Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sassy Shoe Thursday: Shoes You Should Own, Part IV

Last week we discussed rain boots. In keeping with the boot theme, but broadening it's versatility, this week's Shoes You Should Own...

Knee-High Boots

"That's a very broad term. I wonder to what, specifically, she is referring."

Ah-HA! Let's take a closer look at the subject. Every woman should own a versatile pair of tall boots. Just think of the magic they create:

*Worn with this past summer's flowy dresses and a cardigan slung across your shoulders they carry a warm weather wardrobe into the fall and early winter. For the more fashion forward, this can also be done with opaque tights under shorts.

*Capris instantly become a winter clothing staple, since tall boots make them seasonally appropriate and keep your legs toasty.

*Wear jeans OVER them and they instantly become another heel.

*Wear jeans tucked INTO them and you've made a statement. **This comes with a quite large word of caution, which I'll get to in a minute.**

*They give a totally different look to any skirts or dresses in your wardrobe that you've become accustomed to wearing with the same pair of heels over... and over... and over. That demure pencil skirt you pair with Mary-Jane's for business casual? But it with boots, tights, and a kickin' belt and you've got business funky.

Knee-High Boots ROCK!!! Right now is the perfect time to buy them, too, since stores are clearancing out their winter stock for spring and summer. Good deals abound! (My favorite shoe website is already lowering prices.) However, you need to follow some guidelines when embracing this over-the-calf option.

1.) When finding the right boot, beware of construction. Although there are some AWEsome (the root word of that is "awe," which I love) low-cost options out there, make sure they don't look cheap. One straight up indicator of low quality boots is the transition at the ankle. You know when the foot-part is stiff and holds its shape, but there's that seam and the shaft of the boot is all shiny, thin, and unshapely? Yes. That's what I'm talking about.

2.) When purchasing your boots, keep in mind HOW they'll be worn. Under dresses/skirts? They need to be pretty fitted to your calf (something the majority of us have an issue with and I'll address in a minute), which means they'll probably have some stretch to them.

However, if you're going to wear them OVER jeans, they're going to need more substantial construction so as to hold their shape.

There are boots that can do double duty (such as my favorites above), but keep in mind that to fit over your jeans they're going to be a bit bigger in the calves. Then when worn with dresses/skirts you can camouflage a bit of a gap by wearing tights the same color as the boot, or go for a heavier legging altogether.

At this point I'm going to address a horrible, awful fashion faux pas I am seeing more and more often: wearing stretchy boots OVER your jeans. No! This is a huge NO! IF, and only if, your jeans are suctioned on to you and you can't see ANY lumps in the shaft of the boot then this might be acceptable. But a good rule of thumb is: if you can see the lumps, there's no love. I have witnessed this on too many occasions over the past few months. Ever since wearing boots over pants came to America around four years ago (they've done it in Europe for decades), women have wanted to join in but weren't sure how. This is NOT the way to do it! So look in the mirror and remember, if you see lumps those boots are not meant to be worn over pants.

On the opposite end of things, if you're wearing your pants OVER your boots, seeing the line of the top of the shaft is a big no-no. Make sure the boots are tight enough and your pants loose enough that you don't get that tell-tale bump.

3.) Consider the heel. If it's a thick, block heel it may be weighing you down and giving off a more hefty appearance than you're going for. There's such a variety in heel type out there now that there's no excuse for the huge, square 3"x3"x3" type anymore. And if you're worried about balance but still want a slimmer look, more updated look, go for a sculpted wedge.

4.) So many of us have issues with the circumference of our calves that we give up looking for fitted boots altogether. For me, they're always too big and I feel like I should be carrying around For Whom the Bell Tolls as the boot swings back and forth on my Darn-It-I'm-Not-Anorexic leg. But for many girls it's the opposite, and they give up looking because they can't ever get the zipper up. I will say this once and for all: it's not us, it's the boot!!! has come up with a wonderful solution to our woes. I know I've blogged about them before, but they deserve another mention in this post. Their boots come in CALF SIZES!!! That's right. You can be sure these boots will fit snug to whatever size legs you're blessed with. They're a tad more money than most of us tend to pay, but for a boot that fits right it just may be worth it. They've gotten wonderful reviews, and I would just say that if you do go this route, get a timeless, classic style so they're more of an investment. And, on that note...

5.) Don't shy away from those wild boots you love but would never be caught dead in! We all need adventure, and black and brown are good for everyday... but if the price is right, why not have some fun? They don't have to be a wardrobe staple or an Everyday Boot. Just call them your Sometimes Boots. Case in point (I wore them Sunday with my striped capris):

And for the days when I want to wear them but I'm not feeling so daring they still work, sans lumps.

A couple of tips when looking for the perfect boot:

*Boots with zippers are more likely to fit snuggly around your ankle than pull on boots. Pull-on's are nice, but have to have enough room for your foot to get down into the bottom so sometimes they're a bit bulky in that area.

*Don't be afraid to for boots with a little character! Buckles, scrunched leather, some top-stiching. Details make the difference!

*Wear fun knee-high socks under your boots. Your feet stay toasty, and if you have a problem with the shaft falling down slightly this can help alleviate it. I always feel mischievous when I'm looking all nice and put together on the outside but am wearing my red and pink striped socks!

If you have any boot questions, please don't hesitate to ask! If you find that you've been guilty of one or more of the no-no's in this post, find an honest and stylish friend and ask her advice! Us girls should be for each other. And, as always, if you need shoe help, I'd be happy to! (Vonnie, you're a tad far away. But I sure wouldn't mind visiting you! We'll live near each other again at some point.)

Happy Shoe Shopping!
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halfwaytocrazy said...

I love this post!! It is so fun...and I have just started looking for the right boot. So the tutorial was great. And its also good to know that others have problems with the calf clanking around. I have a size 10 foot and so the calf is usually HUGE!!! I am searching for a specific boot so thanks for the link. I want a boot that is a flat, but not a flat with a little heel, a flat that is just completely flat. They have a real cool urban funky feel with jeans tucked into them. I saw them all over in Europe this fall but there are hardly any here. So I am off to check your link!

*emmy said...

Oh my gosh, I love you! So , So love you. Thank you for teaching the basics of BOOTaology. Preach on!

*emmy said...

Oh and by the way I really love your brown, rustic boots. Where did you find those?

t e r r y l said...

You are a Boot Guru...I am in awe!

Susie said...

ARe you wriitng columns for InStyle yet?

Jeremy said...

I know you've been doing this SST thing for awhile but I didn't know that Randy Jackson and Paula were a couple of your readers...did you see their red shoes the other day? ...Paula skanked out in leopard print, chunky red belt, and red heels, and Randy sportin' some snazzy patent leather loafers...made me think of you and laugh! One word for today's post Boot-ee-licious! Too much!

Cortney said...

I would love to get a pair of knee high boots and you addressed many of the issues I have with purchase and after trying on three or four pairs, I give up and find something else. Thanks, I may have to try again!

Dani said...

I may not have the high heels but I do own a pair of knee high boots. I love them.