Tom wears Toms

It is the summer, it is warm in England (so far) so it is time to purchase sandals. I am sure this purchase decision will doom the longevity if the sunny spell, but I have dusted off my nail polish in anticipation.

I dont want to faff with elaborate buckles, gladiator-esque wraps of leather. I’m a Mum so I need to slip on and go (but am not into the pool slider thing – that’s just dangerous. I also plan to go out on a boat a few times this year, but dont want to do the sailie crew deck shoe look either (reminds me of nineties school days when they were momentarily the ‘in’ thing to wear as school shoes and many of my contemporaries had the Kickers versions and would coil up the leather laces so that they hung like a jewish hairdo either side of their feet (not that there is anything wrong with a jewish hairdo, it is just better on the head not the feet).

So I am thinking espadrilles..

In my book if you are going to buy espadrilles you have to buy Toms – they do buy one get one pair free (except the other pair get given to someone who needs a pair of shoes in a third world/ developing country so it is all good. I am in to social enterprises so I am literally voting with my feet on this one.

The question is, what style to go for? There are so many. Do I play it safe with a dark or neutral colour or do I go on the zaney side? I wonder if I buy a pair covered in silver bling will a duplicate pair grace the feet of someone in the favellas of Brazil? I like to think they have a choice of the similar range but am guessing this might be a bit too much to ask for.

To make way for another pair of shoes in the household, my husband has a ‘one pair in, one pair out policy’. Over the years I have worked out ways to get round this (they are not mine they are my friends etc etc) but he has cottoned on to every excuse and has also developed the ability to spot a new pair as soon as he enters the house. He also has a good memory (in this area not others annoyingly). Sometime I buy a pair, shove them under the bed or in the attic for a while and then bring them down a few months later hoping that wont remember what my shoe collection even looks like. Nah, that doesnt work either…..’are they new’?

Before you think I am the brow-beaten dismissive ‘wife’, he cannot make any purchasing decision over £10 without my contribution – I dont insist on this, he is just a bit rubbish at making decisions. Of course it is me that gets the blame if the purchase goes wrong in any way….

If you fancy following in my footsteps (and millions of others), check out (btw they do ore than just espadrilles, although that is their bread and butter)

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.


the people’s fashionista

I am a big fan of social enterprises, those that benefit other people and support fair trade as well as the bottom line.

I received some combat trousers from Next the other day and was shocked at how appallingly made they were. The stitching was all jagged and frayed and the material was flimsy to say the least, you could almost picture the sweat shop that it came from somewhere in Asia. When you hear on the news that they are making record-breaking profits, you have to wonder about their profit margins.

People Tree is a company that offers fair trade fashion. It is obviously more expensive than Next but the cotton it uses is thicker and softer, the quality vastly superior and their ethical credentials excellent. Their catalogues feature pictures of the people in India who make the clothing and how People Tree are ensuring they get a fair deal and work in good conditions. It is not just marketing spiel, they really do care. However, their designs are just not for me. I have tried to wear a few of their dresses and they just make me feel fat and old – never a good combo. So I tend to stick to their two piece sets as I find these more flattering. I wish they did shoes, as I have yet to find a good fair trade shoe label.

Children’s clothing is slightly better with the range of fair trade brands, with Frugi being my favourite. From time to time Marks and Spencer sell products using Fair trade cotton, but this doesn’t extend across their range.

I think fashion still has a long way to go on ethical trading, which is why I am more comfortable hunting for items in charity shops than flicking through the sale rail of a high street brand.

Kate Middleton has been commended for supporting the British high street but I would like to see her using her profile to raise awareness of fair trade and wear brands that promote the social enterprise business model. She would be doing far more good this way – Baby George should be dressed ethically too.

I am blogging every day for UNICEF – cluck here if you can support the campaign.

Thanks for reading.