MERRY CHRISTMAS TO SHOE

  • Hopefully the bearded fella reads baubles as well as notes up the chimney.
  • For Converse lovers, an unofficial ode to the classic hi-top.
  • Got a super-girly Barbie lover in the family? This one's for her.
  • A fine piece of American Western-style kitsch for your tree.
  • A simple snowflake declaring your true love for all to see.
  • A rather elegant pair of blush-coloured metallic court shoes to hang anywhere.
  • Pretty polka dot red stilettos with a green bow will brighten your Christmas.
  • What's Christmas without copious amounts of glitter?
  • For historical shoe lovers, opt for this pair of Louis XIV style pumps.
  • This pretty pair glint delightfully, reminding us of Christmas favourite The Nutcracker.

 

If you’re like me and like to put the Christmas tree up on the first weekend in December, then this is a good time to order a few bits online so you’re prepared.

Make sure you have some mulled wine in stock too. Playing Christmas tunes and being slightly tipsy is sure to enhance your bedecking skills.

I like to add one special bauble every year. Do you do the same?

Click through the slide show for some of the best and most fabulous shoe-themed baubles available this season.

 

 

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HOW TO BREAK IN YOUR SHOES

Do you have shoes which are so hard around the heel that they’ve given you blisters? Maybe you have a new pair, and you want to avoid them shredding your feet on first wear.

Watch my video of 3 quick and easy methods for softening up your shoes without the pain.

 

Avoid buying hard, uncomfortable shoes in the first place, by Downloading my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

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WHAT’S YOUR WINTER WEEKEND STYLE?

  • A sleek, elegant look which also keeps your legs toasty. The elastic on the back of these tan Dune boots ensures they fit many calf widths.
  • Is your style more relaxed? These rich chocolate Ugg boots look great with jeans and casual layers.
  • Biker looks don't have to include top to toe leathers and buckles galore. Office have this pared back lady-like version for you, to give a subtle nod to this trend.
  • Doc Martens aren't just for teens and mods. This furry-lined brown ankle boot gives a softer look, looks a tad rebellious, and is practical for freezing temps.
  • Rain wear doesn't have to look like something from your mum's wardrobe. These cute pink boots will bring out your inner kid, whilst displaying your love of heels.

 

Wondering what to wear this weekend? Take inspiration from my quick guide to dressing for your down time in chilly weather.

All of the boot styles are shoppable, so just click on each slide to nab a pair for yourself.

Which winter weekend style best represents your look? Let me know in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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WHAT’S NEW – NOVEMBER

Have you been considering a trip to the shops for some new Autumn shoes? I thought I’d check out what’s new this season to save you the hassle and legwork.

Wandering down Oxford Street in London, I was on the look out for quality comfortable, beautiful shoes. Amongst the sea of blah white trainers and same old black, tan and bordo boots were some gems.

Flats

These pretty T-bars from Gucci are an ultra feminine wardrobe classic. The dusky pink leather is complemented by gold and pearl flower adornments. Worth the investment if these are just so “you”.

If you’re looking for an easy everyday shoe with a luxury look (not at Gucci prices), these leather snake effect trainers by Selected Femme will work hard for you. The off white gives a crisp look, best accompanied by jeans and a white shirt.

Have you run last year’s chelsea boots into the ground? Try this wide-fitting brogue style from Dune for an update to your plain pair. Also available in standard width.

These beautiful ballet shoes are handmade in France. An elegant partner to any evening outfit, perfect for very light wear.

Robert Clergerie have collaborated with Disney to create this intricate brogue, inspired by the playing card symbols in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Stunning.

I couldn’t resist including this Comme des Garcons style which made me laugh. Not one for those with pets!

Heels

Are you planning to wear a trouser suit this party season? These lizard-print KG tassel loafers are the perfect accessory. The 6cm heel is a reasonable height for all evening wear.

Topshop have such a good range of mid-height block heeled boots, that I had to share all three styles with you.

Slouchy calf-height boots are back, as you can see from the number of colours available in this Dune style. Great over skinny jeans, or with tights and a below the knee skirt.

A sweet printed velvet style from LK Bennett. Ankle straps suit those with longer legs and slimmer ankles best.

Office have a strong offering of wearable ankle boots. Which is your favourite? High shine chelsea, soft brown leather cuban heel, or simple silver metallic?

Innovators Vetements are known for their unusual heels. This season’s quirky offering has a reflector as a heel.

This Kurt Geiger style is perfect for those who want to be noticed. A real statement boot in metallic woven fabric.

Do you remember the Patrick Cox Wannabe loafer from the 1990s? Well it’s back. Cox has partnered with queens of comfort Geox to launch this collaborative range.

..and finally, a lustrous golden boot from Dries Van Noten which comes with its own accessory: a pearl necklace.

Let me know which styles you love (or hate), and share photos of footwear you’ve already bought this season in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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ALL HAIL THE HIGH STREET

I’m a cheap-skate. There. It’s out there. If I can find a way to save money, I will. Discount codes, cashback sites, reward points. They all make me tick.

But how do you spot a bargain pair of shoes, and are designer shoes really worth the money? With some shoe brands you get what you pay for. Many high end designers use beautiful materials, and manufacture their products in small European factories packed with true craftspeople. Be careful though, as not all expensive shoes are well-made, and some use their brand name to charge more than the true value of their footwear.

So can you get well-made shoes on the High Street? Yes!

I was at a launch party on Wednesday for comfortable, beautiful brand Morena Morena. There was a live recording of a podcast with Dawn O’Porter interviewing Melanie C, Gok Wan, and Glamour mag editor Jo Elvin.

Melanie C was wearing these fabulous 5″ Jimmy Choo boots.

But savvy shopper and fashionista extraordinaire Jo Elvin selected this pointed pair from…

 

…Zara!

If they’re good enough for the long reigning Glamour magazine editor, affordable shoes are certainly good enough for us. You could even splurge the cash you’ve been saving for a pair of Louboutins on a holiday.

For more tips on how to spot great quality footwear on the High Street, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

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LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO WEAR BLACK

  • These floral jacquard Aldo boots are rich in colour, and beautifully patterned. They look more expensive than they are. Perfect with black satin.
  • These pewter leather Dune Chelsea boots suit weekends, evenings, or even work if you're a creative. They're available in wide fit and also standard fit.
  • With a 2" block heel, and metallic suede upper, these comfortable Vagabond boots will see you from drinks to dinner to dancing this party season.
  • Who can resist a bit of blue velvet for venturing out of the house in the winter months? A pointed toe gives a sharper look to this rich, soft ASOS boot.
  • Snake prints shouldn't only be for sky-high heels. This wide-fitting boot has an inside zip for easy entry. The ankle height is flattering with cropped trousers.
  • Another flattering chukka height boot, this time on a block heel. The high quality suede looks warm and luxurious in burgundy.
  • Multi-coloured glitter coats this statement boot. A pink glitter-covered heel, silver chain detail, and fringe complete the OTT fabulous look.

 

Have Christmas party invitations started to arrive, despite you refusing to accept we’re at all close to That Time of Year? Why not get your outfits prepared now, so that then you can ignore the festivities for a while?

We used to buy shoes to go with our clothes, but over the last decade or so, things have changed. It’s now perfectly acceptable to select your footwear first, and clothing second.

That’s great news for anyone who has previously found shoe shopping a drag. Shoes don’t have to be bought in dull neutral colours anymore. Let’s get excited about shopping for new footwear. Try one of the pairs in the slide show and make a statement from the feet up at your next party. You’ll love the compliments headed your way.

Money saving shoe advice:

As long as your footwear looks good, people won’t notice that your clothes are from the cheapest shop on the High Street. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.

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TRAVELLING SHOES

I was asked by a talented footwear design student to help her get responses to her survey. She’s not collecting any names or email addresses, so your response will be completely anonymous.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey, to help this budding shoe designer to excel in her final year at university. Big thanks!

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WHEN MY DREAMBOOT COMES HOME

Have you ever come across an object which just brings out your inner girly girl?

Now and again a cute cushion, swishy skirt, heart-shaped clutch or a pink pair of shoes, makes you want to get your pocket money out of your bead purse in a hurry.

OK so the grown-up equivalent is getting out your credit card (we’ll gloss over the fact that I once did so much online shopping that I knew my card details off by heart).

Some items are so compelling that we can imagine only having good days once we own them. These boots by Japanese Western-inspired brand Toga might just do that for you.

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The exact shade of eunry pink, patterned buckles and sleek pointed toe combine to create girly perfection. This mid-height boot is also comfortable enough to have you skipping through those guaranteed happy days.

Let me know which pair of shoes has given you that giddy feeling in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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SOLVE THE SHOE PUZZLE

  • The colour of the sky just before the rain pours down. These pointed loafers have a smart look with their sharp point, without the discomfort of heels.
  • This slipper-comfortable trainer style is understandably a best-seller for Jigsaw. This season's crackle finish leather modernises the look.
  • Probably the sleekest women's loafer you'll find these season. The dark red brown "morello cherry" colour perfectly complements a charcoal suit.
  • Business at the front, party at the back. No this isn't the mullet (famous 80s hairstyle) but a chic 7cm block heeled boot in smooth and hair on leather.
  • Not a style for wet weather, but perfect for crisp Autumn days. This opened up shoe is a fresh modern take on a traditional brogue style.
  • In soft, wine-coloured suede, these 4cm block heeled court shoes are a modern classic that won't date. The high front ensures a secure, comfortable fit.
  • Everyone needs an easy loafer like this soft suede slip on. The fold down back converts this shoe to a mule. Light blue lifts the mood on dull days.
  • A great pair of biker boots is a wardrobe essential for colder weather. Invest now, and you'll wear them for years to come. Soft black leather with a sturdy sole.
  • After a long day on your feet, get cosy in these warm but glam pom pom slippers.

 

If you want beautifully made footwear in easy to wear neutrals this season, Jigsaw is definitely worth a look. Many of the styles are made in Italy or Portugal, and leather linings are used on most options.

From sharply pointed flats to kick ass biker boots, your smart and laid back needs are pandered to. As I reveal in my ebook The Shoe Shopping Kit, you don’t need to pay designer prices to get great quality shoes.

Click through the slide show to make your wisest investment this Autumn.

 

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SHOE DESIGN’S SECRET HEROS PT 1

Celebrities from Katy Perry and Paris Hilton, to Sarah Jessica Parker and TOWIE’s Jessica Wright, have made the press with their shoe designs. The celebs will undoubtedly have had creative input into their eponymous ranges, but their designs will have been finessed by experienced shoe designers.

Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood and Brian Atwood are the creative minds behind their brands, but they still employ other designers to bring their ideas to life.

So who are these trained shoe designers whose names you don’t know? In this series, I celebrate the people responsible for inventing most of the shoes sold around the world.

These are the people who really design your shoes.

The interns

On a placement year from university or newly graduated with a BA (Hons) in Footwear Design, these hard working shoe people deserve a mention.

Putting in long hours to impress, the interns do the design jobs that their seniors don’t want to. They churn out reams of pencil sketches of new designs, invariably for one of the less exciting collections.

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The intern is likely to spend a lot of time filing, and sorting out shoe samples and swatches of leather and fabric. If they’re lucky they might be able to try their hand at generating numerous print designs. That’s painstaking work, and there’s a chance that all might be rejected. These things are all in a day’s (and sometimes night’s) work for the low paid shoe design intern. She or he may need to take another job at the weekends to supplement their income.

Design teams travel abroad on inspiration trips, to trade shows and conferences. There is rarely the budget to take the intern away, so they are often left holding the fort in an eerily quiet studio. Some bosses will call and email regularly wanting instant drawings or checking the intern hasn’t left before 8pm.

When the placement’s over, the company is under no obligation to give the intern permanent employment. They might be lucky and have impressed so much that they are given a job, but the employer could just move on to the next intern to save money. The intern will then update their CV and LinkedIn profile with their experience, and search for the next internship or (fingers crossed) permanent design role.

The good news is that a great shoe design intern can become a shoe designer who does get to travel. They will also get to work on more exciting ranges, and may even get to meet and work with a celebrity “designer”.

Next time: Discover the secret life of a Junior Shoe Designer

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