Anyone for tennis? My pick of the best European-style plimsolls

I’m was inspired to write this post today for two reasons. 1) my friend Daisy was wearing a gorgeous pair of authentic French tennis shoes on Sunday which I LOVED and 2) Wimbledon is on the telly.

 

Bensimon tennis shoes, £31.99, rubbersole.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Bensimon tennis shoes, £31.99, rubbersole.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

OK, so the players at Wimbledon will be wearing something a bit more high tech than this, but these shoes do have their origins in tennis. And while Daisy’s mum bought her Bensimon plimsolls in a shop in France, you can buy them online in the UK too. I love that they look like a very basic pair of Converse; they have such a charm about them. And the price is certainly charming too! They come in a huge array of colours.

Bata tennis shoes, £35, selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Bata tennis shoes, £35, selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Selfridges had started selling Bata tennis shoes – another brand I’m putting in the category of European plimsolls – but they’re now stocking a lot more colours. This lemon yellow pair is divine, and at £35 are an absolute steal.

Toast Victoria plimsolls, £35, toast.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Toast Victoria plimsolls, £35, toast.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

Even Toast, which can be a little pricey, is selling tennis shoes for just £35. I like this lace-less style for a fuss-free option. The plimsolls I remember from my own French camping holidays, though, which were worn by all the cool local kids, were made by Palladium. The brand is still going strong, and as well as these slim line ones, you can also find those chunky, almost military-style canvas boots on the website.

Palladium Flex, £49.95, palladiumboots.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Palladium Flex, £49.95, palladiumboots.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

the best wellies for festival season

With the Isle of Wight festival now a distant memory and Glastonbury looming on the horizon, we have officially entered Festival Season. While I’m a firm believer in not wearing wellies unless the weather dictates, the weather does often dictate, so it’s a good idea to bring a sturdy waterproof boot with you to tackle the rain and the mud. There’s absolutely no reason why those boots shouldn’t be stylish though; there are so many brilliant wellies out there to choose from, and they don’t all look like you might expect. Here are a few of my favourites.

For when the weather forecast is good

If you’re expecting dry, warm weather at your festival, you don’t want to take up valuable packing space with your wellies. That’s why these from a little brand called Butterfly Twists are so good. They actually specialise in foldable ballet pumps, but they also do foldable Wellington boots. Absolutely perfect for slinging in the bottom of your rucksack in case of emergencies. They’re really nice too – available in five different colours.

 

Windsor, £55, butterflytwists.com
Windsor, £55, butterflytwists.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

For a city festival

I always think it’s weird to go to a one day festival in the city and get all dressed up as if you’re going to be spending a week camping in a field. That’s why I love the shorter versions of Wellington boots – I call them Anklingtons – as they look much more appropriate in an urban environment. These ones from Ted Baker are cool, and have a bit of a rock and roll vibe about them.

Ted Baker boots, available in store from August
Ted Baker boots, available in store from August

 

For the most stylish girl at the festival

I am IN LOVE with these wellies. They are by Ilse Jacobsen, a brand that always makes beautifully designed boots that actually make you wish for rain (check out the lace-up ones, too). The white sole on this pair is what makes them look particularly cool, and they’re technically high spec too – you won’t get soggy socks in these beauties.

Cruise rain boots, €179, ilse-jacobsen.nl (BUY ME HERE!)
Cruise rain boots, €179, ilse-jacobsen.nl (BUY ME HERE!)

 

For the cultural festival

Maybe you’re favouring a literally or food festival this summer, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need your wellies. This handsome pair look like the thinking woman’s wellies if you ask me. Hunter has SO MANY designs on its website, you will be absolutely spoilt for choice.

Sandhurst Danescombe, £70, hunter-boot.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Sandhurst Danescombe, £70, hunter-boot.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

For the Wellington shy

How amazing are these Dr Martens?! They look exactly like a normal pair of cherry reds, but they are made of rubber. Completely waterproof but without the look of a wellie. They come in loads of different colours, and you can get taller boots as well if it looks like it’s going to be a quagmire at the festival.

Drench boot, £75, drmartens.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Drench boot, £75, drmartens.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Stone me! Brilliant high street jewelled sporty sandals

Sometimes, the high street really gets on board with a mad catwalk trend. With sporty embellished sandals it’s taken them a while – Christopher Kane debuted them in his spring/summer 2012 catwalk collection – but man, have they got it right this summer! When you’re investing in something silly like a sporty embellished sandal, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on it, so I’m thrilled that there are so many reasonably priced options around this season.

 

embellished pool shoes at Christopher Kane, SS2012
embellished sandals at Christopher Kane, SS2012

You see, I recently went to Bicester Village and tried on a pair in the Marni store. Even at the discounted price, they were still more than £300, so although I really REALLY loved them, I left them behind and returned to London with a heavy heart.

tempted by Marni at Bicester Village
tempted by Marni at Bicester Village

But look what I could have instead, and for a fraction of the price! I’ve already featured the Zara pair once but they are so good I had to include them again. And I’m very tempted to invest in a glue gun and some massive glass stones and just customise my own pair of Birkenstocks…

Daphne, £55, kurtgeiger.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Daphne, £55, kurtgeiger.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Nixon, £89, kurtgeiger.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Nixon, £89, kurtgeiger.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Lambert, £72, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Lambert, £72, dunelondon.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Studio Punch, £49.99, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Studio Punch, £49.99, clarks.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Florence, £52, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Florence, £52, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
cross over sandals, £59.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)
cross over sandals, £59.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)

this week’s shoes headlines: it’s all about sneakers

Plimsolls, trainers, sneakers; whatever you want to call these rubber-soled essentials, they’re all over the shoes news this week.

New brand alert

The lovely people at OLI 13 got in touch with me recently to see if I knew about their brand. I didn’t, so I was pleased to hear from them! They make lovely unisex shoes in Spain (don’t worry, they ship to the UK) and I just LOVE those coloured soles. Such a good price, too! I think I might get Mr Brogue a pair…

 

E.E.1929, €59, oli13.com (BUY ME HERE!)
E.E.1929, €59, oli13.com (BUY ME HERE!)
E.E. 1929, €59, oli13.com (BUY ME HERE!)
E.E. 1929, €59, oli13.com (BUY ME HERE!)
E.E. 1929, €59, oli13.com (BUY ME HERE!)
E.E. 1929, €59, oli13.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Best selling Batas

Bata has been making tennis shoes since 1936 (blimey!), so they know what they’re doing. Widely available in Europe, they’re not so easy to get hold of in the UK, so it’s great news that Selfridges has just started stocking them. An absolute classic, and just in time for Wimbledon!

Bata tennis shoe, £35, Selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Bata tennis shoe, £35, Selfridges.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Lily Cole for Veja

Intellectual model Lily Cole has teamed up with vegetarian shoe label Veja and Sky Rainforest Rescue to design these limited edition trainers. For every pair sold, Sky will donate £10 to help save the rain forests. They’re made in Brazil from organic cotton and natural rubber from the Amazon, and are rather nice, too.

Taua, €69, veja-store.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Taua, €69, veja-store.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Festival footwear

The festival season kicks off on the Isle of Wight this weekend, so if you don’t fancy wearing wellies, I’ve got another option for you. These gorgeous trainers and high tops from Inkkas are made in Peru and their bright patterns reflect the traditional fabrics of the region. There’s something about them that I just think works perfectly for standing in a field watching music (so long as the weather stays nice that is – I’ll be covering wellies later this weekend too).

Slate low top, €84, eu.inkkas.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Slate low top, €84, eu.inkkas.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Concrete jungle, €89, eu.inkkas.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Concrete jungle, €89, eu.inkkas.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

High street shoe of the week

Be still my beating heart! If there’s one thing I love as much as flat shoes, it’s Star Wars (I kid you not, I know all the words) so imagine my delight when I spied these beauties in Office! I’m not sure I’ve got the nerve to actually buy them and wear them, what with me not being twelve and everything, but I wanted to put them on here to preserve their brilliance for ever…

Vans 'A New Hope', £49.99, office .co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Vans ‘A New Hope’, £49.99, office .co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

good day sunshine! Time for some snazzy sandals

It’s a beautiful day in London today, so I’ve got sandals on my mind and I wanted to share with you a (sort of) new discovery, brand-wise – Chie Mihara.

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me in my new Chie Mihara sandals

Now, I was already aware of this brand but I never thought the designs were quite right for me. Which is why you should never rule a brand out completely – this one seems to have had a bit of a revamp and now the sandals are right up my street (I’ve also recommended the heels to friends who are mad enough to wear them but don’t tell anyone! I’ve got a reputation to uphold here…). The pair I’m sporting above (and below) have the lovely feature of an enclosed heel, which gives them a really nice retro feel without looking too kitsch.

Endless Mili, €269, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Endless Mili in green, €269, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)

They’re not cheap, these sandals, and you have to get your head around converting to Euros (they ship to the UK no problem, though) but they are beautiful quality. I wore mine for the first time yesterday and took a bit of a risk as I had to walk for about an hour, but they didn’t rub at all – which I find unusual with a new pair of sandals. Must be the combination of a leather AND rubber sole (the best combination). There are loads of styles of flat sandals on the website, but not necessarily loads of sizes still available so check before you fall in love with a pair! Below are my favourites – a highly recommended from EnBrogue if you’re looking to treat yourself to a pair of sandals for a special occasion.

Walit, 291, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Walit, €291, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Wossa in nude, 272, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Wossa in nude, €272, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Inchat in white, 309, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Inchat in white, €309, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Inchat in black, 309, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Inchat in black, €309, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Willow in grey, 288, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Willow in grey, €288, chiestore.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

 

EnBrogue – the book!

I have some VERY exciting news to tell you this morning. Thanks to Saltyard Books, I am now working on an EnBrogue book inspired by the blog. It’s going to be a guide to stylish flat shoes (obviously!) with my illustrations, photos and musings, all wrapped up in a neat, hard back book. The perfect gift for the flat shoe loving girl! I am thrilled about the whole thing, as you can imagine.

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I can’t tell you too much more about it at the moment but needless to say I will be busy over the next few months with this super-exciting project! Yippee!! It publishes in September…so I’d better crack on with it…thanks to all of you for reading the blog – I wouldn’t be doing a book without your support!

me working hard on my book!
me working hard on my book!

best Monday morning news…EVER

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I thought I’d let the picture do the talking there! Yes, from today and until the end of the month, you can get 15% off at the wonderful English shoe brand Northern Cobbler. I LOVE Northern Cobbler shoes. The brand manages to have a sense of humour – it’s not that the shoes are actually funny or anything, but they’re quirky (every style is named after a type of fish!) and beautifully made in Portugal and England.

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I recently got me a pair of ‘Squawfish’ in white to wear to my brother’s wedding, and they are available in this lovely two-tone option as well. I can confirm that they are incredibly comfortable, with a very smart leather sole that is still really flexible, particularly for a formal shoe.

Squawfish, £230, £xx with EnBrogue discount, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Squawfish, £230 – £195.90 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

I also love ‘Nibblefish’ – this closed toe sandal – not just for the brilliant name but because I find this style of shoe so versatile. It comes in white as well as the navy shown here.

Nibblefish, £210, £178.50 with EnBrogue discount, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Nibblefish, £210 – £178.50 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

There’s the classic tassel loafer – ‘Pilchard’ – perfect for the coming months in this lovely summery white…and if you want some sandals, the ‘Platy’, available in navy or white, is totally on trend for this season.

Pilchard, £190 - £161.50 with EnBrogue discount - northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Pilchard, £190 – £161.50 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Platy, £185 - £157.25 with EnBrogue discount - northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Platy, £185 – £157.25 with EnBrogue discount – northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!)

To get your 15% discount, simply enter the code ENB15 at checkout. It works for boys too, so if there’s a Mr Brogue in your life who needs a new pair of shoes, tell him about it too. Happy shopping – and send me pictures of what you bought!

playing dress-up with Donna Ida Denim

An unusual post for me, this, in that you can see my face in some of the pictures! And also that I’m talking about something other than flat shoes (well, AS WELL as flat shoes, obvs): jeans.

En Brogue pretends to do a bit of modelling...jumper, £xx, by Leon & Harper Maben (BUY ME HERE!), jeans, £xx, by Frame Denim (BUY ME HERE!)
En Brogue pretends to do a bit of modelling…Maben jumper, £165, by Leon & Harper (BUY ME HERE!), Le Garcon jeans, £210, by Frame Denim (BUY ME HERE!). Rucksack and brogues are my own

Last week I was invited by Jean Queen Donna Ida to pop to her gorgeous store in Belgravia to try on some jeans and show how I style them up with flat shoes. If you don’t know about Donna Ida already, it’s a one-stop boutique stocking top quality denim, plus all the T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets you could wish for to go with them. What I love about the store is that the edit is really tight, so there’s not an overwhelming amount to choose from but everything in there is really, REALLY nice.

Le Garcon jeans by Frame Denim and Emily brogues by Grenson
Le Garcon jeans by Frame Denim and Emily brogues by Grenson

This first pair of jeans are a slim-cut boyfriend by Frame. I really liked that they weren’t too baggy as a lot of boyfriend jeans swamp me, and they were the perfect match for my favourite Grenson Emily brogues, particularly when paired with this green printed Leon & Harper Meben jumper. I’m following my fail-safe rule for wearing jeans with flats here: always have a turn-up!

IDA Rizzo cords, £160 (BUY ME HERE!), Penelope Chilvers safari boots, £xx (BUY ME HERE!)
IDA Rizzo cords, £160 (BUY ME HERE!). Penelope Chilvers safari boots, £249 (BUY ME HERE!) are my own.

Donna Ida stocks all sorts of brands, but she has her own line as well called IDA. My favourites are the style called Rizzo, a skinny style with a high waist, which I think is much more flattering than a low-slung jean. They come in all sorts of colours, including the white I am wearing here (below) and my favourites, the light purple cords (above). Mega stretchy and really comfortable. This time I’ve gone for a double turn-up as I like a healthy flash of ankle with my skinny jeans.

IDA Rizzo jeans, £160 (BUY ME HERE!), EnBrogue for Jemima Vine leopard slippers, £xx (xxx)
IDA Rizzo jeans, £160 (BUY ME HERE!). EnBrogue for Jemima Vine leopard slippers, £159 (BUY ME HERE!) are my own.

This pair (below) by J Brand, with their slightly slouchy style and mini pinstripe, looked so nice with my Northern Cobbler double monks that it was hard to leave them behind. Proportionally they worked well because they are slightly cropped, which is always good for showing off shoes. Look at my face – I’m so pleased to be wearing them!!

J Brand Aoki jeans, £xx (BUY ME HERE!), Roseanna Pharrell jacket, £xx (BUY ME HERE!), 360 Sweater, £125 (BUY ME HERE!), J Crew cap and Northern Cobbler monks (BUY ME HERE!) are my own
J Brand Aoki jeans, £230 (BUY ME HERE!), Roseanna Pharrell jacket, £445 (BUY ME HERE!), 360 Sweater, £125 (BUY ME HERE!). Northern Cobbler monks, £230 (BUY ME HERE!) and J Crew cap are my own

I couldn’t do a styling post without wearing my beloved Birkenstocks, and when I saw these tie-dye effect jeans from IRO, I knew they were the perfect match. And how funny is this sweater by IDA? A play on that famous John Lewis slogan.

IRO jeans, £xx (BUY ME HERE), IDA sweater, £xx (BUY ME HERE!), Birkenstocks, £xx (BUY ME HERE!) and Hardy Amies sunglasses are my own
IRO Aden jeans, £225 (BUY ME HERE), IDA sweater, £95 (BUY ME HERE!). Birkenstocks, £64.95 (BUY ME HERE!) and Hardy Amies sunglasses are my own

To see my guest post on the Donna Ida website (and a few more pictures!), click here.

Herbaceous borders, helicopters and hot stamped sandals: it’s this week’s shoes headlines

Chelsea Flower Shoes

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bloomin’ marvellous!

 

I have loved the Chelsea Flower Show ever since I was off sick about twelve years ago and realised that watching this most British of institutions on TV made me feel much better. There’s something so comforting about these people who are so passionate about plants and landscaping, and seeing those beautiful gardens, too. Plus it gets me all inspired for, like, about two days, about my own garden (which is currently fighting a losing battle with snails, ivy, and the neighbours’ cats – or more specifically, their poo). I’ve never actually been though, until this week, and it was wonderful! Of course, I celebrated the occasion by wearing appropriate footwear – these Liberty print Y.M.C. skate shoes from last summer. A few people asked me about them on Twitter and Instagram and unfortunately I can’t find evidence of them still being available, but I’ve found a few floral alternatives (below) that you might like. Oh, and how amazing are these brogue plant pots?! That’s my Christmas present sorted, Mr Brogue…

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best. flower pots. EVER.
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Givenchy skate shoes, £415 at harveynichols.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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Toms ditsy print, £41.99 at office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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Vans in floral print, £60 at littlewoods.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Ancient Greek Sandals’ monogramming service

Last week I had tea with Christina and Nikolas, the founders of one of my favourite brands, Ancient Greek Sandals. I love these shoes for their authenticity; the leather and craftsmanship is so beautiful that they really could have been made in ancient Greece by an artisan cobbler. Christina and Nikolas were kind enough to give me a sneak preview of their new monogramming service, which will be available online from June 1st.

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my monogrammed Thais sandals

My favourite style for the service is Thais. The cross-over slide-style feels so current with this season’s trend for pool shoes, but being made of leather they will have far more longevity than some of the more “fashion” shoes made from man-made materials. I can imagine myself wearing them for decades to come and if they are anything like my other pairs, they will only get better with age (I even dropped one pair in a swimming pool but the leather was even nicer once they had dried off!). These ones are the natural leather colour, but they are available in twelve different shades including the yellow ones below. Head to ancient-greek-sandals.com next month to bag yourself a hot stamped personalised pair. It will be £5 for the first letter and £2 for each additional letter.

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Thais sandals, €145, ancient-greek-sandals.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

Louis Vuitton cruise show in Monaco

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be flown out to Monaco (for work!!) to see the first ever Louis Vuitton cruise fashion show, designed by the wonderful Nicholas Ghesquiere. It was the perfect opportunity to debut my Havva sandals and I’m pleased to report that they are INCREDIBLY comfortable. They have a lovely squidgy insole (a little like you get with Clarks shoes) but they look and feel super-chic, not like a shoe that has necessarily been designed for comfort. Highly recommended from En Brogue – and look how much fun we had together!

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Athena sandals, £110, havvamustafa.com (BUY ME HERE!)

 

High street shoe of the week

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leather crossover sandals, £59.99, zara.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Something brilliant happened this week: my mum went all Marni on me. She’s a massive fan of Birkenstocks, but I never thought she would consider a pair of chunky jewelled sandals like these amazing ones from Zara – dead ringers for a Marni pair I tried on at Bicester Village a few weeks ago. Sadly, I couldn’t quite persuade her to buy them, but I’m hoping that writing about her on here will make her reconsider and she will get them! They’re a gorgeous shade of light grey and somehow those stones don’t look too bling. Go on mum, buy them! Before they sell out!

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so good they deserved a picture from another angle