Slip out of those slides and scoot into the hottest footwear trend of the season: boots. From cowboy classics to laced-up Victorians to tough-chic hikers, there's a boot for every day of the week and then some. Here are the best ways to reboot your shoe wardrobe this fall:
—On the Western front. Because designers at Fendi and Celine start walking cowboy boots down runways, you know these shoes are going to be moving up on the trend lists. And while some hardy souls have worn them all their lives ("meanwhile, back at the ranch"), many of fashion's elite have not experienced the old-school comfort of a broken-in pair of these leather wonders. Frye boots have been my constant companion since my high school days. They have lasted long after the bell-bottoms were stashed away. Expect to see them on the best-dressed list next spring, too.
—All laced up. For a little more feminine approach, laced-up boots may be the style for you. With a Victorian-inspired twist, these boots are stepping out in casual low-heeled leather looks and in glamorous thigh-high versions. Pair ankle-high lace-ups with a short cocktail dress for a quick update to stilettos.
—Rough and rugged. These boots are in a class all their own, including studded combat boots and shearling-lined hiking boots. You can be a city slicker and still be inspired by these boots fit for scaling mountainous terrain. Whether you wear them on your next backpacking trip is up to you. But for the urban fashion scene, pair them with a filmy slip dress and denim jacket for a modern flair.
—Mod squad. The Chelsea boot has been a fashion favorite ever since it made a comeback with the hipsters in the '60s, when the pull-on silhouette became synonymous with the pointy-toe Beatle boot. Actually, the boot originated with Queen Victoria's boot-maker and has come in and out of style ever since. One of my all-time personal favorites, the elastic-sided, ankle-high boot, which usually features a pull-on tab, is a "goes-with-everything" kind of shoe that is available for women and men. This style will give you years of rock star cool.
—Soft and slouchy. If you want something a little different in your boot wardrobe, you may want to invest in a pair of boots a little on the slouchy side. Boots with scrunched-down sides can be one of the most comfortable ways to wear the footwear trend. Soft suede and high heels offer a sophisticated way to dress up an outfit for work.
—All dressed up. Want to really give your clothes a dash of panache? Then try a pair of boots in a riot of prints: from cheetah spots to zebra stripes to tartan plaids, floral brocades or even fur. Embellished boots are meant to be seen this fall, and you don't have to wait for a special occasion to wear them, even though every time you do step out in these statement boots, you'll feel like there's a party on your feet. Try wearing your statement boots with wide-leg pants or bootcut jeans for even more drama.
—Tall tales. Over-the-knee boots and thigh-high boots are still a fashion staple, and they're perfect for chilly weather. These styles are "look-at-me" boots and require some advance planning to pull off a head-to-toe look. Before you wear them, do some mirror work. Not all skirts will work with these tall boots ... and not all pants will, either. Stick to sleek leggings or shorter skirts to get the best overall effect. And if you prefer to dress a little more preppy, go with classic equestrian riding boots.
—Heel deals. Choices, choices, so many choices. From sculpted tapered heels to chunky block heels to demure kitten heels to platform lug soles — oh, yes, don't forget stilettos, too — the heel's the deal this fall. If you've always played it safe with flats, this may be the year you shop for a more contemporary look that will elevate your wardrobe.
—Shoo-ins. The shoe boot, or "shootie," also easily transitions from summer into fall. With cut-out backs or toes, the shoe boot is a great alternative to heavy boots. In higher heels, they provide a modern update to cocktail dressing. If you have a little black dress that you love to wear, think about buying a pair of chic shoe boots in metallic velvety gold or silver.
—White-hot. White boots in winter? It's a huge trend that has lasted from spring and summer and will continue into the new year. Throw out the old rules about not wearing white after Labor Day and consider adding a white-hot pair of boots to your shoe wardrobe. It's a quick style fix. And after all, white goes with everything, right? Better yet, make them a pair of cowboy boots!
Fashion historical references courtesy of "Fashion A to Z: An Illustrated Dictionary" by Alex Newman and Zakee Shariff, Laurence King Publishing.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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White boots are a surprising fall fashion trend, and western boots step out in front. See these boots by Chloe Annika at Anthropologie (www.anthropologie.com).