SCANDI SEASON

  • A sleek lace-up for a polished work look, followed by a stylish evening appearance. Just add a vampy lipstick shade.
  • Slouchy knee-high styles are back on trend. Wear these 2½" heeled boots over skinny jeans, jeggings or tights. Mmm cosy.
  • A decadent metallic printed ankle boot, perfect for the party season. The moderate height of this 2" heel gives a little lift without pain.
  • Neoprene uppers and a mid-height block heel give these over-the-knee boots a sporty not slutty look. Opt for skater-style skirts rather than tight minis.
  • In leaf-coloured suede with an unusually-shaped heel, this ankle boot makes a statement without being brash. Everyone will be wondering where they're from.
  • These flatform Chelseas offer a sporty looking option which doesn't scream the name of an athletics brand. An easy casual style in on-trend grey with black.
  • A chunky boot with a dash of 90's grunge attitude. In earthy dark olive with a polished toe, the 1" platform makes the 3" heel feel like 2". Bliss.
  • The pointed pixie boot looks fresh again. Try this sleek muted red option with cropped tailored trousers.
  • Just a simple Chelsea boot with a 2" lift, and pointed toe. The colour is a traditional English tan which is smart enough for the office under trousers.

 

The Autumn season provides you with an opportunity to showcase a different side of your personal style. Instead of strappy sandals and bright prints, it’s time to display your sophisticated take on shoe fashion.

Swedish brand Vagabond’s new Autumn/Winter collection is all about the silhouette. They bring us unusually shaped heels, boot heights from ankle grazer to thigh-high, and a selection of muted hues. All of the heel heights are wearable, with no wobbly stilettos in sight.

Have a look through the slide show and click through to nab your favourite pair.

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BROCADE BRIGADE

  • Kat Maconie's "dancer" embroidery gives a strong graphic look to these suede boots. The unique block heel adds angular interest.
  • The soft tropical floral print is offset by a sharp pointed toe, and edgy back zip. Paler colours avoid the drabness of dark autumnal colours. Great with grey.
  • Intricate Eastern-inspired embroidery stands out brightly against a black background. A modest 2½" heel gives lift with comfort.
  • Sequins give a 3-dimensional look to these black beauties from & Other Stories. Great with a short-trousered tuxedo for gender bending evening glam.
  • Red or Dead provide a dash of vintage with this embroidery pattern. This is contrasted by a more modern, unusually-placed asymmetric zip.
  • A beautiful fabric of blues and gold surrounds both the upper and heel of these simple ASOS ankle boots. The perfect 3"-heel for all-evening wear.
  • Ornate gold jacquard combines with an ultra feminine bow and 1960s-style square toe. These boots are lifted by an easy 2" heel.
  • Who says cherry blossom is only seen in the springtime? Sam Edelman have perked up a dark winter boot with this pink metallic embroidery.
  • A mixture of native American influences combine to create the earthy-toned embroidery on this Topshop boot. Go bohemian, or sharpen with tailoring.
  • Something about the style of embroidery and the shape of these boots reminds me of traditional Chinese lotus shoes. Don't expect toe-bending discomfort here.

 

Autumn weather = more substantial footwear. Your feet may feel sad at the end of summer and a little claustrophobic but it’s not all doom, gloom, and chilblains. There are some positive things about the change in season. Full coverage shoes and boots provide a larger canvas for displaying your style.

When clothing colours become more sombre, dressing from the feet up helps you to make a statement.

Brocade, jacquard, and embroidery feature on many of the new boots in the shops and online this season. Fabric boots can look rich, but remain affordable.

Click through the slide show to see my selection of the best, most wearable statement boots of the season.

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WIN THE SHOE SHOPPING KIT

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TO THE POINT

  • Grey suede
    Grey suede
    Contrasting heel, sole and elastic stop this neutral grey boot from Miss KG from looking drab. The 55mm block heel is a comfortable height for all day.
  • Tan leather
    Tan leather
    A smart brown option for work and weekend wear from Swedish brand Vagabond. The rubber sole, moderate 48mm heel, and pull tabs add practicality.
  • Silver lizard
    Silver lizard
    Look like the lead singer not the groupie in these Hudson boots. Perfect with black leather and grey denim. The lining is leather for day to night comfort.
  • Merlot snake
    Merlot snake
    A sophisticated option from Topshop Unique with a sleek silhouette. An easy 30mm heel for a touch of lift without feeling like a heel.
  • Sand suede
    Sand suede
    This 40mm heeled slip on from Mango, is a useful casual for dashing about while looking great. The elastic shape gives a nod to this season's Western trend.
  • Bronze metallic
    Bronze metallic
    This boot from & Other Stories was built for comfort as well as street cred with its 65mm heel, cushioned leather insole and rubber coated leather outsole.

 

I’m a big fan of Chelsea boots. They look sleek with no fussy laces or buckles, and they’re easy to pull on in a hurry.

Before I had Mini Shoe Consultant, I needed Chelseas so I didn’t miss my commuter train. Now it takes long enough to get the baby ready without delaying things further with my fussy boot fastenings.

I had a pair of white patent Chelsea boots, that I wore until they begged to go to shoe heaven. They had black elastic, pointed toes and a rubber sole. The contrast of black versus white gave an edgy rock-chick look, and the point completed that aesthetic. Once the patent leather lost its initial stiffness, those boots were incredibly comfortable.

Sale time is over, and new boot styles are jumping on to the shop shelves. The shoe gods have bestowed a fine selection of cool, comfortable pointed Chelsea boots this season. Click through the slide show for my selection.

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DANCE WITH ME

I borrowed a biography of Audrey Hepburn from the library when I was a teenager. So began my admiration for this talented actress and humanitarian.

With her slim boyish figure and effortless chic, Audrey became my style idol. In the late 90s, ballet flats were worn by a few sophisticated ladies in the UK, but were not widely available.

My first pair were French Sole, and I still have them to wear as slippers.

Since those days, I have loved and worn out many pairs of ballet pumps in different colours and textures. My go-to brands now are Miu Miu (when I’m feeling flush) and Bloch.

Bloch have a selection of classic styles, which they update from season to season in different materials and colours. When it comes to the ballet pump, simple lines are best. Channel Audrey with one of these attractive options on Summer evenings and Autumn days.

Navy is a useful neutral, and can be more flattering than harsh black. This soft leather has a subtle pearlised effect making it great for day to evening wear.

 

Patent adds a smarter finish to any shoe. The muted orange gives a splash of colour to an outfit without being garish.

 

These “dark orchid” pumps can fit in your handbag. You just fold them up. This makes them great for travel, commuting or a night out when your feet won’t last ’til midnight in heels.

 

I couldn’t resist this glitter-covered option. Invest now for late summer glam, and be the comfortable one at December’s parties.

 

This small-scaled snake-effect leather comes in black, or subdued red. Great with the leaf tones of Autumn fashion.

 

Check out the Bloch website for more colourways, and some fabulous sale bargains.

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PONY NOT REQUIRED

  • Subtle saddle
    Subtle saddle
    An easy "stone" coloured Chelsea boot in suede with a Western-inspired leather patch. The 2" heel gives height without discomfort.
  • Green gelding
    Green gelding
    Dainty stud work and subtle embroidery add cowboy hints to this mid-height style. The inside zip allows quick entry and exit.
  • Wider Western
    Wider Western
    With just a nod to the equestrian, this style is available in extra wide EEE fitting. The rich blue adds colour to an outfit, without being garish.
  • Raised reptile
    Raised reptile
    Neutral shades of black and sand combine on this snake-print style from Calvin Klein Jeans. The kind of style which looks better when worn in.
  • Stallion silver
    Stallion silver
    With leather linings and uppers, these silver boots are a bargain at under £100. Metallics make a subtle statement worn with any outfit.
  • Black beauty
    Black beauty
    These elegant calfskin Chelsea boots are a classic with a couple of twists. The textured toecap and heel hardware add a luxurious edge.
  • Tan tassel
    Tan tassel
    Snap up these affordable boots if you want a one season wonder. They might not last you until next winter, but the cowboy trend might be over by then...
  • Galloping glitter
    Galloping glitter
    Add a bit of bling to your boots with these glamorous Cuban-heeled Chelseas. Useful if you want to do smart casual evening without the pain.

 

My older sister’s Sindy doll had cowboy boots. I thought those plastic accessories were unbelievably cool, and I don’t think that feeling has ever left me.

The longing for a pair of my own grew and grew, until I bought a black pair from a line dancing shop in Torquay at the age of 18. I wore those boots for years, through several cycles of fashion. I didn’t care whether they were trendy. They got incredibly comfortable and I just loved the contrast of edgy pointed toe, black leather, embroidery and silver hardware.

Those boots wore out and are long gone, but my heart is aflutter as I see the Western trend emerging once again. Miu miu’s resort 2016 collection featured cute cowboy boots (sadly sold out), and shoe designers for the high street have been inspired by this look.

Miu Miu resort 2016

Click through the slide show for my selection of the most wearable, affordable new cowboy-inspired boots.

Will you channel your inner cowgirl this season? Let me know in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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FEET TREATS

Our feet work particularly hard in the summer. We’re out and about more, walking further and generally being more active than in the cold, dark months.

In the winter, feet are all tucked up like hibernating creatures. Surrounded by thick socks and cosy worn-in boots. In the UK, it can take more than one summer to wear in a pair of sandals if the weather is cool. Boots get worn day in, day out from Autumn to Spring.

Long walks combined with rubbing straps from newish sandals and exposure to the sun, combine to make our feet dry and in need of a treat.

At the end of a long day, follow my tips for a quick pampering session:

  1. Remove your toe nail polish
  2. Wash your feet with your favourite shower gel or soap
  3. Apply a luxurious foot treatment, rubbing it well into dryer areas such as your heels.

Here are a few of my favourites:

For cooling hot and swollen feet

For exfoliation without the hassle

For luxurious deodorising

For overall beautifying

For sorting out cracked heels

If only feet could actually say “thank you”.

What are your favourite foot pampering tips? Let me know in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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SNEAK PREVIEW – YULL AW16

I fell in love with everything about Yull shoes a little over a year ago.

Here are my favourite things about this brand:

  • The founder: Sarah – an entrepreneur with a quirky sense of humour, fantastic design eye and great business savvy.

 

  • The shooooes! My friend from shoeniversity messaged me today saying “I have discovered Yull shoes. I’m a fan. I love shoes that look like sweeties.” I concur.

 

  • They’re made in Britain. This country is still known for making fine men’s shoes, and we also used to be famous for women’s styles. It doesn’t seem fair for the women’s side to disappear, and for the dudes to get all the great shoes. As the brand grows, so will UK manufacturing of beautiful women’s footwear. An indisputable excuse for buying shoes.

Union flag

 

I met Sarah and Trang (job title: Catalyst!) at the Pure London trade show a couple of weeks ago. They were showing the Spring/Summer 2017 collection (it’s very cool), and the fabulous Autumn/Winter 2016 styles. I couldn’t wait to share some of my favourites from AW16 with you, before the launch in early September.

There’s nothing as easy and comfortable as a Chelsea boot on a cold day. The rubber sole helps with grip, so pull the Fulham on when you need to leg it out of the door.

 

Have you been inspired by Theresa May’s penchant for unusual kitten heels? Try the bold blue croc-print Green Park, for a smart look without too much height.

 

Ever had trouble getting boots to fit your calves? Well, the new Cumbria knee-high boot is a great-looking answer to that problem. The entire back panel of the leg is elasticated. The dinky snaffle hardware detail adds a subtle equestrian nod.

 

When you just want a simple, elegant black court shoe, Cambridge is for you. Nothing takes you from work to evening like patent leather. A small metal version of the Yull logo in its pretty scroll font, adorns the front.

 

A 3″ heel gives you added height, whilst still allowing you to balance. Avoid the burn on the balls of your feet with the classic Borough capped court shoe. Stand out in the new red and black colourway.

 

Suede and tweed combine to provide a rich contrast. Give a nod to the gentlewoman farmer in these easy flat navy blue brogues.

 

What better way is there to support the British economy (ahem, we may need a little help…), than to buy British?

 

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FLIP OR FLOP

This hot weather means we can finally get our toes out. It’s tempting to live in your flip-flops/toe-posts/thongs, whatever you like to call them. You might even be thinking about wearing them on your commute to work.

This style can cause issues when worn in the wrong environment, so it’s time for some more top tips.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of the humble flip-flop:

Driving

Don’t do it because:

  • Flip-flop soles rarely have good grip, so your feet can slip off the pedals
  • Your feet can slip out of these sandals, and the flip-flop could get stuck under a pedal
  • The shoe may twist away from the sole of your foot causing discomfort, distraction, and affecting your ability to use the pedals
  • Your toes will need to grip to keep them on, which can cause short- and long-term foot problems
  • It’s not currently illegal in the UK, but the RAC advise against it.

 

Beach

Do it because:

  • They protect your feet from hot sand
  • If pebbles or sand get stuck between your foot and these sandals, you can easily slip them off and remove the offending object
  • You’re unlikely to be walking far
  • They keep your feet blissfully cool
  • You can slip them off and run into the water at will

 

Hiking

Don’t do it because:

  • They don’t provide enough support to prevent you from twisting your ankle on uneven ground
  • The sole is unlikely to provide enough grip
  • There is very little foot coverage for protecting your feet from unfriendly plants such as brambles and stinging nettles

 

Town walking/commuting

Don’t do it because:

  • Your heel can come off the back of the shoe, on to unsanitary or dangerous surfaces
  • People may tread on the back of your heel, as it’s unprotected
  • Your toes are vulnerable to being stubbed
  • Someone could tread on the back of your flip-flop, causing you to trip, and the strap to hurt the tender area between your toes

Where do you like to wear your flip-flops? Tweet me a photo, or let me know in the comments.

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HEAL YOUR FEET (IN THE HEAT)

Suddenly the switch of summer has been turned on, and it’s well and truly scorching.

Your feet may face any number of hazards, as they innocently wander around, carrying you hither and thither.

Here’s how to help your feet cope with the perils of summer:

Walking barefoot on hot or rough surfaces

I wouldn’t normally ruin your fun, but don’t get carried away and act all carefree hippy chick this summer. If your feet aren’t used to walking barefoot, you could cause some damage. Cuts, scrapes and burns on the soles of your feet, will make walking excruciating for some time to come.

Save yourself the pain by slipping on a pair of seagrass flip-flops. This natural material doesn’t heat up in the sun like rubber and synthetic rubber do.

Sunburn

Letting your feet get singed by the sun is, as we all know, dangerous. Preventing skin cancer is worth a few seconds of faff putting cream on. Short-term discomfort caused by burnt feet can also prevent you from wearing your favourite shoes. Why restrict your wardrobe choices?

Unless your feet were bare when they got burnt (in which case all shoes will rub), you are likely to be left with unattractive tan lines.

Wearing sandals on escalators

Be very careful getting on and off. Watch out for the serrated edge at the top.

After a number of incidents, Crocs started putting hang tags on their products. These advised customers to stand in the centre of the escalator step. I’d recommend watching your step, rather than standing in the middle. This is especially true when travelling on the London Underground, as commuters get very agitated when people don’t stand on the right. In the hot, sweaty summer, tempers can be quick to flare.

Wearing sandals in crowds

Have you ever experienced the pain when someone treads on the back of your flip-flop while you’re walking?  That horrible sensation you feel between your toes is worth trying to avoid.

Sandals which are secured to your feet rather than being slip-on, and those without a toe-post, are best for wearing in crowded places this summer.

Swelling feet

Shoes which are usually comfortable, may chafe when your feet are swollen. The change in fit can cause friction and blisters.

Soak your feet in cool water. If you don’t own a foot spa (or can’t be bothered to get it down from the loft), grab a glass of something iced to drink, and pop your feet in a washing-up bowl of cold water.

If you’re lucky enough to be by the sea or a pool this summer, your feet will love a dip. Alternatively, get the kids to share their paddling pool.

Elevating them will also help your swollen feet. Grab a foot stool, sun lounger, the dog, or your child, and raise them up.

Perspiration causes friction

When your feet are moist, shoes or sandals are more likely to rub against your feet. You might think that wet = slippery, but this isn’t the case. Read about the physics in more depth to find out why.

Wearing footsies or socks rather than bare feet can work well to prevent abrasion. Anti-friction balm is useful for wearing sandals, or other styles which look best with bare feet.

Being on show

During Spring, Autumn and Winter, our toes are usually hidden away. Come the summer, they finally get their chance to shine.

If you have time, take your feet for a full pedicure including dry skin removal. If you’re in a hurry, bright coloured polish on your toe nails can distract onlookers from any unsightly foot issues.

 

Your essential foot kit:

Blister balm = reduced friction on sweaty feet

Fabric plasters (they stay on best) = protection for scrapes

Antiseptic cream = keep the bugs out

Sun cream = prevent burning and tan lines

Pumice stone = spruce up hard skin

Footsies = absorb moisture + reduce fiction

Washing up bowl = easy cooling

Foot spa = luxury cooling

Bright polish = happy toes

and don’t forget…

Base coat = unstained nails

 

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