How to dress like a grown up: Step things up and show off with shoes

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Step things up and show off with shoes

  • Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s statement shoe trend
  • Suggests gem buckles on flat pumps and pairing midi dresses with long boots
  • UK-based fashion expert takes inspiration from actress Charlotte Gainsbourg 

Now seems like a good time — with September here and the new season on the horizon — for a quick recap on where we are after a game-changing 18 months in fashion.

1. We’re not interested in being bounced from one trend to the next, only in tweaks and style that lasts.

2. We don’t want separate categories of clothes for work and play, holidays and home. We want clothes we can adapt, and then a few special occasion bangers.

And 3. somewhat unexpectedly we want a dollop of OTT fabulous: a cocktail ring, a glorious print, or a Who’s That Shoe.

I know. Didn’t we say never again the stagger heel or the awkward slingback? But then, didn’t we also say we’d had it with clutter, hair dye, pointless celebrities and designer logos — and look what happened there?

Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s statement shoe trend at any occasion. Pictured: Gainsbourg

Our hankering for over-the-top footwear is back — maybe stronger than ever.

If there’s a short-cut, relatively inexpensive way to inject your look with up-to-the-minute style, it’s shoes every time — with one important condition: they must be comfortable and bring a smile to our faces. The Duchess of Sussex may wear nude suede 105mm heels while WFH, but we Normals are not. Besides, her shoes are way too boring.

Our rekindled appetite for fabulous shoes dovetails with the other big lesson we learned from a year of wearing a fraction of our wardrobe: now is the time for best.

Take your cocktail kitten heels out of their tissue wrapping and wear them with cropped trousers and a print blouse. Those suede midi boots you’d normally keep for winter are perfect for dull September days under a tent midi dress. And if you’ve always had a hankering for leopard print now’s your chance.

The only rule is don’t hesitate — go for it. Here’s our pick of the Who’s That Shoes for wearing now and later:

The slingback


  • Look for gem buckles on flat pumps
  • Wear a long boot with a midi dress
  • Black platform sandals go with everything
  • Kitten heel slingbacks are back

Saint Laurent’s patent leather, silver toe-capped slingbacks are pretty high, but the good news is that mid-kitten-heeled slingbacks are everywhere for autumn; pointy toes and high fronts are the details to look for.

Zara does a kitten-heel slingback in bright colours and ones with rhinestone buckles (both £59.99, You’ll wear them with bare feet and wide-legged trousers breaking over the toe. Zara also has flat slingbacks embellished with gold or silver studs (£45.99) for glamming up your jeans.

The leopard one

Leopard print goes with practically everything, as well as giving classic black, white and camel tailoring a frisky edge. Try some kitten-heel calf-hair courts (£259, or leopard pony flats (£17.48, Just make sure those toes are pointed.

The platform sandal

Prada did a black suede platform sandal a few years back, and now the solid suede sandal with a low ankle strap has become a one-step shortcut to adding edge, plus height and just enough dressed-up polish. This style of platform looks modern rather than retro — providing you don’t wear it with flares — and will go with everything from ankle-grazing dresses to jumpsuits. Coast has a good style in scarlet with a slightly splayed heel (£51.75,

The sexy long boot

Did you see actress Charlotte Gainsbourg at the Cannes Film Festival in crisp head-to-toe denim finished off with a high, shiny black leather boot? This boot is the one that will transform your wafty summer skirts and dresses into autumn everyday wear.

Try La Redoute for tall block-heeled boots and LK Bennett for leather styles.

Strong coloured boots, including silver and white, are big news for autumn. If you want to hedge your bets (and you probably do), wine-coloured is a good place to start (£395, Have fun!

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