Welcome to my new feature, coming to you on a regular basis: En Brogue In Full – pictures that include my whole outfit, instead of just my feet. I’ve been getting requests from readers for years to give more styling tips on how to wear your rest of your outfit with your flat shoes, so with a little help from a photographer and more time on my hands now I am freelance (deep breath – I’m not a natural model!)… here goes!

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Suit, COS (old); Kodak T-shirt, £30, Jigsaw (jigsaw-online.com); Monokel sunglasses, £105 bought at Ruskin, Whitstable (ruskinclothing.co.uk); belt pack, Manu Atelier (old); mi adidas Samba trainers (old – design similar at adidas.co.uk). PHOTOGRAPHY ZAC FRACKELTON

Firstly, I want to tell you a bit about me, and particularly, my figure. I’m 41 years old, 5ft3″ and size 10-12 (depending on the shop/cut/my mood) and none of these pictures of me will be retouched (wrinkles and all, guys!). I’m probably the ideal candidate to wear heels (bizarrely, I have very long thighs in relation to my lower legs), but since I don’t own any heels and don’t plan to, I have to be a little more imaginative with making outfits work for me. Some things I just steer clear of completely (I’m not a fan of low necklines or anything figure-hugging) but a little experimentation has helped me realise I CAN wear things that I previously thought were off limits, like ankle length dresses and culottes, for example. I’m not made of model proportions, nor am I a spring chicken, which is one of the reasons I’ve been a little shy about doing this in the past. But equally, it’s the reason I want to do it now. The fashion world is really catching up with diversity but it still has a way to go; I’ve found so many women on Instagram and writing fashion blogs that are more inspiring for me, personally, because they look more like I do.

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PHOTOGRAPHY ZAC FRACKELTON

Anyway, we’re kicking off with trouser suits. At my height, there are plenty that I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of wearing (much as I adore the long baggy strides look, I’m short enough to actually get lost in a pair), so I would always opt for a style that is either cropped just above the ankle bone, or that is made of a fabric that I can turn up neatly. I think one of the reasons I’ve always preferred flat shoes is that I never like to look too “done up”, so I usually dress a suit down with a T-shirt (ideally with a logo to jazz it up a bit) and trainers. Predictable, moi?! Oh, and I’ve thrown in a bum bag here for good measure.

PHOTOGRAPHY ZAC FRACKELTON

My COS suit is from last year so isn’t available anymore, but I’ve found two that I really like on the high street right now (below). I suspect the Mango one would be a little long for me, but I love the styling with the Stan Smith-style kicks. The Topshop suit, however, is also available in petite, so it’s ideal. I had gone off Topshop a little as I’ve got older, but I went in store recently and was really pleasantly surprised (although – SENIOR KLAXON – the music playing in store made me want to cut off my ears). It has LOADS of cropped trouser suit options, including a bright yellow one as well as the checked version you see here. I find the trick to not feeling horrible about yourself in the changing rooms is to go up a size – I am comfortably a Topshop 12 in trousers, whereas I usually wear a 10 for bottoms and a 12 on my top half (because, boobs – another part of my body I’ve found harder to dress as I’ve got older).

1.Checked suit jacket, £59.99, and trousers, £49.99 (mango.com); 2. Petite checked trousers, £50, and jacket, £65 (topshop.com)

Foot-wise, I’m going with a bare ankle – I may be a fan of snazzy socks, but pair them with a suit and you could end up looking a little like Jon Snow on Channel 4 News (while I do love his socks, it’s not the look I’m going for). And then I’ve finished the outfit with a pair of retro sneakers. Regular readers of this blog will know that I am partial to a pair of adidas Gazelles; I find their slim silhouette very flattering and their clean lines work really well with tailoring, but any of these styles below would look equally as good, depending on the suit.

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1.adidas Gazelles, £74.95 (adidas.co.uk); 2. Converse One Stars, £65 (converse.com); Grenson Sneaker 1, £160 (grenson.com); 4. Rose Rankin Coney, £95 (roserankin.com); Spring Court Velcro, £85 (second-store.com); Superga 2750 Classic, £50 (superga.co.uk)

I’d love to know what you think! Leave comments below, and also let me know if there are other themes that you’d like to see me tackle.

46 thoughts on “ En Brogue In Full: trouser suits ”

  1. Great post! Great trouser suit! Love your honesty. And love to hear clothes talk aswell as shoe talk. Look forward to the next post. x

  2. fab post, thank you. I have recently discovered this blog and your IG account and am kind of fangirling in a strictly non-creepy way. I love your style, even though I’ve never been a trainers girl (beyond Converse All Star and more recently Veja), but I’m finding your outfits really inspirational. Thanks!

  3. So helpful to see the whole outfit, thank you. I love flats and am gaining the confidence to wear them as part of an outfit rather than just seeing them as the comfortable option. So I’m getting into different styles, and things like glitter socks. Also cropped trousers, which look so much more modern nowadays. I’m looking forward to seeing more ideas and insights. Should I be buying a bumbag too?!?

  4. Great post! I’m the same height and size as you, prefer causual wear and never wear heels so getting dressing ideas is right up my street!
    One area I’d be interested in is work wear. I’d also be interested in your Instagram and blog recommendations as I’d be keen to also see others more like me.

  5. Great post! I’m the same height and size as you and very much prefer casual wear and flats.
    I’d be interested in some work wear ideas as I work in quite a ‘formal’ environment so would be keen to get some ideas.
    I’d also appreciate your Instagram and blog recommendations to see others like me (us).

  6. Fab! I’d like to see a post on what shoes to wear when trying things on in changing rooms. Online is easy because you can change your shoes at home. Much more tricky when out and about!

  7. Oh lordy, how I love this direction you’ve evolved on to. I’m a trainer fanatic, quite the tomboy of a dresser and although I’m 5’9″ and a size 18 I find your style superb and it has influenced me to try some different things. Keep on doing Madam .

  8. Brilliant brave post Hannah – thank you been following you for a while after buying your book.

    Advice needed in my hunt for shoes – I am 56, 5’2”, size 16 and have a foot condition called Hallux Rigidus (arthritis in big toe), bunion on side of big toe, bone spur on top. Contemplating surgery but in the meantime would like to find some shoes that don’t look like sensible surgical types. I love bright colours and would like something I can wear with cropped trousers or summer dresses.
    I need a shoe with a wide toe box, cannot be completely flat (ie tips up at the front like trainers), preferably with a strap/laces (foot must be secure). E width. 1 inch heel.
    I live in Brooks trainers (Converses are now too flat alas and Skechers only do limited battles in wide fitting shoes and are only in black or navy) in the winter and some bright waffle type stretchy shoes from Pavers in the summer but would appreciate your wise words!

    1. Ooh this is a challenge but I will have a think! I presume you’ve tried all the Nike/adidas woven styles? Presumably the fabric would stretch over the toe comfortably?

  9. Love seeing how you style them, and for teh helpful info about body shape and size….all these things make a difference to how outfits look. Will look forward to these posts.

  10. As mentioned elsewhere could you consider trainers/flats for those of us with wide hobbit feet pleeeeaaase. I love all the ones I see but they generally don’t accommodate my width.

  11. Loving the suit. I’ve been following your blog since I discovered your book. You are an inspiration and I’m slowly allowing colour back into my wardrobe, after years of wearing mainly black.

    The way you dress and your descriptions remind me so much if when I was a teenager in the 90s. Although I have evolved a bit, I’m missing my quirky side, the rando prints and the fun I had wearing random things together. Hoping to see if I can get back into it. I’m on a limited budget but I will be looking into any ideas to change things up.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments! The 90s were so great for the kind of fashion I love so I’m pleased there are hints of it in the shops again. Did you keep anything? I’ve been resurrecting the odd bits and bobs (though to be honest most of it goes to my nieces because I can’t fit into it anymore!).

  12. Sadly no, except some band tees from various gigs, although I still love my converse chucks and will be buying some DMs at the end of the month. I’m ready to add some more colour after foolishly donating all my colourful shoes. I will endeavour to add some colour and will look to here for inspiration. And finally get my first pair of Adidas trainers too.

  13. Hurray to you for a great blog post. Honest, informative and really helpful advise. I’m trying to find my ‘style’ direction now that I’ve swopped a job in the fashion industry for the stay at home mum to two kids under 4 life.

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