Browsing Category

Shoeper Challenge

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!

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!

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!

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?

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


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.


In My Wardrobe, Shoeper Challenge

Four Shoeper Challenge Saves!

Forgive me for a bit of a boring post, but I’m really beginning to realise that we’re halfway through the year as far as the Shoeper Challenge goes, and I still have the majority of my footwear collection to wear and photograph if I don’t want to be chucking it all out come February. So I’ve been powering through and getting rid of a few ‘easy’ saves, mostly flats and practical shoes. I know, Zzzzz. I promise the next post will be more fun – it’s my birthday so there’s lots of excuses to dress up! But as I’m saving my gladrags for the next few days, this does mean you’ve seen most of these outfits before – they’re old faithful dresses I’ve worn a gazillion times – so feel free to move on and give this post a miss. I just need to be sure to record these shoe saves so I’m not forced to bin them unnecessarily!

First up, some pattern mixing with a pair of striped Primark espadrille trim flats, worn with a Pearl Lowe for Peacocks dress, Topshop leggings, and a Primark cardi, belt and bag. The sunglasses are Red or Dead. This is the outfit I wore to see Take That at Wembley a few weeks ago, the photo’s been sat on my phone for ages. I spent most of the night with a rain poncho shoved over the top – it poured down with rain throughout the gig, but luckily Chiltern Railways were giving out freebies at the station. Nice marketing, folks!

You might recognise this dress, from my fitting room adventures at Pepperberry. I have another Pepperberry post in the works, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, this dress is very well-loved. Every time I put it on, someone comments on it. This time, I teamed it with a ballerina bun (bad hair day) and a pretty pair of blue metallic flats. The chunky enamel necklace was a birthday gift from a fashionista friend. I love it!

Another Pearl Lowe dress – I did warn you this was dull! I’ve swapped out the white slip it came with for a black one, and added H&M black brogue style patent heels, Accessorize tights and Primark necklace and belt. You know, before I started this challenge, I didn’t realise how much I relied on Primark for cheap accessories!

And finally, what is probably the worst photo in the history of my shoe saves, not to mention the worst outfit. This is what happens when all you have is a boyfriend and a cameraphone! But needs must, I’m afraid. It was a boiling hot day and I was out on a 6 mile walk (we’re doing The Capital Ring). I’m wearing a Primark cardi with lacy trim, H&M vest and shorts (my ‘Lara Croft’ shorts) and shoes that were a gift years ago from Nanny State. I’ve worn these to death, they’re kind of a combination of a trainer and a leather brogue so they’re great as an alternative if you need something comfy and practical but really can’t bring yourself to wear your gym shoes out and about. The necklace is from Camden and sunglasses are Betsey Johnson.

And that’s four more strikes on my list of shoe saves. Yay!

In My Wardrobe, Shoeper Challenge

In My Wardrobe: A day at the Races

It’s been a busy few weeks since I got back off holiday, so I haven’t really been able to take as many outfit pics as I’d like. But I did get pics of a couple of looks. I was invited, somewhat last minute, to the Investec Derby at Epsom, and had 48 hours to put together a races-friendly look. Now there’s nothing I love more than a girly dress, some OTT headwear and slightly matchy-matchy accessories, so I had great fun putting this outfit together and only had trouble choosing the exact dress to wear. In the end I went with the hot pink Escala prom dress by Fever. I was also lucky enough to have someone with some photography skills and a decent camera along for the ride, so thank you so much to Natalie for making this outfit post a little bit more fashion blogger-y than usual…

F+F lace jacket, Fever Escala dress via Brand Alley, New Look gold toe heels, H&M scarab brooch
Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams fascinator, Lulu Guiness sunglasses, gifted pearls.

This outfit has some of my favourite accessories in it. I get some funny looks when I’m wearing the sunglasses, but I absolutely love their 50s cats eye shape. The H&M scarab has become a bit of a trademark of mine. I have it in a brooch and a ring in pink, and also have the green version of the ring. It’s always talking point, and a bit more unusual than a butterfly or a flower. They’re supposed to be lucky – tell that to the horses I bet on!

The shoes ended up being a good buy – about £10 in the sale at New Look, and just about comfy enough to wear all day. Matched with the lacy jacket, they’ve become my go-to accessories for smart occasions like weddings when I don’t want to wear black. This is the second time I’ve worn them this year but the first time I got a pic – so that’s another save down in the Shoe Challenge!

Speaking of the shoe challenge, I managed to get a friend to snap another save recently. When the sun went in a bit, I headed down the pub in a very un-Gemma outfit. Skinny jeans, a loose top and blazer, and a pair of buckled, pointy boots (also from New Look – I have far too much footwear from there). Here’s how it looked. I like the comfort of a pair of skinny jeans, and how easily you can wear them with boots, but I can’t help thinking because my legs are quite long and my weight is mostly on my upper body, that I end up looking like a weeble on toothpicks…

River Island blazer, Matthew Williamson for H&M vest, Primark jeans, New Look boots, Primark pendant and headband
Shoeper Challenge

A trio of New look shoe saves (finally!)

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’d given up on Shoeperwoman’s Shoeper Challenge, as it’s been ages since I’ve snapped myself wearing a pair of shoes from my collection and officially ‘saved’ them from being ditched when the challenge ends next Feb. But I am planning on sticking to my guns, I’m just rubbish at remembering to take photos when there’s any kind of natural light (you’ll see from the below pics how much my camera hates the soft orange light in my flat – fuzziness ahoy).

But I’m keen to get back on track and work my way through my hundred or so pairs of shoes as quickly as I can, starting with three pairs from New Look. Two pairs of tattly old Primark ballet flats have already been binned, which gave me the opportunity to snap up a new pair of comfy sandals recently, which coincidentally, are my first save of this post. They’re a kind of orange/tan colour, and work much better in warm weather than clunky black shoes.

Pearl Lowe for Peacocks dress, New Look shoes 

I’ve also whipped out a pair of low heeled black patent peep-toes with cut-out strapping across the front when the temperature dropped today. I love this height of heel for day and New Look do it really well. The dress, with its parrot print, was an amazing find in the Oasis sale for only £10.

Oasis dress, New Look shoes, Primark headband 

And finally, I’m afraid this is a bit of a sneaky outfit recreation, because I didn’t get a solo photo on the day. This is what I wore to the wedding I recently went to in Australia. The black tights were a must, I’m afraid. It was pouring with rain, freezing cold and just not the right day for the 7 denier nude ones I’d optimistically packed…

Alannah Hill dress, New Look shoes, Accessorize belt, Primark hairband


I got the dress while I was in Melbourne from an outlet store called Clear It on Brunswick street in Fitzroy. The place was floor to ceiling Alannah Hill. Heaven! If you’re ever in Melbourne, definitely hunt it down for some amazing bargains. This baby (which is 100% silk and originally retailed at over $400 worked out at about £60 and I got another frock for £30!