I think it’s time I (literally) come out of the closet: I am addicted to boots. Not in your I-have-a-couple-of-pairs-and-admire-a-nice-boot way, but in a way that leaves me passionately explaining the merits of owning a pointy-toed black pair, a pointy-toed, tall black pair, and a pointy-toed, tall, fur-lined black pair.
When I lived in Boston, where of course the weather necessitates such behavior, I actually had a boot closet. That is, it was a separate closet in my hallway dedicated solely to my ever-growing habit. Not convinced? I once sold one of my college books back to the bookstore to help finance one of the most beautiful boots of all: round-toed, leather and back-breakingly high-heeled. It was the beginning of the semester.
Most women are not limited in their choices of footwear by body type because so many varieties exist and because a shoe can’t make you look fat. (Note: Uggs do not count as shoes. Neither do Crocs.) That being said, these are the three common problems that one can encounter (and avoid) when purchasing boots:
“Why do I look so short?”If you plan on wearing ankle boots under pants, carry on. If, however, you like the look with exposed legs, be wary. This style can cut the leg off at an awkward length, so many women end up looking short and thick-legged. “Ankle boots just don’t work on many people,” said Julie Dong, a sales associate at Niche Boutique. “That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t dozens of other styles to try.”
“Why are boots only made for skinny people?”A lot of people have trouble finding tall boots that zip all the way up. Some solutions: Have the calves of your boots professionally stretched, try a fabric like slouchy suede or try sites like Zappos.com and JCrew.com, which offer wider-cut styles.
“Why are boots only made for chubby people?”I suffered silently in tacky-looking stretch boots for years until I realized that I could go to a tailor, who can alter boots to fit snugly against your legs. The easiest solution to this dilemma, though, is to layer boots over jeans, tights, etc. This bulks up the leg and makes you winter-ready.
Some great boot styles to try this winter:
Horse around:Try an equestrian-inspired look for weekend wear at its chicest. Chris Fontilea, assistant manager at Soho Shoe Lab, calls this style one of their bestsellers. Try the Venezia Riding Boot from Etienne Aigner ($178).
Stay neutral:I’ve been coveting a style that freshens up dresses and old jeans in the winter, and I’ve found it in a buttery, tall boot. Seychelles’ At Last Boot comes in beige and grey ($99).
Drama please:To add some flair to a ho-hum day, try a boot in an exotic leather or a fur trim. When playing around with textures, keep the rest of your outfit and the silhouette of the boot simple: A round-toe, flat boot or a tall, sleek stiletto works best. Check out Nine West’s Fleece-Trimmed Accents Boot ($199).
I once knew a guy who owned baby-blue, suede, Timberland boots. Now, while that guy may have also been one of the most charming people I’ve ever met, I couldn’t stop staring at his feet whenever I saw him. Men’s footwear is the opposite of women’s in that it should never be the focal point of any outfit. For daily outings, avoid hiking boots, cowboy boots and anything too brightly-colored.
Suede story:Suede is more casual than polished leather but maintains a put-together look. It’s the perfect material to pair with jeans. Try Tod’s Quinn Palacco Boots ($395).
Dress it Up:Smooth and sleek, the “dress” boot is often ankle-high and comes in dark, polished leather in black or dark brown. It tidies up weekend wear and is office-appropriate come winter. Try the Kenneth Cole Sharp Guy Zip Boot ($116.99).
Refine rugged:This streamlined version of the hiking boot usually comes in stretchy, worn-in looking leather and an easy slip-on style that gives you a vintage look without having to resort to tattered band T-shirts. Check out the Cole Haan Derby Chelsea Boot ($245).