Alternative title: 40% off looking smart when you have to wear trainers (priceless)
As I have written about several times, I am a fan of embellished trainers. If you have to wear trainers all the time for foot health (I certainly had a long stint when I was recovering from surgery on my legs) then you need options beyond jeans and jogging bottoms.
One of the problems with wearing trainers is trying to smarten them up, especially if you work somewhere you need to dress a certain way. I think embellished trainers actually look better with tailoring than casual clothes because there is a contrast between the clothes and shoes, but the embellishment ties it together, so you don’t look like you lost your shoes at the gym in your lunch-break.
Uterqüe are currently doing 40% of selected footwear, which includes their sparkly trainers, and they’re all really good.
I think these are my favourites; I like the ribbon detail, and monochrome always looks good and it’s easier to style:
But I also really like these too:
And there’s a green hi-top version, I really like how they look with the shirt and skirt:
And I also love these:
And if you prefer to keep it subtle, these little pearl embellishments are removable:
And for smart trousers, my favourite place is still ME+EM, I especially like this side stripe pair, and you can see they look pretty good with trainers:
I also love this dress, and it would look great with the hi-tops above:
But for a cheaper option, Zara has some good work trousers:
and knitted dresses that would look great with trainers:
Citadel is a newish one-day festival. Three years old this year and set in London, it is, on paper, a festival I would enjoy: it’s close enough to my house not to have to stay over anywhere, and it fields the sort of music that I like. However, it’s been my experience that festivals in or close to London are not as fun as those outside London. In order to live in London, people forget how to interact with each other in a civil manner, which is fine on the tube but not so fine when you’re supposed to be feeling chill listening to your favourite bands. To put in bluntly, people in London can be arseholes (and I am sure I am guilty of this at times, especially when people are STANDING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ESCALATORS. YES, IT DOES MATTER!!!), and so London-based festivals have to be pretty special to get my money.
I was tempted by Citadel this year, I really liked two of the bands — Sylvan Esso and Wild Beasts — and quite liked many of the others: Laura Marling, Nadine Shah, Foals. However, because I had seen Wild Beasts twice last year I didn’t think it was worth spending the money on seeing them again, but then I had the chance to meet an old friend there as part of her birthday celebrations (I was missing her party), so I was sold.
Being a London festival, it does mean that one has no excuse to look like you’ve just crawled out of a tent. If I owned anything sequiny I would have donned it (gonna trawl some charity shops with this in mind for next time). The weather was also being a bit of a pain: it was warm, but in that ‘going to be muggy and rain in a minute’ kind of way. I the end I wore a light dress with an awesome print, but with fish-netty leggings because it wasn’t the weather for a short skirt, and a long cardigan for layering.
I also struggled with what to wear on the feet, even though it was technically a local festival, I actually did more walking because I used public transport, so I wanted something really comfortable. The leggings made it hard to wear sandals (and also you have to be quite brave for sandals at a festival, they can be grim and I wanted my toes covered) so I went for glittery hi-tops. Glittery hi-tops are totally festival shoes.
This outfit worked really well on the day. I could take the cardigan off when it got really hot, I had an umbrella for when it rained (too hot for a waterproof), the dress was floaty and summery but the print hid the muck and beer spillages, and the leggings prevented my legs shocking any teenagers. There were a lot of people in festival gear — glitter-galore and flower crowns, but I can’t be bothered frankly. However, I can recommend an eye pencil for some grown-up sparkle at festivals or otherwise:
I’ve been wearing this Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow pencil over the summer and it’s great. Long-lasting and easy to wear, it’s got a nice starry sparkle that isn’t too over the top. I bought the champagne sparkle, which is for blue eyes, but there are other colours available. This colour does like nice with my grey–blue eyes, but it would suit most people.
So to review the festival itself, Citadel was a lot of fun, and they managed to cram a lot in. Victoria Park was a lot bigger than I had realised, but I think the organisers had tried to cram too much into the space, there wasn’t enough distance between some of the smaller stages to be out of earshot of other stages, and this was really detrimental with the spoken-word events, such as the comedy and the science talks as you just couldn’t hear them.
That said, the bands were really good. The main stage was huge and had lots of screens that were so high-definition you could read the waist size on the band members’ Levis. Wild Beasts were, of course, belting out some solid tunes, although I think they do better headlining their own smaller stage.
They were on at a bit of an awkward time and overlapped with my favourite set that night, Sylvan Esso. I don’t have any pictures of Sylvan Esso because I was dancing so much; they really seemed to be enjoying being on stage, and it whipped everyone up. People were really getting into their songs, which created such a special moment, and one that seems to be rarer as I watch live music as I get older. So in the absence of a picture I’m posting a youtube of one of my favourite songs. I don’t love the video, but this song got everyone dancing:
Margaret Glaspy also did a really good set. Short, snappy grungey New-York rock, I was surprised as I always assumed she was folky. I will definitely be checking her out in the future.
So in summary, Citadel was enjoyable, but it’s not one of my favourite festivals. Maybe because it’s a London thing but it feels kind of manic, like there were just too many people and pineapple workshops and not enough thought about the spacing of the music or the comfort capacity of the area. If you have to queue to get into a bar, you know something is wrong. Also, I hate a lot of corporate sponsorship at festivals. I realise that without it, the ticket prices would be a lot higher (it was close to £60 including postage and booking fees, which I think is reasonable for a day’s entertainment), but it really felt ridiculously in your face at Citadel. It just wasn’t needed to have Jagermeister branding all over the Jagermeister tent. All you could buy at the bar was Jagermeister (which smells so potently of regret) so it was bloody obvious. It didn’t feel like there was a square metre that didn’t have some corporate branding on it… not my thing. Also, the litter situation was atrocious. I know it’s a festival and people want to get drunk and not put things in the bin, but when I look back to other festivals such as Greenman and Bluedot, they are pristine: they have reusable cups and the litter-pickers work very hard.
Walking out to the periphery to take a photograph of the main stage when Foals were playing, the were plastic cups everywhere. It looked like a rubbish dump. I took a quick snap (above) and put my camera away, it wasn’t very inspiring.
I probably would go again, given the ease of getting there, but they would have to have some really good bands playing and the bonus of catching up with some old friends, which was by far the best part of the day.
In terms of attending with a disability, it was good. the ground is smooth and flat and there are accessible toilets if you need the extra space. It was hard going, but I limped home happy.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the minute you try to curb your trainer-buying habit, you will see loads of trainers you really like.
Having arthritis, and the preference to wear trainers with anything, I have a number of pairs now, and only one pair of feet, so I am trying not to buy any more until a pair actually falls apart, especially as summer is on the way, but I’ve seen three pairs that I really want and it’s difficult to resist. Hopefully, writing about them will have some sort of cathartic effect, and I won’t need to buy them (a sort of trainer exorcism if you will). So without further ado:
I’ve been meaning to buy some Onitsuka Mexico trainers for ages. They are super-cool shoes, developed in 1966 for the Mexico 1968 Olympic games. They’re so retro and I love them. I especially love this yellow pair; yellow shoes are the thing for spring, and these are on my to-buy list after pay-day.
Unless I get this pair:
Soludos makes pretty cool espadrilles (does anyone love flamingos or peacocks? Me too!), but these are the first trainers I’ve seen, and I love them. Who doesn’t love a ‘hey’? It’s the start to many an epic online chat. If you’re in the US, you have an even better range to choose from, you lucky things. Day-of-the-dead French bulldogs? Yes please!
And finally, as you may be aware, I do love an embellished ‘Dior’esque trainer. They’re comfortable, fun and I love the contrast between sparkles that are usually seen on an evening high-heel on a sporty trainer. I recently spotted these, and I am rather smitten:
They have my name on them so it would be rude not to! They’re just so damn pretty, and having these would be a totally arthritis friendly way to rock a suit; if only my work demanded some smartness, I could justify them, but as it is I will just have to dream…