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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!