As I write this, the rain is pounding on my window and shows no sign of letting up. I have been in denial about the onset of autumn and steadfastly wearing my sneakers. Digging my heels in, as it were. It’s still warm, so I’m not giving up on bare legs just yet, but the time has come to trade my summer shoes for something more sturdy. So off my red satin Manolo flats go to the menders (or should I say miracle-workers, in the case of KG Shoes on Eversholt Street in Camden) for a new sole, a new heel and some tlc. I do this with all my summer shoes so they are good as new when I unpack them next spring.
Anyway, back to rainy October. I’ve lived through 42 British winters (save for a few years in Paris and Vancouver, but it rained there too) so you’d think I’d be ready for it. But no. It always takes me by surprise and somehow leaves me wondering what on earth I wore this time last year.
It could have been my cherished, beaten up pair of python cowboy boots, bought from R Soles on the King’s Road some fifteen years ago. They are great with most things, but the water seeps into the leather sole so they’re definite dry-day shoes. Or my Le Chameau fleece-lined wellies, a lovely gift from my husband who got fed up of me moaning about cold, wet feet. They certainly do the job, but more for the Welsh mountains than a meeting at a silk-carpeted designer boutique. I do have other options, so of course I can make do. But if I were to upgrade, here’s where I’d go.
My selection of top 5 flats for winter.
1. Francesco Russo box leather loafers (below), £595. matchesfashion.com
Even as recently as last year, the only places you could get your hands on a pair of Francesco Russo‘s shoes was at his boutique in Paris or Bergdorf Goodman in New York. He’s best-known known for his incredibly glamourous, sexy heels, so imagine my surprise – and delight – at finding these sturdy, elegant, winter flats. They are gorgeous with a bare foot (I know, not for long), a sock or thick tights. They give a modern edge to pretty dresses too.
2. Dries Van Noten Flatform oxford shoes (below), £495. Selfridges.
I really, really dislike platform soles. But with these I’m eating my words. Ok, so they’re only 1.5″ high but they have a definite platform sole and are the first pair of big bad guys that I would actually wear. I have always liked chunky shoes on other people, but on me they feel ridiculous. These, however, feel quite swish (the leather is shiny, not quite patent) and the extended sole has the effect of making the foot seem more slender, so they’re not like wearing bricks. They’re lightweight, super-comfy, with a practical rubber sole. Playful, grown-up fashion.
3. Saint Laurent signature jodhpur ankle boot (below), £620. Selfridges.
Just enough heel, not too much. Just enough point, not too much. How does Saint Laurent do it every season? (I know how…but her name is sacred…and she’s wanted by all of the top fashion houses, unsurprisingly). I’d style these with any old jean and any old jumper, because that’s all you’d need.
4. Spice by C Doux – 7201 (below). £249. Spice Shoes
If you like the Saint Laurent look but your shoe budget won’t stretch that far, these are a fine alternative. The last is really good, so they’re flattering and comfy. The leather is beautiful (the photo doesn’t do them justice). These are available at Spice’s lovely little boutique in Primrose Hill – where I have been going for years, specifically for C Doux (their own line). Now available online too.
5. Prada lace-ups in orchid pink (below), £730. Prada
How I love to end a post on something pink. Not only pink, but orchid pink, if you please. And patent. With colour-matched laces. And an illustration of a daffodil on the toe. They might take a bit more thought on the styling front, but if these don’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.