Exciting news! One of my favourite shopping areas, Seven Dials, has invited me to do a book reading to celebrate World Book Day! I’ll be at Seven Dials’ Book Exchange, 9 Short Gardens, London WC2H from 6pm this coming Tuesday 3rd March reading extracts from En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. at 6:30. If you fancy coming along, you’ll get complimentary popcorn and prosecco throughout the evening included with your ticket, and I’ll be answering questions and signing books, too. Oh, and it’s TOTALLY FREE!
To confirm your place go to http://www.sevendials.co.uk and register with the date you’d like to attend. There will also be a few places reserved for walk ins in the evening on a first come first served basis. It would be fab to meet your lovely faces in person, so do try to come along! Don’t forget to leave time to visit some of the other great stores in the area like Fred Perry and Orla Kiely while you’re there. Hopefully see you on Tuesday!
OK, so I don’t usually do outfit posts on this blog, but as I’ve a) been terribly busy at London Fashion Week leaving me little time to track down the latest in flat shoe news for you and b) had to have my picture taken every day for my job at InStyle, I thought why not? So here you go…
Day 1: casual day
jacket, Levi’s; top, Bimba y Lola; jeans, Self Portrait; socks, Happy Socks; shoes, adidas Originals Superstars; clutch, Lulu Guinness
Day 2: stripy day
jacket, Levi’s; top, vintage YSL Rive Gauche; jeans, vintage Levi’s CTs; socks, Topshop; shoes, Grenson; bag, Longchamp
Day 3: wide trousers day
jacket, COS; trousers, Finery London; socks, Gap; shoes, Barbour; clutch, Coach
Day 4: tartan socks day
jacket, vintage (I’ve had it since 1995 and it was old then!); jeans, vintage Levi’s CTs; socks, Topshop; shoes, adidas Originals Superstars; clutch, Baukjen; sunglasses, ASOS
Day 5: scarf day
coat, Paul Smith; scarf, ASOS; jeans, Frame Denim; socks – they might be Mr Brogue’s; boots, Grenson; bag, Longchamp
Yesterday I made a trip to a pop-up shop with a difference: it’s the temporary showcase for a new brand called Finery London, and it’s blimmin’ BRILLIANT for flat shoes. Although the shop is only on London’s Monmouth Street in Covent Garden until this Monday (Feb 23rd) to coincide with London Fashion Week, the brand is an online fashion store, so you can buy these shoes online whenever you like. And I tried most of them on for you, so you don’t have to! The best bit? All the shoes are made of leather and come with a squidgy insole for comfort, and NOTHING is more expensive than £119. AMAZING! Plus, you get 15% off with your first order. This really is the shop that keeps on giving…
These were the first shoes to catch my eye as I walked in. I love the block colour and multi-texture design. They are an absolute dream to wear – I would have bought them on the spot but I was too cold to contemplate getting my toes out and got myself some trousers instead (oh yeah, this place does amazing CLOTHES too – be sure to check them out while you’re there).
These Derbys have a super hi-shine finish, which is very on trend this season. Available in gold, brown or khaki (my favourite), these would make a great addition to absolutely any wardrobe. I love how they have been styled with a feminine skirt and ankle socks. Don’t worry about that small heel – there’s a slight stack on the toe too, so these totally fit the En Brogue criteria.
Oooo, I do love a good kiltie – that’s the fringed bit of leather that covers the laces, originally designed for golf shoes – and these ones are just GORGEOUS. Again, don’t be fooled by that heel – it’s offset by the stacked to and that dreamy comfy insole.
The shop assistant helping me was wearing these, and said she literally hadn’t taken them off since she got them (“they feel like slippers!”). The perforated design means you’ll be able to wear them through the summer and have ventilated feet! And I thought I’d give you a taster of the clothes with this shot too – how nice is the print on that skirt?
This is just a taster of the flat shoes available at Finery (we fashion lot have already abbreviated the name!) and don’t forget the clothes too. I highly recommend the T-shirts – already best-sellers at just £15. I’d love to know what your favourite styles are, so leave comments below!
OK I admit, the shoes in pictures above and below are verging on a flatform. But it’s from the catwalk of one of my favourite brands – Marni – so you’ll forgive me having a little perve over these sandals as they look pretty comfortable, as well as being totally amazing. Not only that, they demonstrate perfectly a lovely little trend that’s emerging on the high street: track sole sandals.
“Has she gone mad?” you cry! “It’s February and she’s telling me about SANDALS?!”
Well no, actually. I’m a firm believer in buying the best of the new season before it sells out so you’re fully prepared for any unseasonal barmy weather that might unexpectedly come along. I remember one Valentine’s Day in the Nineties when it was 21 degrees! Of course, I was ready with my sandals – Converse One Star suede slides – remember those? Anyway, hear me out.
What I like about this style of sandal is that they look cool and are REALLY practical. The track sole is meant to look like the treads in a tire, and what does that mean? Grip! As much as I love a beautiful pair of Italian sandals, leather soles can be a bit lethal for the first few wears. And those ankle straps mean they’ll be great for wearing on long walks. I do love a good long walk. I expect more styles to be available later in the season, but for now, here are my favourites.
There are many types of loafers out there, and spring seems a good time to start thinking about them. OK, so you’re not in a position to ditch your socks just yet, but there are daffodils and tulips in the shops which means that before you know it, it will be bare ankles weather again. And you can’t beat a nice pair of loafers when it’s bare ankles weather.
So what are loafers? Well, they’re simply masculine slip-on shoes, and can come with a tassel, or a fringe, or a metal bar, and even a slot to fit a penny in. Yes, really! Here are a couple of extracts from my book to explain further…
These handsome slippers are more dapper than their formal counterparts – penny loafers – and, with their dandy tassel on the toe, are for the more flamboyant loafer lovers amongst you.
Best worn like a stylish Italian man with turned-up chinos and bare ankles, or take inspiration from Alexa Chung and team with a preppy mini-kilt, buttoned-up blouse and satchel slung across one shoulder. Of course the joy of the loafer is the lack of laces, which makes them the perfect smart shoe alternative to Derbys or Oxfords if you’re feeling lazy.
pages 80 and 81, En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels.
In the 1930s, a company called G.H. Bass Shoe Company began to produce shoes called ‘Weejans’, inspired by the slip-on shoes worn by Norwegian farmers. The story goes that the idea for the detail on the strap on the Weejan loafer came from Mr Bass’s wife, who would give him a kiss on the cheek every day when he left for work (it’s meant to look like a perfect lipstick stain).
Coincidentally, this ‘slot’ in the leather was also the perfect size to fit a penny into, which people often did in 1930s America – one in each shoe. It was just enough money to make an emergency call in the newly introduced phone booths of the time, giving the Weejan its new (and far more sophisticated) name: the penny loafer.
pages 56 and 57, En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels.
You lot do love Liberty print trainers, so last weekend I got my paintbrushes out for the first time in AGES and illustrated this lovely pair of Nike Blazers. One day, I will actually get around to buying myself a pair of Liberty print Nikes, but in the meantime, this little sketch will have to do.
This particular print isn’t available anymore, but you can pick up similar styles from the on Nike’s website. And for anyone with a baby brogue out there, how adorable are the toddler trainers? Answer: VERY ADORABLE.
I’ve been lusting after these amazing boots by Feit for a while now, but now it’s actually got proper cold in the UK, I want them even more. The Wool Hiker is pretty much the perfect boot for snowy, icy conditions, and it looks incredibly cool, too.
If you’ve never heard of Feit look them up here; they’re a really interesting company based in New York. The shoes are handmade from start to finish by one of their craftsmen who actually signs and dates each pair, and all styles are made in small quantities, so the chances of ever seeing anyone else in the same pair of shoes as you are pretty slim.
They’re sustainable and environmentally friendly as well. No harmful chemicals are used in the production process, and the materials used are so pure that Feit recommends you wear the shoes with no socks. A particularly inviting idea with the Wool Hiker, as it would feel like wearing your favourite slippers! This also means that the shoes breathe and don’t retain sweat or odour – in other words, they shouldn’t ever smell bad.
Add to all of this the Vibram Gumlite sole, and you’ve got the perfect winter boot. I can tell you from experience that a Vibram sole is non-slip on ice and snow and is tough enough to last years (most of my Grenson shoes have Vibram soles). They’re a bit pricy, but if I lived somewhere that got a lot of snow, I would definitely invest. Come on London – bring on a snowstorm so I’ve got an excuse!
Yes that’s right – you could win a supply of shoes for the whole year with Oasis at the moment. Oasis might not be the first place on the high street you think of going for shoes, but they have a really good selection. And the Chelsea boots that I’m wearing below – which come in lots of different colours – are INCREDIBLY comfortable. They have a cushioned sole, so it’s like wearing slippers. What’s not to like about that?
To give you a taster of the sorts of flat shoes you could be kitted out with for your year if you win, here’s a small selection of what’s online at the moment. Of course, they will be getting more styles throughout the year though!
To enter, simply upload a shoefie to Instagram (that’s a shoe selfie, like mine at the top, but you knew that already, right?!) tagging @oasisfashion and including the hashtag #meltintospring. You’ve got until January 31st to enter and you must be wearing a pair of Oasis shoes in the picture. Good luck!
I thought it was about time I put a few extracts from my book on the blog about some of the most important flat shoe styles you need in your wardrobe, and what better shoe to start with than the most incorrectly used in the fashion industry by brands and editors alike? Ever since masculine lace-up shoes became a wardrobe essential about five years ago, ‘brogues’ became shorthand as a way of describing them. Only, they’re not brogues unless they fill certain criteria (see below) and the misuse of the word really gets on my wick! So read and learn, people: what makes a brogue a brogue?
Many people have taken to referring to all flat lace-up shoes as brogues. In fact, the term ‘broguing’ refers to the holes punched in the leather from which the shoes are constructed. This means you can have slip-on or even heeled brogues – they don’t have to be flat lace-ups but they must have the holes.
Now that we’ve cleared up that technicality, what are the holes for? Brogues (derived from the Gaelic word bróg meaning ‘shoe’) were originally a country shoe worn by the Scottish and Irish when they needed to cross a bog. The holes allowed the water to drain out and the shoe to dry off once it was taken off. Clever, eh? They looked so nice, though, that they were later adopted on formal shoes and are most commonly found on Derby, Oxford and monk styles.
pages 8 and 9, En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels.
So the word brogue doesn’t really refer to the type shoe – that could be a Derby, Oxford, monk, Chelsea boot, loafer or even a trainer – it just refers to that lovely pattern of punched holes that the shoe is decorated with. Whether you’re just starting out in the world of stylish flat shoes (welcome!) or you’re a seasoned En Broguer, you really need a pair of brogued shoes in your repertoire. They’re a brilliant dress shoe for posh events, but look equally at home with turned up jeans. But whatever you do, make sure you don’t call a shoe with no holes a brogue! Here are my favourites to buy at the moment…
This week I went to an adidas event to celebrate the fact that 2015 is the year of the Superstar. 2014 was the year of the Stan Smith – EVERYONE, including me was wearing them – but this year it’s all about the trusty shell toe. Neneh Cherry was DJing at the party, and she was wearing them too, so it must be true.
Now, I am not new to the charms of the shell toe. As this picture proves, I have been wearing them for a LONG time. Since early 1996, to be precise. That’s nearly twenty years! I thought they were just about the coolest thing that had ever been on my feet, and I was so chuffed with them that I slept with them next to my pillow so they’d be the first thing I saw when I woke up.
More evidence – here is a line-up of all my Superstars (minus the red stripe pair that my 13 year-old niece nabbed off me over Christmas – yet more proof, if needed, that these shoes are SO this year). It’s like three generations; the 1996 pair have even shrivelled up like an elderly person. I’ve searched high and low for a replacement pair with this gum sole and toe, but sadly they don’t make them anymore. Still, I am rather taken with my new box fresh, blindingly bright, white on white pair.
What I love about these trainers is that you can style them up so many different ways. If an urban vibe is your thing, like the model image, top, you really couldn’t do any better. I used to wear mine with all my Brit Pop get up – vintage adidas tight tops, cords and anoraks – and though I still love that look, I’m more likely to pair them with leather trousers and a sweatshirt these days. I’ve also been know to throw them on with a pair of tailored trousers and if I had the occasion to wear a tux, then these would be my footwear of choice. And of course, they look brilliant with jeans. So if you’re looking for this year’s go-with-everything fashion trainer, it’s got to be the adidas Superstar. From £65, adidas.co.uk.