Tag Archives: cut out boots

I’m in the band!

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.

Bovver boots

Inspiration: Blur


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!).


Emma boots, £230, grenson.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)

 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

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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.

Fred Perry by George Cox creepers

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.

Pogo creepers, £365, Robert Clergerie at net-a-porter.com (BUY ME HERE!)

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.

KAPA cut out shoes, £75, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)
raw edge ankle boots, £95, stories.com (BUY ME HERE!)


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.

me playing in Trago at The Rhythm Factory
me playing in Trago at The Rhythm Factory
Converse All Star Hi, £47.99, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
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.

cut out and keep

If you’ve looked for a new pair of shoes in Topshop recently, you wouldn’t have been able to escape the plethora of cut out boots on the shelves (it currently has eight different styles on its website in the low heel section alone). The trend for this well-ventilated footwear originated last year at Balenciaga, but has finally started to catch on on the high street. 

Miley Cyrus (I know, I was surprised too!) wearing Balenciaga

It’s a look that works best with no socks, but as that’s not really an option on a day like today when London is shrouded in freezing fog, take heart in the fact that they also look great with thick black tights, or with a plain, ribbed sock on show.

AJ cut out heavy ankle boots, £95, topshop.com BUY ME HERE!

This first pair from Topshop are a dead ringer for the Balenciaga originals but at only £95, are a fraction of the price. I love that chunky hardware on the buckles and the zip up the back.

ACTON clean buckle boots, £78, topshop.com BUY ME HERE!

For something a little less goth, Topshop also has these smart burgundy boots. That little gold toe-cap is a lovely detail, and they look pretty comfortable too.

Shakuhachi riding boot, £258.96, farfetch.com BUY ME HERE!

If you have a little more cash to splash and would rather never be caught wearing the same shoes as anyone else, these luxurious Shakuhachi boots might be for you. Farfetch.com is a brilliant website that brings together the best designer boutiques from around the world. If you bought this particular pair of boots, they’d be shipped to you from American Rag in L.A. Exclusive!

Folk Lily shoes, £375, folkclothing.com BUY ME HERE!

Finally, I’m going to break a few rules. These are a shoe rather than a boot but I like their two-tone multi-texture loveliness so much that I had to include them. Also, they have a very small wedge, so I suppose technically they’re not entirely flat, but as it’s party season and we’re only talking about an inch, I’m feeling OK about it. Especially since I’ve imagined myself wearing them with some grey ribbed tights and a checked shirt dress…