Comfortable shoes and fl​attering sleeveless coat

Lace up shoes and sleeveless coat

Not sure about the headband, may be a bit Nora Batty! Still, it was a very windy day when we shot these photos and it did help to keep my hair in order.

Today I want to talk about the importance of comfortable shoes. Long gone are the days when I used to stagger around in high heels, not that I was very good at wearing heels, I don’t think I ever mastered the sexy swagger. I was more a kitten heel kind of girl. These days it is definetely sensible flats. Yet I still like to look chic and elegant.

Van Dal lace-up denim shoes

I find lace-ups the most practical style for walking around town or along the Thames towpath on my way to the local shops. Provided it has not been raining then I would need wellies.

My shoes need good arch support to prevent my habit of rolling my feet inwards which has the knock-on effect of damaging my knees.

Combining practicality and style can be tricky. These smart denim blue leather lace-ups by Van Dal (gifted) are ideal. They come with two sets of laces, tan or denim blue. A great idea as you can create two different looks for the price of one. Personally, I like the tan as it gives the shoes an extra edge. However, if I want s more conservative look I can change the laces.

I reviewed a pair of Van Dal shoes last June. I have worn them a lot and they are still going strong. The same style is still available in other colourways.

Jeans and lace up shoes

Long Sleeveless sleeveless coat

A long vest is a versatile piece of outerwear that you can use to add interest to an outfit. They are ideal for skimming over the tum and bum areas. A shorter version can work well to elongate your figure and add the illusion of height if you are petite.

Grey waistcoat and polo neck sweater
Wide leg jeans and lace-up shoes

My wide leg jeans are by MeandEm. After many years of wearing skinny or straight jeans, I am finding the wider leg styles refreshing. However, if you are petite this could be a tricky style to adopt. They have a variety of other styles and their jeans are very good quality. If you like the straighter leg style I can hightly recommend my Levis.

Disclaimer: The Van Dal lace up shoes I am wearing were gifted. All words are my own


  1. Susan Lee
    5th April 2019 / 12:10

    Hi Josephine, I think the headband really suits you in fact I’ve been looking for a similar one myself since I saw yours.

  2. Wendy in York
    5th April 2019 / 13:18

    I think you look great – headband & all

  3. 5th April 2019 / 14:57

    I really like the combination of wide-leg jeans with the long vest. They seem to balance each other. And I think you look adorable in that headband. 🙂

  4. Susan B
    5th April 2019 / 15:33

    Cute shoes! I also like the wide jeans/long vest combo.

  5. Bunty
    5th April 2019 / 16:08

    Love the look, but probably not for me, being on the short side. Headband is great – I could probably get away with that!

  6. 5th April 2019 / 16:08

    I love the headband! I’m always leary of them these days…of maybe “exposing” too much of the aging skin? But maybe I should try it again (have some tucked away from years ago!)

  7. Judy
    5th April 2019 / 16:19

    Jo, you look really…as my Mum would say, with it! The headband looks youthful, love the jeans and the coat. This is exactly how I would put this together, minus headband as in Arizona a bit too warm. Cheers!

  8. Leslie Owens
    5th April 2019 / 16:19

    Wow, you look so good in the headband! Really like the rest of your outfit too.

  9. 5th April 2019 / 16:23

    Everything looks great on you. Love the concept of a sleeveless jacket and I have some , much shorter, as I am vertically challenged. I also have Van Dal shoes because at one time they were practically the only manufacturer that created small-sized shoes. ( size and 2.5). The metric system played havoc with my shoe sizes as a szxe 36 is a size 31/2 Uk I have to search a LOT for a size 35! My loafers are tan suede and I’ll have to search for them as I have been de-cluttering the Marie Kondo way!! :O)

  10. Eleni
    5th April 2019 / 16:30

    Love the whole look. I picked up a long sleeveless vest in a pale rust colour about 3 years ago. Dragged it out again and will wear it with a black turtle neck and black pants. I recently picked up two pairs of shoes, both lace-up. one pair in black patton and the other in a snakeskin. I really appreciate your blog and your many ideas. Thank you.

  11. MaureenC
    5th April 2019 / 18:39

    Nah, you’re safe on the Nora front! I think you should experiment with some more head wear.

  12. Jo Johnston
    5th April 2019 / 19:38

    Love the shoes and others I saw on their website. Wish they were available in the US. I, too, must have really good arch support. Finding a shoe that looks classically stylish and has good arch support is almost impossible.

  13. Wendy
    5th April 2019 / 20:39

    Headband looks fabulous!!

  14. Christine Trory
    6th April 2019 / 00:14

    Love this whole look on you even the headband and you look nothing like Nora. The headband is a great idea for those windy and bad hair days.

  15. 6th April 2019 / 09:21

    Thank you for all your lovely comments. I am glad you like the outfit. I put it together quite quickly as it was one of those changeable days. Rain one minute, sun the next and then strong winds.
    Well I am surprised many of you like the Nora Batty look. I bought the headband in St. Tropez market. If you are interested I will try and get some for the shop next October.

    • Sue Gewanter
      6th April 2019 / 17:48

      Yes please re the headbands! There was a model in a Perroni beer as a few years ago , and her headband also looked good. See? I’ve never forgotten that look!

  16. SMG
    6th April 2019 / 09:31

    Great to see you promoting a company with a history of shoe making from my local town of Norwich, England. Unfortunately Van Dal only have warehousing and their design team in Norwich now ( ).
    However, their shoes are really comfortable, well made and ‘different’ to the usual styles found in many other shops and having purchased several pairs over the years, I can join you in thoroughly recommending them!

  17. LoLo
    6th April 2019 / 11:01

    Fabulous vest – who is that by??

    • 6th April 2019 / 14:47

      Hi Lolo
      It is from Hopefashionuk about three years old. They don’t seem to do anything similar at the moment I have put a few similar options on the post.

  18. Marion
    6th April 2019 / 11:45

    I love your outfit, I have a Hope sleeveless coat that I rarely wear but you have given me inspiration to get it out and waer it!! Thanks

  19. Brenda Chell
    6th April 2019 / 17:16

    The whole outfit looks so good on you Josephine. I bought Hope’s sleeveless long coat in navy with grey lining and recently wore it with their navy foundation vest, navy wide trousers, pale pink bag and shawl and received many compliments. Thank you for your regular inspiration showing us how to put pieces together. Love your blogs.

  20. 6th April 2019 / 19:59

    The headband looks great and I love the shoes! I have a new pair of denim blue shoes and hadn’t thought of changing out the laces for a different look. I may have to try that!

    Elaine @ Folloiwng Augustine

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