Get in line, girls. Boots are stepping out for fall in a major way. More than any other type of footwear, boots this season can give you the big-time cool factor. You've got a lot of choices, from styles with commanding military vibes to sleek urban sophisticates to fun, funky and furry. My advice? Salute them all! Invest in at least one new pair this fall -- maybe two or three. You'll wear them with everything.
"Boots are the quintessential fall shoe style always -- but right now we are seeing such an incredible array of different styles of boots," says Meghan Cleary, a nationally recognized authority on shoes and the author of "The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You." "It used to be you'd buy your one pair of knee-high high- or low-heel boots in black or brown for the fall and winter," she adds, "but now boots are exploding from every angle, from color to cut, materials and detailing."
Cleary's favorite picks for fall include the ankle boot, which "continues to be hot," she says. "We're seeing a lot of buckles and hard ornamentation on kind of a biker boot, as well as the very hard-edged working man's boot that is quite fashion-forward this year." Frye has several varieties of these stylish boots (http://www.TheFryeCompany.com).
Ankle booties in bright colors -- especially purple -- are very hot, as well, according to the shoe expert. "The big trend right now is to pair them with opaque tights in contrasting colors or with denim minis or to just tuck them into skinny jeans," Cleary says.
The knee-high tall boot also continues to be a classic, Cleary says, and a staple for every woman's wardrobe. They're great with skirts, especially the new peasant length.
Here are some more ways to put some kick into your wardrobe this fall with the newest boot trends:
--Sign up for the military. A serious statement, the military-inspired boot is making a tough comeback in over-the-knee and ankle boot silhouettes. Check out combat styles at Stuart Weitzman and the lug soles on boots at Tory Burch.
--Buckle up. You may need to take a little more time in the morning to get these boots on, but the style quotient is worth it. Unique strapping and big-time buckles are proving to be a big boost for boots this fall. One of the best: Christian Dior's "Cavaliere" calfskin booties.
--Fur sure. Get cozy and glamorous at the same time with both midcalf and over-the-knee boots that have fur peeking out the top. Or go all out with boots completely swathed in the stuff a la Chanel. My personal favorite fur boot is from Ralph Lauren this fall; the top half is fur, and the bottom is a chic high-heel leather boot.
--Show your spots. Animal prints have become a classic pattern that gives flair to anything you're wearing. This fall, you can wear your spots on your boots in printed flat boots or sleek high heels. Google "animal print boots" and you'll find dozens of flashy boots that roar, in everything from zebra-print rain boots to leopard-print Wellingtons.
--Lace it up. You may feel as if you're in first grade when you're putting on these boots, but you'll look like a grown-up glamour diva when you get them laced up. The ankle boot at Tommy Hilfiger combines the sportiness of a rain boot with a chic chunky high heel. Ooh la la.
Sharon Mosley writes a weekly fashion column for creators.com.