Tag Archives: Office

modern life isn’t rubbish

two of the six thousand mods that took part in Sunday's scooter ride out
two of the six thousand mods that took part in Sunday’s scooter ride out

So, it’s August bank holiday weekend, and while many of you may have been partying at Carnival (NOT my idea of fun), I’ve been doing what I do every year: hanging out with mods at the Isle of Wight scooter rally. They’ve been coming here in their thousands for as long as I can remember (apparently since 1980, though mods have visited the Island since the Sixties) and I’ve always loved the incredible authentic fashion that they bring with them, as well as that distinctive smell of two-stroke, of course! Plus I’m a bit of a closet mod myself, so any excuse to bring out the Fred Perrys is good as far as I’m concerned.

planning what to wear. Shoes from left: Kurt Geiger, Office, Karen Millen, Russell & Bromley
planning what to wear. Shoes from left: Kurt Geiger, Office, Karen Millen, Russell & Bromley

I do love pointy flats anyway, but I think they look particularly great with a little Sixties-style dress and bare legs (I’m not authentic enough to go in for white tights). I managed to wear four pairs this weekend! Great for dancing in too.

a dress my mum made in the Sixties, Kurt Geiger shoes and a Fiat 500 I fell in love with
a dress my mum made in the Sixties, Kurt Geiger shoes and a Fiat 500 I fell in love with
Russell & Bromley pointy flats reflected in a Lambretta's mirrors
Russell & Bromley pointy flats reflected in a Lambretta’s mirrors
This Fred Perry dress is new for AW13, as are these Karen Millen two-tone flats
This Fred Perry dress is new for AW13, as are these Karen Millen two-tone flats
It's that Fiat 500 again! I'm wearing Russell & Bromley flats, Baracuta Harrington jacket, Sandro top and Marni skirt
It’s that Fiat 500 again! I’m wearing Russell & Bromley flats, Baracuta Harrington jacket, Sandro top and Marni skirt

Other than spending a lot of time dancing to northern soul and ska (the Isle of Wight has an amazing local band called Ska’d for Life; my feet still ache from last night!), there’s a practicality involved with this scene. Sadly I wasn’t actually riding a scooter – though Mr Brogue and I spied a Lambretta and side-car that we’ve rather fallen for – but if you are, you’ll need something more sturdy than a slip-on shoe. Lace-up boots are always popular options; I spied many pairs of classic desert boots and Dr Martens.

My Dr Marten Harris Tweed boots and a splendid scooter with a picnic basket! My scooter would definitely have a picnic basket.
My Dr Marten Harris Tweed boots and a splendid scooter with a picnic basket! My scooter would definitely have a picnic basket.
A scooter girl in desert boots. Love the contrasting laces.
A scooter girl in desert boots. Love the contrasting laces.
Helen from Warrington in boots from Cow Vintage
Helen from Warrington in boots from Cow Vintage
My Swear desert boots. See, I told you I like contrasting laces!
My Swear desert boots. See, I told you I like contrasting laces!

Brogues were also everywhere, and a savvy local shop called Mia was doing a roaring trade in bargain £25 patent ones. In fact, we spotted them on a very cool young girl and when she told us where she’d bought them, my friend Michelle rushed across the road and bought a pair for herself!

Hannah from Portsmouth in London Rebel shoes from Mia
Hannah from Portsmouth in London Rebel shoes from Mia
a scooter girl in red brogues
a scooter girl in red brogues
Holly from the Isle of Wight in H by Hudson brogues
Holly from the Isle of Wight in H by Hudson brogues
Jane from Suffolk in Hobbs lace-ups
Jane from Suffolk in Hobbs lace-ups
Jane's daughter Hayley, also from Suffolk, in French Connection brogues
Jane’s daughter Hayley, also from Suffolk, in French Connection brogues

The Isle of Wight scooter rally really is a flat shoe lover’s dream event! I’ll be back again next year for sure, hopefully being driven around in a Lambretta side-car!

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feminine masculinity

My love of masculine shoes with a feminine twist started when, aged 18 in 1995, I decided to make my first ever purchase via mail order. Pre-internet, this was a big deal, but living on the Isle of Wight didn’t leave me many options, what with the choice of Island shoe shops starting and ending with Barratts and no school trips to The Tate on the cards in the near future (my friend Jo and I once caused the whole school to miss the train home after a day trip to the art galleries. We were late coming back from High Street Ken, having not visited any art galleries. Naughty).

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Me and my friend Maz in France, 1995. I remember us making a decision to wear lots of pale pink that summer!

Anyway, the shoes in questions were these pink patent loafers from Office. I know, I know. Hideous. But I LOVED them. They were proper shoes that made a grown up sound on the pavement (I’d lived in trainers since roughly 1989) and generated conversation. They fitted in perfectly with my Acid Jazz aesthetic of the time, which consisted mainly of striped vintage tank tops and brown cords. In spite of their indisputable hideousness, I have kept them all these years, though I couldn’t locate them on a trip to the attic this morning (I DID find some black leather Nike Air Max though. Result!). I thought I’d shaken off this penchant for pink masculine footwear, but it turns out it’s still there, lurking at the back of my conscience. Because although I adore masculine styles like brogues, loafers and monk shoes, for me, they always have to have some kind of feminine or modern twist. Otherwise you just feel like you’re wearing school shoes.

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Miista Tess in light pink (BUY ME HERE!)

This rather smashing pair are from a brand I discovered through Susie Lau of Style Bubble fame: Miista. It has a brilliant selection of Oxfords in unusual colours. As well as these in nude (the blue tongue is made from a slightly translucent rubber), there is a floral print pair (here), snazzy gold (here) and the lavender pair below. They’re really well made and lovely and light, and I love the white rubber sole.

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Tess in lavender, £115, miista.com (BUY ME HERE!)

Somewhere you might not usually turn to for shoes is John Lewis, but check out its new Made in England collection. It is a collaboration with Northampton-based shoe-makers NPS (Northampton is to shoe-making what Whitstable is to oysters) and has come up with these rather lovely monks in pink suede. It’s also worth having a look at the brogues in the collection (here).

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Ebury Street monks, £170, johnlewis.com (BUY ME HERE!)

A trend that I think is about to really take off is neon brogues. Grenson has some fabulous fluoro styles lined up for next season, but Robert Clergerie is already doing it. Head to Selfridges for these bright pink or two-tone options.

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Wilmae brogues, £355, Robert Clergerie at Selfridges (BUY ME HERE!)
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Robert Clergerie’s amazing two-tone neon brogues in store at Selfridges

I’ve also found some dusky pink brogues at Anthropologie, and for those who can stretch to a larger budget, Fendi and Fratelli Rossetti have some gorgeous lace-ups available. And if pink isn’t your thing, just look for a feminine touch, like the broderie anglaise-style broguing on Hobbs’ NW3 Oxfords. But it’s worth bearing in mind that pink is only going to be more prevalent in the AW13 collections, so it’s worth investing in the colour now!

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Carmine Oxfords, £158, anthropologie.eu (BUY ME HERE!)
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embossed brogues, £356, by Fendi at mytheresa.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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brogues, £270, Fratelli Rossetti at shoescribe.com (BUY ME HERE!)
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NW3 Millie Derby, £139, hobbs.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 

it’s all geek to me

I have been dying to do this post ever since I ordered these shoes from YMC a few months ago, but I wanted to shoot them on my feet, so I’ve been waiting patiently. And they arrived yesterday! I’ve always wanted to do the geek shoe trend, but I’m still not convinced I’m cool enough to carry it off head-to-toe. What I’d really like to wear them with is a calf-length skirt, buttoned up blouse, ankle socks and heavy rimmed spectacles. Unfortunately, that is a look reserved for the tall and optically challenged, and I fall into neither category, so I’ve paired mine with my fall-back skinny MiH jeans and a Breton top (the Ray Ban glasses don’t have real lenses and Mr Brogue – who does wear thick rimmed specs – thinks I’d be a right fashion victim if I actually wore them!). My YMC shoes are yellow, but they are also available in navy (here) and white (here).

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Punk sandals, £180 (youmustcreate.com) BUY ME HERE!

This trend has really taken off for summer, and I’m not surprised, for these are the perfect sandals for this year’s Endless Winter. The enclosed toe means that they look great with tights (mine will be thick, grey and ribbed), and will give a little extra warmth on sunny days that are still a bit chilly but warm enough for bare legs.

I’m christening the chunky white and brown leather versions – available at Topshop and H by Hudson – The Summer Brogue. Simply replace your regular brogues with a pair of these in the summer, and the cut out sections will allow your feet to breathe. Stylish and non-sweaty!

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Konnie cage shoes, £42 (topshop.com) BUY ME HERE!
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Margo woven shoes, £35 (topshop.com) BUY ME HERE!
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Copan, £65 (hudsonshoes.com) BUY ME HERE!

Super-feminine geeks might enjoy this pair from Office, with their patent pink finish. If they’re a bit girly for you though, you’ll be pleased to hear that they also come in black.

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candy pink, £40, Office (available from April 10th)

And if you really want to go all out, why not invest in one of Topshop’s ‘Geek’, ‘Nerd’ or ‘Dork’ motif T-shirts?! A step too far…?

sneaker peek at my favourite skate shoes and tennis pumps

If there’s one thing I didn’t expect to see a lot of in Paris, it’s sneakers, but they were there on my feet, on the feet of the FROW and on the catwalk too. It seems that luxe trainers have moved on from high tops and on to a style more commonly associated with skateboarders and tennis players.

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me in Paris in my Jimmy Choo sneakers BUY THEM HERE!

These easy Jimmy Choo slip ons have a glitter finish so they look great either dressed down with jeans or dressed up with a leather mini skirt (as I wore them). They come in lots of different colours too, I’m rather fond of these white ones.

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Jimmy Choo Demi sneakers, £275 (jimmychoo.com)

On the catwalk, it wasn’t a massive surprise to see trainers at Comme des Garcons, but I managed to get such a good shot of them (because I was late and nearly missed the show so was standing with the photographers!), that I thought I’d share them with you.

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Comme des Garcons AW13 in Paris this week

Of course, you don’t need to spend a fortune to recreate this look as a plain tennis shoe is pretty easy to find without breaking the bank. I love Superga sneakers for their comfort and simplicity, and Zara is also pulling its weight with these lovely black raffia lace-ups.

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Superga 2750 Cotu Classic, £45 (superga.co.uk) BUY ME HERE!
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Zara raffia sneakers, £39.99 (zara.com) BUY ME HERE!

Then at Giambattista Valli, a quite unexpected loafer/skate shoe hybrid graced the catwalk. I loved the way they were styled with luxury skirts and evening dresses. This is my kind of occasion-wear!

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Giambattista Valli AW13 in Paris this week

The brand that a lot of these styles are paying homage to is skate shoe pioneer Vans, which hot label of the moment Kenzo has been collaborating with since last year. But for a cheaper alternative to the designer collection, just look at the Office website; it has over 100 different styles of Vans alone. This pair with its splatter print design are really cool.

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Vans, £54.00 at Office (office.co.uk) BUY ME HERE!

And if you liked those, you’ll love this collaboration between YMC and Liberty. I’ve always meant to get myself a pair of the Liberty x Nike trainers but now I’ve seen these, I think they’re going top of the wish list! They’re not available online just yet, but will be soon.

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YMC – Liberty canvas slip on, £80 (youmustcreate.com)

Paris Fashion Week: Monday

It’s funny when you meet a friend and you’re dressed almost EXACTLY the same. This morning I decided to wear my Office white loafers with printed trousers and a bright yellow coat and when I met Karen (fashion editor at The Evening Standard) we had a good laugh as we looked hilarious standing together! Her green trousers and bright orange coat weren’t identical, but it looked like we’d planned it (we hadn’t, promise!). The street style photographers went mad for it, much to our embarrassment!

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dreaming in black and white

If you’re going shopping this weekend, be prepared to buy something black and white. I don’t remember a time when one trend hit the high street with such force. Later on in the season we’ll be embracing through colour (that’s one bright colour head-to-toe, including shoes!) but for now, you should resign yourself to wearing monochrome.

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Black and white was all over the catwalks for SS13, and your favourite high street brands – particularly H&M and Zara – have picked up on it with some vigour, whether it’s checker-board squares, houndstooth, or humbug stripes.

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cut out boot, £75, topshop.com BUY ME HERE!

Of course, footwear has followed suit, and there are some great options out there for you already – so early in the season too! There’s something really dapper about black and white shoes, demonstrated beautifully here by Topshop.

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Elizabeth and James loafers, £205, shoescribe.com BUY ME HERE!

I’ve fallen hard for these easy loafers from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand Elizabeth and James. Imagine how smart they’d look with some loose humbug striped slacks, a white shirt and a bare ankle. Mannish chic at its best.

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star pumps, £18, office.co.uk BUY ME HERE!

If you find monochrome a little serious and want something more playful, look for a fun print like these stars from Office. They’re only £18, so there’s minimal risk buying into the trend at that price!

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Marc by Marc Jacobs, £230, shoescribe.com BUY ME HERE!

For the trend setters amongst you, look for black and white stripes to have the most fashion forward feet. Or even better, a checker-board effect. If you can play chess on it, it’s very en vogue!

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Don’t forget that to really work this look, you need to wear black and white HEAD-TO-TOE. That might sound scary, but as there are only two colours involved (actually, black and white aren’t even classed as colours, so there are NO colours involved!) it’s easy. I’ve picked some of my favourite items from the new season above. Try clashing different prints and patterns for maximum impact and if you really need some colour in your life, add a flash of bright orange lipstick.

If you have an interest in masculine shoes, chances are you also have a penchant for snazzy socks. I know I do. It’s all part of the look, right? A turned up jean to show a peek of colour really brightens a drab, foggy day like today.

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Gap grey and neon yellow spotty socks, worn with Office shoes

I’ve long been a fan of Gap socks. That whole 3 for £10 thing: what’s not to love? There’s regularly a huge choice of my favourite patterns – spots and stripes – and they last ages too. My most recent haul last week was very successful. I particularly like these grey multi stripe ones. 

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Gap socks, 3 pairs for £10

This season though, I’m experimenting with Argyle socks for the first time. Nothing too crazy – because Argyle socks can be REALLY crazy – just a subtle diamond print on a dark coloured sock.

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Muji Argyle socks, worn with Hobbs NW3 shoes

My new discovery for great socks is Muji, and it certainly has plenty of Argyle options to choose from. Its socks are a little more expensive than Gap’s but still come in at a reasonable £4.95 per pair. And you’ll notice a cute dotty pair in the mix too for good measure.

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Muji socks, £4.95 per pair

So if you want to add a little colour to an otherwise plain outfit, why not slip on some colourful socks this autumn? 

Leopard? Def.

A few years ago, I would have been very unsure about wearing leopard print shoes (people will shout “Bet Lynch” and point at my feet!). That was before these Pretty Ballerinas pumps came into my life. I soon discovered, to my delight, that they literally went with everything. I dressed them up with a red fitted dress, and down with skinny jeans. I loved how the leopard print clashed with a Breton stripe. They looked brilliant with grey tights. I could go on.

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£169, prettyballerinas.com

Sadly – and unusually for me, given my enormous shoe collection which allows me to wear a different pair of shoes every day for a month – I actually wore my Pretty Ballerinas until they fell apart. That’s not to say they weren’t well made, more that they survived the battering of being worn in all weather conditions every week for two years. That’s not bad for a humble ballet pump. Their successors are these slipper style shoes from Office which, although I love the more masculine shape, don’t quite live up to the memory.

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similar styles at office.co.uk

If I was to buy one pair of leopard print shoes this season though, it would be these Chelsea boots from Zara. Zara has a bit of a reputation for making uncomfortable shoes but the good news is that this only applies to its heels. I’ve only ever had good experiences with Zara’s flat shoes and boots, so these feline fancies may well be my next stylish flat purchase.

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£79.99, zara.com

Two-tone

Office two tone pumps

As I’m just recovering from London fashion week, I thought I would make my first posts about the shoes I wore to the shows. There are cobbles to negotiate at Somerset House and I work long days (sometimes 12 hours) with a lot of dashing about involved, so the last thing I need to worry about is my feet hurting/falling over.
I love these two tone pumps from Office (£62) because they evoke my favourite era – the 60s – and are really eye-catching. They’re going to look great with turned up jeans once I’ve worn them in enough to wear without socks, but for now I’ll be breaking them in by teaming them with grey tights.