Sure, summer may give you an excuse to wear flip-flops or justify going barefoot in the grass, but in addition to sweaters and lattes, fall means something else: boots. And not just any kind, but exciting new looks that will go with everything from your daintiest dress to vintage 90s plaid. Here’s our guide to the season’s best boots and how to wear them.
Think Pattie Boyd in the 60s or Metric’s Emily Haines today, because last season’s ankle boots haven’t gone anywhere. Perfect for formal evenings or to add edge to an otherwise standard ensemble, this tried-and-true style has the staying power of your favourite skinny jeans, making any look modern, put-together and ahead of the curve.
Since there are so many types, you never have to commit to just one: rock a pair with heels with printed tights and a mini-dress for that classic mod aesthetic, or slouchy flats with metal embellishments to add edge to an otherwise standard ensemble (like jeggings and oversize plaid). You could also try your hand at thrifting – many button-up gothic styles (like Doc Marten’s or desert boots) will give nearly any outfit major rock ‘n roll credibility.
Like Anne Hathaway’s wardrobe in The Devil Wears Prada defines “timeless”, same goes for her boots – particularly the thigh-high favourites that always serve to make you go shoe shopping. The beauty of over-the-knee boots is that just like their ankle counterparts, you can mix and match them with dressy and casual, making them a go-to for those instances when you’re rushing out the door.
Pair a chunkier, lower heel with jeggings, a tank and leather bomber to rock a downtown vibe, or take a page out of the book of high fashion with a more substantial heel height and a sleek mini-dress. Of course, low-key options also apply: for flat styles, take your favourite pair of skinnies, a simple v-neck and a blazer, and cement yourself as a connoisseur of casual fashion.
We’ve come a long way from the pointy-toed zip-ups from the early 2000s, and nothing’s a bigger testimony to that than this season’s mid-calf styles. Like the saddle boots of the later 2000s, the rounder toe and chunky heel are still present, but unlike their clean cuts and simplicity, embellishment is the name of the game.
Whether with metallic accents for a Midwestern vibe or an ornate flat lace-up from the early 1990s, grunge has made a full-blown comeback, using footwear to take away from the blatant femininity of most runway styles. Pair slouchy slip-ons with jeggings, a t-shirt and oversize vintage blazer to keep things cool, or opt for tights and an above-the-knee print dress to match your laced-up look. Despite their first impressions, these styles are the most diverse, so while you think you’re pigeon-holed into a harder image, they can easily work with some of your most delicate pieces.
Far from the cork-heels of previous seasons’ espadrilles, wedge heels in boot form are more modern, sleek and complementary to fashion’s affair with extremes. Borrowing from the many styles already dominating this season, wedge heels work with everything from ankle boots, mid calf-to knee-highs to even above, abiding by the same rules as most, but with one simple exception.
Since a defined heel can work to make an outfit a little more dressy or substantial, a wedge heel will work to dress-down an ensemble, meaning that while you can still pair them with a skirt or dress, they’ll look their best alongside jeans, jeggings, tights or anything else a little more relaxed.