Confession: I’m a big fan of the British royals. Since I was a little girl I’ve soaked up every regal wedding, christening, and polo event. This fascination is partly because of the fairy tale aspect to all things Buckingham Palace, but it’s also due to the timeless style for which the royal family is known for. The latter in particular has been incredibly impactful in shaping my own sense of fashion. From the late Princess Diana’s oversized blazers to Kate Middleton’s go-to espadrilles, there’s been endless inspiration for me (and my closet) through the years — and this summer season is no exception.
Speaking of Middleton's shoe du jour, I have no shame in admitting the Duchess heavily influenced my summer footwear this year. I entered the warm-weather months wishfully thinking I'd stock up on trendy sporty sandals and cool PVC heels. However, all my planning went promptly out the window when I spotted Middleton's woven wedges by Castañer, which she’s been wearing habitually all summer long. For so long I wrote off the classic shoe, but the duchess' versatile styling managed to make them seem suddenly shiny and new. My new mantra: whether with a breezy printed frock or easy slacks, you can never go wrong with a pair of comfy, easy espadrilles.
As a newly minted convert, I'll argue that the beauty of this plaited canvas shoe is that it’s much more multi-faceted than you might think. While the style is often imagined in a platform or wedge silhouette, more and more, brands are thinking and designing outside the box. This season in particular raffia has been on everything from sneakers and block heels, to flat lace-up sandals and easy slides. Colorways are also up for grabs, as you’re seeing punchy prints and vibrant shades replace the typically tan fabric.
So which labels are making a case for the espadrille? Well, everyone. Classic brands like Soludos, but also more trend-forward options like Reformation, Gucci, and J.W. Anderson are enthusiastically on board, creating a veritable shopping buffet for converts like me. Middleton's brand of choice, Castañer, is based in Spain and dates it's production all the way back to 1927. Today, it offers classics along with colorful collabs and even bridal options. Another royal-approved label, Superga, added espadrille styles to its roster of popular sneakers.
Because of the aforementioned versatility and endless options, I've managed to find ample opportunities to wear them. On days off, I’ll pair a platform espadrille sneaker with high-waisted denim shorts and classic white t-shirt. For work meetings and events, I’ll wear a flat sandal version with a midi skirt and bodysuit. I’ve even managed to pull off a whimsy wedge espadrille (á la Middleton) at an outdoor wedding, with a flowy sundress and dainty jewelry.
Interested in adding the summery staple to your own wardrobe? Ahead, you'll find the 10 espadrilles that are on rotation in my summer lineup. Thanks for the tip, Kate.