SHOE RADIO

I was please to be interviewed on the Mark Forrest radio show yesterday evening. This programme is simultaneously broadcast on all local BBC radio stations in England and the Channel Islands.

 

In this 5 minute interview (02:19:30 – 02:24:54 if you don’t have time to listen to the whole show), Mark asked me:

  • What does a Shoe Consultant do?
  • Are women as brand loyal as men?
  • What is it that women want from the shoes they buy?
  • Do we get more obsessed with footwear than about any other item of clothing?

Have a listen on iPlayer to find out my answers.

Do you agree with me about women’s brand loyalty? Have your say in the comments on this post, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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WHY I AGREE WITH CAITLIN

I was bought Caitlin Moran’s witty, intelligent, and highly perceptive book “How to be a Woman” for Christmas by my husband. The uncomfortable conversation which followed the present opening went from: did he think I didn’t know how to embody my gender, to oh I get it, you just know my taste in books exceptionally well.

Unsurprisingly, the chapter which resonated the most with me was “I get into fashion!”, in which amongst other subjects, Caitlin says exactly what she thinks about high heels.

Ms Moran lists “all the shoes I don’t wear”, and then goes on to describe “Women’s Unworn Shoe Collections…All women have one of these caches of shoes hidden…”

Going on to question women’s attitudes to high heels, she provides a funny but heartbreakingly true comparison:

“Women buy shoes and gigglingly say, ‘Of course, they’re agony – I’m just going to have to sit on a barstool all night, and be helped to the toilet by friends, or passers-by,’ despite it sounding as OUTRIGHT INSANE as going, ‘I’ve just bought a house – it doesn’t have a roof, of course, so I’m just going to sit in the front room with an umbrella up.'”

Who really wants to be the kind of woman the author describes? Not you, I’m sure.

It sounds as though Caitlin needs my missions to be accomplished sooner rather than later:

“I’m going to sit out the entire world of chick footwear until designers make some that it’s possible to walk in, for more than an hour, with the easy gait of Gene Kelly about to break into a routine, and no day-long pain afterwards”.

My missions are:

  • Helping women to make better decisions about the footwear they buy, and avoid having a wardrobe full of footwear they can’t wear
  • To campaign for shoes that are both comfortable AND beautiful

You will all find my “5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Shoes” series essential reading:

Tip 1

Tip 2

Tip 3

Tip 4

Check back on the blog, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to find out when Tip 5 goes live!

Don’t worry Caitlin and the rest of womankind! I’m working with some amazing brands at the moment, who are determined to take the pain out of wearing high heels.

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BLISS FOR FEET

The weather’s still (reasonably) warm, but at this time of year, with Autumn fashion in the magazines, we often start preparing our wardrobes for the colder months.

Since moving into a somewhat draughty house, slippers have become a must for my feet from around late September. At that point, my feet and I aren’t ready for the furry-lined booties which they snuggle into in deep winter. What they need are comfortable, lightweight options.

Margaret Howell is a fantastic British brand, with a penchant for heritage, minimalism, and beautiful materials. These slippers are delightfully soft, light, and comfortable, whilst looking rather Scandi-chic.

This option is referred to as “dusty pink”, but is almost beige.

The rich chocolatey “dark brown” option is easier to keep looking clean.

Referred to as “travel slippers”, these luxurious Italian-made suede slip-ons are heading towards the top of my Autumn wish-list.

 

Are you a slipper person, or do you think they’re for older people? Let me know what you think in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

 

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HEELED SANDALS X WHICH SKIRT/TROUSERS

When you’re wearing high-heeled sandals, your legs appear to continue in one long line to the floor. This visual effect looks better with certain hemlines.

Here’s your at-a-glance guide to which trousers, shorts, dress and skirt styles go best with your favourite heeled sandals and why.

Heeled sandals with…

Mini skirts – Most sandals expose quite a lot of foot flesh. This along with the amount of leg skin such a short style exposes, creates a very sexy look. Although this can be balanced somewhat by covered up tops, be very selective about the occasion you choose if you wear this look.

 

✓ Knee-length A-line skirts/dresses – This is a balanced look not only in terms of the amount of exposed skin, but also when you look at the lines of the outfit. The flare of the skirt creates a femininity which complements a large variety of heeled sandals: platforms, wedges and stilettos all look great with this skirt style.

 

✓ Pencil skirts/dresses – The sleek lines of the skirt continue all of the way down to the soles. Select slimmer heels, as chunky platform styles can create an unbalanced bottom-heavy effect.

 

✓ Midi/calf-length skirts/dresses – As with knee-length A-line styles, this longer silhouette provides a feminine flare which can carry off most styles of heeled sandal. The minimal flesh exposure can add a sophisticated or slightly conservative element.

 

✓ Maxi skirts/dresses – Your heeled sandals will rarely be on full show when you have on your full-length skirt or dress. This means that you can add height without anyone really knowing it. Try this with chunky heels or wedges, to avoid stilettos catching on the hem and damaging your skirt, or tripping you up.

 

Hot pants/short shorts – With a similar effect to a mini skirt, hot pants and heeled sandals expose a large amount of skin on the legs and feet when worn together. This can create quite a provocative look.

 

✓ Mid-thigh/knee-length shorts – Longer shorts can look very elegant with heeled sandals. The boyish look created when worn with trainers or other flats is avoided by the femininity of the heels. Also try experimenting with flatforms or wedges.

 

X Cropped trousers – Whether flared or straight-legged, cropped trousers create an abrupt horizontal line. This can look awkward when accompanied with the angles of a high-heeled sandal.

 

X Long flared or baggy trousers – This style looks particularly odd when paired with slim-heeled sandals. This is due to the space created around the heel: when the wearer is walking there is a lot of swing created at the hems. Closed-toed platforms, wedges and chunkier heels tend to be more flattering with this style of trousers.

 

✓ Long straight or skinny trousers – The high heels continue the lines created by slim-legged trousers. This creates an elegant effect. Very chunky or flared heels can look a bit clunky with straight-legged trousers, so stick with sleeker styles.

 

Also see my blog post Flat Sandals x Which Skirts/Trousers to discover how to co-ordinate your lower heeled footwear with your clothing.

To find out more about matching your footwear shapes to your clothing, how to play with colour in your footwear, and the meanings of shoes, download my book Outfits in Minutes: A Guide for Time-Pressed Women.

This essential guide is packed full of tips and methods to help you look your best, without those moments of panic in front of the wardrobe.

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SUMMER FLORA

  • Grey classic betsy
    Grey classic betsy
    This simple style carries the pretty pastel print beautifully. The matching shoe-bag is a cute accessory: ideal for holiday packing.
  • Red henrietta betsy
    Red henrietta betsy
    The pillar box red leather of these ultra-cute pumps is complemented by the over-sized floral bow and trim for a 1950s-style look.
  • Nude claire aude
    Nude claire aude
    This is a very subtle option, in "nude" leather with a subtle yellow ditzy floral print trim. A nod to liberty without making a big statement.
  • Purple henrietta stanley
    Purple henrietta stanley
    This is a wilder floral than the others used in this collaboration. The dark hues contrasted with dusky pink will work well now, and when Autumn comes.
  • Claire aude nude
    Claire aude nude
    If your budget won't stretch to the shoes, there's no need to miss out on this collection entirely. Get yourself a really cute shoe bag.
  • Betsy red
    Betsy red
    Cheer up your suitcase with one of these pretty and affordable French Sole by Appointment for Liberty shoe-bags.

 

Sometimes collaborations between brands can be matches made in heaven. The French Sole by Appointment for Liberty collection is one of these.

Click through the images above, to get your fill of cute ballet pumps in even cuter floral prints.

 

Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

 

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5 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHOES – 4

First of all, make sure you read tip 1tip 2 and tip 3: these all contain essential knowledge you’ll wish you’d always known about shoes.

The fourth fact that you will love being armed with when high-heel shopping, is about the position of the heel.

Get the right balance

Many people believe that block heels are the only way to go, if you want to feel stable when wearing a higher heel. Actually the reality is not quite as simple as that.

What you need in order to provide optimum support and balance for your body, is for the tips of your heels to be aligned with your centre of gravity. The graphic below shows that a heel aligned with the centre of your leg will usually do the trick.

 

 

In fact you could have a block heel which is set quite far back on the shoe, which doesn’t provide much support. You could also have a stiletto which is so perfectly placed on your shoes, that you don’t wobble when wearing them.

You’ll get used to how this looks and feels when you’re shoe shopping. A quick way to know how supportive your high heels are is to try the shelf wobble test. Give the shoe a poke from the side when it’s on a flat surface, and if it wobbles then you – the wearer – will too. Well-made, well-balanced shoes don’t have shelf wobble.

 

Check back on the blog, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, so you can discover the last tip as soon as it’s released.

 

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THE FRINGE IS BACK

The summer sales are coming to an end, with just the dregs left and nothing good in your size. That means the shops are starting to stock their new season styles. Time for you to start planning your Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

I’m always on the look out for footwear which is comfortable and looks great. This Topshop fringe boot ticks both of those boxes, with its breathable leather lining and upper.

Don’t be afraid of the fringing. Not only does it give a look of effortless cool, but it’s also a luxurious-looking on-trend detail on otherwise quite plain boots.

At under £80, these are a real bargain. Any of the three colours will go equally well with jeans, as with tights and floral dresses.

 

Which colour is tempting you? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

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DAY TO NIGHT BALLET PUMPS

  • Swanky
    Swanky
    These delightful pumps gleamed at me from their beautiful display in the Ferragamo window. Splurge on these to ooze glamour for seasons to come.
  • Classic
    Classic
    At a third of the price of the Ferragamos, these simple silver leather beauties are a Pretty Ballerinas x The White Company collaboration.
  • Sharp
    Sharp
    Not just a classic pump. There is something pleasing about the contrast of soft grey patent against the subtle glitter toe-cap of these Bloch points.
  • Subtle
    Subtle
    These cheap and cheerful Debenhams pumps are in a silver so pale, it almost looks white. A great choice for budget weddings.
  • Snaky
    Snaky
    To achieve a luxury look at a very affordable price, these bronze snake-look pumps from New Look give you glam without the pain of high heels.
  • Nocturnal
    Nocturnal
    For lovers of black shoes, give your usual hue a lift with these cracked shimmer New Look flats.

Do you find that the most useful shoe styles go with lots of outfits, and many different life situations?

This selection of flat ballet-style pumps in various shades and textures of metallic, are all fantastic for day-to-evening wear.

Do you have a wedding to go to, and are dreading standing for most of the day and then dancing in heels? Ditch the height and go for an easy pump.

Let me know what’s your go-to day-to-evening shoe in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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FLAT SANDALS X WHICH SKIRT/TROUSERS?

Have you ever tried on a pair of sandals with your favourite summer skirt, and realised the shapes didn’t work together?

Not all footwear styles complement all trousers, shorts, dress and skirt shapes.

Flat sandals create a right-angle which looks awkward against some garment shapes.

Here’s my quick and easy guide to picking complementary clothing for flat sandals.

 

Flat sandals with…

✓ Mini skirts – This combination works because short skirts are visually leg-lengthening, and the hem of the skirt and feet are so far away from one another, that the angles don’t clash.

✓ Knee-length A-line skirts/dresses – The flared shape of the skirt visually plays with the shape of the body, so there is no continuous sleek line to break up with the 90 degree angle of the feet.

Pencil skirts/dresses – The line of the legs in a slim-fitting skirt looks quite straight, and flat sandals would create an abrupt angle which can make the feet look bigger.

✓ Midi/calf-length skirts/dresses – Provided this isn’t a slim-fitting skirt, the way that the skirt moves will prevent the appearance of a solid angle

✓ Maxi skirts/dresses – This combination can look fabulously bohemian, just make sure that the skirt is not so long that it catches between your heel and the sole of the shoe. Some sandals have closed backs which works well.

✓ Hot pants/short shorts – Much like a mini skirt, these styles work together because of the leg-lengthening properties of the shorts, and the distance from them to the flat sandals.

✓ Mid-thigh/knee-length shorts – Because your legs are not held together as they are by pencil skirts, the two lines created by your free-to-move legs avoid a visual 90 degree angle forming for any length of time.

✓ Cropped trousers – I would tend to avoid wearing smart slim-fitting tailored trousers with flat sandals, but rolled-up or cropped jeans, chinos or linen trousers can look elegant.

✓ Long flared or baggy trousers – As with long skirts, make sure that the length doesn’t cause the hems to get caught between foot and sandal, but otherwise there’s something rather chic and French Riviera about this look.

✓ Long straight or skinny trousers – Really flat sandals go with all trouser shapes. This is because as I mentioned earlier, your two legs are free to separate, and so don’t create that awkward fixed angle. Sandal straps can be wrapped around skinny-legged trousers, or you could roll the hems up to just above the top strap.

 

Sandals with heels and flat sandals give two very different visual effects. In the next part of this blog post, I’ll show you which trousers, shorts, skirt and dress shapes complement your heeled sandals.

In the mean-time, to find out more about matching your footwear shapes to your clothing, how to play with colour in your footwear, and the meanings of shoes, download my book Outfits in Minutes: A Guide for Time-Pressed Women.

This essential guide is packed full of tips and methods to help you look your best, without those moments of panic in front of the wardrobe.

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5 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHOES – 3

Have you already read tip 1 and tip 2? Make sure you catch up with all of my essential facts before you buy another pair of shoes.

Now here’s the third tip from my talk “5 Things every woman should know about shoes”, for your delectation.

As part of our training arm The Shoe ConsultantTM Academy, we coach footwear retail staff on how best to meet the needs of shoe shoppers.

You will notice that we haven’t worked with every retailer yet, so you may find that you’re still being pressured into a purchase by sales consultants.

This crucial tip helps you, the customer, to block out the hard sell, and make the right decision before being lured to the till.

 

Demand fit and comfort

Have you ever been told that the too-tight shoes you’re trying on will “give”? Perhaps you’ve been offered heel grips or insoles for too-loose footwear. 

 

The cold hard facts are these:

  • Your shoes will definitely not “give” in length. If your toe is at or close to the end of the shoe when you stand up, don’t buy that size.
  • The footwear may well not “give” in width, especially if it’s made from a synthetic or canvas material on the upper or lining. Softer leathers and suedes may be more forgiving, but as the sole won’t change in width, the uppers may bulge unattractively over the sides of too-narrow footwear.
  • If heel grips and insoles seem to do the trick at first, they are certainly not a long-term solution, as they may compress or come unstuck, and the shoes will still be too large.

If the footwear you’re trying on doesn’t fit and feel comfortable instantly, please do your bank balance a favour and leave that pair in the shop. There are too many pairs sitting unworn in wardrobes for those reasons. Sometimes you need to accept that that style just wasn’t meant for you.

Keep visiting the blog, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, so you can catch the last two tips as soon as they go live.

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