November 1, 2010

The Short Boot Dilemma

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We've been talking so much about tall, flat boots lately…and while I still think that tall, flat boots are my first choice for busy moms, some Fall trends have been going in another direction:  The Short Boot.

After many years of my skinny-jeans-and-tall-flat-boots momiform, I was ready (or so I thought) to branch out to short boots.  

Easier said than done.

First of all, I'm pregnant (so clothing just looks a bit strange), and second of all, I have a 2.5 year old, so my "shopping" must be done either a) with him in 30 min increments (the time it takes R to finish his Starbucks steamer and a bag of Doc Popcorn)…or b) without him during our precious weekend family time.

And, as I discovered, there's not just one type of short boot.  This season, there are, by my calculations, roughly 8 billion different takes on the "short boot".  For example, in the category of "lace-up boot" alone there are several different iterations:  desert boots, military boots, granny boots, sneaker inspired boots – just to name a few.  And moto boots?  Try tough moto boots, mod moto boots, cowboy moto boots, lace-up moto boot hybrids, etc.  Instead of being inspired by choice, I'm drowning in it. 

(And yes – for the very observant, I was also drowning in paint color choices.  You'll be happy to know that none of the paint swatches on the wall made the final cut.)

So….did I figure it out?  Ummmm…sort of.  Keeping in mind my geeky nature, here's how I went about it:

Hypothesis:  There exist a pair of short boots that I will love as much as my tall, flat boots.

Testing the Hypothesis:

1.  Gathering the Data

For this, I recommend Zappos or Piperlime.  Going from store-to-store, trying on boot after boot is really something that requires more time (and bending over) than I was willing to do.  However, with free shipping AND free return shipping (along with an insanely easy return process) Zappos or Piperlime are my top picks for moms.  

So log on, and order everything you think you'd want, in multiple sizes if necessary.  The key here is to then return all but THE ONE.  (If you are, however, terrible about returns, then this is not the approach for you).  

2.  Define the Test Strategy

My tall, flat boots are the basis of my standard momiform because they go with skinny jeans, leggings, and skirts/dresses.  In a pinch, some will go under bootcut jeans…and rarely boyfriend jeans.  Not perfectly, but I can make it work.  So.  In order to welcome the short boot into my life, I wanted one that was also multipurpose, but that would definitely go with boyfriend jeans (the weakness of my tall, flat boots), and skinny jeans, since that's what I wear most of the time.  Extra bonus points for pairing well with skirts and dresses.

3.  Test 'Em Out

There were a surprisingly large number of boots that didn't make it past the first foot:  too uncomfortable, didn't fit over my smartwool socks, or it just wasn't me. (Like the black lace-ups in the pic below.  I loved them, but since I'm so pregnant, I could't get the phrase, "Your mamma wears combat boots…." out of my head).

Once you have narrowed the field down somewhat, start trying on the boots with your go-to outfits.  Trying on boots at home, with your own clothing, is the key to success.  Especially when branching out with a drastically new style.  

Analyze the Results:

Short boots are tough.  Some hit high, some low (which will make a difference to the thicker-calved), some are tight on your legs, while some are so wide I could've fit both legs into them. Here's a quick rundown of short boot pitfalls:

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1.  Short Boots with Skinny Jeans – This pairing was, surprisingly, very tricky.  Unless you are sporting a pair of jeggings or leggings, many of my skinny jeans were still a bit too wide at the ankle, which caused bunching over top of the boot (think stuffed sausage).  Lace-up boots of any kind were the worst with traditional skinny jeans, even my go-to skinny jeans (J. Brand Cigarette style – pictured at left).  As you can see, these jeans actually fit over top of the the lace-up boot.  Which defeated the purpose.  Rolling or cuffing the skinny jeans solves this problem, but I was disappointed that many of my skinny jeans didn't work as-is. Leggings or jeggings, however, looked amazing with all pairs. 
 
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2.  Short Boots While Showing Leg – Whether you are pairing the short boots with skirts, dresses, shorts, or boyfriend jeans…chances are some leg will be showing.  Soooo….which pair of socks?  I found that I could still wear my Smartwool socks, I just had do roll them down a bit….which left the top of the boot rubbing painfully against my skin.  Or the boot was so wide that you could still see the sock from certain angles.  I've heard others recommend running socks…but still.  For me, it's Smartwool or bust.  I refuse to wear boots with uncomfortable socks (or – shudder – without socks). 

The Final Result:

35332-p-DETAILED I ended up keeping two of the boots:  The Minnetonka Fringe Boot simply because it was cheap ($55!!), I loved the fringe, and it's the only boot I've ever tried that is (honestly!!) comfortable without socks.  You can see a pic of these in action here.  The other 1198797-p-DETAILED boot is Mia's Buckaroo Boot in black leather.  It's both cuffed and moto, which makes for a slightly mod take on the moto trend.  It's just tough enough, with a hint of a heel…but doesn't make me feel manly.  Also, the top of the boot was soft against my skin.

But there were many, many others that I liked…they just weren't quite me, or didn't fit into my existing mom-drobe appropriately.  Here's a few of my favorites:

 

Moto Inspired Short Boots

 

The Nine West Maeble Boots look much cuter on than in the pic.  They are a good choice for someone who doesn't like anything too much, but wants a slight rocker-ish vibe.  The DV Foldover boots can be worn either up or down…and when worn with confidence, are totally hot.  I'm a bit too short to pull them off (I instead resembled a pirate). MIA's Buckleys were another fav – loved the color, as were Frye's Engineer boots.  Frye Engineer boots are truly a classic, and had a great moto/boho vibe.

Lace-Up Short Boots

 

This is the category of boot that I'm still the most intrigued by…and may try again this Spring.  However, given my limited selection of pants that fit, plus the huge, huge belly…I couldn't make this trend work.  HOWEVER.  These boots are fabulous.  Try a pair of these over leggings or jeggings.  Put them underneath skinny or straight-leg styles and then roll or cuff the jeans to show these off (personally, I love the lighter or distressed boot style with a lighter wash jean…).  Wear with thick woolly tights and girly skirts or dresses.  Sigh.  I'm already talking myself back into a pair.  (OMG – we ARE shopping enablers!).

A Few Other Choices…

After I bought my fringed mocs…I found the Tramper style.  I think I like this style better than the ones I bought…and I'm now a total moc convert.  The leather is so buttery soft, and gets softer with each wear, that even a picky girl like me can forgo socks.  Probably not the best choice for winter (unless you live in a fairly dry climate)…but put these on your list for Spring.  I wear mine over leggings or with skinny jeans, rolled up just enough to show off the boot.

And Clarks.  Sigh.  I've had my eye on these for over a year now.  Clarks look best with leggings or tights, and socks showing over the top of the boot.  Be warned, however: while I was in the process of determining if Clarks were in my future…my husband fell in love with them and now owns a pair.  Sooo…I let mine go.  We already must be careful not to leave the house in the matching colors…if both of us hit the street sporting matching Clarks…well.  We would never live it down.

I suspect this short boot trend will continue for some time…certainly into Spring.  As the winter progresses, we'll focus on different ways to work the short boot trend.  Let me know which style(s) intrigue you the most!  And if I overlooked one?  Please let me know!

xo,

S

 

 

17 Comments
  • Emily
    November 1, 2010

    Can we get a picture of short lace-ups with leggings? I own both and can’t see them working together…

  • Maman A Droit
    November 1, 2010

    I totally threw away a pair of short boots like a year ago that I hadn’t worn since high school. Based on your picks, they’d totally work. Kicking myself now.

  • Amy
    November 2, 2010

    I KNEW you’d get into mocs eventually! (I just brought out my moc loafers again for fall, and ohmygod bliss…)
    Love both of your choices–I’ve been looking for a short moto boot for a while and haven’t found anything “just right.” I did, however, find the CUTEST pair of short cuffed boots that I’m wearing at least twice a week these days. They look equally adorable under skinny pants, with long or short skirts, or with leggings. I’ve been surprised how versatile they really are, and the heels are a fantastis shape. They’re these from Kohls, believe it or not, from the Vera line: http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/shoes/brandsforshoes/simplyveraverawang/PRD~652324/Simply+Vera+Vera+Wang+Salle+Ankle+Boots.jsp

  • Emily Jones
    November 2, 2010

    Glad you covered this! I have a question maybe you can help me with: I bought some cute moto ankle boots (I realize this isn’t really about ankle boots, but you kinda addressed the problem earlier) that I’ve been wearing with jeggings and leggings, but my skinny jeans won’t fit into the top of them, it bunches. I did wear them one time like you had pictured above, underneath the bottom of my skinny jeans, but I just wasn’t sure if it looked ok or if I was committing a major fashion sin. Do you recommend this look or is it totally awful?

  • Lane
    November 2, 2010

    I love love love the mocs! I got a grey pair complete with fringe a couple years ago, and husband scoffed at first! Now he gets the appeal of comfort plus style plus a little bit of fringe makes everything right!
    Unfortunately, after the mocs, I had a hard time finding short boots that didn’t give me a sausage leg feeling like you described. I may have to try this moto style! Thanks S!

  • Molly Dynan Navetta
    November 2, 2010

    OMG! Love these picks and LOVE your Buckaroos. I about feel over when I saw you in them with leggins the other day.
    I would add two more, one of which I tried on recently but didn’t buy (and was heartbroken) because of my weird narrow feet, but they have a moc-like comfort with a cool play on the lace-up throw back:
    http://www.stevemadden.com/Item.aspx?id=52215&np=127_282-129_396-261_700
    and these which I did snap up and am adoring:
    http://www.zappos.com/matt-bernson-tundra-black-shearling
    WRT skinny jeans/stuffed sausage effect, I am seeing stirup pants coming back, including the Gap’s stirup legging jeans. Are we going there? Really? I’m not quite ready yet, but I guess soooo. . .

  • lyn
    November 2, 2010

    thank you! i’ve been waiting on a post like this! i have a pair similar to the black cuffed moto boots above…still trying to figure out how to style them…need to figure out the skinny jean roll…and the boyfriend jean like in your top pic…now i’m definitely leaning toward a pair of mocs..thanks to you…

  • Mae
    November 2, 2010

    Where did you get your ripped jeans in the first photo? They look so cute with the boots?

  • Chris
    November 2, 2010

    I am so glad to see this post! I found the pair linked below and had dreams about them for a week until I finally went back and got them! Great advice on how to style them!
    http://www.zappos.com/frye-maxine-shortie-dark-brown

  • Shana
    November 2, 2010

    Emily – Lace up boots and leggings? You bet – stay tuned.
    Maman A Droit – UUUUUGGGGH. I HATE when I do that.
    Amy – Did you also see the hot ankle booties by Vera Wang for Kohls? Totally not practical, but I’m still craving them. And all on sale for about $50? Nice. Thanks for the reminder!
    Emily Jones – that’s tough. It’s not my favorite look…but if you think it looks OK…it probably does. Another idea is to roll your skinny jeans up so they are just resting on the top of the boot. I’ve done that in this pic of my mocs: http://www.aintnomomjeans.com/2010/10/cool-backpacks-as-diaper-bags-im-inare-you.html?cid=6a010536e87b53970b013487f61e62970c
    Lane — OOOOOooooo Gray??? Sigh. Now I’m not only craving the Tramper style, but I’m also craving GRAY….
    M – Damn you, girl. I’ve been loving all of your recent purchases lately, and these two are no exception! Lined in fleece? OMG. So. Fab. WRT stirrup jeans…sigh. I just..can’t…do…it. I SEE the benefit…but still.
    Lyn – Thanks for the comment! So glad we could help – it IS tough.
    Mae – Oooo…those are still my favorites. Current/Elliott boyfriend jeans. The classic. I’m wearing the destroyed style (or maybe super destroyed) which you can often find on sale these days….
    Chris — Nice pick! You’ll never go wrong with a pair of Frye’s…

  • S
    November 4, 2010

    Just got an email from a reader with another fabulous short boot pick. Just had to share (and thanks, Ruth for writing in! Love your boots!):
    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and as a result actually bought myself straight-leg jeans recently. Thanks for that. :) I loved your post on short boots, which I often wear because my foot length:leg width ratio just wasn’t what the designers had in mind…
    Anyway, I just ordered these most beautiful boots and thought you might also find them drool-worthy. Good quality stiff leather, made to last multiple snowy and icy winters. And they look amazing. I love Italians! Not sure if they are on offer Stateside but they fit the pattern of what you were looking at. http://www.zalando.de/cafenoir-boots-tabacco-ca7-fzw-0107-99.html
    Keep up the great shopping advice!
    Ruth (an American in Stuttgart Germany)

  • Amber
    November 4, 2010

    Four words “Michael Kors Tatum Bootie” I own them in graphite. LOVE

  • Kristin
    November 4, 2010

    Can I just say that I’m a 40-year-old mom (Colorado Springs) of two daughters, ages 13 and 10, who stumbled upon your blog the other day. I read every ‘Style’ section you have written, past and present, and am now the proud owner of: a) black leggings, b) dark brown moto short boots and c) Minnetonka Trampers. My girls gave me resounding approval on all three. I’m pretty sure I’m not your intended demographic, but thanks for the inspiration for us “older” moms who are still stylin’ and profilin’ :)

  • Shana
    November 7, 2010

    Amber – Super-crazy-fabulous boots. LOVE also. However, I’d have to keep these for date night, or when I’m not with the little man. If you can rock these everyday, you are a better woman than I am, LOL!
    Kristin – I LOVE this comment! You just made my year. And 40? Pshaw. Isn’t 40 the new 30, or some such thing? Anyway, I love also that your girls approved. YEARS after I moved out of the house my mom and I are still having the same discussions, LOL! But seriously – thank you for taking the time to write in. And MAN – the Trampers! I’m jealous! xoxo

  • Taufanzug
    December 17, 2010

    Sehr informativ und interessant zu lesenden Artikel …

  • Moncler Jackets Kids
    November 6, 2011

    Beautiful!!! You truly have an eye for colour.

  • Moncler Jacke
    March 22, 2012

    I follow you VIA GFC and I love your blog!

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