I’m a latecomer to leopard print. For some reason, until I started blogging, it never occurred to me to wear it. As I’ve said many times, I’m not keen on any kind of pattern and I think I’d lumped leopard print in that category. However, back in March I dipped my toe into the water with a pair of leopard print shoes from M&S (figuratively speaking of course). They were only about £20 and a fabric print rather than ponyskin but I just wanted to give them a go and see how they worked with my wardrobe. And slowly since then they’ve become a vital part of my arsenal. Along with my snakeskin courts, I’ve found I turn to them when an outfit is looking too plain. I’ve noticed they make people smile. You tend to look at people’s feet last and I’ve spotted how people’s faces change when I’m wearing something like head to toe navy and then they get to my feet. It really is quite surprising. So, having come to this juncture I decided it was time to get rid of the rather cheap looking fabric pair and find the perfect leopard print courts.
I’ve been wearing them mostly either for work or for evenings out and on both occasions I stand a lot so a key requirement was comfort. I therefore spent a few happy evenings coming up with a shortlist. I’m guessing that it must be a bit of a saturated market for retailers because a lot of them seem to be adding a twist to their leopard print courts – a pink or cobalt edging, a bow or a metallic heel. That’s a step too far for me at this stage so it was surprising how hard it was to find shoes to try. Before I show you where I got to I should say (and I’m sure you all know this but I don’t want angry pony lovers to take against me) that ponyskin is just a turn of phrase – they are definitely cowhide – a by-product of the meat industry. I think it’s also worth pointing out the difference between leopard skin and cheetah because I kept getting confused by the different patterns which made choosing harder:
Collection Weekend by John Lewis Fleur Stiletto Court
A nice enough looking shoe but a bit stumpy and can you believe they’re synthetic – for £85!
Mint Velvet Amaya Leather Court Shoes
I prefer the look of these but they seemed a bit dull although they are a genuine leopard facsimile.
Now I’ve discovered these too late – they’re in the sale down from £65.95 to £35 but there are only a few sizes left (including mine – aaargh)! However I would just point out that you need to think about the heels if you drive – I suspect that these would rub thin at the back and down the heel pretty quickly and no-one wants a bald leopard.
These are a bit lower than I was looking for and again, don’t have reinforcement down the back of the heel. I was getting ready to give up – I’m not the most patient of shoppers when I came across these from Clarks of all places when I was ordering school shoes:
Estate Copper in leopard print
And also these Aquifer Soda in animal print
In the end, because I was ordering for the boys anyway, I added the Estate Copper to my basket and guess what – I love them (I also discovered that the well is a good place for shoe shots):
Can you see the strip down the back that will stop the fur being rubbed away and the wood effect on the heel which is more durable than animal hair? This is now the second pair of shoes I have bought from Clarks this year having bought the white and silver sandals in the summer. I know I sound like a granny but they are just unbelievably comfortable with a padded heel so that they don’t chafe and padding around the ball of the foot. We have a Tempur bed and these are the footwear equivalent. So these are my keepers for the season and until 24th September, Clarks are offering 10% off one pair or 20% off two pairs of adult shoes, just follow the link and quote BLINK at checkout.
I do also have a variation to show you. Having decided on the Clarks shoes, I did then order these in the Boden 20%… and they are beautiful. Why they have described them as khaki leopard I don’t know, they are definitely grey and they have such a lovely sheen to them that I keep on stroking them. They are also comfortable (although not quite as much so as the Clarks pair) and look great with trousers but I’m not as keen on this new shape with a dress, it foreshortens the foot a bit in my opinion. Anyway they must / should go back – it would be ridiculous to buy two pairs of leopard courts in one season wouldn’t it? I’m just going to keep them for a few more days…..
Friday’s post should cover off the last of the new things I’ve been trying, some good, some bad. I’ll be setting Boden cashmere against John Lewis – who will win? There should also be the Esprit jeans from Gray & Osbourn, a Boden dress and my pick of the new loafers. In the meantime here’s a catch up with what I’ve been wearing:
For a day of lectures etc up at the university – the shoes were great because I was standing for a lot of the time:
- Next Double cuffed shirt, past season but similar from Hawes & Curtis
- Zara belted trousers
- Zara Big Jewel Necklace
- Clarks Estate Copper Heels
- Boden skinny belt
For a day of work and meetings:
- Boden Leila Ponte Dress – last season but a few still available in the clearance section
- Boden sixties slingbacks – also now in clearance with a few left
And finally ‘Durham chic’ – a weekend of looking round the university and the lovely, lovely city with the eldest.
- Navy Barbour Steve McQueen quilted jacket (similar here)
- Jigsaw long sleeved t-shirt
- Next relaxed skinny jeans
- Boden pointed flats – last season, some still available
Thank you so much for your comments on Gray & Osbourn – it was worth your time as they’ve been in touch to tell me that they were meeting today to look through them. I know I’m coming over all Mary Portas here (actually I used to encounter her regularly when I was at Selfridges and she was at Harvey Nicks – stilettoes at dawn but that’s another story) but we over 40s need to keep talking to the retailers who are willing to listen and telling them what we need. Keep in touch, let me know if you’re in the leopard courts camp and have a good week.