THE CHUNKY BOOT RENAISSANCE

Stomp into the new year in the coolest, chunkiest boots on offer now.

Lately, it seems no sole is too chunky. Instagram’s best-dressers have adopted a ‘go big or go home’ attitude in their choice of footwear, opting for lug-soled Chelsea boots and creeper-esque brogues when building their outfits. This new-found appreciation for chunky shoes could be a reaction against the kitten heel revival of 2019. Or maybe it’s that the cool-girl factor attached to these stylish stompers is undeniable.

Needless to say, we’re on board. Especially when we consider the evolution of this oh-so familiar shape. Associated with punk icons of the ’70s and ’80s, thick-soled combat boots were given the sartorial stamp of approval long before their most recent resurgence. The first wave of Dr Martens hit the streets of Camden (perhaps their most notorious stomping ground) with unabashed authority. The now-iconic design carried attitude in spades, as did its legion of wearers.

But this past season has seen a contemporary – nay, futuristic – reimagining. Exaggerated lug soles give the latest wave of chunky boots a directional feel, while patent Chelsea-style iterations look straight out of The Matrix. Keep reading to see our favourite influencer outfits featuring this perennial shoe.

PRINTS THAT MAKE STAYING IN MORE APPEALING

Expect beautifully feminine seventies-style silhouettes and dreamy botanical prints from Barcelona-born label, Ailanto. Their design mood? Draped dresses, fluid blouses and kaftan shapes you could expect to find on fashion icons like Stevie Nicks and Florence and the Machine.

The fine art beginnings of Iñaki and Aitor, the twin-brother founders of Ailanto, mean art, texture and history heavily influence prints that are gallery-worthy. 

The opulent colourways of voracious prints on rich fabrics like velvet and silk work beautifully with the loose kaftan sleeves, deep necklines, romantic draped silhouettes and handkerchief hems that exude a laid-back glamour. The effect is ethereal – think bohemian chic meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Ailanto’s autumn-winter lookbook is all about bringing the outdoors in and earthy tones are a canvas for blooming botanical motifs. And, with so many of us taking solace in nature during the year’s various lockdowns and restrictions, the pieces feel grounded and reflective to wear as we move forward into the new year.  

CAPSULE WARDROBE CLASSICS RE-IMAGINED

There’s no need to fuss over styling. Fassbender reimagines iconic classics, creating a capsule wardrobe that’s the eponym of contemporary elegance.

Fassbender brings together the grace of sophisticated tailoring and the functionality of everyday clothing, and their capsule cornerstones have been featured in the likes of Grazia Germany, Harpers Bazaar Germany and Vogue Ukraine. Christina Fassbender and Sebastian Steinhoff, the brother-sister founders, have refined their lookbook in the three years since launching with pieces that are both of-the-moment and completely timeless. 

This contradiction is achieved by their pairing of classic shapes – think the figure-flattering silhouettes of the forties and fifties – with directional fabrics. This season, it’s all about vegan leather as ethical production is just as important to Fassbender as quality. 

In a rich palette including mustard, cognac, bottle green, tobacco, rust and red, their autumn-winter collection of dresses and separates will never not be chic.

3 REASONS YOU SHOULD SHOP INDEPENDENT

It’s Small Business Saturday this weekend, so we’re celebrating the 300+ independent retailers who make up our boutique community. Hear from them what it really means to shop independent.

We believe in supporting independent boutiques 365 days a year, but if you’re going to mark one date in your calendar, make it Small Business Saturday. Consider it a day to get to know the global community of small business owners who bring diversity and originality to the retail space. From one-woman operations to family-run shopping haunts, fashion boutiques come in all shapes and sizes – and you can expect spades of personality from each and every one.

THE BACKPACKS MADE FOR THOSE ON THE MOVE

Doughnut Accessories have a passion for creating unisex backpacks with utilitarian design aesthetics that don’t skimp on style. 

What started out as a shared love of travel became a global brand that’s quickly gained a cult following online. It’s not hard to understand why. The lightweight collection is built for daily use with heavy-duty pockets well-suited for all your personal and tech essentials. 

You can find practical details like ergonomic straps, padded compartments and hidden zippers – made for roaming, commuting or adventuring. The selection of mini, medium and large backpacks sit perfectly at the crossroads of functional and cool.  

The humble backpack has reached new heights, no longer reserved solely for leisure. And, as the world leans towards a more casual approach to dressing as many of us adjust to a new standard of normal, these versatile backpacks are the edge we need to balance relaxed with polish.

THE RETRO AESTHETIC STYLE INSIDERS ADORE

The emerging label, known for its dreamy dresses and painterly hand-drawn prints, provides us with some much-needed sartorial escapism for the autumn-winter season. 

Phoebe Grace’s signature prints are transformed with a moodier colour palette that’s no less dreamy. The offering of prairie-like dresses and whimsical separates relishes the brand’s ultra-feminine reputation and penchant for throwback vintage glamour. 

The body-skimming silhouettes are a tasteful nod to a bygone era, while the oversized botanical-inspired motifs – printed using a modern digital textile process requiring less water and ink – keeps period detailing like gently puffed shoulders, delicate covered buttons, nipped waists and full sleeves contemporary. And, while Phoebe Grace takes their design influences from the past, they’re also keen to embrace the future. This year, they introduced a groundbreaking fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and have used it for the entirety of their autumn-winter lookbook. 

The maximalist aesthetic is well-earned and loved by style insiders like Alexandra Shulman, Christine Lampard and Trinny Woodall. Phoebe Grace reaffirms the joy of fashion with a wearable collection that’s just the right amount of playful and polished.

BEHIND THE BOUTIQUE: TTLL

Thomas Rottbøll Andersen opened his Copenhagen based boutique TTLL with the objective of offering a lovingly curated selection of new and known Scandi brands.

Atterley Boutique TTLL is the place to go for versatile and contemporary womenswear at its city-centre location in Copenhagen, Denmark. Thomas provides beautifully simple, minimal foundation pieces and a mix of bold, colourful looks that have become synonymous with the new Scandi design set.

He makes it easy to achieve a more personal flavour of effortless Scandi style, hand-picking the love-forever garments hanging on the store’s reclaimed steel rails. You can expect an inspiring mix of up-and-coming and established brands, his only criteria that pieces work for you and not against you. Thomas says, “I love getting to know my customers and building a relationship that’s more than just being the salesperson.”

We spoke to Thomas about his boutique journey, what Scandi brands are exciting him and why he thinks Scandi style has such a global appeal.

DRESSING FOR THE NEW NORMAL

Alistair Grey is the new label to know for elevated casual with a moody edge. Here’s why we’re shopping.

The unisex collection of laid-back tees and sweatshirts launched last year with two goals in mind – to encapsulate individuality and put fit and fabric first. Their illustrative designs are canvases for works of art; reimagined classic paintings have been remixed with grundy graphic elements. It’s another way this label rebels against orthodox ideas of refinement. 

Alistair Grey has a distinctive streetwear vibe embracing style, swagger and confidence. The easy separates are upgraded by the use of eco-friendly materials like organic cotton to create a luxurious, soft-touch feel. “We have an initiative where superior quality, excellent craftsmanship and longevity are never second best,” they say. 

The new normal and transition to at-home working and socialising has been the catalyst to shift what’s practical in our wardrobes. The importance of casual-cool pieces that are polished, long-wearing, comfortable and simply make us feel good is now at the forefront of our minds. Alistair Grey reimagines downtime dressing with pieces proving relaxed doesn’t have to be slouchy.