If the shoe fits? Larger shoe sizes for women

If you’re a woman with average-sized or relatively small feet, you should count yourself lucky. Why? Because it’s recently come to light just how poorly served women with larger feet are in the UK. In fact, few can regularly find shoes that fit at all. But why is this the case? Why aren’t we hearing about it more – has it always been a problem?

Well, the likelihood we don’t hear about it as much as we might (and why you personally may not have) is because, of course, it doesn’t affect anything like the majority of British women – most aren’t suffering from continuous rubbed feet or toes hanging off the end of their sandals. That said, another reason it’s not talked about much is because it’s probably only a relatively recent phenomenon. And we suspect this because of statistics – according to the College of Podiatry, since the 1970s, the size of British people’s feet has increased. Starkly so, in fact – back then the average size for men was an eight and for a woman a four; it’s now a 10 and a six, respectively. That’s an increase of two whole sizes for both sexes in around 40 years.

And this fact has become an issue because the shoe industry hasn’t appreciated it and so not moved with the times to tackle it. Now, needless to say, here at Sherry’s we’ll aim to supply every woman’s size, irrespective of whether it’s about average, large or small when they choose and select women shoes from us (whether they be leather or suede beat boots or any other kind), but the wider industry simply isn’t doing a good enough job.

women-shoes

Girls wearing boys’ shoes

So much so that, when asked about it for a recent BBC report, the Society of Shoe Fitters (yes, that’s right, there is actually such a thing) claimed that around 30 percent of the inquiries from the public their spokesperson takes come from young girls wondering what to do because they can’t find any suitable shoes above a UK size eight. In the vast majority of cases, as you’d have probably guessed, girls in this boat have to swallow their pride and go for a pair of boys’ shoes.

And that really isn’t a good thing because, beyond mere aesthetic considerations, boys’ shoes don’t suit girls’ feet, for the simple reason they’re specifically designed for boys’ feet. In fact, the society claims that wearing shoes intended for boys will even alter a girl’s physiology as, when she feels her feet hurting, she’ll shift her stance in an unnatural way, which will slowly damage her joints and tendons, potentially causing issues with her ankles, hips, knees and neck later in life. The blame for this, according to the society, lays at the, er, feet of the industry; shifting its focus of production overseas to cut costs as British shoe manufacturing began to fade in the 1980s. Today, around 65 percent of the shoes produced internationally are made in China, where the average woman’s shoe size is equivalent to a three-and-a-half in Britain, owing to Chinese feet generally being smaller and narrower than those of British people.

 

A few sizes ‘fit’ all – but forever?

The net result then is, yes, bully to women requiring larger shoe sizes over here. But now that the problem is becoming a little better recognised, what does the future hold? Will it be a case of only a few shoe sizes having to fit all forever?

Happily, hopefully not. The fact is things never stand still and technology is, of course, always improving. Allied to this is that old adage; necessity is the mother of innovation. With any amount of luck, better technology should mean that personalised fittings for women whatever the size of their feet should be possible – and not at the prohibitive prices of too many of today’s handmade shoes. After all, it’s possible even now to measure your feet via phone app – how soon before that data can be sent directly to a manufacturer and an order for a pair of shoes placed? If the shoe fits, indeed…

 

Suiting up or not? What you need to know to get smart-casual right

It’s entirely understandable you might be a mite confused as to what men’s ‘smart-casual’ is supposed to mean. Many people are. It’s a fashion dress code of sorts that’s becoming ever more popular in the UK and, yes, owing to the sort of looks and garments attached to it, does crossover into the kinds of clothes that are embraced by mod culture. Indeed then, by throwing yourself into smart-casual style, it could be argued it’s a fine way to blend mod clothing into a 21st Century look that’s suitable for practically every occasion. But then, that begs the question – how do you get smart-casual right? And, frankly, what is smart-casual?

Yes, it is definitely entirely understandable smart-casual as a phrase may stump you – after all, it sounds like a contradiction in terms. A phrase made up of two words that, together, seem to create an oxymoron (like ‘true lies’ or ‘deafening silence’), but best not to get fixated on that! Best to look past it and get into the nitty-gritty of where smart apparel and informal casualwear meld seemingly so effortlessly in order to look just right when you attend that dressy party or all-important job interview at that trendy firm you’d love to work for.

formal

Formal vs. informal

Essentially, smart-casual itself splits into two different categories – formal and informal (a little confusing? Stick with us here). Now, for men, the formal version of smart-casual is usually achieved via a jacket or blazer, a shirt with a collar, needlecord-style trousers or chinos and smart shoes (trainers are a no-no here, for sure). A sweater may work under the jacket if it’s cold, but be careful not to push it.

The informal version is, naturally, a little more relaxed – and may be where mod-style clothing feels more at home. In most cases, it means you can substitute smartish, dark coloured jeans for smarter trousers. Shorts – when it’s warm and summery – are probably taking it too far; light trousers would be better. And polo t-shirts, that old mod clothing London staple, are probably a better bet than collarless t-shirts. As a rule, if you’re unsure whether formal or informal smart-casual would be more suitable for an occasion, if possible check with a host or an event organiser. Better to be safe – and on-trend – than sorry!

Make or breaks

Finally, the following are all golden rules when it comes to smart-casual:

  • Comfortable shoes but not too comfortable– in all fairness, the smart-casual dress code probably always looks better with smarter shoes (mod-friendly too then); if you really want to go the comfortable route, though, think nice-looking, light suede shoes and no trainers!
  • Unstructured blazers– perhaps the essential part of the smart-casual look, it’s important to get the blazer you choose right; it shouldn’t have shoulder pads, be a tad shorter than the smarter alternatives and lightness, both in style and weight, is a winner here (remember the casual side of smart-casual; too smart a blazer and you’re veering towards ‘smart alone’)
  • Lighter shades– you ought to be careful with light colours when it comes to any sort of look that has ‘smart’ in its title, of course, but they’ll help bring out the ‘casual’ in smart-casual; a safe choice here is always a crisp, white polo t-shirt with a collar (smart) with its naturally breezy look and short-sleeves (casual)
  • If you’re not sure, go formal rather than casual –a solid rule of thumb this one, as it’s always better to look over- rather than under-dressed when it comes to smart-casual; you shouldn’t forget the ‘smart’ here because you are supposed to be ‘making the effort’ with smart-casual, don’t forget, and you can always tone down the look as you build it by replacing a couple of items and going for looser, freer options.

Perking up your workwear: top tips for women’s everyday outfits

In recent years, office wear has mostly gone in one direction – more casual. Obviously, this is big news; changes (let alone revolutions like this) in men’s workwear are unusual because, generally, it’s something that tends to offer less opportunity for variation than women’s workwear. Indeed, fashions and trends come and go and have done so many times over the decades when it comes to women’s office wear. But where do we stand today? What can you do to spruce up what you wear from day-to-day in the office?

As you might expect, as it has for men, the (admittedly mostly) unspoken rules regarding workwear for women have relaxed this decade. Less uniformity, more self-expression and definitely a greater sense of style has crept in. But while work outfits have undeniably become less conservative, it’s more about subtly going in a direction you’re more comfortable with rather than being bold, brazen or even outrageous in what you appear in about the office.

work-place

Express yourself in the workplace

To wit, for many decades, neutral, dark and pale tones were de rigeur; there was a blandness and rigidity to how a woman was expected to be turned out at work. The relaxation here, though, means monotone blazers (of a wide variety of shades) are now acceptable, along with the likes of nattily stylish flared pants, jackets and capes (not just the old died-in-the-wool office cardigans) and prints of all different kinds (especially floral). And don’t overlook the potency – again in a subtle way – that minimal and timeless accessories can lend a look in seeking more individuality.

And, don’t doubt, it’s now perfectly acceptable – with women’s workwear today enabled to properly embrace passing trends and classic fashions – to throw on a mod-style mini-dress, should you want to, such as one of the Sherry’s 60’s vintage dresses. Any of them would be ideal for the office when complemented by matching tights.

office-wear

Office wear ideas

As with so many other things, the devil’s in the detail when it comes to putting together a suitable but appealingly stylish and comfortable outfit for the office. More specifically then, here are some ideas for you to consider:

  • Monotones– this is where you can rely on the classics (blacks/ navy blues and whites and so on) and it’s very simple to do effectively, of course, not requiring too much effort; especially if you’re running late of a morning and need to throw together a quick, acceptable outfit that blends, say, a blazer, trousers and accessories
  • Skirts– we’ve mentioned dresses, but don’t forget how chic and flattering a pencil-skirt can be; put together with a matching top and tidy, stylish accessories, the whole can make for a wonderfully comfortable but agreeable outfit for work
  • Prints– again, mentioned above, prints (not least safe-ish florals) are terrific ways to spice up your workwear appearance away from wearing monotones every day; they also offer an opportunity for experimentation with the chance to give geometric and subtly funky designs a go and, when paired with a blazer and a necklace, immediately generates a sophisticated look that’s ideal for business and client meetings, job interviews and nights out after work
  • Shades– don’t overlook pastel shades; long a mainstay of the women office-worker’s wardrobe, of course, there’s no need to abandon them altogether should the constituent parts of an outfit offer a nice slice of design flair; as ever, subtlety ought to be a watch-word, but don’t pass over bolder shades either like those always appealing deep reds and natural greens
  • Long jackets and capes– lending an outfit a genuinely bold but designer-friendly outer layer, either of these additions are fine investments for your workwear collection; indeed, to be seen dressed in one on arrival at an important meeting suggests you mean business, but also know your own mind and are comfortable in your own skin (in short, you immediately demand respect).

Dress-down dilemma? Finding the right suit in a casual-dress age

There’s no getting away from it; feeling comfortable in the clothes you wear is very much in nowadays, pretty much whatever you do for a living. And for most people, apart from those who like to look as smart as possible at every opportunity, living in an era of dressing-down suits them just fine. But ‘suits’ is the operative word here. What, if you’re a man, do you do about buying a suit today? What’s the criteria? How ‘dressy’ should you go? And once you’ve bought one, how should you wear it? What are the rules? It’s not really clear anymore.

Quite frankly, many, of course, would claim none of that matters; it’s not a big deal. Indeed, the major bank JP Morgan announced last year that it was moving to a ‘business casual’ dress code for its employees. A bank doing this? If investment bankers no longer see it as a necessity to purchase a suit, what on earth will be the classic two-piece’s future? Surely, it’s a sign – if there were any – that the suit’s role as essential office wear is over; so, does that mean it basically leaves buying one as something we’ll do for… well, fun?

To be blunt, yes, it could. After all, already it’s more likely you’ll see people wearing suits with trainers than with tails. And how many suit aficionados are there today to wear theirs with a properly arranged ‘pocket square’ handkerchief? A suit nowadays isn’t so much carefully worn as thrown on without formality – with crew-neck sweaters, t-shirts underneath and even hoodies. Purists may shudder, break out in a sweat and be sick to their stomachs at what’s transpired, but here we are; it’s the 21st Century, this is the new suit-wearing normal and it’s simply a case of liking or lumping it.

Designer developments

Indeed, it’s not just today’s ‘yoof’ driving this rebellion against the suit-as-work-and-social-uniform, the world’s top clothing designers are getting in on the act now too. At this year’s autumn/ winter Dior Homme show, suits with cropped sleeves and twinned with trainers were to be seen on the catwalk, as too were skinny-fitting suits with ankle straps and hip-hop-inspired hats. And the spring/ summer collections for next year all about stripping away the veneer of luxury and sophistication that comes with an exquisite suit, thanks to theirs – believe it or not – prominently featuring stitches and even tailors’ chalk.

  mens-striped-boating-blazer

Yes, it’s all up for grabs – suddenly, dressing in a mod suit or a men’s striped boating blazer because it’s something that expresses your personality and style doesn’t seem outlandish at all and entirely acceptable, doesn’t it?

Choosing your suit

So much for where we are – and where we’re heading – with the suit. How to choose the one that’s right for you? Well, as ever, it’s important to focus on a few things and get clear in your mind what’s important to you and so what your suit should do for you. To start off with, a single- or double-breasted jacket? Generally, the single-breasted look can be slim (tailored for your waist, à la the oh-so cool mod look of the 1960s) or boxier (more of a 1950s look), while the double-breasted style – actually enjoying something of a comeback – is potentially all about adding flair to your wardrobe options (providing a look that’s reminiscent of the 1940s).

Something that’s unavoidable in this discussion is price – good suits tend to be expensive, but you pay for quality, by and large. Off-the-peg efforts are, naturally, ready-to-wear and so cheaper; they’re not tailored but sized generically. Conversely, made-to-measure suits are bespoke – like those provided by Sherry’s ‘Tailoring’ service – and tend to superior not just in cut but also lining and the fabrics they’re made from.

All in all, as you’re likely to be purchasing a suit today not as a uniform but as a garment that’s all about personal preference and self-expression, it’s up to you. And surely that’s a good thing. The old rules no longer apply; you’re free to make them up yourself. So, choose your suit – and wear it – as you want, but wisely.

Women’s Fashion Autumn/Winter 2016: Our Favourite Mod Styles

We have a fantastic collection for your autumn and winter wardrobe 2016. We’ve taken in orders from a range of high-end Mod designers, all carefully chosen to reflect the tastes of our wonderful customers. Whoever you are, if you’re into Mod fashion, you will find some great gems amongst our autumn winter collection. Continue reading “Women’s Fashion Autumn/Winter 2016: Our Favourite Mod Styles”

Understanding How a Boating Blazer Fits in a Mod’s Wardrobe

A boating blazer is a great way to add some style to your wardrobe. If you love the Mod fashions, then you can’t go wrong with a blazer. In fact, it’s a staple item in the wardrobe of any self-confessed Mod, as you well know!

Today, we’re going to delve into the fashion a little more deeply and look at some of the fantastic options on offer this season. You can buy boating blazers from the bricks-and-mortar shops, or from the internet; it makes no difference. All you need to know are a few basics, which we’ll show you below. Continue reading “Understanding How a Boating Blazer Fits in a Mod’s Wardrobe”

Gabicci: Autumn/Winter Trends for 2016

So, you like Gabicci? Good choice! They are one of our favourite labels here at Sherry’s London, and they’re always one of our fastest selling lines. That’s no surprise: the people of London are known for their fantastic choice in fashion! (That’s what we tell ourselves, at any rate). Continue reading “Gabicci: Autumn/Winter Trends for 2016”

The Ultimate Guide to Mod Fashions for Winter 2016

Today, we’re going to be taking a sneaky peek at this season’s biggest trends in mod fashions. You’ll notice that there are some key themes this year, centring around the need for adventure, the celebration of architecture, and, of course, a big dash of nostalgia – the latter of which is simply expected of the genre, regardless of season. Continue reading “The Ultimate Guide to Mod Fashions for Winter 2016”