Shoespiration: Monk straps and En Brogue

Grenson Single monstrap

The Grenson single monk strap

Having briefly dabbled with a heel when I was 14 and trying to gain entry to the Over 21 night Tiffanys nightclub in Hull, I soon realised that A. height has nothing to do with deception and B. high heels were designed to cripple woman and no self respecting feminists would buy into a fashion item that disables them to the point of torture.

Even when required to dress up for an occasion, the highest I will ever go is a mid height block heel – my Orla Kiely for Clarks (the A/W range is out on the 5th of Sept) are the only heels I can wear all day – but for every day wear my absolute footwear of choice is always a flat shoe.

Finding the perfect flat shoe can be tricky and requires spending a little more than one might usually. But I figure £200+ on a beautiful pair of well made shoes that will last me a lot longer than a pair of heels from both a quality and fashion perspective –  is an actual saving. Although I do get slightly perplexed that ‘designer’ shoes now seem to cost £350 upwards – surely no shoe can be that luxe?

Over the few years my go to brand for quality, reasonably priced flat shoes is Grenson. They manage to get the combination of classic and fashion just right and most importantly don’t try to feminise their range too much – as for me there is nothing worse that a girly version of a classic brogue. I basically want a smaller version of the mens shoes I love – so much so that had I been born in the 30s I may well have been one of those women who dresses as a man.

So this season I have chosen the lovely simple single Monk strap in black and will be wearing them with all black everything or a contrasting combination of ridiculous clashing colours and polka dot tights – think Edna Mode meets Siouxsie Sioux.

If you are the kind of woman who knows a derby from a brogue and Tassel loafers from penny loafers, you might want to check out a new book from the writer of the excellent blog En Brogue.

En Brogue

Hannah Rochell is a style writer on InStyle magazine and is a lover of fashion and comfort who steadfastly refuses to wear high shoes. Her blog and up and coming book features stylish flat shoes, inspiration on how to wear them and facts about your favourite flats, all beautifully illustrated by Hannah.

En brogue 2En Brogue is out on September the 11th and available here.


  • Julia says:

    Great post, thanks Jane x

  • Sue says:

    I’ve come round to Monkstraps. At first I completely hated them, but I did get a pair of heavily discounted Rupert Sanderson ones at the end of last winter and I hope they will be lasting a long long time. Are the Grenson shoes quite heavy to wear? They look like they have a pleasing heft, anyway. Lovely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *