Review: Bernadette Shoe by American Duchess

Bernadette shoes by American Duchess Blue
Bernadette Shoes by American Duchess – Unboxing

When the Bernadette style of shoe was revealed to our plague ridden world in August 2020, We rejoiced. Bernadette Banner had been working with historical shoe makers American Duchess to design and produce these super cute heeled boots.

With very little thought, which was only to decide what colour I liked the most, I took the plunge to pre-order the blue/black colour from the UK distributor Rags and Jags.

Bernadette – Different colourways – American Duchess

I already have a pair of Cherry tone Londoners, which I like a lot, but I have some slight issues with as I will explain later.

These lovely blue shoes would be perfect for all my outfits that have a cooler tone. Whereas I usually wear my Cherry Londoners for warmer tones outfits.

I was lucky enough to order my shoes in the first pre-order window so I received my shoes on Friday 18th December.

Bernadette in Blue black with grossgrain ribbon lacing – American Duchess

First Impressions:

  • The colours are bright, and the black leather is shinier than I expected. If only because the ombre tone Londoners by comparison look a little more moody and weathered.
  • I love the laces, they are the perfect kind of Ooumph this rather preppy design needed. Like they are saying “Yes, there are times when I too can be EXTRA”
  • The leather is very soft, very unlike the Londoners, as these are made in Portugal rather that the Chinese factory, so the leather comes from a completely different source (one would suppose).
  • The black eyelets are super cute, and the subtle shaping between the laces is *Chef’s Kiss*
Subtle shaping of the leather – Bernadette – American Duchess

I, of course, tried them on straight away and pottered around the house feeling quite grand, even though I was mostly wearing a dressing gown, because, lockdown. I wanted to make sure the fit was good before attempting to go outside.

The leather of these shoes is MUCH more responsive to moulding to ones feet than the Londoners.

Protecting the leather – Bernadette – American Duchess

Before wearing them outside I gave them a quick once over with some Timpson’s Cobbler’s Cream.

And this is where I have a confession to make to the internet…. I have big feet. Not necessarily long, which denotes the shoe size, but wider and taller, than average….

I have a lot of foot girth…

My big stupid flippers – and the Bernadette – American Duchess

So when I first tried the Londoners with their stiff, re-enforced brogue leather uppers, I had the wear them A LOT before they would yield to my strange flipper feet. I’m OK with a standard B size width, but I am on the borderline to a wider width.

The Bernadette’s however? So much softer and more malleable.

I also decided to get these in one size larger than the Londoners, so I would have a little more (toe) wiggle room. In fact I could probably wear these with socks rather than tights/stockings.

Although I’m sure the historical costuming Gods have already declared that illegal…

Leather covered heel – Bernadette – American Duchess

Thoughts while wearing:

  • I think these shoes may be, for the reasons stated above, more vulnerable to wear and tear than the Londoners. For example the heel of the Londoner is one solid material (I think it may be glued layers of leather but don’t quote me on that.) Bernadette’s heel is the same construction, but then covered in a supple layer of leather which is moulded to the curves of the heel. I just think that something could easily cut it if I wasn’t careful.
  • These shoes make a delightful click on hard floor surfaces
  • The laces require a double knot to tie or they might come undone
  • They look different at every angle
Londoner heel – Ametican Duchess

In conclusion:

All in all I love these shoes. I think they may need some extra care as they might be a little more delicate in use. But I think these shoes will be very serviceable if you give as much love and care as these Bernadette’s deserve.

In comparison to to the Londoners I would cautiously say they were superior in fit, because of the soft leather. Although maybe the Londoners are slightly more – hashtag aesthetic – because of the colouring of the leather.

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