Cordwainers Footwear: product design and development, were given the task of designing the perfect flat party shoe, and I loved all the entries. It was such an honour to see the work of these future shoe designers (could one of them be the next Nicholas Kirkwood?!) but I had to narrow it down to my favourites and today, I want to share with you the three runners up.

Ellie Sinden

 

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Such a cute design, this one. I love the slightly Glam Rock feel to them (very SS15!) but crucially they don’t stray into platform territory. They’d look brilliant with a metallic A-line party dress but I think I would wear them with skinny jeans and a metallic roll neck top. Maybe even a pair of flares (cropped ones, of course – so you can see the shoes!). Well done Ellie!

Tarun Oblum

 

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What I like about this design is that at first glance they appear to be quite classic, but look closer and this is a VERY modern shoe. Those cut out details are really unusual and the (virtually flat) heel is completely transparent. I’m also a big fan of an ankle strap as it’s a flattering feature. Congratulations Tarun!

Sarah Weatherby

Sarah Weatherby

So much to love about this entry – even ignoring the shoes I love the styling with the skirt and the floor tiles! But those shoes are gorgeous, too. They’re a sort of pump/ankle boot hybrid and I REALLY like the contrasting vamp that looks like it’s attached with elastic gussets. Nice work, Sarah!

I’d love to know what you think about these designs as well. Which pair are your favourite? Tomorrow I’ll be interviewing the winner and revealing her brilliant designs.

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou: ALL the trainers

My last post explored the designers using trainers as inspiration for their clothing, and one of those designers was Mary Katrantzou. Now, obviously the thing you lot are most interested in is the actual trainers. So here, in all their technicolour glory, are the trainers in the adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou collection. WOWZAS!

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou £195

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou £130

While I don’t doubt that these are high spec trainers, performance-wise, you won’t catch me going for a jog across Blackheath in a pair of these beauties! Well, you won’t catch me going for a jog full stop because I’m too lazy but that’s beside the point. These are trainers to be treasured, cherished and looked after with the same care you’d give to a beautiful pair of Grenson brogues. Look at them! They’re works of art.

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou £135

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou £140

The collection is available from November 15th but don’t expect them to hang around for long. If you want a pair for yourself, you’ll need to be quick!

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou £195 (2)

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou £155

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Is it a trainer…or is it a skirt?

Trainers are a big deal in fashion right now. HUGE. Not only are they regularly paraded down the catwalk – even at couture shows – but they’ve now made it onto the clothes themselves. So in an unusual post for me, I’m going to look at two designers who have used trainers as their inspiration for dresses, skirts and jackets, rather than actual shoes (don’t worry! There’s a shoe-related post to follow tomorrow).

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou AW14 model_6
adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou

It was announced this week that Mary Katrantzou has designed a capsule collection for adidas (YAY!!). adidas has really been on the money just recently with LOADS of collaborations, including the hilarious Stan Smith (the tennis player the shoe is named after) vs Stan Smith (from American Dad), but this is the one I’m most excited about.

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou AW14 7
adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou is a favourite on the London fashion week circuit, known for her textured bright prints which are often very literal; she once made a skirt that featured 3D pencils, giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘pencil skirt’. And while her designs are a bit wacky, she still manages to make them totally desirable and wearable. Case in point with the above model shot: this amazing skirt, which as you can see really looks like the lace section of a trainer, would look really cool and not OTT with a plain white T-shirt and a simple pair of trainers (obvs, what else would you wear on your feet?!).

adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou AW14 model_5
adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou

There are plenty of actual trainers in this collection too, and I’ll be looking at those tomorrow. It’s available from November 15th and will be a bit more pricey than your average adidas clobber, but you’re still getting a hot designer piece for far less than you’d pay for her main line collection. Result!

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Alexander Wang SS15

Another designer using trainers as literal inspiration for his designs is Alexander Wang (he who launches his own collaboration with H&M on November 6th). The dress above, shown at New York Fashion Week in September for the SS15 collections, is, coincidentally, based on the adidas Stan Smith. And once you know that, you can totally see it! There were more dresses based on trainers too, all a little less literal than Mary Katrantzou’s but very clear once you know it’s there. The fabric below is based on the tread on the sole of a trainer.

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Alexander Wang SS15

Tomorrow, a review of the trainers in the adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou collection…

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brand focus: SENSO

I do love a brand that has a family history, and Australian footwear brand SENSO certainly fits into that category. Established in the 1980s, it is now run by the original owners and their three daughters, each responsible for a different part of the business. How nice would it be to work with your parents and your sisters?

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Ava skate shoes, £115 by SENSO at ASOS.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Anyway, the shoes they produce are LOVELY! My first illustration commission was for Harvey Nichols’ Shoetopia department, and the SENSO boots I was ask to paint for the project really brought the brand to my attention. They manage to design styles that are both classic and really modern, with interesting design touches and unusual finishes. These are ‘look at me’ shoes; the sort of footwear people will stop you in the street and ask you about.

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Ava skate shoes, $199 (AUD), senso.com.au (BUY ME HERE!)

Because the brand is Australian, its seasons are opposite to ours so the most current collection is SS14 (great if you are going on a winter holiday and need some out of season sandals!). Much of the AW14 collection is still available on SENSO’s website though (they offer free worldwide shipping), and ASOS also has a good selection too. I love the chunky skate shoes, particularly in plaid.

Senso grunge shoe
Katia grunge sole shoe, £155 by SENSO at ASOS.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Kat shoe, $249 (AUD), senso.com.au (BUY ME HERE!)

At my day job as fashion features editor at InStyle, we shoot a lot of SENSO because as well as having brilliant designs, the prices are very reasonable too. These shoes look like they are proper designer – EXPENSIVE – but as you can see, you can pick up a pair for a little over £100. There is a really great selection of styles, from chunky masculine shoes to more delicate, pointy flats, and there’s always a good offering of animal print, which can’t be a bad thing! So if you’re looking for a pair of chic, statement shoes, this may well be the brand for you.

Senso leopard 2
Freja shoes, £139 by SENSO at ASOS.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Jax, $229 (AUD), senso.com.au (BUY ME HERE!)
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Freja, $259 (AUD), senso.com.au (BUY ME HERE!)

what to wear in the rain…if you don’t like wellies

Earlier this week I wrote about anklington boots (that’s Wellingtons that are ankle length) and while lots of you LOVED them, there will be some of you out there that just don’t like Wellington boots. And I get that – there are certain occasions when a wellie just doesn’t feel appropriate. Luckily, to coincide with this thought, Converse has launched a range of rubber shoes that might just fit the bill.

navy Converse
CTAS rubber boots, £59.99 by Converse at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

We’ve all learnt the hard way that classic canvas Converse shoes are NOT waterproof. But that’s quite something isn’t it? We ALL know that fact. The number of people who have never owned a pair of Converse must be really small. So the number of people who will be really happy about these new rubber styles is likely to be…well, a lot!

yellow Converse
CTAS rubber boots, £59.99 by Converse at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
black Converse
CTAS rubber boots, £59.99 by Converse at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Converse aren’t the only ones making cool rubber non-Wellington shoes. Hunter has been at it for a while, and I love the high-top trainers you can currently order on its website. There is also a range of rubber ballet pumps and I’m excited about next season’s offering of lace-up plimsol-style boots.

Hunter high tops
Hunter high tops, £140, pre-order at hunter boots.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Hunter ballet pump
Hunter ballet pumps, available in six colours, £75, hunterboots.com (BUY ME HERE!)

And how about this balmy hot wet weather we’re having at the moment? According to my fashion thermometer, 20 degrees -as it was in some parts of the UK yesterday – is plenty warm enough to still be wearing sandals. And how perfect are these from Ancient Greek Sandals? They’re also made of rubber, so you can make the most of the Indian summer without ruining your leather sandals in puddles.

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Ikaria sandals, £70 by Ancient Greek Sandals at net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Ikaria sandals, £70, by Ancient Greek Sandals at net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Ikaria sandals, £70 by Ancient Greek Sandals at net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I Love Wight

I’ve been so lucky getting press for my book, having been featured in The Daily Telegraph, InStyle (OK, so I engineered that one myself), Red Magazine, Grazia, Stylist and Look to name but a few. But I have to say that this weekend marks the most exciting press to date: back on my home territory of the Isle of Wight.

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There’s something particularly special about being recognised in the area you grew up in (and it was a fabulous place to grow up, I might add) so I was thrilled to appear in The Isle of Wight County Press this week in a lovely feature by John Hannam, who is somewhat of a local legend. Not only that, but the feature is also about one of my best friends in the world – Daisy Coulam (if you’ve read my book, she’s the bride I was bridesmaid to when I wore flats) – who I went to school with and have known since I was three. She’s also married to Mr Brogue’s best friend from school in Tipton in the West Midlands. I know, good story, right?! If you’ve caught any of Grantchester, ITV’s brilliant new Monday night series, she wrote it. The whole thing! I’m so proud of her!

photo-3
me and John Hannam unintentionally matching in leopard shoes

We’re also appearing on John’s radio show John Hannam Meets on Isle of Wight Radio tomorrow (Sunday 19th). If you’re interested, you can listen at iwradio.co.uk at 2pm and again at 10pm (I’m not suggesting you listen to it twice! We’ll reserve that honour for my mum). John is a bit of a cool dude too – check out the shoes he wore when we met for the interview!!