RETRO GIRL

  • Autumn days
    Autumn days
    The warm hue of these dark tan T-bars is perfect for autumn days. The combination of croc and flat leather adds depth and richness.
  • Back to work
    Back to work
    Perk up your autumn/winter work wardrobe with these easy-to-wear croc loafers, which complement your trouser suit or midi skirt.
  • Oh mary
    Oh mary
    To make an impact whilst remaining comfortable, these on-trend colour-clash Mary Janes will look gorgeous with charcoal grey.
  • Power boot
    Power boot
    Flatforms are not over (they've just moved on). These ankle boots give a fresh feel to the elevated look. Croc adds glamour whilst being easy to wear.
  • Dolly shoe
    Dolly shoe
    Arguably the girliest option, these 2-strap Mary Jane flats sport a pretty flower with button centre, and retro chisel toe.
  • Work horse
    Work horse
    A great style for wearing with your black opaque tights and pencil skirt for the ultimate in workwear chic. Who doesn't need pony hair effect shoe boots?
  • Sparkle away
    Sparkle away
    The platform and stable block heel provide a gentle pitch, which means your feet can dance all night long in these gold and navy party shoes.

I love how collaborations bring the skills and expertise of two brands together. Orla Kiely’s continued pairing with Clarks is an excellent example of this.

The new AW15 collection has just launched, and it’s my favourite range yet. The styles combine block heels, platforms, and 1970s-inspired silhouettes, with unexpected textures.

Click through the slideshow for a few of the best shoes from this collaboration. Tell me which is your favourite in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

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UNQUEENLY WEDGES

  • Sharply monochrome
    Sharply monochrome
    If you love black but want a new way to wear it, these black and white lizard print points add textural interest without limiting coordination options.
  • Autumnal suede
    Autumnal suede
    With an easy-to-walk-in 3" heel, roomy rounded toe, and soft upper, these Tobacco suede courts are perfect for this transitional time of year.
  • Classic beauty
    Classic beauty
    If you have a winter sun break planned, or are optimistic about an Indian Summer at home, these chicly pretty almond toe espadrilles are for you.
  • Reptilian red
    Reptilian red
    Mulberry is the perfect rich shade for giving a luxurious feel to your Autumn outfit. The petal-shaped toe and towering 3.75" wedge add femininity.
  • Chelsea twist
    Chelsea twist
    Elasticated boots like these are great to pull on when you're in a hurry. The unexpected detail of shaped elastic panels prevents these from being plain.

You may have read about HRH Queen Elizabeth’s dislike of wedges, and how the Duchess of Cambridge has abandoned her love of wedges to please Her Majesty.

Well I’m not here to annoy royalty, but I do believe that wedges have an important role to play in our shoedrobes. The extra height combined with stability are an excellent combination.

In honour of the Duchess’s former favourite shoes, have a click through the slideshow to check out the fabulous new season wedges from LK Bennett.

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MARY JANES: JUVENILE OR LADYLIKE?

When I was a teenager working in shoe shops, I loved Mary Janes, and even got my dad to make me a pair. There was something about that 1960s dolly aesthetic that appealed to me.


I was even attracted to my second shoe shop job by the white leather Mary Janes with pink jelly soles in the window.

My tastes changed when I went off to University to study shoe design, and I became a bit of a loafer girl for a while.

Now Mary Janes are having a fashion moment again, which got me thinking about how to style them without looking frumpy or juvenile. The easiest solution would be to only wear high-heeled Mary Janes, which tend to give a sexy but ladylike aesthetic.

The challenge for mere mortals who can’t live in heels, is to wear flat and mid-height Mary Janes without looking like a school-girl, or your mum.

Here are my golden rules:

  • To avoid an eccentric hippy look, don’t wear them with printed tights.

  • Contrast tights draw attention to the gap between the front of the shoe and the strap, giving an odd visual effect. Stick with tights in tones which are closer to the shoe colour.

  • Wear black Mary Janes with black or dark opaque tights for a sleeker, more sophisticated look.

  • Mary Janes in warmer hues such as tan or red, can look lovely with bare legs.

Plain strapless courts or pumps can be hard to keep on, especially if the leather softens over time and they become loose. The strap across a Mary Jane helps the shoe to stay on your foot and provides an adjustable fit, which makes this style more practical, secure and better fitting than a court shoe.

Thumbs up for Mary Janes, and their ability to stay on when you’re running for a bus!

Try the styling tips above, and let me know how you get on in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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5 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHOES – 5

If you heard my radio interview on the Mark Forrest Show last week, you’ll know that I’m on a mission to help women make better decisions about the footwear they buy.

I have many many tips to help you choose shoes that you’ll wear and wear, rather than leave at the back of the wardrobe. Today I’m going to share with you the last in my series of 5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Shoes.

Don’t forget to read and share tip 1tip 2tip 3 and tip 4. I’m sure you know plenty of women who could benefit from these essential pieces of advice.

Know your height limit

Have you ever bought a pair of high heels, only to realise during their first proper outing outside that they’re just too high for you?

Here’s your easy method to avoid buying shoes which are over your personal height limit:

  1. Pick out the most comfortable high heels from your wardrobe
  2. Measure the heel height
  3. Measure the platform height (if there is one)
  4. Subtract the platform height from the heel height
  5. The resulting number is the height limit you should not exceed when shoe-shopping

For more tips on how to make excellent decisions when shoe-shopping, check back on the blog, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or download my book.

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WIN A VIP SHOE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

Have you ever been frustrated with sales assistants, and wanted a little honest advice when you were out shoe shopping?

This is your golden opportunity to WIN two hours of one-to-one guidance from Susannah Davda of The Shoe Consultant, in the London department store of your choice.

modern mankind cover

All you have to do for a chance to win, is complete this short survey from fabulous new shoe brand Modern Mankind.

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SHOE RADIO

I was pleased 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.

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 here 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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