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Teva’s new slides

Remember last year when everyone suddenly started wearing Teva sandals? Well, that trend is going nowhere this summer, as I discovered when the nice people at Teva took me to Portugal this week to celebrate their new summer collection. Lucky me!

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Universal leather slides, £50, teva.co.uk

If you’re not already familiar with the brand, Teva makes really practical sandals – a simple rubber sole like a flip-flop but with velcro straps – with a spirit for adventure. They came about in 1984 when a Grand Canyon river guide was so fed up with losing flip-flops to the currents, he took a couple of Swatch watch straps and attached them to his shoes. Genius! The result was waterproof, comfortable sandals that stayed firmly attached to your legs when hiking, surfing or getting up to some other kind of outdoors activity.

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Universal slide, £30, teva.co.uk

I love my Teva sandals but I admit to being pretty lazy, and if a slip-on option like a pool slide is available, I’m fairly likely to go for that pair instead. I know, ridiculous, but especially when I’m on holiday, I really can’t be bothered to fasten my shoes. So it was with great delight that I discovered a pair of Teva slides in my goody bag when we reached our hotel on the Algarve. They have that trademark laid-back look of Original Tevas, but without the – admittedly not all that difficult – hassle of doing up some velcro. They also have leather straps, so have a little touch of luxury, but there are fabric versions available too if you think you might be getting yours wet.

 

 

Teva Originals, £35, teva.co.uk

Of course if you want your Tevas for the very reason they were initially designed – to not fall off – then have a browse of the Originals collection. There are LOADS of colour options available and they’re very reasonably priced. They’re also still totally on trend – I really like them paired with tailored trousers and sweatshirts as it’s a little incongruous. When Mr Brogue and I head on our walking tour of Devon later this year, I’ll definitely be packing my Originals (and I might buy him a pair too).

Anyway, back to that trip to Portugal, because I just have to tell you more about those nice people from Teva. After lunch with a stunning view and a surf lesson, we headed to a party with a load of people from Teva’s European HQ in Rotterdam. And boy did these guys know how to throw a party; at one point, they brought a load of house plants on to the dance floor for us to hold – incredibly weird but really funny! My favourite thing though, was that so many of the guys had styled their Tevas with VERY snazzy socks. What an absolute joy! Perhaps not a look I’ll be going for myself however, though I would definitely wear slim ribbed plain coloured socks with mine…

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Get 15% off at Northern Cobbler

I have so much exciting stuff coming up over the next few months, and the good news for you for June is that you benefit from it too! (Well, I like to think that everything I do on this blog benefits you guys somehow, but you know what I mean) Anyway, for the whole month of June I have teamed up with Northern Cobbler to give you 15% off, exclusively with En Brogue. WHOOP!

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Cusk, £165, £140.25 with En Brogue discount, northerncobbler.com

Regular readers of this blog will know I am a HUGE fan of Northern Cobbler. They make shoes firmly rooted in a traditional style but with a modern, feminine twist (they also do men’s shoes, with less of a feminine twist, that this discount code also works for). The shoes are beautifully made with an amazing focus on little details – think brogue holes on sandals and an illustration of a fish on every sole (each pair is named after a type of fish). Not only that, they’re really comfortable. Of COURSE they are; I wouldn’t be featuring them on this blog if they weren’t.

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Emperor, £195, £165.75 with En Brogue discount, northerncobbler.com
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Dory, £145, £123.25 with En Brogue discount, northerncobbler.com

I’m showcasing a few of my favourite styles here but there are more available online too. I’ve also got a bit of a penchant for white Northern Cobbler shoes as you can see (all of my own pairs are white – handy for weddings. Top tip!) but there are lots of other colours online too.

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Pleco, £165, £140.25 with En Brogue discount, northerncobbler.com
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Stonefish, £140, £119 with En Brogue discount, northerncobbler.com

While we’re on the subject of my own collection of Northern Cobbler shoes, can I just point out the Stonefish trainers (above). They always sell out so nab yourself a pair while they’re still available! Oh, and they go with EVERYTHING – they’re leather too, so smart enough to wear to work.

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To get your discount, simply enter the code ENB16 at checkout. It’s valid for the whole of June. Enjoy!

 

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My new (slightly odd) socks discovery!

The longer I write this blog, the more I think I should start two subsidiary blogs – one about tiles, and the other about socks. Because there’s absolutely no way you can be obsessed with flat shoes and not become totally nuts about those two things as well. A beautifully tiled floor and a pair of snazzy socks will always make my brogues look better. So it is with much delight that I introduce you to my newest snazzy socks discovery: Oybo.

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Lucky Green, 26 euro, oybo.it

Oybo is an Italian socks brand and at first glance appears to simply sell really nice patterned socks. But look a little closer and you’ll notice something different…every pair is ever so slightly odd. I know, brilliant, right?! I actually didn’t notice the first time I looked at a pair, because they’ve cleverly made them look *almost* the same. It’s not like people will think you got dressed in the dark or have had a particularly stressful week at work and didn’t have time to wash/locate a matching pair: it’s very clear that you’re intentionally wearing odd – or to quote Oybo – untuned socks.

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clockwise from top left: Pepper, Cocteau stars, Oltenia Sky (also pictured top with Clarks Originals Trigenic trainers), all oybo.it

I now have a couple of pairs in my possession and the whole experience is pretty wonderful. The socks come wrapped in tissue paper that matches the colour of the pattern and in lovely cardboard packaging (#attentiontodetail). They’re quite pricey but the quality is brilliant, and they wash really well too (though I would avoid the tumble drier). And they look absolutely amazing, obviously! I’ve had a few people on Instagram that just can’t deal with it – perhaps if you’ve an inclination to perfection these aren’t the socks for you – but I found wearing odd socks a surprisingly uplifting experience. I didn’t see that coming!

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Pepper, 26 euro, oybo.it
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Morocco, 26 euro, oybo.it

There are loads of styles and lengths available, and they have collections for men and kids too (Mr Brogue has just ordered himself a pair). The website is an absolutely joy to look at; the design is more like a magazine spread than an e-commerce site. Don’t be put off by the fact that the prices are in Euros as they ship to the UK no problem. And to top it all off, I have an exciting project with Oybo coming up later in the summer, but more on that soon…

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Granny, 26 euro, oybo.it

 

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WIN these Rose Rankin sneakers (whoop!)

It’s competition time!

You may have read about Rose Rankin London sneakers on this blog before, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand I’ll just say this: they’re LOVELY. Rose designs really smart leather trainers that are chic enough to wear to work (should your office dress code allow it) but they’re also incredibly comfortable. I realise I say that about most of the shoes I feature on here, but my Rose Rankin trainers are definitely in the top five most comfortable – so that’s more comfortable than most of my regular sports trainers, too.

IMG_9419The shoes you can win are these Simmy mid-tops in white with an iridescent trim worth £169. I love them. As they’re a mid-top, rather than a high-top, they’re really flattering because you can still see the slim part of your ankle. And of course, everyone knows that white trainers go with everything! I’d wear these with turned up jeans (as I do with all my shoes!) but they look lovely with bare legs too, and I noticed when I shot these they have the added bonus of making your legs look more tan!

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The details are all at the back! Simmy mid-tops, £169, roserankin.com

To enter you need to do the following really simple things:

  1. Follow both @EnBrogue and @roserankin_ldn on Instagram
  2. Post a pic of my illustration (above) of the trainers on Instagram (I will post it on there too so you can use regram apps if you like)
  3. Use the hashtag #EnBrogueXRoseRankin and tag both @EnBrogue and @roserankin_ldn in the image (so we can find your entry!)
  4. You must enter before midnight (GMT) on Monday May 30th 2016

Easy! Please bear in mind that the trainers are only available in sizes 37-41, and that the winner’s pair won’t be available to ship until June 6th 2016. Good luck!

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The unstoppable Gucci backless loafer effect

OK, let’s start with me admitting that this is a trend I haven’t personally got on board with yet, since in I don’t own a pair (strong emphasis on the word ‘yet’ there!). But the fashion team at InStyle have been rocking it ever since it’s been warm enough and I like it; they inspired me to hunt out the best high street options out there. What am I talking about? The unlikely popularity of the backless loafer.

Gucci at Matches
Gucci Princetown gingham loafers, £380, matchesfashion.com

You can blame Gucci’s Alessandro Michele for this, since he designed all sorts of backless loafers for his SS16 collection and everyone’s gone totally nuts for them. Intricately embroidered floral ones. Metallics ones. Furry insoled ones (I’m reliably informed that the fur is sustainable kangaroo, which is a by-product because it is farmed for its meat. So it’s basically sheepskin, but certainly not one for you vegetarians out there. Or kangaroo lovers for that matter). My personal favourite is the black and white gingham ones (above: swoon). If you’ve got a spare £380, you can nab yourself a pair of the shoes of the season from Matches. If not, I’ve found some pretty decent high street alternatives.

Clockwise from left: £45, asos.com; £70, dunelondon.com; £69.95, massimodutti.com

There are many benefits to the backless loafer, or squishy-down-back loafer, as some of these options are. They’re very smart, so make a good office shoe if the pointy ladylike flats I suggested earlier this week aren’t your thing. They feel a bit summery, while being substantial enough to withstand a British summertime of wind, rain and generally non-sandals weather. And if you find formal shoes hard to wear in around the heel area well, you just don’t need to worry about that because there is no back. *waves goodbye to Compeed blister plasters*

Clockwise from top left: £155, Bass Weejuns at urbanoutfitters.com; £168, freepeople.com; £52, topshop.com

They’re pretty easy to style, too. InStyle’s fashion director Arabella Greenhill has been wearing her black ones with chic, all-black outfits. Our fashion assistant Hannah Lewis pairs hers with light coloured, frayed jeans. Both have been adhering to the only, and most important rule about wearing backless loafers, though: cropped trousers. The most flattering thing about these shoes is that they don’t hide your ankles, so show them off!

Clockwise from left: £58, office.co.uk; £39.99, zara.com; £160, whistles.com

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17 flat shoes you can TOTALLY wear to the office

Following Wednesday’s news story about Nicola Thorp, the receptionist who was sent home because she refused to wear heels to work and started a petition to prevent employers stopping women wearing flats (read about that here), I thought it would be useful to round up for you the best flat shoes available right now to wear to the office. In doing so, I am assuming a few things:

  1. That you aren’t lucky enough to work in an environment where you can wear pretty much whichever shoes you fancy, within reason, like I am.
  2. That you are expected to conform to a smart dress code, which probably includes tailoring, and that you may feel more comfortable in a pencil skirt than trousers to do this.
  3. That you’re looking for shoes with a neutral colour palette because frankly, your office isn’t really the place to explore your flamboyant side. With the exception of the last pair, which I couldn’t resist, these shoes should go with most of your office gear.
  4. That when I say ‘yes! You can wear flat shoes to work!’, what you’re really looking for is a comfy alternative to a simple heeled court shoe, rather than to hear me harp on about how easy it is to wear trainers or brogues to the office. Because actually, that’s not really true, is it.
  5. That you’re willing to spend money on real leather shoes, because if we’re going to take a stand on this ladies, we can’t rock up to work in tatty old ballerinas with holes in the soles now can we?! It’s still perfectly reasonable for your employer to expect you to look well put together.

That said, I do have a few tips to make wearing flat shoes in the office a little easier. Look for a lower cut vamp – the bit on the top of your foot – as showing more of the skin on your foot gives the illusion of elongating your legs. Opt for an almond or pointy toe; round toes are trickier to style elegantly (though of course, it is possible – see number 4, which shows a little toe cleavage). And if you are wearing trousers rather than a skirt, always show a flash of ankle because it’s much more flattering.

Right, now to the fun bit. My favourite 17 shoes – and there’s something for every budget here – available to buy right now. So there’s really no need to lug your heels around in your handbag, now is there?!

& Other Stories
1. leather ballerinas, £65, stories.com
COS
2. slip-on leather shoes, £79, cos-stores.com
Dune at ASOS
3. Dune fringed shoes, £70, asos.com
French Sole
4. leopard ‘India’ pumps, £95, frenchsole.com
Jigsaw
5. Clara pointed flat, £89, jigsaw-online.com
Free People
6. High Road lace flat, £88, freepeople.com
Jimmy Choo
7. Gala flats, £375, jimmychoo.com
Kurt Geiger
8. Larissa flats, £89, kurtgeiger.com
Massimo Dutti
9. black pointed loafers, £69.95, massimodutti.com
Russell & Bromley
10. Xpresso, £175, russellandbromley.co.uk
Gucci
11. Gucci flats, £380, net-a-porter.com
Ted & Muffy
12. Cobra loafers, £120, tedandmuffy.com
Sezane
13. Riviera flats,  140 euro, sezane.com
ShoeScribe
14. Senso sling-backs, £140, shoescribe.com
Warehouse
15. Tri Block flat shoe, £40 (reduced from £65), warehouse.co.uk
Zara
16. leather ballerinas with buckle, £49.99, zara.com
Cleo B
17. Cleo B yellow print flats, £128, anthropologie.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help make it illegal for companies to force women to wear high heels at work


I don’t usually write news stories on this blog, but this one is important! An actor called Nicola Thorp (new hero!) was sent home without any pay when she turned up to work as a temp receptionist at PwC in London in flat shoes and refused to go out and buy a pair of heels. She even says she was ‘laughed at’ when she pointed out it was discriminatory because her male colleagues were allowed to wear flats.

This is obviously ridiculous, but when she called an employment helpline she was told that companies are allowed to enforce their own dress codes. That includes demanding that a woman purchase a pair of ‘two to four inch heels’ and also that she wears make-up.

Outraged, Nicola had started a petition to get the law changed so that no employer can force a woman to wear heels to work. Sign it now, people! Just click here

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Safety clasp sandals: obsessed!

Back in September last year, I watched Christopher Kane parade his latest incarnation of safety clasp designs: slip-on trainers. He has a thing for safety clasps: they appeared in his  first ever London Fashion Week show in the form of fluorescent belts on neon bandage dresses, and more recently he has been revisiting the idea on bags and high tops. And they’re lovely, but very expensive (the slip ons are £295 at net-a-porter.com). Christopher Raeburn has also used them on sandals with his catwalk collection for Clarks Originals, and although they’re considerably cheaper at £75 (clarks.co.uk), sadly you can only get them from size 6 up as they are in the men’s collection. Foiled again by my tiny feet. So imagine my delight when I discovered these beauties!

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People Footwear, the brand that makes these amazing pool slides, is new to the UK this season, and its Lennon Chiller sandals are still pretty hard to get hold of. But if you are willing to hunt them down, it’s definitely worth the effort. As well as being a massive tick as far as catwalk trends are concerned, they’re reasonably priced (£55) and are very, VERY comfortable. Like, Birkenstock comfortable, but without the first week of wearing in. Literally the most fantastically comfy shoes ever from the very second you put them on your feet. I’m not even exaggerating, honest.

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In the recent heatwave I’ve struggled to find the will to wear anything else because as well as that comfortable thing, they seem to work with everything in my wardrobe. Even the fact that the temperature is rapidly dropping won’t stop me sporting my beloved Lennon Chillers, because they just so happen to look great with a pair of ribbed socks and culottes, too. Bonus.

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If you’re a size 6 or more, you can pick up a pair in black or red from Zalando, but for smaller sizes and a range of colours, you’ll have to try in person at Choice Stores (Bluewater, Lakeside or Westfield Stratford) and soon at Size? on Carnaby Street. I know it’s old school, but you’ll be glad you made the effort, I promise! Oh and one final thing – they come wrapped in this beautiful illustrated tissue paper. You’re sold, right?

MUJI customisable sneakers

MUJI’s customisable sneakers

I love MUJI. The simplicity of everything in store really appeals to me, especially the stationery and those really nice coloured gel pens (I have dozens of them). But other than socks, I’ve never really shopped in MUJI for clothes. Until now.

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For summer, it has brought out ‘customisable sneakers’. They’re not customisable like the adidas adicolor trainers from the ’80s (the ones that came with pens to draw on the white leather) but this version takes far less effort. Simply choose your sneakers – which are classic canvas and rubber tennis shoes priced at a very reasonable £24.95 – and then add some coloured laces and a snazzy patterned insole.

MUJI white sneakers
white sneakers, £24.95, yellow laces, £1.50 and red striped insoles, £6.95, all MUJI

Now, you might wonder what the point is of a snazzy insole, what with your foot covering it up while you’re wearing the shoes and everything, but I have open shoe shelves so I like my shoes to look just as good when they are off my feet. Not only that, it gives you the option of replacing the original insole when it inevitably gets stinky in the hot weather. Because no-one likes stinky summer shoes.

MUJI insole and laces
blue striped insoles, £6.95, red laces, £1.50 and charcoal laces, £1.50, all MUJI

The sneakers come in white (my favourite), red, navy and black. Because they’re such a classic style, they’ll go with everything in your wardrobe and add a distinctly French look to your outfit. They’re made from water-repellent organic cotton, too – bonus! All come with white laces (except the black, which come with black laces and also have a black rubber sole rather than white) and a plain insole. There are six coloured lace options (in addition to black and white, which you can also buy if you happen to need new laces, and they’re only £1.50) and the insoles are jaunty stripes or gingham (£6.95). If you have a store near you, it might be easier to buy in person as the sizes are a little confusing and I had to go down half a size. But I if you do I challenge you to come away without  a little something extra for your new sneakers! They also have them in men’s sizes, and don’t forget to make sure your insole is the right size for your shoes!

MUJI red sneakers
red sneakers, £24.95, light blue laces, £1.50 and gingham insoles, £6.95, all MUJI
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Blunnies: the boots I wear EVERY DAY

Sometimes I find out about brands and I can’t believe I didn’t already know about them. Sometimes my friends tell me about brands and I think I’m listening at the time but actually I’ve probably had a couple of glasses of wine and I’m not concentrating properly. And sometimes I come across a brand and its shoes are so amazing I literally can’t stop talking about them. Blundstone boots are all of these things.

 

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Blundstone in blue, £140, thenaturalshoestore.com

Blundstone – or Blunnies, as I have discovered they are more commonly known – are sturdy leather boots from Tasmania and the brand has been going since 1870. My mates who have spent time in Australia and New Zealand have tried to tell me about their virtues in the past and I now have to put my hands up and say I was a complete fool for not listening. I’d seen them in The Natural Shoe Store too, but until I got a dog, I wasn’t as obsessed with finding the perfect outdoor boots as I am now. (side note – The Natural Shoe Store now stocks both my books, En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. and En Brogue: The Trainers Guide. Self-promotion plug over!)

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Blundstone in red, £140, thenaturalshoestore.com

Anyway! What’s so great about Blunnies? Firstly, they look great. The leather is so soft and smooth that they look like rubber from a distance (and if you’re lucky, the members of your Pilates class will line up to stroke them because they look so lovely. This happened to me). The classic ones are brown with a ‘rustic’ ready-worn-in look but I love my black ones with electric blue sole and elastic gusset (they also come in a red option). Second, and probably most importantly, they are INCREDIBLY comfortable. Like, in my top three ever most comfortable shoes kind of comfortable. And, considering how many pairs of shoes I’ve hoarded over the years, that’s saying something. The more you wear them, the more comfy they get, until you can’t very well imagine having to wear anything else.

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Blundstone in rustic brown, £125, thenaturalshoestore.com

I wear my Blunnies every single day. They’re the first shoes I put on in the morning to walk the dog, and the last I wear in the evening to, well, you guessed it, walk the dog. They’re brilliant for weekends because they look snazzy enough to take you from country walk to pub lunch. And I can tell you from experience that they are completely waterproof too, having got caught out in a hail storm of biblical proportions when I was wearing mine, as well as needing to wade through a few unexpectedly deep puddles. I don’t think I could live without them now. So if you’re looking for walking boots, weekend boots, or just a lovely pair of comfortable Chelsea boots, Blunnies come highly recommended from me. If a little belatedly…

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