STEPPING UP: BOOTS
In a season of extremes, which way will you go?
Last year I made a clever purchase: a pair of fitted black Gianvito Rossi ankle boots that curved seductively below the ankle. I could wear the pencil-heeled boots all day, no problem. They worked with everything – skirts, skinny jeans, tights, no tights – and quickly became a wardrobe staple.
But this Autumn, there’s a new boot in town, and it looks like my former go-to’s may get shelved. What’s different about this season’s boots? For one, most end inches above – instead of below – the ankle. And many, like those at Céline, Chloé, and Hermès, have a sturdy, stacked heel. In general, they just feel more substantial; there’s nothing dainty or slyly sexy about them, which is exactly what makes them so great. The four-inch Célines look like boots you could comfortably (and gracefully) stomp around in all day. (Four inches is my limit, so Chloé’s version hits the mark.)
While mostly casual in feel, the way you wear them is not. You have to dress them up. Not a lot, but there’s something about them that begs for a skirt or a dress. The new ankle boots ground Autumn’s more ephemeral pieces, from the sheer embroidered skirts at Givenchy to the cream swirly tulip ones at Céline, and provide a thoroughly modern twist. Of course, the kind of skirt or dress you want to pair them with is up to you. “It doesn’t have to be long, but not a miniskirt,” says Jeffrey Kalinsky, Nordstrom’s executive vice president of designer merchandising. “And no pants unless they are cropped.”
Here’s the catch: There were no tights shown on the runway with these boots – not that there ever really are tights on the runway. But what tights do you wear with an ivory skirt and pale grey boots? You don’t. I like to think of myself as being a voice of reason when it comes to fashion. (When I see women in freezing weather in sandals sans hose, I find it ridiculous.) Unless you go for an all-black ensemble, the only way I can imagine wearing the pale-boot-and-top combo is to shave your legs and invest in a cosy coat and some warm cashmere ankle socks that don’t peek out over your boots. In other words, you’re going to have to suck it up or move somewhere more temperate.
If that sounds like too much of a commitment, there’s another, less obvious but equally chic ankle boot that you can run, jump, and kick around in: the jodhpur. Alexander Wang paired these sleek flat boots with narrow trousers at Balenciaga, and Hermès has a gorgeous version. Aside from working well with narrow trousers, jodhpurs go with dark denim, making them super versatile and good for the weekend. (For those who don’t like to accentuate their ankles, there are plenty of noteworthy kneehigh boots from Gucci, Marni, and more.)
I’ll probably invest in both styles and wear them to death. Secretly I have a soft spot for the lace-up, studded, multistrap, punkedup grunge boots Hedi Slimane did for Saint Laurent. They certainly go against the grain of my understated wardrobe. Sometimes even the most restrained fashionista needs a touch of sartorial kapow!
Hermès Autumn/ Winter ’13
Balenciaga Autumn/ Winter ’13 Céline Autumn/ Winter ’13 Bottega Venetta Autumn/ Winter ’13
Ch Chanel Autumn/Winter ’13