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!

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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!)

 

En Brogue launch party at Grenson

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Look! It’s a party in a shoe shop!

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

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delicious sloe gin cocktails
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cashmere Pantherella socks

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

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

 

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

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

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goldfinch tiles and Marni sandals at Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

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

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The tiles in our room at Villa Cimbrone and Marni sandals
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sitting room tiles and Birkenstocks at Villa Cimbrone
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a hallway at Villa Cimbrone and Birkenstocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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amazing AMAZING tiles at Pompeii

Tomorrow, Villa Cimbrone in Ravello…

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow, more on Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii…