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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

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!

Frugal Feb, In My Wardrobe, Shoeper Challenge

More shoes saved & dresses worn!

I’ve been making every effort to actually update this site more often in 2011, but I’ve been a bit quiet this week as things have been a bit busy, so apologies for that. I’ve still been keeping up with my challenges – Frugal Feb, the Shoeper Challenge and Frocking Fridays – and I’m finding documenting all those outfits and shoe saves really good fun, and it makes me think a little bit more about what I’m wearing each day, rather than just throwing on whatever dress comes to hand first. Especially as in the last week I’ve had parties, work events and London Fashion Week to attend…

We’ll start off with last Friday, and it was off to London Bridge to celebrate ten years of my friend Darika being in London. I wore a blue H&M number for Frocking Friday (one of my style icons, Zooey Deschanel, has the same dress, you can imagine how excited I was to discover that!) but also used the evening as an occasion to ‘save’ a pair of shoes in the Shoeper Challenge. They’re not very easy to see in the pic, but they’re fringed suedette platforms with wooden heels from New Look. Here’s a closer look – they don’t look that high in the pic but believe me, they are. They make me about 6″ tall!

I remember reading somewhere that wearing open-toe shoes with tights looks ‘common’. Well, it’s freezing and I’ve got shoes that need saving, so I guess I’ll live with that!

Next up came a quick trip to London Fashion Week. I only went to one show this season – Christopher Kane (amazing, as expected) – which to be honest was enough for me. I love fashion week and nothing beats seeing the clothes close-up, but I don’t miss the long days and waiting around and was happy this time to just make the one appearance! I wore a red dress from ASOS, which was probably a bit of a mistake as the structured detail refused to sit properly and it creased really badly, but as I spent most of the day with my coat covering it anyway, it didn’t really matter.

The shoes are also ASOS, and a real favourite because they’re super-high but really, really comfy. I think they cost me about £11 in the sale. They’re another first wear in the Shoeper Challenge, so consider these babies saved!

And finally, yesterday’s Frocking Friday dress, which was a bit of a last-minute choice (I got up slightly hungover, put my jeans on and then realised it was Friday and I needed to make an effort)! The dress was found in a vintage shop in West London, cost me about £12, and I believe it’s from the 70s. There’s heaps of fabric in the skirt so it hangs really well, but it needs belting and the sleeves rolling up or it looks very, very old-lady ish!

No pic of the shoes with this one, but that was only because they were my boring old black leather boots, which are on their last legs thus not really worth ‘saving’ in the shoeper challenge.

I have a bit of a confession when it comes to Frugal February. I sort-of cheated, as today I got a new digital camera. I broke my old one about 6 months ago, so have been using a little budget Fujifilm compact that Sian very kindly handed down to me, along with my phone. When I saw the Panasonic I had my eye on had gone under £200, I decided to invest while I had the money. It’ll really make a difference to the outfits pics on this site, and I’ll also use it loads for work and when I go to Australia in May. I kind of consider it exempt from Frugal Feb as it’s essentially a business expense, plus we’re almost at the end of the month, so the money I saved has gone on this camera!

In My Wardrobe

Frugal February & The Shoeper Challenge

2011 is all about challenges for me, and as well as keeping up with Frocking Fridays and continuing to dress a bit more ‘dangerously’ I’ll be embarking on two new online fashion challenges in February. The first is my own cost-saving exercise, Frugal February, which means absolutely no spending on non-essentials for the entire month. No clothes, no shoes, no beauty products, no books etc.

The second is Amber‘s brilliant Shoeper Challenge which sees shoe-obsessed bloggers vowing to wear every single pair of shoes and boots they own over the next 12 months (and provide photographic evidence). Sounds easy? Well, you just wait until you see how many shoes I have…

I’m terrible at hoarding things and not throwing them out, which is why I thought this challenge would be good for me. It’s based on the idea that we all own pairs of shoes that we love but we never wear them, and that is definitely true for me. On sorting out all my shoes to photograph for the beginning of the challenge, I came across a good dozen pairs I’d forgotten I owned. Some still had the labels on! Others have been floating around for almost 10 years and are completely battered, so it’s about time I got rid of them. I won’t throw out any old shoes before the challenge starts on 14th Feb, but I will be operating a one in, one out policy over the year – for any new pair of shoes or boots I buy, at least one old pair has to go.

In total, I have…

30 pairs of flats (including flipflops & sandals)
65 pairs of heels & wedges
6 pairs of ankle boots
8 pairs of knee-high boots

That’s a quite shocking total of 109 pairs.

And here’s the proof…

There are only 7 pairs of knee high boots in the pic below, but I do have one other pair of heeled black boots with an oily finish that I accidentally missed.

Speaking of accidentally missing things out, these are my most recent totally crazy purchase. I forgot to add them to any of the heels group shots, so they get a (much-deserved) photo of their own…

By the end of the challenge, I aim to ‘edit’ my collection down to well below 100. Having this many shoes isn’t good! In the past I’ve had a tendency to buy cheap shoes when I don’t need them (I’d say at least 1/3 of the shoes in the photos above cost less than £10 a pair) and now have loads of uncomfy, bad quality shoes I don’t wear. This year that stops, and all these shoes get at least one airing or they go to someone who’ll properly appreciate them.

And if I happen to stumble across another Rupert Sanderson sample sale somewhere along the line…I’m sure an old pair of Primark ballet pumps can be sacrificed for the greater good!