Much like the way a chef needs to know how to perfectly execute a range of recipes (everything from complicated showstoppers to simple crowd pleasers), we think every woman should be equipped with a diverse repertoire of shoe styles. If heels are the footwear equivalent of a fancy soufflé, then surely flats are like an omelet: seemingly basic but deceptively simple. This is especially true when it comes to menswear-inspired soles; though they are a bit more difficult to incorporate into an outfit, when worn correctly, the end result is outrageously delicious. To help you achieve your own recipe for styling success, we have gathered a gaggle of celebrity examples- such as Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, and Alexa Chung-to give you a few tips for wearing these unisex pieces in the correct way. Remember, we are spotlighting the three top borrowed-from-the-boys looks (brogues, loafers, and jazzy lace-ups, to be exact!) not with the intention to tempt you to ditch your Loubs or Tribs forever, but rather to provide you, dear readers, with some smart options for those days when you would rather keep your shoe selection a little more down to earth! Whichever you decide to sample, we hope you enjoy the footwear feast we have selected for you!
For the uninitiated, the language of masculine shoes can be a bit tricky. Luckily, we have all the pertinent information so that you will be well-versed in the styles and well heeled! We'll start with the most popular of our unisex shoes: brogues. Blame Agyness Deyn for the recent resurgence of these serious flats, which are typically laced, made from heavy leather, and boast a perforated toecap decoration. The brand that is emblematic of this style-Church's, the esteemed British purveyors of hand-crafted brogues since 1873-were once reserved for London bankers and the landowning elite, but now they're available on net-a-porter.com! Even more proof that these lace-ups are making their mark: George Esquivel, a cobbler from Southern California, was just honored with a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination for his heavenly hand-made goods. We happen to love his pink-and-brown Juliana Oxfords ($595) best, though we highly recommend you check out his entire collection! Of course, Deyn and the CFDA-judges aren't the only ones championing this look; in fact, this style is becoming popular among fashionable women everywhere. For instance, The City's Whitney Port used a pair of black-and-white brogues to punctuate her tomboy-inspired ensemble. Seen here taking a stroll in New York City, she mixed Topshop's Kameryn Brogues ($125) with Current/Elliott's The Boyfriend Jean ($288) in Super Love Destroyed, Wildfox's Rose Raglan Tee ($85) and DOMA's Cropped Washed Leather Biker Jacket ($630). While the whole ensemble looks fantastic, we appreciate the way her perforated soles add a little bit of polish to her more rough-and-tumble pieces; try Steve Madden's Melin Brogues ($100) for a posh alternative.
Next, we'll turn the spotlight on the loafer, which has been on our radar for some time now. We discussed the preppy version-penny loafers-last autumn, but today's slip-on du jour is a little more sophisticated than that fifties sock-hop staple. Kate Moss, for example, was spotted wearing a black patent pair of Repetto's Jackson Flats ($255) out and about in London. As the influential Moss looked casual and chic in her simple shoes, worn with a cropped pair of cigarette pants and a tailored tuxedo jacket, we fully expect these classic flats to have a presence throughout the end of summer and well into fall. Of course, Ms. Moss isn't the only one endorsing the loafer; fellow Brit and beloved fashion plate Alexa Chung also wore a wonderfully worn-in pair of brown seventies-style slip-ons to Bolongaro Trevor & Pearl Lowe's Vintage Collection launch in London. The MTV hostess created an interesting contrast when she combined her masculine loafers with a body-con mini and black tights. Though Chung's Russell & Bromleys flats are a vintage treasure, we can recommend Bass' Wayfarer Weejun Loafers ($90) as a comparable choice.
We'll close today's footwear-focused report with the most niche style of the bunch, but one that's poised to have a major presence come fall: the Jazzy Lace-Up. As the name would lead you to believe, the jazz shoe, with its split-sole and low heel, was designed to provide dancers with both flexibility and optimal traction. Of course, the chic set has co-opted the understated, laced style for their own sartorial purposes. Repetto's white lace-up was the shoe of choice French singer and sex symbol, Serge Gainsbourg (husband of Jane Birkin and father of Charlotte), but we are over the moon for Sienna Miller's yellow Christian Louboutin version. While her Fred Flats ($550) are no longer available in the lemon hue, the Louboutin boutique in New York's West Village (212.255.1910) is currently stocked with the same shoe in an icy blue hue. They're also available online in more autumnal hues, such as oxblood and black patent, or you can opt to make a truly flashy statement in the Glitter Lace-Ups ($595). If you have your heart set on a canary-colored option, we can recommend D. CO 730's Brazil Flat ($184), but we are also fans of the authentic brands, too. Repetto's Zizi Lace Ups ($270) or Leo's Econo Jazz Oxfords ($38) both remind us of our brief flirtation with modern dance and our favorite Fosse films. These comfortable flats are the perfect compliment for either a sharply tailored suit or a floral mini dress with bare legs. However, if you're mad about Miller's styling choices, mix them with a pair of voluminous cuffed trousers, a boxy t-shirt, and a must-have handbag, like her Sofia Coppola-designed Louis Vuitton Suede Asphalt Bag ($3730, 866.884.8866).