Socks and heels: individually harmless, together, one of the most divisive combinations in fashion. But how can something as benign as a sock be so polarising? People tend to fall into two camps when it comes to hosiery and heels: those who do and those who don’t. If, for you, socks and sandals represent fashion kryptonite, let us persuade you. 2020 could be the year you fall in love (with a pair of sheer pink pop socks, anyway).
Black opaques aside, things start to get controversial when you leave the safe harbour of a standard denier behind. Despite the appeal of a lurex sock, they’re tricky terrain to negotiate (particularly in a pair of stilettos). Ignore the dad-dressing associations and take your cues from the cool-girls using socks and tights to add an edge to feminine dresses and killer heels. One of the easiest ways to revitalise an old pair of shoes or get some winter wear out of summer sandals, they give a girl scope – especially when there isn’t time for a pedicure.
We’re here to make the case for high-octane hosiery. The million-denier question: how to wear it? From glittery ankle socks and sheer pop socks to delicate lace tights, here’s our guide to rocking the look.
With a little stylistic consideration, sheer socks and heels will lend your outfit a dose of high-fashion edge. A good entry-level style if you’re new to the game, the trick is to select the right colour. By co-ordinating your socks with at least one other piece in your outfit, they look intentional and serve a clear purpose within the context of your look. Wear them like you mean it.
Last season saw a rise in the popularity of statement tights, from colour block to logo and lace – thanks in large part to Gucci’s coveted GG intarsia fish nets. Wear them with a thigh-skimming mini and open-toe sandals to show off as much leg as designer hosiery, or go bold and matchy-matchy by pairing jewel-toned tights with jewel-toned pumps. A playful and cost-effective way of indulging in a sartorial pick-me-up after Christmas.
THICK AND FAST
From plush jacquard to chunky cable knits, thicker socks have been invited to the party this season. Think of it as a game of textures. Layer thick-knit ivory hiking socks under black leather cage heels and velvet platforms, or look to Miu Miu’s signature Mary Janes to partner with your favourite pair of knee highs. Is your New Year’s resolution to be more active? Dress with your best intentions in mind by teaming sport socks with sky-high stilettoes. This look is all about contrasts, so the more decadent the shoes the better. The gym can wait.
Swear your allegiance to the designers that be by pairing your party shoes with a logo. When the gold leather two-piece is out of budget, this is the most affordable way to channel a runway look. Below-the-knee fashion pedigree doesn’t come much more iconic than Prada’s logo socks. Wear with short hem-lines and a side of hedonism.
The original might be long gone, but we’ve found the next best thing…
Image courtesy of @Oliviakijo
Oh those Céline boots… You probably know which ones we’re talking about. The shape that is known as the last of the Philo era, still lingers on our mind and is something we’ll never really get over. This has not gone unnoticed by fellow fashion brands and indie shoe designers alike. We guess that iconic shape is up for grabs since the demand is high and Céline won’t be pushing those curved heel, square toe boots anymore.
These are the best new remedies we’ve found if that boot is still holding up a space in your heart:
TWe are welcoming this week with an Aprés Ski theme. It is peak season for long weekends in the Alps, which means ski bunny themed social coverage every time we open Instagram. We kind of love it and hate it at the same time. Never have we been considering swapping out our sunny holidays this willingly and the once despited hiking boot is amongst the most coveted style for the second winter in a row. It’s a something designers have been pushing for a few season already and a boot that can be spotted everywhere from Courchevel to the streets of New York. So you don’t need to make room for a ski week to master this style. We think this Ganni version kind of has it all, something we aren’t alone with feeling since it’s been a permanent style in their collections for a while. The glory of these ‘practical’ trends are that when the style goes out of fashion, you’ll still have use for these, for when you finally get that trip booked in.
TEXT BY SANDRA HAGELSTAM | Photography by Mikko Puttonen
How this street-style trend can serve you in surprisingly simple ways.
This is the trend that we are adapting from the street-style scene: the tucking trick. And no, it’s not what you think, we are obviously talking about shoes. Already briefly suggested in the ‘Big Season Edit’, we are here to tell you how to master it. Surely a trend that adds some practicality to your winter styling; no more slush soaked hems and ruined pumps, but we are especially loving it for the versatility it brings to your wardrobe. Chances are you already own the pieces required for this trick.
The best boots for this comes with a wider calf, so look for ones with a straight, loose fit or scrunched ones where you can fit your trousers in without bulging. Your Balenciaga knife over-knees are not for this one. Opt for a boot that cuts right under your knee. These are our favourites to shop now.
You’ll then need loose fitting trousers, high-wasted for all the ones that haven’t, ahem, drawn the height card in the gene lottery. Carrot legged and straight cut trousers will be your best pick. We are loving the following.
And finally, style with a matching blazer, knit, white shirt – you name it! Blessed be the fact that this look looks better the more you layer. So play with proportions and wear your winter warmers with confidence.
TEXT BY FLORENCE TROTT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKKO PUTTONEN
One step at the time.
The 2010s was a big decade for shoes. If footwear had an Instagram memories story, dad trainers, the launch of the Rockstud (and the rage that followed), Gucci’s fur-lined loafers and those Balenciaga Crocs would feature heavily. Nostalgia and crimes against fashion aside, we’re leaving 2019 with an urgency to do more to look after the planet, and one place to begin is our wardrobes. The climate emergency means putting an end to fly-by-night trends and pieces that won’t last. Throwaway fashion contributes more to climate change than air and sea travel combined, so we’re starting the ‘20s with a commitment to being more sustainable.
A huge part of this is changing our habits. Our ‘treat-yo-self’ culture encourages impulse purchases and we’re all guilty of falling victim to hype. But, however tempting the dopamine hit of an instant fashion fix, the environmental impact of those one-hit-wonders is devastating. Instead, by carefully selecting the pieces we choose to bring into our wardrobes, we’re helping the environment and developing our personal style in a way that is far more significant than simply buying another pair of heels.
So how to make more sustainable choices in 2020 whilst still indulging our passion for shoes? We’ve broken it down into some easy-to-follow resolutions for the new year.
Invest in high quality pieces that compliment your style so you can wear them season after season. Luxury shoes are made to last, and good design is timeless, even when it makes a statement. Prada Dior and Chanel, we’re looking at you. Buy the best you can (without maxing out your credit cards) and enjoy them.
Knowledge is power. We’re here to help you make more informed purchases, with honest reviews and sustainable insider style tips. Sites like good on you, a directory that aims to empower consumers by rating the sustainability practices of some of the world’s best known labels, are also a good place to start your research.
How you shop is a reflection of your style and your values, and buying less will help you cultivate your wardrobe in a meaningful way. Before you make a purchase, weigh up the excitement that a must-have style inspires in you, and the likelihood of those shoes making it past next season. Will you wear them again and again? Is this a fling, or a long-term commitment? If the answer is the former, leave them on the shelf.
CLEAN & REPAIR
An attitude that your grandmother would approve of, make do and mend is an old-fashioned approach that’s back in style. Increase the longevity of your luxury shoes by using their aftercare package, or go to your local cobbler for re-heeling. Boutique service The Restory specialises in luxury aftercare and will collect shoes from anywhere in the UK. Prepare to fall in love with your old favourites all over again.
BUY SECOND HAND & VINTAGE
We don’t expect anyone to develop an immunity to the ‘new-in’ section, but buying vintage and second-hand pieces combines the sustainability benefits of pre-loved fashion with the thrill of the vintage hunt. Try Vestiaire Collective for the best pre-loved designer shoes that are guaranteed to be genuine and in good condition.
RECYCLE & RESELL
When having a closet clear out, make it a party and host a swap shop with your friends, or do some good and send unwanted items to your local charity shop. Many charity shops to pick ups too, so do your research and make it a recurring thing to donate. Alternatively, resell your shoes on eBay, the Depop app or vintage designer sites like the aforementioned Vestiaire Collective. Aim for a one-in-one-out policy to avoid running out of space.
TEXT BY SANDRA HAGELSTAM | Photography by Puttonen RUSKA
The most coveted trends of the current season.
Combat boots – Where do we even start with this trend? The style that cooler girls half our age have been rocking regardless of the trend and season is all of a sudden solving all of our dressing dilemmas. This suit is too official – add the Pradas. This dress is too try hard – The Pradas. This all black jeans-n-knit combo is boring me to tears – Prada. See the pattern? Our heels are crying in the closet, but we are enjoying the new found freedom of stomping around town in these, so let us live a little, will you. However we can’t lie to you, these aren’t for everyone. But, we do invite you to toy with the idea of adding some Lara Croft vibes into your dressing rotation and see what happens.
SHOP THE BEST COMBAT BOOTS
Brown boots – I know we are hitting you with a pretty vague theme saying ‘brown boots’, but never has the offering of caramel coloured boots been this rich, without having suede and tassels involved. This seasons 70’s references are more glam and gown up than the usual hippy vibes that always seem to reference Woodstock, more or less. We love the croc embossed version like these and even contemplated crowning the Jimmy Choo ‘Mavis’ boots to shoe of the month.
SHOP THE BEST BROWN BOOTS
The Chunky Chelsea – This, much weaved into the first trend, also falls under the ‘lug sole’ category, but since it’s overwhelmingly the biggest trend this winter, we think it deserves two angles. The trend that was undoubtedly lead by Bottega Veneta this season, has been recreated and copied throughout the high-street collections, but it is a style that has been writing its own history for years, regardless of the trends (see Doc Martens or more fashionably Prada). A trend like this gave us joy and ease throughout the party season and is above all the most practical and durable shoe for these glorious +-0 °C days.
SHOP THE BEST CHUNKY CHELSEA BOOTS
Snake boots – The limits and recent bans of exotic leather has really challenged brands in a good way to widen the options with embossed and printed leathers. This trend is easier to master than you think, so stay with us. Someone once said that snake classifies as neutral and quite frankly we never got over that. Are we being too dramatic if we claim that this thinking actually cleared up a lot problems for us? Regardless, this a trend that seems to get stronger with every season which makes us somewhat thirsty to grow our snake boots collection.
SHOP THE BEST SNAKE BOOTS
The softer square toe – A square toe boot is pretty much the chicest thing you can wear right now. Make it a straight leg pull-on boot and you might be looking at this season’s most versatile buy. This particular pair doesn’t have the ‘duck look’ (it’s a thing) that many square toe boots have, rather an ‘updated almond’ in a softer shape, which is more subtle and forgiving. The best friend to your skinny jeans, or the new adventurous friend to tuck your high wasted trousers into. Go for a lower heel if these make you feel too dressed up – they are equally chic.
TEXT BY SANDRA HAGELSTAM | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKKO PUTTONEN
We try before you buy. This month, Daniel Lee’s best work to date.
Choosing the first SOTM feature for our new site was a no brainer, so introducing the ‘Lido’ mules by Bottega Veneta. While there have been many strong styles this season, Prada’s ‘Monolith’ combat boots, Jimmy Choo’s croc embossed ‘Mavis’ boots and all the hourglass heeled Amina Muaddi’s, no brand has quite been able to live up to the hype of Bottega Veneta’s recent success, proof in this previous article. Bottega’s big rebirth started when designer Daniel Lee stepping into the house and soon after soothed us with Céline-esque accessories with an Italian leather experience dating back to 1966. The rest is saved in our IG folder history.
We’ve loved the square toe mules ever since they appeared in their simple, turquoise glory early Summer 2019, turning even the most devoted, neutral loving minimalists to fans of neon. Quite frankly, tropical blue wasn’t what we thought our wardrobe was missing but it quickly became the modern way to do ‘colour pop’ in 2019, proving again that it’s all about the styling.
Tracking down these impossible to find mules that seemed to launch in a ‘brand new very limited edition, never before seen colour way’ every other week, became somewhat of a game, especially since the shoes were constantly praised for their comfort, timeless cut and somewhat accessible price point at £475 (obviously relative, but we’ve seen scarier price tags).
After we spent (waisted) our summer holiday refreshing the online shops and stalking even the smallest BV concession in the likes of Capri, the brand finally dropped the padded version, that we had been screenshotting ever since industry insiders got a glimpse of the upcoming collection, months back. And so the same colour hunt continued, all of a sudden there was an unexpected suede version, Mytheresa.com did an exclusive red colour way – and other materialistic, euphoric joys!
Finally, come the drop of Pre-Spring, and the release of the ‘BV Lido’ sandals. We know it’s early to dream about open toe shoes, but this pair needs to be ordered asap, because they, like many other previous styles, will sell out by the time the actual Resort collections starts to feel relevant. The heeled mules, as well as flats are currently available in six different colours, but if there is anything we’ve learned, it’s that this might be an expanding range as the retailers fight for their exclusive colour ways
Comfort: 4/5 These shoes are surprisingly comfortable, we love the padded bottom sole for extra comfort and durability. One lost point for the weight of the shoe, making it a bit chunky to lug around in. The weaved part on the top of the foot is supported, meaning they stay better on the foot than you might think.
Quality: 5/5 Full points for quality is rare on our radar. But these shoes are close to prefect with its woven intrecciato leathers and the rubber bottom sole that undoubtedly will lengthen the life of these precious shoes.
Purchase price: £940 (ouch) on bottegaveneta.com in December. The mules come in a variety of colours, as well as in flats. The plain version of the mule was introduced for SS19, got a padded update for AW19 and eventually launched in this the iconic, woven intrecciato nappa leather. Shop the range below.
Sizing: Runs somewhat on the big side, the new Bottega shoes haven’t been that consistent in size. However, we found out that how your heel sits on an open toe shoe is as personal as your medical history. Some women love a fitted heel-to-heel look, while others need that extra half an inch in the back. Either way, I think we can all agree on that when the heel of the foot tips over the shoe, it’s somewhat the end of the world.
Conclusion: These shoes really embody the ‘New Bottega’ era for us, making this the shoe that you’ll wear for a longer time. We even feel tempted to call it a ‘collectable’. We love these with skirt, jeans, straight pants, you name it, but it’s definitely a fashion shoe for the ones in the know. If you already are an owner of many New Bottega mules, you might want to rethink if these really bring something new to your wardrobe, or are the simple versions are a choice with more milage.
TEXT BY SANDRA HAGELSTAM | Photography by Mikko Puttonen
The best and most attention demanding shoes of the cruise collections.
January – the month to find joy in the most extra kind of new season footwear. Shoes that lift your mood and have people asking ‘Whereeee did you get your shoes from?’ The prettiest pumps and sandals that give you the CPR you need to get through this dark, rainy January, and that will serve you loyally in the season to come.
We agree that less is more in the aftermath of Christmas-NYE, which is why we suggest you make considered footwear choices, rather than hoarding home the whole sale section.
We’ve sourced through the web and picked the best, brightest and most extra ‘just in’ styles to help you kick start the new decade. We hope these will solve your ‘what to wear’ dressing dilemmas, as all attention will be on your shoes.
Evening shoe care 101 – a festive guide to prolonging the life of your fanciest party shoes.
Shoe care isn’t top of our list of priorities when we’re in the after-glow of a great party, deep in the group chat debrief about last night. Nonetheless, if, like us, you’re known to indulge in some post-party TLC (brunch and a facial, anyone?) it’s time to treat your shoes with the same love and care you treat yourself. They worked as hard as you did on the dance floor, after all. Looked after properly, there’s no reason why your favourite stilettos can’t survive multiple party seasons, which is good for the planet and your closet space. By looking after your heels, you’re looking after the earth – it’s one small way of taking the climate crisis in hand (or should we say foot?) Before making a new purchase, give some of these tips a go to breathe new life into old favourites, and keep this season’s shoes sparkling when the invitations start rolling in next year.
Think of your shoes like you do yourself after one too many Cosmos. Satin, silk, suede and leather respond badly to heat, sunlight and damp over time, so store them somewhere cool and dry. Don’t let your Balenciaga Knife mules languish anywhere near a window. It could lead to colour fade – a fate worse than a broken heel. Instead, store them in a dry closet, ideally on a shoe rack that’s separate from your everyday shoes. Alternatively, recycle and store them in the original box, or use cloth dust bags to protect delicate metalwork and embellishments. To preserve the shape of your shoes, invest in shoe trees, or stuff the toes with acid free paper.
Prevention is better than cure. If possible, we always try to have our shoes re-heeled and resoled long before they’re worn through. But, even if they look as though they’re on their last legs, the beauty of luxury and handmade shoes is that they’re designed to last. Many of the best shoemakers will offer an aftercare service. If they don’t, take your shoes to a local cobbler for professional cleaning and repairs. There’s life in the old girl yet.
Be careful – A stray smudge of lipstick or hand cream could do lasting damage to your shoes.
If it’s raining, you might need to reconsider wearing your Manolo Lurums. The wet is anathema to satin. We’d recommend having your shoes treated by a professional with gentle and environmentally friendly water and stain protectors. If you do get caught in the rain, soak up any excess water with a colourfast cloth and treat your shoes to a blow dry with your hair dryer on its lowest setting.
Wear your shoes in gradually around the house for a few hours at a time to preserve the structure of the shoe, and make sure your hands are clean before handling your most delicate shoes. If you’ve applied makeup for the night, a stray smudge of lipstick or residual hand cream could do lasting damage. Finally – heel stoppers might not look particularly elegant, but if you’re planning to wear heels to an outdoor event, they’ll pay dividends in terms of shoe longevity. Glamorous, we know.
The prime party season might be behind us, but some things never go out of style. Black and gold is a foolproof classic combination and we are especially fond of this Gucci par that also comes with matching rhinestones. The vintage inspired sandal is somewhat ideal for the new 20’s and will with its classic shape last you for years to come. Match with black and white, shiny satin and break it up with silver jewellery.
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