Party season: a phrase that fills girls who hate sparkly dresses and heels with dread. I for one would much rather just sling on my best jeans, a cashmere sweater and a slick of eyeliner when I’m off to a mulled wine gathering. But, as you know, I am partial to a snazzy pair of shoes, so will sanction the use of metallics and glitter when it’s confined to a place you wouldn’t expect to see it, like a masculine pair of shoes. This Christmas I’m motioning for tomboys everywhere to buck the dress code and invest in a pair of amazing silver masculine shoes to wear with whatever the hell you like. Because when your feet are this well dressed, no-one cares what the rest of your outfit looks like.
I’d love to see what party shoes you’re wearing this festive season – don’t forget to tweet me pictures of your feet to @EnBrogue.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!).
If, like me, you’ve become somewhat addicted to brogues over the past few seasons, you might be glad to hear of a development in the flat shoe department. While I was away at fashion week back in February, I noticed a trend on the catwalk that I’m pleased to say has been picked up by the high street.
Fringed shoes appeared on models at Suno and (my favourite) Marni. The latter took the idea and ran with it, morphing the leather fringe into a solid flap with a metal trim. They make the perfect alternative to brogues (in fact, you can find brogued versions of them) as you can style them up in exactly the same way. They just have a slightly snazzier feel.
The fringe itself is called a kiltie if it’s actually a removable piece of leather, and I think these shoes look their best when it is (or at least, looks like it is). It also means you have the added bonus of wearing the shoes two different ways! They were originally used by golfers to protect their laces from the dewy grass (more on kilties soon). You might also hear fringed shoes referred to as ghillies. The Russell & Bromley pair above comes in five different colours but this shiny burgundy pair best mimics the catwalk versions, as do the green ones below from Clarks and the blue from Office.
I also like the fringe on a monk shoe – I’ve been wearing the pair below from Toast for the last few summers and I LOVE them. Topshop is currently doing a very similar design, which comes in tan and black patent as well as the white shown here.
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.
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.
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…
If you’re a hardcore brogues and loafers fan like me, the arrival of summer either marks a complete change in your footwear habits (I tend to live in leather sandals) or months of very sweaty feet. Or perhaps you’re like my friend Jo. She has a thing about toes. She doesn’t like them (not even her own!), so the prospect of summer with its open toes and pedicures galore fills her with dread.
But last summer I discovered the PERFECT summer shoe for tomboys and toe-phobes alike: the cut-out. These shoes allow you to keep hold of your mannish aesthetic while getting some ventilation around your feet. The pair I bought last year were from Y.M.C. and are available again this year in navy or tan suede.
I sometimes refer to this closed-toe sandal style as ‘geek shoes’ (you can exaggerate this by wearing them with socks) and it’s a trend that has lived on for another year. I lived in mine last summer, so am very tempted to get some more. These by Northern Cobbler are BEAUTIFUL – I love the brogue detailing on the straps. And for a cheaper option, head to good old Topshop.
Seeing as I already have a pair like this, though, maybe it would be more sensible (and less greedy) to purchase a pair of the new breed of breathable shoes. These are more substantial lace-ups with panels of leather missing or, in the case of these beauties from Paul Smith, perforated holes in the leather. Either way, they’ll keep your feet and your outfit cool; a brilliant investment for the androgynous dresser.
So, I promised you earlier in the week a guide to summer sandals. And the news this summer is: they’re chunky and sporty. You can blame Phoebe Philo at Celine for this – as you can for most trends you’ve ended up wearing over the past few years – as well as my favourite brand Marni, Prada and Kenzo amongst others.
This style isn’t for everyone (I’m quoted in today’s Times Magazine on the very subject) but I LOVE them. They’re the ultimate in comfort (particularly if you have the nerve to wear them with socks, though if you’re going to do this I’d advise ribbed socks and NEVER towelling) and the high street has grabbed it with both hands. Good news! Ignoring this spectacular pair by Nicholas Kirkwood, which I can’t afford, so I painted them, I’ve rounded up my favourite more affordable designs available right now. Stock up now before they sell out!
OK, London fashion week seems like an age ago now, but I flew straight from the last show to Milan fashion week (yay!) and so am only just getting around to uploading my fav flats from our capital. Flat shoes were EVERYWHERE – even more so than last season – which is great news for us heel haters. Here are some of the best I saw last week.
I was lucky enough to be backstage at Topshop’s Unique show and fell hard for these pointy loafers. Can’t wait for them to drop in store at my local Toppers! Here’s ultra cool model Betty Adewole (my new style crush) wearing her own clothes and the Unique shoes during the show’s run through.
A trend that I’ve seen in Milan as well as London is shoes that are furry on the outside; like really stylish inside-out UGGs. Here they are at Marques’Almeida (you might have never heard of this brand, but they’re one of the reasons ripped jeans are making a comeback) and Osman (these lovely things are a collaboration with Manolo Blahnik).
Not only does he show in a venue with an incredible parquet floor (swoon!), JW Anderson also had some really unusual flat shoes in his collection. This sculptural leather was really beautiful, and actually surprisingly wearable.
The pair I will be saving up for, though, are these from Roksanda – a collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood, who also designed the lovely embellished flats at Erdem (it was too dark to get a decent picture of those ones). They came in all manner of colours but I think the flash of orange on the sole is the one for me.
And there were plenty of flats off the catwalk too – I wasn’t the only fashion editor favouring a more comfortable way of negotiating the streets of London. Here’s what I, and a few others, wore.
As for Milan, well – there were even more flats! Watch this space for my round-up.
Regular readers of EnBrogue will know I am a BIG fan of the snazzy sock, and yesterday I hit the shops to stock up on some new season pairs. Socks are a hot trend for SS14, which means there are some much cooler designs available than normal. It’s a quick, cheap and easy way of updating an old pair of shoes, so even if you’re not up for wearing ankle socks and flat shoes with a skirt, you can at least turn up your jeans and show a bit of colour! Here are my favourite pairs for a bit of inspiration.
Love love LOVE this first pair from Topshop (with Grenson shoes) because of their retro masculine vibe. They’re part of a ‘3 pairs for £8′ deal, or are £3.50 per pair. I like them so much I also bought them in grey.
If you don’t live in London, you might not have discovered & Other Stories yet (sister store to H&M and COS) but the website is great so check it out. These crochet socks (£5) are really handy at this time of year for shoes like these by 10 Crosby Derek Lam that you would usually wear with bare ankles. Normal black socks would look weird, but these pretty ones are just right.
Unlike & Other Stories, Muji’s website is hopeless, but it has plenty of stores so hopefully you’ll be able to track one down as its socks are excellent. They are really good quality and are around £4.50 per pair. As well as this spotty pair (worn with NW3 Hobbs loafers) it has a great selection of subtle Argyle designs too.
Back to & Other Stories now, and these cute neon trim socks (worn with Folk sneakers) come in a two-pack for £5 (the other pair is darker grey with yellow trim). They add a feminine touch to your casual trainers.
Finally, the most fashion-forward of the bunch. Prada’s SS14 collection was littered with footless knee-high hockey socks but Topshop has put a more wearable spin on the look with these ankle socks. Die-hard fashionistas will be teaming them with skirts and this season’s chunky sandals (more on those soon), but I’ll stick to my Grenson brogues I think.
Happy socks shopping!
Last week I found an old CD in my car. It turned out to be a 10 year-old recording by a little known band called Trago. They sounded a bit like a less polished version of Franz Ferdinand; like ‘posh punk’ if that were an actual genre. The bass player in Trago was me.
I played in a couple of bands before I started working in fashion (the tomboy thing extends beyond shoes!) and I LOVED it. I found myself reaching for my Fender this week, feeling a pang of nostalgia for the good old days when my nails were short and the skin on my fingers was always tough from constant playing. And it got me thinking: if Trago or Red 10 (my other band, a more ‘urban folk’ vibe) were still rocking The Water Rats or The Bull & Gate, what flat shoes would I be wearing now? The answer: probably the same shoes I always wore. There’s a reason why musicians keep coming back to the same styles like Dr Martens and Converse; they’re practical as well as good-looking. Here are the key shoes that guitar lovers like me come back to time after time.
I’m more into the brogue finish than a classic cherry red these days, but my interest in bovver boots and in bass guitars both came in 1994 when I fell madly in love with Blur (though of course Damon and Co borrowed this look from suedeheads). These Dr Martens Harris Tweed boots look great with my white Fender Precision (yeah, I’d totally match my shoes to my guitars, obvs!).
These Grenson Emma boots are SO cool, and are crying out for a coordinating guitar strap! I team my boots with turned up Levis and a buttoned up Fred Perry as I never tire of the mod aesthetic.
Inspiration: The Sex Pistols
Brothel creepers, with their roots in the Teddy Boy culture of the late 1950s, will always be associated with music. These shoes, with their chunky crepe rubber sole, were resurrected by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren in the 1970s, and have been popular with musicians as diverse as The Sex Pistols, Bananarama and Rihanna.
These George Cox creepers would get a lot more wear if I was still gigging. When I wear these, I worry that I look like I’m pretending to be in a band; they seem too cool for everyday life. But pop them in the same outfit as a Fender Musicmaster and suddenly it all makes sense! For something a little more classic, how about these gorgeous black ones by Robert Clergerie? I like wearing mine with skinny leather trousers and a blazer.
Rock chick ankle boots
Inspiration: Susanna Hoffs, The Bangles
Most of the styles in this post are unisex, but being a girl in a band means you can show up the boys’ footwear from time to time (I was the only girl in both of my bands). My actual ‘gig boots’ back in the day were a pair of black leather boots from Office. Because if you’re ever in doubt about what to wear on stage, black leather always looks good! I love the way Susanna Hoffs has styled her black boots here; she always struck a great balance between sexy and cool. Cut-out designs and lots of buckles are always good for injecting a rock chick feel to an outfit, and are also really current.
Inspiration: Kurt Cobain and most people who have ever picked up a guitar
In case you thought I was making all this up, here is a very grainy picture of me playing at the Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel, circa 2003. There are no pictures of my feet but I remember what I was wearing: classic cream Converse All Stars. I mean, what else would you pair with an original 1970’s Action Man T-shirt?! Converse must be up there with Dr Martens as the most popular band shoes ever, with everyone from Kurt Cobain to Paul McCartney having worn them.
Of course, there’s no need to actually play in a band to wear any of these shoes! But music is always a great place to look for fashion inspiration, especially for enduring styles that will be eternally cool.
Yesterday I shot another advertorial campaign for Clarks and the focus this time was on boots. I thought it might be a bit weird wearing winter clothes in July but it rained all day in Brighton (where we were shooting), so actually it was quite fitting!
I know many of you loved the sneak preview of the styles I shot with Clarks last month, so here’s a few snaps of some boots you can look forward to in store at Clarks this autumn (along with a few rare pics of my face!).
As you would expect from Clarks, all of these boots were incredibly comfortable (particularly the Orinoco Sash style above), but I think the brand has come on leaps and bounds in terms of design. I love the three-tone Morgan Carla lace-ups – such a classic but with that cool, modern twist.