Go nude for the wedding

It’s that time of year again – wedding season!

Whether you love it, hate it, are taking part in it or are indeed – the bride, there is always the question of what to wear on ones feet. Too high and you’ll be cursing come evening when the dancing begins. Too low and you’ll feel frumpy. Equally, how fancy does one go? To match the shoes to the dress or not? So many questions – eeeek!

Violet leather court shoes in peach metallic, £65, Office

So, there really are no hard and fast rules, but I think the following tips will help. Go down the neutral or metallic route when the summer season hits. You have probably been wearing black for the rest of the year so this is your chance to wear a lighter colour and even brave a bare leg – oooerrrr! (NB. This may be optimistic based on the current climate.)

Darling D soft rose leather courts, £85, Dune 

Steer away from satin or suede as you’re bound to destroy them if your wedding involves any of the following; drunk people, outdoor dining and excessive dancing. (That’s most weddings right?!) All the shoes I have picked have potential for wearing past wedding season and will hopefully carry you through the summer. Viva la nude shoe!

Faith nude leather patent bow courts, £50, Debenhams

Luxe sandals

It’s that time of year again! The sun is out, we’re all attempting to break out our Spring wardrobe and inevitably you are starting to reassess whether you have anything stylish (that isn’t black or a boot) to wear on your feet.

(Carvela Kute bow sandals, Kurt Geiger, £55)

I find that March or April are the prime times to pick up your summer sandals. The shops have all the best ones at this point so if you want to get ahead, buy some NOW..rather than struggle with the bargain bins come June.

These beautiful Ravel ones are top of my list. Thanks to Dorothy Perkins, Ravel shoes are back on our radar..and not only are they 100% leather, they are also super glamorous. I cannot wait to get these out!

(Ravel leopard wedge sandal, Dorothy Perkins, £55)

My tip for the ultimate in luxe sandals are embellishments and good quality materials. Currently hankering after these very expensive Moschino fork sandals in black and gold – a classic colour combination, versatile and very luxurious – these will see you through the season if you can stump up the cash in the first place!

(Moschino Fork-front sandals, Farfetch.com, £329)

Minty madness

Pastels are everywhere right now, however I can’t seem to quite get my head around wearing baby blue and powder pink – it feels a bit twee.

(Berenice Bejo in a mint green gown at the 2012 Oscars)

However, the one Spring shade I have taken to is mint. Since Berenice Bejo stepped out in a beautifully jewelled mint gown at the Oscars, it’s been taking over my wardrobe rapidly. Mint is beautiful, mint is elegant and fresh and mint is the go-to trans-seasonal colour! Here are a few beauties I’ve spied. Enjoy!

(Koko soft leather ballet pumps, Topshop, £40)

(Lace dress, Zara, £49.99)

(Leather Pippa bag in Mint, Modalu, £195)

4 of the best ankle boots

When it comes to boots, I never feel as though I have enough pairs. Admittedly it’s hard to justify why you need black ankle boots in a cuban-heel, a stiletto heel, with laces and also in a variation of leather or suede for you to feel complete, but somehow this is something I am faced with on a regular basis.

I am not alone in this obsession it seems – take the Ohanian boot (below), I am 1 of 4 of my friends who have now bought these Pied a Terre beauties! This rather underlines the point that good boots are hard to find, but once you find a pair, everybody wants them. So, I have decided to list out 4 of the best I have seen in the shops right now..

(Ohanian boot by Pied a Terre – 1 of the 6 pairs I bought last year)

Completely love these Hudson boots – in fact their entire range underlines what a good boot should be. Not only are they the perfect everyday boot, you’ll be able to wear them year-round as they’re low-rise which means flattering on the shin/calf area = perfect for wearing with dresses in the summer. Loving the buckle-back!

(Encke multi in tan, Hudson Shoes, £150)

These Acne boots are a fash-pack favourite – and unsurprising at that price – us mere mortals can’t afford them! I’d try Topshop’s Ambush boots for more affordable identical alternative – available in a range of colours. These are already hugely popular amongst my group of friends. Gorgeous!

(Pistol short boots, Acne, £350+)

Another celebrity-endorsed brand – Ash, these suede western boots are the perfect transitional heel height. Wear to work and then out in the evening – understated, yet cool. They never go out of fashion. Try Office for some cheaper alternatives.

(Ash Jalouse boot, ASOS, £145)

And…the grand finale – the leopard print boot! OK, they may look ridiculously high (they are) but the benefit of buying an expensive shoe from somewhere like LK Bennett is that you know they’re going to be comfortable as they’re so well-made. A killer heel in more ways than one! Officially the best leopard-print boot out there.

(Dusk boot, LK Bennett, £275)

A ladies guide to mens shoes

Anyone who has known me for at least a short period of time will know about my obsession with footwear – on myself, on other people and how a bad pair of shoes on a man is the ultimate turn-off. i.e. if the shoes are bad, there’s no point looking at anything going on above that. 90% of the time it’s true, 10% of the time you have to concede and force him shopping at the earliest convenience.

(Hiking sandals – the ultimate in offensive footwear)

So, I may not be a man and may not have many male readers, but I will attempt to provide a brief guide to what is acceptable and what is horribly offensive in my eyes. First off – cuban heels, rubber slides, jesus sandals, trekking sandals, crocs and cowboy boots are all no’s I’m afraid so if you have them in your wardrobe, time to build a good fire and send them hiking.

Smart shoes – a good leather shoe should form the basis of a working man’s wardrobe, but be sure to avoid the square-toed or overly pointy category. They’re just weird and either give the impression of an overgrown school-kid (square toe) or flashy chav (overly pointy.) You’re ideally looking for something with a nice oval / almond toe. I think these shoes are just right – the key is quality so be prepared to spend some cash.

(Alfrick, toe cap oxford, Reiss, £149)

Boots – great as long as you’re not tucking your jeans into them. You’re not in a boyband and you’re certainly not an All Saints model. Stick to either a simple, unfussy chelsea boot with slim fit jeans or these Chukka boots which are smart, without being overly formal. Remember chunky soles are for Tom Cruise. If you’re short, suck it up – no woman wants to date a man in heels!

(Crockett & Jones, Tetbury chukka desert boots, Selfridges, £280)

Casual – the trainer is where a lot of men go off-piste and you uncover some scary choices. Running trainers should stay at the gym – they look terrible with jeans. Velcro or slip-on trainers are creepy – don’t even think about it. Invest in some classic Converse (ideally white) or some slim-fitting Puma/Adidas/Onitsuka alternatives. A chunky trainer will cause some weird conflict with the bottom of your jeans so to keep the lines smooth, choose an understated, slim-profile shoe in neutral tones and you can’t go wrong.

(Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Trainers, ASOS, £65)

Hope this helps – now to find a man who fits the shoes!

Everyone needs a leopard or a snake

Leopard, snake and even dalmation..animal prints, you ought to have at least a few of these items in your wardrobe.

(Annie D Double Bow Mock Snake Print Court Shoe, Dune, £85)

While back in the 90s, leopard print was associated with the Pat Butchers and Dorians from Birds of a Feather of the world, things have significantly moved on since then. These days shops are rife with tasteful, chic animal-print accessories and feature on anything from printed jeans through to coats.

So, where to start? Admittedly animal print isn’t always easy. Your first stop should be a pair of shoes or a handbag as you can keep your outfit simple and add interest with these. But be sure to check your print – the more authentic ‘animal’ the better – there is nothing worse than a shiny, leopard-tribute shoe. I think those which have a texture akin with the animal they are trying to imitate are the best. Plus, you’ll avoid falling into the cheap-and-nasty category.

(J.Crew Edie leopard-print calf hair bag, Net-A-Porter, £450)

If you’re looking to make a statement, pick up a pair of printed trousers (very S/S 2012) or a dress in a tasteful animal print. Look for good tailoring and fabrics as this will again keep you out of market-stall cast-off territory. For cocktails and dinner with the girls, I think this jersey dress from Coast below hits the nail on the head. This could even fit into a working wardrobe if paired with simple accessories and a blazer. Just give it a go – you may be pleasantly surprised!

(Jules Snake print Dress, Coast, £95)

Our secret Kate

Kate – a name now synonymous with elegance and great taste thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge, but did you know there’s another stylish Kate out there? Going by the name of Kate Kanzier, she is a designer producing excellent shoes and bags at highly affordable prices, but it’s all a bit of a secret unless of course you work near Leather Lane where her one-and-only shop resides.

Producing cutting-edge leather bags and shoes since 2001, my current favourite is the Duena which is a fantastic lower-budget alternative to the colour-block totes which designers from DVF to Anya Hindmarch have produced this season. I think this bag is chic and perfect for every day and available in 6 different colours, you’re bound to find your perfect match. Just chuck everything in and go!

(Duena Tote, Kate Kanzier, £65)

Kate Kanzier also stocks a wide range of brogues, ballerinas, heels, wedges and boots. 90% are leather, but even the faux-leather are very well done so worth the spend. Check out the vintage-style courts and tassel slippers, they are divine. For Spring, I am considering investing in these powder blue suede brogues. (Elvis would be proud!) With vibrant pink laces and a chunky heel, these will be ideal with my rolled-up skinny jeans or with ankle socks and a flippy skirt. Ahh…come on sun, I need an excuse to wear these!!!!

(Betana blue suede brogues, Kate Kanzier, £55)

The perfect court

(Christian Louboutin Pigalle 85mm shoes, Matches Fashion, £375.)

I’m sure anyone who works in an office environment can relate to this, but I think finding the perfect mid-heeled black court shoe is possibly the biggest challenge any woman can face when it comes to office-wear. Am I right?

For example, how high is too high? Does patent look cheap? Is a platform inappropriate?  Coupled with that, you’re investing in something which you will potentially be walking around solidly in for approximately 10 hours per day so they HAVE to be comfortable, but you don’t want to be shuffling around in a pair of old lady Gabor specials. Style is key!

So, after trying on numerous pairs and having failed on as many occasions, I think I can now confirm a few items. A heel any higher than 8cm is going to be challenging. Cheap unfortunately means painful – if you can, try and go for real leather as the shoes should be gentler on your feet and therefore more comfortable. Try New Look or Marks & Spencer for affordable options – they also do wide-fit.

(Autograph Leather Pointed Toe Court Shoes with Insolia®, Marks & Spencer, £45)