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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ROPED IN

After a meeting I had at the gentile Bond & Brook restaurant in Fenwick, New Bond Street, I wandered into the department store’s Shoe Corner.

The perfect espadrilles caught my eye, and I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.

Although they’re a little more pricey than own-brand versions, with Castañer, you get true heritage and guaranteed quality. This Catalonian family-run business has been producing espadrilles since 1927!

This pretty colour combination with its textured woven vamp will brighten up an outfit of neutrals.

The other colourway is a little more sophisticated, and will co-ordinate beautifully with red, ecru or black.

The great thing is that espadrilles are a real style classic, so you can invest now, and wear them year after year.

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HOLIDAY SHOE FUN

For those with children, the long summer holidays are stretching ahead of you.

I’m sure you have lots of fun plans to keep the little darlings occupied, but for those days when it’s raining and you’re all staying at home, here are a few shoe-related ideas to keep them from driving you crazy.

 

Ian’s Shoelace Site

This website has lots of cool shoe-lacing methods with easy animated step-by-step methods to follow.

What you need:

  • Lace-up shoes
  • Laces (preferably of more than one colour)
  • Internet connection

Great for:

  • Kids who love to follow a method and see the results

 

Put pen to canvas

A simple way to keep your little artists busy is to let them loose with a pack of fabric pens and a blank canvas. These graffiti pens only take 24 hours to dry cure and become permanent and water resistant.

What you need:

Great for:

  • Creative kids who want to show off their artistic skills by wearing their creations

 

Become a shoe designer

O.K. so this doesn’t reduce the kids’ screen time, but this game is great fun. They can pick the shoe style, heel shape, colour and print, decorative bits and even socks! They can also download or print their designs.

What you need:

  • A computer (unfortunately this game doesn’t work on tablets)

Great for:

  • Budding shoe designers

 

Cover your tongue

This is a really simple way for the kids to customise their shoes, and doesn’t take too much skill. Get them to spend time picking their fabric from your collection, or from remnants in the fabric shop.

What you need:

  • Fabric scraps
  • Fabric glue
  • Cheap or old lace-up trainers or plimsolls

 

Great for:

  • Keen fashion designers and those who like to stand out from the crowd

 

Colour in your shoes

This is more than just a colouring book. The author encourages your child to colour, customise and invent new patterns for the beautiful shoe illustrations in this book. There is even a shoe designing app.

What you need:

 

Great for:

  • Little shoe-lovers who really want to be inspired, and love to colour in

 

I hope the kids enjoy these activities. Please share your own ideas for summer shoe fun in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

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SUMMER STATEMENT

It’s not often that you see sale shoes beautifully displayed on a mannequin in the shop window.

I stumbled on the Ki6 store in South Molton Street, London on a research trip, and was drawn in by these stunning colour-blocked sandals.

 

The unexpected combination of purple and yellow from this Italian brand certainly makes a statement, and just looking at these makes me smile.

Reduced from £349 to £175, grab your size while you can.

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HOW TO SHOP THE SALES

Honestly, sale time in the shops scares me. All of those shoes which nobody wanted at full price, hanging about in a disordered fashion on racks.

I pride myself on not getting carried away in the sales. I take a deep breath, and using all of my shoe knowledge, consider the purchase very carefully.

Here are my 5 easy steps for you, to ensure you make a purchase you won’t regret:

 

1. Know what you’re looking for: go prepared with a list of the shoe-shaped gaps in your wardrobe, and don’t stray from that list.

 

 

2. If you’re tempted by something off-list, think of 5 outfits that pair will go with, and some occasions when they’d be appropriate before you even consider getting your plastic out.

 

3. Try them on: do they fit and feel comfortable? If not, they never will. They will not change in size or shape, so do your bank balance a favour and walk away.

 

4. Do they represent value for money?: we have all been swayed by how much of a bargain we’re being offered, but let’s face it, £450 reduced to £250 is still a massive outlay. Consider how much you would wear that perfect pair: I still love the pounds per wear calculation. Have a think about what else you could spend the money on.

 

5. If you’re in any doubt about that pair, leave the shop, go and do something else, and if you are still thinking about the shoes in an hour or two, then consider returning and buying them. If your size has gone, they weren’t meant to be.

 

 

Now, go forth and shop! Please share pictures of your bargains with me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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HOT NEW DESIGNER SHOES

For those with enviable shoe budgets, designers or buyers looking for inspiration, or ladies who’re keen to see the latest trends, this post is for all of you.

Fresh from my visit to London’s West End, here are the latest and greatest designer styles, many of which are from the new Autumn/Winter season.

Such sweet flats from Monsieur Louboutin! The decorative hearts add interest without being OTT.

Fendi offer these colour blocked court shoes in 7 shades, all of which have contrast heels and soles. See that yellow reflection from the grey colourway? That’s the stunning sole colour.

The brand new boot from Fendi for Autumn/Winter 2015 is this beautiful taupe suede ankle boot, with its contrast piping and heel.

Pedro Garcia and René Caovilla offer us ultra-pretty sparkly options, perfect for brides. The Garcia sandals (top) have the slimmest, daintiest straps. The various Caovilla options are all beautifully encrusted with jewels and lace.

In cord-like velvet or animal-patterned tapestry similar to the texture of a carpet bag, these zip up and Chelsea ankle boots all have the subtle Louis Vuitton logo back strap.

These ornate Louis Vuitton party shoes are made from laboriously embroidered silk, and gold leather.

Nicholas Kirkwood presents intricately laser-cut pointed heels and flats, with metallic underlays showing through the perforations.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the challenge of these research trips is keeping my credit card firmly in my wallet.

Which style would tempt you to get your plastic out? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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5 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHOES – 2

You may have already read my first top shoe tip, but if you haven’t already you can read it now.

It’s time for me to share top shoe tip number two from my talk “5 Things every woman should know about shoes”.

This one is important all year round, but particularly in warmer weather when our feet are more likely to sweat.

 

Leather changes everything

Many people know that leather shoes are much more breathable than synthetic footwear.

Other benefits of leather uppers are that providing you look after them, they will last longer than synthetic or canvas. By look after, I mean nourish the leather and stop all of the oils from drying out, by treating your shoes with polish once a month.

Leather is also fantastic in linings and insocks of footwear, as it absorbs the moisture from your feet, leaving them feeling dryer and helping to prevent foot odour. Just make sure you let your footwear dry out for around 36 hours or so, before wearing again.

So, how can you tell if the upper and lining of that shoe you love is leather? By smelling it? From the look? How about the way it feels? Unfortunately not, because all of these can be synthesised. Luckily there’s an easy way.

All shoes in the EU must legally have this label somewhere on them, either in the lining or on the sole.

Here are my handy guides for understanding those symbols:

As much as I love leather uppers and linings, soles are a different matter. Leather soles in the rain on hard surfaces can be extremely slippery. I myself have suffered embarrassment at the hands of some fine leather-soled footwear on a wet station concourse.

Leather soles do have advantages:

  • They can be very easy to dance in because of their ability to slide
  • They help your feet to breath and keep you cool
  • They can look very refined, particularly on men’s formal shoes

My point is, don’t turn your nose up at footwear with a synthetic sole. It may end up being more practical, especially if you live somewhere with unpredictable weather.

You may be wondering how you find out what those shoes you’re stalking on the internet are made from. Well, most companies will provide this information under a heading such as Composition, Material, or Care. If they don’t, just send them a message.

Happy shoe shopping!

 

Keep visiting the blog, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, to find out when the other three tips go live.

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SHOES, PLEASURE, MORE PLEASURE

I had a fun morning with two of my shoe-loving friends visiting the V&A’s Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition.

Apologies to any fellow visitors for our in-depth analysis of each style. We are truly shoe-obsessed.

It was exciting to see some of the legendary shoes we know from books, such as this Salvatore Ferragamo beauty.

 

The shoe that really jumped out at me as winning the prize for “most perfect” was this 1979-80 Charles Jourdan mule with floating ankle strap.

The shape of the sole, and how it follows the curve of your instep and cups your heel, show that this designer knew how to make truly foot-shaped shoes.

The ankle strap is attached to the shoe with almost invisible PVC straps. This makes the strap look almost like a matching anklet.

The subtle champagne gold leather is just stunning.

 

What a pleasant way to spend a morning. Just plan your visit to avoid the crowds, as it can get quite packed at busy times. Alternatively, wear platforms to see over the other visitors’ heads.

Have you been to see Shoes: Pleasure and Pain yet? Which was your favourite style and why? Tweet me or leave a comment here.

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LOVABLE LUXURY

I was strolling through the Westfield White City shopping centre (not just for the air conditioning), and the windows of the Carlo Pazolini store caught my eye.

Although these sandal designs are relatively simple, there is something rather perfect about the pared-back details this brand has used.

Who doesn’t love a wedge for day to evening comfort? Gold or Tan is a tricky choice though.

These flat sandals are elegant without sacrificing the support that comes from good foot coverage. The slimmer straps look more dainty than wider ones would.

The closed back prevents those painful moments when someone treads on the back of your sandal.

The clever weaving on the front strap of these flats gives support without looking heavy. In gold, these make the perfect wedding sandals.

With a price range from £116-£221, Carlo Pazolini sandals are certainly an investment purchase, but due to their classic-with-a-twist styling, they won’t date when they emerge from your wardrobe summer after summer.

After a little Googling, I realised that this company has its headquarters in Moscow, not Italy as you might think from the name. No matter, they make beautiful, easy-to-wear footwear from quality leathers.

 

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