If there’s one thing I love about autumn/winter, it’s got to be boots. Ok, it’s also corduroy, cashmere and coats, but you know what I mean. You can’t beat a good boot. So this week I’m giving you ‘The Big Boot Edit’. You will be pleased to know that there isn’t really one big new trend so, if you’ve got any of these from previous years, then you are golden. Hiking boots are still in, Chelsea boots will never go away and I’ve even got a section on wellies for all you dog owners and daily walkers in preparation for mud season. I can’t say I’m really looking forward to the inevitable quagmire, but it is what it is.
My love of boots stems from an early age. I vividly remember picking out my first pair from Freeman Hardy & Willis in the Camberley precinct at around nine years old. They were burgundy suede pixie boots with the cheeky addition of a little tassel around the top. I wore them with pride along with my two-layer ra-ra skirt from Tammy Girl and the 100%-nylon knitted batwing sweater bought from Farnborough Market. There was no way of getting that jumper on or off without your hair turning into a static puffball and god forbid you went anywhere near a naked flame in the 80s…
A perennial favourite. Easy to get on and off too, which always helps. I love to wear my chunky Shoe The Bear Rebel boots with an otherwise quite girly dress. Don’t forget that you can also give the illusion of a bare leg and a flash of an ankle without getting chills of an evening by wearing a pair of shorter leggings under your longer dress. If you’re new to the group, I refer to these as ‘secret leggings’, as regular readers well know. ‘Secret leggings’ are not a specific brand so you don’t need to buy anything special, just a few cheap pairs that you can cut down to the desired length so they don’t show under your dress or skirt. Once you know, you wonder how you never knew.
KNEE HIGH BOOTS
Talking of leggings, for years I have only worn mine either to keep warm or to do actual exercise in, but I am really thinking of trying to wear them as an alternative to skinny jeans this year. I don’t know if it will work as I haven’t tried this look yet, but I was thinking a long shirt and a jacket over leggings might be acceptable. I think the main thing to bear in mind when buying leggings is to be sure they are thick enough not to show your undercrackers shining through. So, for that reason, going with a pair that are designed for workouts might turn out better? Or Spanx? Has anyone tried their leggings? I’m tempted. I don’t have any knee-high boots as yet but I feel they would work a treat with this look.
1. Mango satin quilted jacket
2. Boden relaxed rib sleeveless jumper
3. Mango oversized striped shirt
4. M&S high waisted yoga leggings
5. Jimmy Choo Yomi black leather knee high boots
6. Dune Tempas black leather knee high boots
My friend Sarah (@littlespree) is the actual queen of heeled ankle boots. She makes wearing them look so easy and effortless. I, on the other hand, lose the will to live after about an hour in anything higher than two inches. Even then it has to be a sturdy heel, not a stiletto. But I do so love this look and I know a lot of you can go all day in a heel and have no bother at all, so this one goes out to all of you.
1. Toteme striped merino wool turtleneck sweater
2. Mango herringbone double breasted coat
3. Zadig & Voltaire leather rockstud clutch bag
4. The Outnet black skinny Rag & Bone jeans
5. Hush Hesper suede boots
6. And/Or Octavia stiletto boots
As promised, a deep dive into the world of the waterproof boots. I’m sticking with ankle length here as I like a welly boot that can be worn for a walk but also taken directly to the pub afterwards. I also find long wellies harder to walk in. I found this out to my detriment in 2011 at Glastonbury where the blisters from walking 17 million mud-caked steps in long Hunters resulted in a week’s worth of plasters to get my feet back to normal again. My favourite wellies are still the Barbour Wiltons (take your regular size), but I’m also enjoying the new Woden Magda Track Boots (I’d say size up one size in these).
1. Barbour Beacon wax patch Bedale jacket
2. & Other Stories boxy rib knit cardigan
3. And/Or Venice Beach boyfriend jeans
4. Woden Magda rubber track boots
5. Barbour Wilton ankle welly boots
6. Ganni recycled rubber chelsea boots
LACE UP BOOTS
Finally the classic lace-up boots. So much choice here. But my top three from last year, and possibly the year before too, have to be (in no particular order):
- The Air & Grace Camino boots. These are great for winter as they are lined with shearling and are super-toasty. The only downside is they are suede, so no good for dirty mud days. True to size.
- Grenson Nanette Boots. An all-round excellent boot. I bought my first black pair in 2018. I now also have them in tan leather AND a hairy leopard-print pair. For me, they are true to size but some people say go down a half-size.
- The Classic Dr Marten 8 hole lace up boots. I bought my first pair in 1988. I wish I had kept them as they’d be SO worn-in and comfortable now! The style hasn’t changed and neither has the need to break them in, unfortunately. But check out how to do that here, and know that once you’re done you will never have to buy another pair.
1. Weekday Whitney Riding jacket
2. Mango multi-coloured knit sweater
3. Whistles grey slim frayed hem detail jeans
4. Air & Grace Camino tan suede and shearling boots
5. Grenson Nanette brown leather hiker boots
6. Dr Martens Oxblood 1460 leather boots
I couldn’t really do a footwear post without a little mention of socks to go with your boots. I get asked a lot about which socks I recommend, so here’s a round-up of my favourites. Top of the list for breaking-in boots is a really good hiking or walking sock. My favourites are by Genevieve Sweeney. She does a full range of socks, all of which are excellent. For regular wear, try another small UK brand, Rock + Ruby. They make great cotton and wool socks in a lovely range of colours. For a good quality sock, I also favour Le Bon Shoppe for a sporty take, and Burlington argyle ones for a more classic look. For all kinds of crazy patterns, check out Stance
1. Stance Appetite Socks
2. Genevieve Sweeney merino wool walking socks
3. Rock and Ruby Elsie cotton socks
4. Le Bon Shoppe Boyfriend socks
5. Bod & Ted Gumball Poodle ribbed socks
6. Burlington argyle socks
I hope there is a pair of boots here for you. I think next week I might do a full focus on quilted jackets and coats. There’s so many out there, so there must be something for everyone.