Monday, 17 February 2014

What To Wear To London Fashion Week | Heels vs Flats

The London Fashion Week Dilemma: Heels vs Flats #LFW
What to wear to London Fashion Week... This is my first major crisis (as far as blogger crises go) to hit me this year. I know, I know, #firstworldproblems. I went to LFW for the first time in September last year, tentative LFW newbie that I was, and I took ages to choose what to wear: I went for a vintage shirt, a trench coat draped around my shoulders, black skinnies and my teetering black pointed heels in the end. I'm still really happy with the outfit when I look back at it now - but ohhhh the heels. My feet got wet. My feet ached. They got so cold I think they even shrunk a bit because my shoes kept slipping off the backs of my heels as I walked.

I'm normally really good at walking in heels. In fact I can even run in them, à la Carrie in Sex and the City when she's running around the streets of New York trying to find Aidan's dog (remember that episode? Aidan's dog was called Pete. She lost Pete). But as I wrote in my post about my first time at LFW, Somerset House is all cobblestones and not at all suitable for some of the incredible six inch-high Louboutins you see adorning the fashionistas' feet. And all that walking round Somerset House then onto Starbucks on Kingsway to recharge (you and your mobile phone) and back to Somerset House again does make you wish for something more comfortable. I vowed that should I go again, it would be in flats.


BUT flats make for difficult wardrobe choices. Not only that but (dare I say it), for me, heels often just make an outfit. And would I feel awkward about not being a true fashionista by daring to go for comfort over style? (More First World problems.) I don't know if they'll let me in the entrance if they see me clomping through far too easily in flat shoes (I might even be smiling due to having comfy feet, and that may be worse). So what's it to be - heels or flats? Is there some sort of compromise? It was a question I was pondering when high-fashion shoe brand Moda in Pelle contacted me to ask me to pick some styles that I'd consider wearing to Fashion Week. It was the perfect opportunity to think about the pros and cons of each (and try to resist being swayed by some pretty but impractical heels). I've picked out a few pairs that may help me make my mind up - in the meantime what would you do? Which would you wear to Fashion Week if you were going?



Hankering after high heels
Moda in Pelle Nixie Black Leather Heels & Kace White Heels
I can't help it - I love heels. Whether a fierce boot like the Nixie black leather shoe boot, or an ankle strap number like the black and white Kace heels, these two don't do anything to encourage me to ditch style for comfort. I am loving the black boots - the mixture of patent and leather and the two big buckles would look great with slim trousers or skinny jeans and a fabulous coat (now that is an essential in London in February). And just imagine the ankle strap heels with a full Fifties-style midi skirt, or the lilac Asos skirt I wore the other day - heels heaven. Put a pair of these heels with any dress or skirt and you're onto a winner, but there is a but... it means lots of taxi fares. I couldn't possibly walk all the way from the tube station to Somerset House in these. That leads me onto what comfier alternatives there are - can flats really do it for me at LFW?


The case for fabulous flats

Moda in Pelle Faxon Pewter Trainers & Fantom Black Trainers

In my search for some stylish flats, my head was totally turned for these two pairs: the Pewter Faxon lace-ups (left), and the Black Fantom slip-on trainers (right). At less than £80 each they won't break the bank, and ohhh I love them both. Flats don't come cooler than this. This is sports luxe at its best; the metallic is just that little bit more edgy than a plain matt colour for the lace ups, and the two-tone Fantom style is the sporty equivalent of heels with a coloured toe (and my favourite of the four so far). Both would go with just about any outfit as they're pretty neutral in colour. But - and this is the problem I have with flats - unless I'm pottering around at home I usually only wear flats with trousers. Skirts and flats on me: I hate to admit it, but it's a no - I want the leg-lengthening effect of heels to help me feel suitably fierce enough for LFW if I'm wearing a skirt.


The stylish compromise
Moda in Pelle Crosby Burgundy Wedge Trainers
The best compromise surely are heels that are comfy. It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but they do exist (I have many pairs to prove it). Wedges are the key - and if you can find a wedge style that will stay on your feet and keep your warm and show a bit of fashion flair then you're onto a winner. Love 'em or hate 'em, wedge trainers are the perfect compromise. The Burgundy Crosby wedge trainers, like the flats above, also take inspiration from the sports luxe trend but as they're leather they're just that little bit smarter. The stud detailing is fabulous. They'd work with trousers and jeans and - dare I say it - I'd even wear them with a skirt or dress. But it has to be a shorter hemline as this style is just not right with midi lengths (personally I think midi lengths suit heels and only heels).



The conclusion
So what's my verdict? I have to admit I had a good case for the wedge compromise, but there's still something about compromising itself that's so unappealing. Heels require cab fares and the risk of aching feet, and flats mean I'm restricting my wardrobe choices. You know what? Flats do it for me this time. It's made me realise that although I love fashion (and I never, ever, want to get to a stage where I'm apathetic about my appearance), I have a limit. London is hard work - I lived and worked there for many years and know how exhausting travelling around on the tube and the buses and walking in between can be. I would rather, in all honesty, be warm, comfortable and actually get to relax a little and enjoy the whole experience; I can only do that in flats - or a very comfy heel. And they don't come along very often.

I'll leave the fierce heels to the FROW fashionistas and celebrities who get cabs or their driver to drop them off outside Somerset House. Me - I'll happily clomp through. But it will be in truly fabulous flats, sweetie.

Catherine x
I have written this post in collaboration with Moda in Pelle. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

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30 comments

  1. I think this is the perfect year to give into flats--- sneakers made so many appearances on runways (including the couture show) that they are both a comfortable and stylish option!

    ~Alexis Grace of North On Harper

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    1. Now that I'm back from LFW I can say that yes - a lot of the shows did have models in flats, you're right Alexis!!

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  2. There's a whole heap of different shoes out there other than just high stilettos or sneakers! There are cool formal flats that give the same effect at heels i.e. shiny patent, pointy toes, there are those flats with 2-3 inch block heels (fashionable, but I think they're ugly). In this weather - there are boots of all sorts, from wedge heels to kitten heels... the world is your oyster.

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    1. Hmm I have to say I'm with you on the flatforms, Eleanor - just not my cup of tea...!

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  3. I think you chose well - now you can still look fabulous and have more energy to run around! Have a wonderful time, xox

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    1. Thank you Patti - it was good fun! Cold and a bit wet, but one of the days was lovely weather-wise... I actually did heels and flats in the end!

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  4. I love heels too - my 5'1" self practically screams for them - but I'm finding myself wincing every time I have to choose between them and flats. My alternative? I'm thinking brogues. Or Oxfords. Or spats. Aw, heck, you know what I'm talking about! I'm also digging the aesthetic that a vibrant pair of Chuck Taylors brings to the table. I guess I'm morphing from classic chic to sporty chic the later on in years I'm getting?

    M @ http://www.myclosetcatalogue.com

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    1. Hi Maricel (just took a sneaky look at your blog!) As another 5' 1" - if I'm honest, it's more like 5' and a bit - and a slightly older blogger than you, I agree with preferring to wear flats as we get older. OK, while I'm being honest, maybe I'm more than slightly older: the title of my blog (Over60andoverhere) is a bit of a give-away! I reckon Catherine, in her fabulous flats, will look as stylish as ever, with the bonus of comfortable feet!

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    2. Aww bless you Sue - thank you! My posts with my LFW outfits will be up soon, you'll see I mixed it up a bit! x

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  5. I am a big fan of heels but heels and cobblestone just don't mix well. I know that a lot of fashion bloggers that live in the city tend to wear some foldable flats during the commute and put on their heels when they arrive at their destination.

    I like to wear platform heels which tends to be easier on the feet or some pretty wedges. I do like the pewter sneakers you picked out.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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    1. I have some of those foldable flats, Alice! They work brilliantly for a night out but wouldn't stand up to walking round London in the rain :( And I agree with you about the wedges!

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  6. I'd have gone with the boots, still got a heels but far kinder in the feet when running around. I've never been to fashion week though sigh so don't know how tough it is on your feet
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

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    1. It tends to be the fact that you're running around London and getting on and off the underground, plus standing around waiting to go into the shows - no different really to any full day spent in a big city Lauren! But I do love those black boots too!!

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  7. I'm a girl who wears heels for grocery shopping and a stroll on the boardwalk, dear Catherine!! But that being said, I also know there's usually our car waiting to take me home again...don't know if I'd want to do all that walking, and then still have a (possibly standing!) tube ride ahead of me!! Plus, we don't have cobblestones here in Vancouver!! So kudos on choosing the flats...those Fantoms are pretty cool!!

    www.StyleIsMyPudding.com

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    1. Ohhh cobblestones are a pain in loads of towns and cities in the UK, especially when you wear heels out in the evening! I love the Fantoms too... trying to resist adding them to basket ;)

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  8. Good choice ;-) I'm all for flats for walking and running around. I save the heels for special occasions.

    Monica, www.pear-shaped-gal.com

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  9. I would have gone in flats too Catherine. In as much as one wants to be stylish, comfort my dear makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.

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    1. Agree 99.9%, Elsie!! Heehee the 0.1% roots for heels :)

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  10. I love a good pair of heels -- when I know how much walking I'll be doing and it's not much. As a girl who commuted two hours (the train, subway, and walking) to design school and a woman who now takes the bus and walks home, flats are an obvious choice to me.

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  11. Ooooh I like the compromised the best! I vote for that! I always find that wedges are a good compromise for style and comfort.

    Stephanie
    http://www.vainandsimple.com/

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  12. Everybody else will be in heels, you will be the cool one in the Fantoms(or similar awesome flats)! :o)

    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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  13. I love both so I would alternate between the two and find an outfit that matches both! ;)

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  14. Fab post Catherine! I think I'd go for the wedge! Xxx love Liz xxx

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  15. I love flats and I was doing the same veredict!

    xxx

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  16. Hi, I'd go for flats, but I do love a heel also. Love the pearls !!
    Sue bestfriendstyle.com

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  17. I love heels too and I have the Isabel Marant hidden heel sneakers which I love. However, my confidence is related with the hight of my heels (tall girl syndrome I call it). So, I solved the problem in NYFW last year by having a pair of ballerina flats in my tote.
    x
    Nina
    http://trendsurvivor.com

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    1. Good plan, Nina! I know what you mean about heel height and confidence :)

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  18. Please carry on voting for Catherine!!! I tried to vote but can't as it's less than 24 hours since my last vote, however someone else has crept into the lead!!! I'll keep on trying.....!

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