It's time to toe the party line

We pick out the season's sharpest shoes and accessories


By Jan Shure, December 10, 2009
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Suede and crystal gladiator, Chloe, £910, Browns (brownsfashion.com)

Suede and crystal gladiator, Chloe, £910, Browns (brownsfashion.com)

When you need to seriously raise the glamour quotient of a plain dress or a pair of on-trend trousers and top, the season’s hottest accessories are the instant way to do it.

Whether you want a pair of fierce and fabulous shoeboots or gladiators, a cool clutch or a piece of statement jewellery, the shops are full of sensational pieces. And the best news is that upping the glamour stakes does not have to be ruinously expensive. The high street — with special mentions of service to party fabulousness above and beyond the call of duty for Topshop, New Look, River Island and Office — has everything you need.

Sky-high heels may be set to shrink to kitten dimensions by spring but, for now, stilettos rule, whether on a pair of peep-toe courts, strappy sandals or the definitively on-trend shoeboot. And let’s not forget heels in their gladiator incarnation, in party mode of gold or silver; in velvet or suede; and with luscious trims, like crystal, pearls, lace or gold bows.

If you don’t need the height that heels give you — or can’t bear the pain — there are still plenty of pretty ballet flats, jewel-embellished or glitter-scattered numbers that can pump up the party-power of your outfit.

Some of the best and most affordable party shoes around are at Office, which has rainbow-colour sequins, glitter, jewels, lace (à la Louboutin) and some totally on-trend shoeboots, including a pair in black suede with gold heel, gold trim and bows at £65, and a black suede number lavished with crystals and pearls around the ankle, at £150. Unexpectedly stylish (and also very affordable) is the new collection from Barratts, which has moved sharply up-market under new owner Michael Ziff.

Especially desirable is a navy peep-toe court with ankle strap and huge ruffle flower at £40, and a terrific shoe boot in bronze with ribbon trims, at £45.

Other desirable shoeboots include Faith’s strappy pair in silver and pewter at £80; River Island’s silver peep-toe (£59.99); and a truly covetable Chloe pair with bows and crystal trim at Browns (£910 at www.brownsfashion.com).

Stylish courts include Marks & Spencer purple shoe trimmed with bows and jewels at £35; Dune’s elegant almond-toe shoe in jacquard with patent bow, £85; Miss Selfridge’s glitzy peep-toe sling-backs with jewel-encrusted bow (£50), and Faith’s elegant satin peep-toes in nude with crystal trim at £85.

If you are baring your shoulders in a strapless or strappy dress, fashion rules dictate you should wear sandals. Moda in Pelle have a pricey looking suede sandal at £80, while River Island has a stunning sandal in bronze velvet and black with gold platform and gold heel at £59.99.

Blue gladiator with gold  platform and heel, £50, Barratts

Blue gladiator with gold platform and heel, £50, Barratts

Finding the perfect party bag should be equally simple, and equally affordable. The trendiest is, of course, the clutch — big or small, sharply angular or curvy, embellished or drop-dead simple.

The smart outsider is a variant on the classic Chanel quilted bag, with chain handle to hook over a bare shoulder. Look for your bag in silk, encrusted with crystals or tantalisingly tactile in gold or silver leather.

    Last updated: 11:36am, December 10 2009