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ancientgreek-sandals
Shoes, Sponsored Posts

These Sandals Give You Wings

I’ve had my eye on a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals for a couple of years. It took me a long time to succumb to the whole gladiator sandal fad in the mid to late 2000s, but when I finally did buy a pair I wore them to death and I think they’re definitely due a comeback. They’re comfy, practical, and look great with all the boho maxi dresses and fringed shorts that are filling the rails for Summer. The trick is to pick a good leather pair that’ll wear well (and be less likely to rub). These babies definitely tick all the boxes. Plus, what’s not to love about a pair of sandals with wings? They may be a bit much for some, but the good news is there are plenty of other options that are a little more understated.

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They’re created by designers Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglou. The former was born and raised in Greece, has worked at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton and studied at Cordwainers College (part of my alma mater, the London College of Fashion). The latter was raised in London, but moved to Athens to run his family’s business (shoemakers, obviously).

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With a pedigree like that, you can expect the very best craftsmanship, which is why a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals will set you back upwards of £100. But these are built to last. Celeb fans include Beyonce, Kate Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Jessica Alba and Candice Swanepoel, so if you do invest in a pair of these, you’ll be in good company. Head over to the Ancient Greek Sandals page on Avenue 32 to buy. I’ve got my eye on the black and gold Nephele sandals for Summer, though the waterproof version, in an array of bright coloured rubbers, come a close second. So fun!

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Disclosure: In association with Avenue 32

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Shoes, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Clarks ‘Deva’ summer sandals

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I know that Clarks has a bit of a frumpy reputation amongst fashion fans, with their shoes often sacrificing style for comfort. But I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with the brand, particularly their summer sandals. In 2006 I fell so in love with a pair of flat sandals with sequin covered twisted ribbon uppers called ‘Saskia’ that I ended up owning them in three different colours (they were a rip-off of a Chloe sandal I could only dream of). Last year, I bought a pair of 70s style platform sandals with a perforated leather upper that one colleague described as “gross” but I loved to pieces. You just can’t beat the comfort of a pair of Clarks shoes – every pair I’ve ever had have been glorious to wear, with no rubbing, chafing or cutting into the skin. I know I can rely on my Clarks’ to last forever and never cause blisters, and if you know where to look, you can find some really modern styles.

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This year, I fell for the contrasting colour of the ‘Deva’ sandals in pink and fuchsia. Pink and orange / pink and red is such a cool combination – unexpected but it always works (don’t believe me? Check out Amy’s pinterest board of proof). I got these sandals before my holiday, and frequent visitors might recognise them from my leopard print dress post. Obviously I’m not the only one who fell for their charms, as these babies were out of stock for ages, but it looks like they’ve just restocked in both regular and wide fit (and half sizes)! They also come in various other colours (including a cool silver trimmed white).

Clarks Deva pink and orange sandals

I wore these sandals loads on holiday and plenty of times since I’ve returned, and they are insanely comfy. I’m a bit of a shoe loser in that I adore my heels but I can’t really wear them all day, but these are the exception. They have Clarks’ softwear cushioning in the sole, and even though the heel isn’t particularly high, you definitely benefit from that added softness. They’re also quite flexible and bendy so they’re easy to pack! You’d be surprised how much the pink and orange combo goes with – I have a lot of printed / floral dresses and most had some element of pink or orange in the print. I’ve actually found myself reached for these sandals as often as I do my black ones. That said, there is one outfit in particular that these babies are made for, and that’s my ASOS deckchair striped skirt which I will be whipping out plenty of times this Summer!

Disclosure: The shoes were a gift from Clarks.

flats
Shoes, Sponsored Posts

Five fab pairs of flat shoes for Spring

I have dozens of pairs of gorgeous heels, but the truth is I spend most of my time in flats. I love how heels look and I can bear the pain for long enough to wear them on a night out or for a quiet day at work, but I hate the way they slow you down. Even my low-heeled ankle boots cut down on how quickly I can get across London – and I love to walk everywhere. In this city you get about faster if you ditch the public transport and use your legs instead!

So I am always on the hunt for flats that look good, are practical, and work with my wardrobe. Here are five pairs of fabulous flats, all available at Bank.

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Millie metal toe pumps £18

I’m obsessed with anything art deco, and I think the goldtone metal detail on the toes of these flats has a very deco feel. They’d be the perfect partner for my many (many) floral tea dresses and 40s-style belted dresses, and I have a gold block clutch that would be the perfect finishing touch. These are a great buy if you want smarter shoes to wear with dresses, but can’t bear the idea of heels.

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Suri stripe pump £16

It’s Spring (almost!) which is the perfect time to try something nautical. But that doesn’t necessarily mean going the whole red / navy / white route with an anchor necklace and a rope belt! Just a nod to the fresh, Spring-like trend is enough. I have a very battered pair of black and white striped pumps with a bow very similar to these that I’ve worn to death in Spring and Summer, so it may be time to replace them with these. I’d team them with cropped jeans and a sleeveless navy blouse, or a floral dress for some subtle pattern clashing – the stripes are close enough together that it’ll work.

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Chelsea boots in leopard £15

I’ve got a pair of blue leopard chelsea boots very similar to these, and I’ve been wearing them loads recently. The elastic in the ankle means there’s more give, so they fit better than a lot of ankle boots (I have cankles from hell) and the flat sole makes them super comfy. They’re the perfect footwear to team with skinny jeans, but I also wear mine with tights and dresses. And they’re only £15 – score!

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Mel ballet pumps £14

I don’t know what it is, but I always find quilted ballet pumps to be both comfier and longer-lasting than their thinner, un-quilted rivals. I’m onto about my fourth pair of toe-cap pale coloured flats like these. They’re not only my go-to shoes for Summer when I want closed-toe shoes to wear with skirts and dresses, but they’re also useful for shoving in your bag for a quick change if you do decide to wear heels. The gold toe-cap gives these babies a bit of bling, and we all know I love a bit of that!

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Gemma glitter pumps £5

I had to finish with these, didn’t I? Not only are they pink, glittery and completely over the top…they’re called Gemma! It’s obviously fate (well, it would be if they had any left in a size 6). Just because your shoes are flat doesn’t mean they have to be boring, and these babies are just as striking as anything with a platform and killer heel. They’re also available in black glitter in a few more sizes for £8.

Post sponsored by Bank.

shoesaves
Shoeper Challenge

Dressember Shoe Saves…a little late!

I’m massively behind with Amber’s Shoeper Challenge, and having to face the fact that I’ll be waving goodbye to fair number of my shoes in mid-February. That said, I’ve saved most of my must haves by now, so anything else is a bonus, and I knew I needed to cut down my shoe collection by quite a dramatic amount, so I don’t regret taking part in the challenge in the first place. If I haven’t worn these shoes in the last 12 months, the chance I’ll wear them in the next is very slight. And thought I may end up granting immunity to two or three pairs of occasion shoes or Summer sandals that I didn’t wear because I didn’t go on holiday last year, I am going to try as hard as I can to stick to the rules and get rid of everything I possibly can when the challenge ends on Valentines Day. In the meantime, I have worn a good few pairs of shoes in the last month or so. And here they are…

Irregular Choice Mary-Jane cut-out flats with a Pearl Lowe for Peacocks dress – love this dress, which cost me £10 in the sale and is a dream fit. I got it in mid-December and have worn it half a dozen times already.

Fitflop Mukluk boots with a New Look dress, Uniqlo top, Carmakoma legwarmers, Primark headband and H&M necklace – Worn on a very, very cold 29th December for a walk around London’s Docklands with my family. These boots aren’t the sexiest things in the world, but wearing them is like walking on air. Very, very warm air!

River Island brown and gold sandals with a Dorothy Perkins dress and Accessorize tights – This was the ‘Whirling Wednesday’ of Dressember, hence the silly photo. These shoes are great – super high but super comfy with a gold trim that looks fab. I need some more brown clothes to go with these for 2012!

New Look lace-up heels with the Fever ‘Carnaby’ dress and Wolford tights – I wore this for a friend’s party in December. The shoes have been sat in my cupboard for ages, I love this style but they felt uncomfy around the ankle on first wear. But having been worn in a bit, I can sense these will become favourites. Perfectly retro, and low enough to be comfy all day. A Shoeper Challenge discovery, so to speak!

New Look lace bow peep toes with the Fever ‘Dita’ dress and Wolford tights – Another save for an old reliable pair of shoes. You can’t really tell from the pic, but the shoes are peep-toes with a black lace on silver satin overlay and satin bows on the vamp. I can wear them all day long and they work with loads of outfits. Definitely staying in the collection!

Steve Madden calfhair zebra print heels with a Miss Selfridge waterfall neckline dress – These shoes cost me something like $10 in the sale at a Steve Madden store in Vegas about 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve never worn them up to now, and since wearing them, I fear they are a bit big and may need to go. If you want them, make me an offer!

Red Poetic Licence jewelled peep toe heels with Pearl Lowe for Peacocks dress – Another Pearl Lowe dress, another pair of shoes I knew I’d have no issue saving. I found these Poetic Licence numbers in TK Maxx a couple of years ago. They’re a rare size 6.5 and fit so brilliantly. Also, what’s not to love about red shoes, glittery embellishment, interesting heels and t-bars? Win all the way!

Black sequin slippers from ASOS with checked mini and hairband both from Primark – I bought these slipper-style shoes when ASOS had a flash sale on shoes, and I’ve worn them every other day since. They’re the perfect combo; super comfy and covered in sparkle and really worthwhile buy, even if I have to sacrifice another pair to keep them!

Black ASOS fringed boots with Hudson Jeans, Very top and H&M necklace. Yes, jeans! – When I bought the above sparkly shoes, I also bought these fringed ankle boots, which are another ‘wear them all day’ classic. I love a bit of fringing on shoes – I blame my mom for this.

As I only have until February 14th to wear all my remaining pairs of shoes, I think it’s safe to say some more pairs will be going to the big shoebox in the sky (or, more likely, to friends, a blog sale, the charity shop or a recycling bin). I knew some of the shoes wouldn’t make it so I’m not worried I have a good 40 or so to go. Some will be saved in Jan and early Feb, but the others…well, it obviously wasn’t meant to be!

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Shoeper Challenge

A clutch of Shoeper-saves and a Dressember update

I’ve been a bad girl when it comes to the Shoeper Challenge recently. I’ve been wearing shoes but struggling to snap them, and I’m running out of time to save them now, as I need to work my way through my whole collection by Valentine’s Day. It may sound easy but I have Summer sandals unworn, and it’s December! Amber actually changed the rules a while ago to allow us to just snap the shoes rather than the whole outfits in order to record a ‘save’, so I’ll be doing that occasionally when I save a pair of shoes but don’t manage to get a decent pic. You’re going to have to trust me that I won’t just pretend I wore a pair of shoes; the whole point of this challenge was to cut down on my collection so I have no reason to lie about what I have and haven’t worn. I’m just struggling in this weather because my camera doesn’t like artificial light, and there are only so many times I can nick the work DSLR!

But speaking of nicking the work DSLR, here are some outfits I did manage to photograph in the last few weeks, and a few more pairs of shoes crossed off the list…

The shoes here are from Matalan. I’ve had them for years and wear them a lot at this time of year as they’re closed-toe, but still a bit special. The dress is Topshop (sold out now) and the outfit was worn to the launch of Domestic Sluttery, a book I’m very proud to say I contributed to. If you’re looking for something interesting to buy a female friend for Christmas, look no further! There’s more info on the team and some sneaky peeks here.

The DS launch wasn’t the only launch I’ve attended recently. A few weeks ago, I put my work hat on for another launch, to show the new Aigua Media sites to advertisers, friends and the odd celeb or two. I didn’t have time to grab a solo photo, so here’s me with my fab colleague Jess (Aigua’s Editorial Director). Forgive my awful pose – this is one of the only pics that shows I wore my gorgeous (but ridiculously high and painful) KG by Kurt Geiger sequin ‘Dolly’ shoes. The dress is by Project D, bought in the sale earlier this year for a steal.

I also managed to save these Bertie numbers, teaming them with a purple dress from ASOS (you’ll just have to take my word for it). This is an under-the-desk cameraphone snap taken at work. I really am scraping the barrel, aren’t I?

Also very much saved are my new Frye boots (eek!) which were snapped by Shoewawa for ‘Show Us Your Shoes‘…

That’s a Versace for H&M skirt, bit of a naughty purchase but I like to think of it as something to add to my ‘collection’. I’m a bit addicted to high street collaborations, celeb or designer. I probably didn’t need the leather coat as well, though. Aaaaanyway, I needed to give the skirt a go before Dressember kicked in and I was forced (forced!) to wear dresses only, hence teaming it with the boots (which needed wearing in).

Speaking of Dressember, after the fun of last year I have decided to do it again, the only difference is now I’m back at Catwalk Queen, I’ll be doing most of my Dressember-ing over there. I’ll still be posting some of the pics though, as a lot of dresses will be combined with shoe saves. Here’s today’s look, which saves a pair of victorian style ankle boots from StylistPick.

Coincidentally, this outfit made the Editor’s Choice page of WIWTthank you Poppy!

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In My Wardrobe, Shoeper Challenge

Shoeper Challenge: Polka dots x 2

I have a problem. I’m addicted to polka dots. I have at least half a dozen dotty dresses, not to mention shoes, tops, tights and sunglasses covered in spots. There’s something very fresh and fun about polka dots, which I like as someone who is known to dress quite ‘young’ as a rule! But they also work for just about any occasion, as I think these two outfits show (I use the term ‘outfit’ loosely, as the second is basically a dress and shoes). The first outfit was for fellow Domestic Slut Gail‘s gorgeous wedding, so required some serious accessorising. The second outfit was for work on a very, very windy and depressing day that called for a less-than-glamorous hairdo!

First up, the wedding outfit. Gail put in a request for hats, but I sort-of cheated by whipping out my fascinator instead, last seen at the Derby. The races was also the last outing for my lace jacket from F&F at Tesco, a brilliant buy for events like this when I don’t want to wear too much black. This is the second wedding this year that I’ve worn this jacket.

The dress is from Marks & Spencer’s 125 years heritage collection, and was completely ruined when Samantha Cameron used her ‘connections’ to get one made up after they were sold out. Normal people (me) just found it on eBay! Anyway, after she wore the frock to a conference, every sodding newspaper ran a story about it, thus making this the Most Tory Dress Ever. It’s loitered at the back of my wardrobe ever since.

But two years have passed since then, Sam Cam’s moved on to Christopher Kane, so I thought I was finally safe to pull the frock out of hiding and give it a go again. I added a black belt from another M&S dress, and bow detail New Look shoes (another shoeper challenge save). The bag is by Dune, and was a gift from Very.

Then, we move onto a slightly less glamorous way to wear polka dots, with my work outfit from today. The current weather is playing absolute havoc with my hair so I resorted to a ponytail today. There is a reason I don’t wear my hair like this very much, but sometimes needs must! If I go out with my hair down in this weather, I have a haystack at the back my head by the end of the day!

Oh, and sorry I look a bit deranged in this photo, and like I’m doing the ‘tits out, tummy in’ pose. It’s because I am.

This is a Vero Moda dress, bought from the ASOS sale for £10. I like the colour and shape, but it’s a bit of an odd fit. Believe it or not I’m wearing the 12 and it’s STILL a tad too big around the waist. Vero Moda seem to cut very generously, I have a couple of dresses from them in 12’s that are quite roomy despite the fact I really should be a 14. the shoes, little patent flats with studs on the vamp are from Oasis and another first wear in the Shoeper Challenge.

So that’s two more pairs of shoes officially saved. Only 70-ish to go!

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In My Wardrobe, Shoeper Challenge

In My Wardrobe – Snakeskin and Shoe Saves

Only days after I’d joked to my fellow animal print advocate Sian than we’d have to ditch all our favourite frocks now that ‘snakeskin is the new leopard print’ (so say the glossies) I was given this snakeskin scarf as a leaving present at work. I took no time in giving my new accessory its first outing, at Gary‘s birthday drinks in Barnes. I have fond memories of Barnes as it’s the first place I lived when I moved to London (the dodgy bit by the station that’s actually Roehampton, not the scarily posh village bit). Anyway, back to the scarf, which I teamed with a black tee, my much-loved River Island boyfriend blazer, and super-skinny jeans from Primarni. Tres, tres boring I’m afraid…

But of course, if I’m going to wear something dull, I have to pull out the big guns when it comes to footwear. So Saturday saw a much-needed shoe save in the Shoeper Challenge, my ASOS Hamson wedges. Behold, chunkiness…

This was actually a first wear for these shoes, and so far my ASOS shoes have been really great so I was expecting good things. Sadly, while the left foot was so comfy I could barely tell I was wearing wedges, the seam on the right foot rubbed the back of my heel like a bitch and I ended up having to borrow a plaster to get home.

I think a quick rub with some sandpaper will sort that out, so no doubt I’ll be wearing these more. As killer wedges go, they’re pretty perfect. Nice soft leather, lots of support, and a great chunky wedge. They also look great with trousers, for the rare occasions that I wear a pair. At the moment I’ve got my eye on a pair of purple peg legs (much nicer in person, I swear) and I like the idea of adding a light coloured top, gold belt and these shoes.

Or, you know, I could just throw on a dress. Why change the habit of a lifetime?

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Shoeper Challenge

Under 100! A Shoeper Challenge Update

I got slightly frightened when I saw on Shoeperwoman that we’re already on week 29 of the Shoeper Challenge! That means there are only another 23 weeks to work my way through my shoe collection, wear the shoes I’ve yet to ‘save’ and get photographs as proof. Going through the pictures, I’m slightly worried about the number of shoes I have actually worn, but not photographed (especially flats) so I need to get onto that and make sure the Summer shoes I still want to save get snapped asap. It’s gonna be tough! So while I update you with another shoe save, I thought I’d also show you the shoes I’ve dumped, the ones I’ve saved and the ones still have to wear…

First up comes another save, a pair of red patent flats that are far more useful than you’d think. I’d worn these at least two or three times in the last few months before I finally thought to get a picture…

H&M hairslide, Oasis dress, Primark flats

 


And now, an artfully constructed update on where I stand with the challenge. A green tick means a save, a red cross marks the shoes that have gone to the great shoebox in the sky (or onto ebay / to a charity shop). I’ve been quite brutal, and as we hit the end of Summer, I think a fair few more pairs will be headed that way very soon. That said, I think I’m going to be a big horrible cheat and hang on to my havaianas – they’re holiday shoes and I didn’t have a Summer holiday this year, so I think they can be an exception.

Those with very beady eyes will notice a couple of pairs that are ticked haven’t actually appeared in pics on here yet, because I wore them for a work-related event that I’ve yet to get the pics from. But I promise they’ve been worn and pics will be up soon.

And of course, there have been a few aquisitions. Oops. But I’ve already worn two pairs of them, and for each new pair of shoes I bought, I chucked at least two old pairs.

So the new totals are:

Shoes saved: 24
Shoes sacrificed: 16
Shoes still to wear: 73

TOTAL SHOES: 97

All in all, that’s RUBBISH. I’m quite happy about the amount of sacrificed shoes so far. One of my aims with the challenge was to get my total below 100 which I’ve done, but I still think I have pairs that should probably go to a better home.

On the other hand, the amount I still have to wear is pretty scary. There are a fair few boots, and wintery closed-toe heels, but also a lot of very dressy designer heels I’m going to have to whip out at Christmas if I don’t want to sell them. I’ll need to save at a rate of about 3 pairs a week if I want to save everything I have left.

HELP!