Reader Q | How To Wear Clark’s Desert Booties (For WOMEN)



Mamas, in the last few months, I’ve received several emails/comments about Clark’s classic desert booties.  Readers want to know how to wear them, if they are versatile, and most importantly, if they are comfortable.  Reader Amanda wrote:

I was just wondering if you’ve ever reconsidered getting a pair of Clarks Desert Boots (I just read your post where your husband got them and you decided against them for that reason).  For some reason I’m really drawn to them but I’m not sure how I would wear them.  My first instinct would be to wear them with rolled boyfriend or skinny jeans…but then I wonder if that would look too masculine.  I tried to search for styling ideas and I’m not coming up with much of anything…maybe that means I should nix the idea and buy another style of bootie or ankle boot? 

This email was quickly followed by one from reader Dana:

I’ve been coveting these for awhile, but I’m not finding much style inspiration on the web. I’m mostly seeing pictures of men wearing Clarks, which of course makes me think that maybe I should just return them and look for a different style of ankle boot.

Amanda and Dana are so right.  If you try to google “desert boot” or even “desert boot women”…hardly anything shows up.  Like…no women.  No women at all.  So.  Challenged accepted!!  (Happily, Clarks was willing to send me a pair, gratis.  Thank you Clarks!!)

But here’s the thing:  My plan was to receive the boots, then spend countless hours in front of my mirror, perfecting three/four outfits that best showed off the boot.  If all went well, I’d write some slick article about how best to wear Clark’s Desert Booties.  Instead…they arrived.  I tried them on.  I fell in love and wore them everywhere.  End of story.

So.  Instead of some “best of” article…here’s the (roughly one billion) ways I’ve been wearing my Clark’s.

With Boyfriend Jeans 

Clark’s Desert Booties are comfortable with or without socks, but it’s been cold, and I’m happier with a cute pair of patterned socks peeking out.  Even with boyfriend jeans and flannel…these didn’t feel too masculine.  Just cute.  (I might try a pair of colored laces, just for fun.)

(wearing: Stylemint Waverly Shades, $30, J.Crew flannel – similar style, J.Crew Factory Shawl Collar sweater – gone, but this cardi from Target might work, A&F Straight Leg Jeans in Medium Destroyed Wash, $88, Clarks Desert Boots in gray suede, $98)


With Denim Leggings (aka Super Skinnies aka Jeggings)

My standby momiform for those not-too-horribly cold days.  This, strangely enough, was taken the day after Sandy, during our walk to assess the damage to our ‘hood.


(wearing: J.Crew duffle coat from last year – here’s their current version, James Perse cap sleeve tee, $65, Levi’s 535 denim leggings, $35, Target mittens and socks)

With Leggings

This is not my favorite.  I think this outfit may have looked better with a black desert boot…or a lighter, patterned legging?  As-is…it’s just OK.  Works in a pinch, I guess.  Thoughts?


(Joe’s Jeans denim jacket from 10 years ago…but here’s the one I’d buy now, J.Crew striped turtleneck $45, Stylemint Waverly Shades, $30, Isabella Oliver maternity leggings $65, Clarks Desert Boots in gray suede $98)


With a Skirt

So here’s the thing:  Clarks Desert Booties, when paired with tights, give off a slight elfish vibe.  And when paired with thick, fair-isle patterned tights, a bright red sweater and worn by a certain blogger who is under 5’4″?   Just call me Crumpet.

This outfit was an epic fail…but I included the pic (in black/white) because Clark’s Desert Booties do look cute with skirts.  So much potential here!!  Just lose the rest of the crazy pictured below.

(wearing:  Mostly Stylemint and Target….but no one cares, right?)


With Skinny Jeans (and striped socks)

These booties have been seriously great for keeping up with my crazy little men.  (Who remind me of elves.  How fitting.)


(wearing: Stylemint sweatshirt $60, Makr Farm Rucksack $160, AG Stevie Patchwork jeans – long gone, but try AG’s The Stilt 7 year patchwork $235, striped Happy socks

With Rolled Skinnies

After seeing the pic above…I decided to roll my skinnies.  I mean…if you are going to wear cute socks, then Wear Cute Socks.  Right?  Besides, I think the roll looks better.


(wearing: same denim as above…everything else is ancient.  My sweatshirt moto jacket came from Roots, but Pac Sun has a surprisingly cute one for $44.  The blanket-like scarf was an old Banana Republic wrap…Nordstroms has this similar cashmere one at 40% off…or this budget friendly one.)


Man, I need to buy another pair of Target’s gray polka-dot socks.  Clearly.  I’m wearing Clarks Desert Boots in gray suede, but I also love the classic taupe.  Both are currently $97.95 at


Pax, incidentally, was in rare form that day.  Not only did he insist on the cape, but he was running around, growling.  I think he was confused:  super-hero or monster?  (He’s usually the monster that Raines, the super-hero, fights.)  I guess I can understand.  Anyway, the monster-superhero was intent on takin’ a chunk outta me.



Yeah…soggy, drooled-on hair is just gross.  But when it comes courtesy of a chubby, growling, caped, super-hero monster?  I’ll take it.  Any day.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mamas!!



ps. I’m totally down for a little Baltimore/Polar Express/holiday meet-up…let’s plan!


  1. lol! Elfish is right. I’ve been working on incorporating my desert boots (mia limited edition in antique brown) since september. i’ve found few tights options that work, save a green tweed mini and once a full skirted vintage dress. i think the key for me is embracing the geek. mine are leather, though, so the vibe is slightly different.

  2. Clark related. Just bought Clark’s Indigo Loyal Sole heels in black lizard. Looove them. Swearing as the most comfy heels I own. And they look chic, yet a chunkier heel. Go Clark’s go!

  3. I adore outfit number two- I need the deets on the coat!!! Thanks for the inspiration as always- and love the superhero- monster in the pictures too. xo

  4. so happy you posted this! I love how the clark desert boots look and once I tried them on I was hooked too. They are so comfortable. I am looking forward to trying some of these looks out!

  5. What are your thoughts on the toms boots that look similar to hear but have a wedge heel? They may work with skirts a little better…

  6. You look great! I actually bought a pair (in gray!) about this time last year and ended up returning them. They just felt too manly to me 🙁 I love the look on you though, and it’s making me want to try again!

  7. I got mine from Madewell last year, seduced by their repeated showings in catalogues..and then shelved them after a couple of wearings where I felt super stumpy. I’m not so, er, proportionally leggy as you. (Which means I’m way thicker in the middle and 4 inches shorter. So.) However, this Fall, I suddenly rediscovered them as the perfect foil for skirts and dresses! I wore them with bare legs and with socks, and it was heaven! Because they de-fancified the skirts and dresses enough to get me out of jeans and actually finally wearing the skirts and dresses! So. That’s my story. Maybe I’ll try them with jeans again. Mine are taupe though, and all my jeans are dark – I might try them with cream colored cords that fit boyfriend-y. Wish me luck!

  8. Thank you so much for doing this post! My favorite outfit is with the rolled jeans in the last picture..but they all look great. I found that once I stopped trying to make the boots more girly and just embraced their tomboyishness(is that a word?) I’ve been wearing them so much more.

  9. And I just got my friends and family coupon from shoebuy and pulled the trigger 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration! Here’s hoping I can work them this time!

  10. Thank you so much for this post. I have a pair sitting on my shelf right now because I have been trying to decide whether to keep them or not. My husband thought I bought them for him but got the wrong size, which completely killed my confidence. This makes me ready to put them on 🙂

  11. Cute! I’m another one who loved the booties but had no idea how to wear them. Luckily others ladies thought to ask you! Great ideas, thanks!

  12. I need to stop reading this blog! You had me at the Zara camo pants…my best purchase this fall, thanks to you (that’s a sincere thanks, not a sarcastic one). And now I’m totally crushing on these desert boots – I’ve been living in my ankle booties every day and am at a point where I just need something more comfy. Keep up the great work – I love this blog (unfortunately 🙂

  13. I”m 54,mom of 3 grown ladies and I just found you today.Great post on the desert boots.Everything seems to come back around.They were out when I was a teenager and I never got them. I am inspired to get them the second time around! Thanks

  14. So this is pretty much the most adorable blogpost about Clarks Desert Boots. Ever.
    I love your down-to-earth, mommy-wearable style — and I’m a college student! LOL.

  15. Wow, thanks Stephanie!! And I’m an avid reader of College Candy…I think moms and college students have a ton in common style-wise. All that walkin’ around…
    Thanks for commenting!! I love that you’re reading!

  16. Fareeda – your comment cracked me up! 🙂 Those camo pants are somthin’ aren’t they? So…sexy, right? IDK. I feel like a bad@ss in them.
    Thanks for commenting!

  17. Beth – the coat is J.Crew’s duffle coat (I updated the post after I originally read your comment, so you may have seen the deets already.) But if NOT…all J.Crew outerwear is currently 30% off.

  18. I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for ways to wear the J. Crew MacAlister wedge booties I recently purchased. I wish I loved the wedge booties as much as I do your blog, but sadly I think I may have to return them. Can’t seem to make them work and honestly, I think I’ll look a bit silly strolling into my kids’ elementary school to volunteer wearing 3″ wedges. Oh well, I tried! Thanks for such an awesome blog- I’m sure I’ll be spending countless hours reading all your posts!

  19. So excited to see this post! I just received a pair of Clark’s desert boots in the beeswax leather and was feeling a bit intimidated about how masculine they seem. I also felt like they made my feet look wide/big – but seeing this pictures makes me feel more confident about rocking them. And they are amazingly comfortable. Thanks again 🙂

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