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…
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…
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.
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.
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!
High street shoe of the week
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!
I got married ten years ago this September. I knew exactly what I wanted – from dress, to table settings, to location – but what to wear on my feet had me really stumped. This was back in the day when I still wore heels from time to time – for “special occasions” and job interviews – so I did feel a certain pressure to wear them on my wedding day. I ended up choosing a pair of awful sling back kitten heels; as much height as I could reasonably manage without falling over. I couldn’t bear to spend more than £35 on them because I knew that a) I would never EVER wear them again and b) I would kick them off and patter about barefoot the second the ceremony and pictures were over. I was right about both of these things – they were discarded before we even sat down to eat, never to be worn again.
If I was getting married now I would do things SO differently. My dress -rather than being long and very traditional – would be knee length, meaning it would show off my fantastic flat shoes (they’d obviously be fantastic these days). I’m helping a friend shop for flat wedding shoes at the moment, and as I’ve already done the research for her, I thought I would share it with you too…
If you want a traditional look
There are brands that specifically make flat shoes for weddings, and I’ve listed some of them here, but if you want that very traditional look you’re in luck as thanks to Simone Rocha (John Rocha’s daughter, a hot name on the London Fashion Week circuit), they’re also bang on trend. Look for lace, pearls and satin, and if you want a more modern feel, avoid ballet pumps and opt for a pointy pump instead.
If you want shoes you’ll wear again
I think the best option for a pair of shoes you can then wear after your wedding is a metallic pointy flat. They look wonderful with anything from a classic little black dress to jeans and a white T-shirt. You can’t move for metallic pointy flats at the moment, both on the high street and at more high end brands too, so this is an absolute winner as far as choice is concerned.
If you’re more unconventional
Who says you can’t adopt a less feminine look for your wedding day? Not me. Last year I read a wonderful blog post about a couple who had both got married wearing Grenson (read it here – they also have tiles to die for, and you lot know how much I love tiles!) which was inspiring. Not all women like to wear frilly dresses and delicate shoes, so here’s a selection of brogues that I think would look amazing with a trouser suit, or a short, A-line shift. In fact, I think this last category would be my choice if I were doing it all over again…maybe me and Mr Brogue should just have a good old knees-up for our anniversary. Any excuse for a new pair of shoes…
So if you are getting married, don’t feel pressured into wearing heels if you really don’t want to. There’s nothing better than feeling yourself, being comfortable, and not being in so much pain that you can’t dance to the band you paid a lot of money to play at the reception. Oh, and tweet me pictures of you in your flat shoes at weddings too – whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid or a guest, I’d love to see you all being comfortably stylish!
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!
Today in London, the temperature is going to reach the heady heights of 15 degrees centigrade. I have a thing called The Fashion Thermometer – my own personal guide to knowing what to wear depending on the weather – and 15 degrees marks the point when you can lose your socks. By Sunday, so Carol on BBC weather has just informed me, it could get as hot as 18 degrees, which means bare legs and enclosed shoes, or sandals with jeans (bare legs AND sandals would be a step too far until it’s at least 20 degrees). Today I’ve gone for my 10 Crosby Derek Lam slippers. Come Sunday, I might be in Birkenstocks!
Salt Water is now IN STOCK
Speaking of warmer weather, now’s the time to buy your Salt Water sandals as they’ve just come into stock for the new season. I know you lot LOVE Salt Water, so buy now to avoid disappointment later. They ALWAYS sell out. The best place with the most stock is sunsansandals.co.uk.
Adding to my lust list
The trouble with working for a glossy magazine is that I’m constantly coming across the most beautiful shoes that are right out of my price range. These amazing desert boots by Pollini, for example, which were showcased with the brand’s AW14 collection in Paris at the weekend. Seeing as I won’t be able to afford them until they go into the sale in about a year’s time, I’ll just have to enjoy this picture I took of them in the meantime…
High street shoe of the week
Hot from fashion week, I can tell you that flat shoes are not only very much still on the radar as far as high fashion is concerned, but flat white shoes. Tap into next season right now with these from Zara. They look very high end, like they might cost £350. They don’t.
Two shows today had footwear that made me swoon. But before we get on to that, here’s what I wore. The skate shoes are Essentiel Antwerp (new in the UK this season), jumper and bag by Mint Velvet, Zara coat and MiH jeans. I took an arty farty shoe shot on the mirrored catwalk at Christopher Kane (and another in the full length mirror in the loo. Less glamorous).
But back to those shows. First, Giles, whose gowns and skirts were styled with adidas sneakers. All the best styles were present and correct – Gazelles, Superstars and Stan Smiths – and some looked to me to be hand painted, such was their glossy, slightly cracked finish. My favourites were the pale pink Gazelles.
My top show of fashion week so far though was the first of the day: Roksanda Ilincic. The whole thing – clothes, colours, ponytails – was beautiful, but it’s the flat boots in particular that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. They are a collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood, so I’d better start saving now; they won’t come cheap but I reckon it would be worth it for a slice of that neon action. Mmmm….divine.
Another great day for flats at LFW, both on and off the catwalk. I wore my Antipodium x ASOS shoes with my new favourite coat from Benetton (of all places!) which looks so much like Marni someone christened it my Marnitton coat!
Many fashion editors also chose flats to negotiate the cobbles at Somerset House. Here are a few of my favourites.
As for the catwalks themselves, well, I hope you lot like pool sliders. They were the shoe of choice at both Whistles and the wonderful JW Anderson (fav show so far). And the Chelsea boots at Richard Nicoll were to die for. Check back tomorrow for more reports on London fashion week flats.
Regular readers of En Brogue will know I have a penchant for (OK, OK – obsession with) animal print slippers and pumps. This extends into summer footwear too, though my sandal collection isn’t as large, mainly due to the lack of opportunity to wear them because of the increasingly weird British summertime.
But it’s July now, and I will insist, even if it’s with cold toes, on wearing sandals whenever it’s dry. Today I went for a bonanza of print clashing, teaming these zebra print sandals by DUO with this lovely animal print bag from Mint Velvet (what animal even is that though? Brindle Greyhound? Answers on a postcard…) and a pair of Zara floral print trousers. This demonstrates perfectly why the animal print shoe is so brilliant: it goes with absolutely everything, even another print. Or two.
My love for the animal print sandal began a few summers ago when I bought these Russell & Bromley Dalmatian print sandals as an investment. And it was a good one! R&B’s shoes are always fabulous quality, and these still look good as new despite having been walked through deep seaweed on a bad beach walk on the Isle of Wight and dusted with orange dirt in the Tuscan foothills.
The good news about Britain’s recent tendency for Indian summers is that by the time you think about wearing sandals, most of them are in the sale. Here are my top picks available at the moment. Be warned: some of these low prices will be hard to resist!
Today’s blog was inspired by my friend Holly’s lovely (and incredibly stylish) mum Joy, who was wearing these gorgeous Jigsaw espadrilles at the weekend. I love Joy’s style; she’s always one step ahead of the game with her brilliant creative eye (she also makes amazing hand-pulled screen printed cushions which you can buy on her Random Retail website here - I highly recommend taking a look!), so it didn’t surprise me to learn that she bought these shoes last year and they’re sadly not available anymore. But it reminded me how much I love espadrilles, and it was really about time I did a post on them.
The brilliant thing about espadrilles is that they are usually pretty cheap. The high street has a great offering at the moment, especially of jaunty stripy ones like Joy’s. These are all perfect for lazy summer days at the beach, and leave plenty of change for a Mr Whippy with a Flake or a bag of fish and chips!
I do think it’s fine to pay a bit more for espadrilles if the design is good enough however, though I’m not talking about the £400 Celine pair I saw in Selfridges recently (yes, FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS!). These particular beauts are from one of my favourite brands, Penelope Chilvers, who is somewhat of a specialist in the espadrille sole.
These are a bit special to be kicking off at the beach mind you! I’ll be taking better care of them than that. Although Penelope herself told me that espadrilles should get thrown away at the end of the summer, I have a pair of hers that are still going well into their third year, so they really are well made (and therefore worth that extra investment!).
The espadrilles that half of you probably own anyway – TOMS – are SO comfortable, and have such a great ethical story (read more about it here), I couldn’t do this post without mentioning them. Plus I took a nice picture of them in the sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday while I was on the Isle of Wight, which would have been a shame not to share. There are dozens of styles and colours available, so there really is something for everyone (my mum has some in yellow, and Mr Brogue is after a pair too).
One final espadrille thought for you: if you’re holidaying in France this summer, have a look at the clothing department in your local supermarche when you’re picking up a baguette. They ALWAYS have a big range of espadrilles for as little as €5. Bargain!!
Today I’m feeling a little bit Aztec, a little bit Peruvian, slightly Inca, and basically inspired by all things south American (which also means I will be singing the theme tune to one of my favourite kids’ TV shows, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, ALL DAY). If you’re looking for some bright coloured printed or embroidered footwear, then this is definitely the season for you. Fancy a bit of a tribal print? You got it. Pom-poms? Check. Desert boots made out of carpet? Yep, I’ve got that covered too. (No, really, I have!)
This trend first caught my eye when the Penelope Chilvers summer look book arrived on my desk a few months ago. I instantly fell in love with these printed plimsolls, and this shot, with its guacamole coloured background, is good enough to hang on your wall! This fabric reminds me of the early Nineties and incense burners, but in a totally good way!
These gorgeous pom-pom slippers are designed by the uber-stylish fashion director of Tank Magazine, Caroline Issa. Caroline often wears incredible heels (they must be incredible for a flat-lover like me to admire them!), so I was really pleased she included some flats in her collaboration with L.K. Bennett.
DUO (the width fitting specialists, for those of you who struggle to find shoes that fit) has these lovely tassel slippers. The Aztec style fabric is also available on an ankle boot (here), which is worth considering in this freezing weather!
And the list goes on. You’ll find this trend trickling into everything too, from jackets to handbags to skirts, but I wouldn’t advise wearing it head-to-toe. I think my favourite discovery must be these fabulous desert boots from Kiboots, made from upcycled rugs. And because they use recycled materials, every pair is different. They’re not yet stocked in the UK, but you can buy on their website and they’re hoping to be stocked over here soon.