One upside to all of this stay-at-home time is that my sartorial life has been greatly simplified. Granted, this is due in part to the season: I’ve got summer figured out. Flat, tan sandals, a straw bag or two, and a few basics (I wrote about this last year, basically nothing has changed) and I’m good to go.

But fall? Fall drives me nuts.

Not only does our fall weather swing wildly, but fall is when layers start to come into play. And I’ve found that the more possibilities I have (the more moving parts)…the more things can (and do) go wrong in an outfit. 

Changing denim shapes can sometimes mean that a coat that looked great with last year’s skinnies…suddenly looks strange with my new mom jeans. And trying to pair ankle boots with any sort of pant is so hugely dependent on how that exact boot fits on your exact leg with that exact pant (gah!) that it literally gives me a headache. 

So I’ve been thinking that this fall, since our social lives are going to be severely limited, I’d like to spend some time solving Annoying Outfit Problems I run into again and again.  And the first one that comes to mind — the one I run into every. freaking. year. is styling my summertime favorite, light-wash denim, with boots.

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.

top – xs | Levi 501s – 27 | booties | bag 

4 Reasons Light-Wash Jean Look Best With Taupe Booties

If you’ve ever wondered why black boots sometimes look a little off with light-wash jeans…keep reading.

Note: Since the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is going on, I currently have a ton of inventory in my bedroom…which means I can really play around and illustrate some of these concepts. Most of the pieces featured here are part of the #NSale, but not everything (so just double-check the price).

1. Taupe Booties + Light Wash Jeans Are Foolproof

So to begin, let me try and illustrate the problem I often run into. Here I have my favorite jeans, the ones I’ve been wearing all summer, and I’d like to keep wearing them in the fall. But when paired with black boots, the look is…a little bit off.  

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.

sweater | Levi’s 501s (left, in Nsale) – 27 | Levi’s 501s (right) – 27 | bootiesbag

Granted, it’s not terrible. The heaviness of the black is offset by the textured coat and sweater, and the bag (with the black and softer green tones) helps to bridge the gap between the dark boots and the lighter jean. And yet, the taupe boots still look better. Even when I picked a less-distressed pair of Levi’s 501s (which should be able to handle a black boot), the black is still heavy.

The problem, however, becomes more obvious when I strip away the textured pieces. With the black boots, the outfit below is definitely out-of-balance. With the taupe boots? It’s perfect.

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.

top – xs | Levi 501s (left, in Nsale) – 27 | Levi 501s (right) – 27 | booties | bag 

So it’s not that black boots can’t work with light wash jeans…it’s just that it’s really, really tricky to get the balance right.

And taupe will work better every time, even when wearing black.

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.sweater – xs | Levi 501s – 27 | booties | bag | trench – s

2. Taupe Boots Pair With Any Color Accessory

What bag to carry when wearing taupe boots? Literally any color. Taupe looks great with white, black, tan, camel, pastels, rich jewel tones…everything. 

ps. Jeans with a lighter cuff look especially cute with taupe booties.

Cool-Toned vs Warm-Toned Bag. — Both Work With Taupe

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.

sweater – xs | jeans – 26| booties | bag (left) | bag (right)

 

3. Taupe Booties Can Work With Socks

So here’s the deal: I hate cold ankles, so I’m going to bust out some socks. But unlike dark jeans (where I recommend matching your socks to your jeans or your boots), I recommend finding socks that are neither. The best socks in this situation are a heathered mix of lighter and blueish or gray tones. Smartwool makes a few options I swear by, like these or these.Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.

Base Outfit: sweater – xs | jeans (top) – 26 | similar jeans (bottom) | booties | bag

Top Coats: faux fur coat – xs | puffer – xs

Bottom Coats: trench – s | fleece – s

And once again, this strategy (of heathered, blue-ish socks) works whether your accessories are cool, dark, warm or light.

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.Base Outfit: similar jeans | booties | bag 

Coats: fleece – s | trench – s

4. Taupe Boots Can Sometimes Work With Bare Legs

So this depends on the exact shade of taupe and your exact skin tone…but the idea is to look for a shade of taupe that doesn’t have a ton of contrast with your skin for a longer leg line.  

Annoying Outfit Problem we have every. freaking. year: styling light-wash jeans, w/ boots. Answer: taupe booties. Perfect style balance.

dress – xs | booties | bag 

Best Taupe Booties For Light-Wash Mom Jeans, Cropped Jeans & Other Straight Leg Pairs

 

 

Best Taupe Booties For Skinny Jeans

 

 

Cheers to making the most out of what we have! And if you guys have any burning style questions, let us know! We’d love to try figuring them out.

xo,

S

11 COMMENTS

  1. This post is so helpful! Granted, I don’t know that I have any plans to wear pants that button this particular Autumn (vote for Sweatpants 2020), but this is a fantastic tip for future falls when it’s time to go pumpkin picking and it’s still 75 degrees outside.

  2. I really liked this study thanks for putting it together so helpful to actually see the difference. I love your style and go blonder highlights.

  3. I just don’t like black boots at all anymore, which is funny because it used to be all I wore. Wait, I do have a black boot that I like but it’s suede, has a tan sole and cool zippers (Sam Edelman Packer). These would work for those who don’t want to let go of black boots.

  4. Do the Blondo boots work with the straight leg (Levi’s 501 or rag & bone Nina) Or is it only a boot with a heel that looks best with non skinnies?

    • The Blondo boots don’t. The issue is that there’s this giant gap between the top of the boot and the hem of the jeans. For some reason the gap doesn’t look bad with flats or sneakers, but with boots…it’s really tricky. Let me play around and throw something up on stories. I have a few ideas that *might* work.

  5. Killin’ it here as always!! Great post….I’m sad the Theory coat is sold out. I’m dying to see the dark Free People Catch Me If You Can top styled up on you Shana!

  6. I actually think this is super dependent on hair color… my hair is about the same length as yours, Shana, but BLACK. Whereas the taupe boots bookend your blond hair perfectly, I get the same effect with black boots. I actually have to be more careful with taupe boots, because if I paired taupe boots with light jeans and a light gray sweater like in your photo, with a load of black hair on top it looks a little unbalanced. I usually fix it up with a more saturated sweater color, but overall black shoes are still more of a no-fuss no-thinking option over taupe.

  7. Do the blondo boots run true to size? I’ve had to size up in this brand before. Love your style Shana, effortlessly cool!

  8. Love the “show and tell” walk thru in this post. Very helpful with all the visuals! I plan to try some similar looks for the first time when my taupe boots arrive. Also sad the trench isn’t available! Thank you Shana 👢💥

  9. Keilexandra, this is such a great point and one I will keep in mind as a super dark brunette. Thank you to all you lovely people with artistic eyes who can point out WHY stuff works or doesn’t. It’s such a huge help to me as a fashion enthusiast who isn’t quite a true expert.

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