This year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has been different, to say the least, but one of the things I actually appreciated the most about the format was the opportunity to preview a vast majority of the sale items beforehand and create the wish lists we’ve all been talking about. Yes, in doing so, I think Nordstrom also created a lot of buzz that then lead to speedy sellouts, but it also gave me weeks, literally, to mull over my choices so I could be less panicky come checkout. Was I less panicky? Well, no. Ha. But I did have my faves narrowed down to a solid wish list, supplemented by a B-list that I would consult if certain pieces sold out.
Best Of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020: How To Style The Paul Green Dynamic Boots
One of the items for which there was no comparable B-List item? These Paul Green Dynamic Boots. And fortunately for us all, they’re still in stock.
The thing is, while these boots have the potential to be fan-freaking-tastic, they’re also a little tricky to style right out of the gate. Laura and Linzi both tried them on, too, and agreed that they have massive potential.
But if I’m going to spend $300 (on sale) for a pair of shoes, potential doesn’t cut it.
So I spent a couple of hours in front of the mirror today — and, friends, I think I cracked the code. These Paul Green Dynamic Boots really can be as undeniably cool as they seem. Here’s everything you need to know about getting the absolute most out of them.
Paul Green Dynamic Boots – Fit & Fabrication
First off, a quick rundown on the fit and fabrication: The specific boots I’m talking about here are the Black Crinkled Patent, and they’re more or less exactly as pictured online. I ordered my usual size, a women’s 8, and it’s a perfect fit with or without socks (more on that later). The lug sole is actually really lightweight, but since it’s a Vibram sole, it’s also robust enough to hold up to some serious urban hiking. And like all the Paul Green shoes I’ve tried (I’m all but obsessed with my buttery soft high tops), they’re supremely comfortable. Lighter and easier to get on and off than combat boots. And just different enough. By all accounts, these are exactly as advertised.
How to Style The Paul Green Dynamic Boots
The tricky thing about boots that are as unique as these — the patent leather, the buckle, the platform lug sole — is that they can go from seriously cool to borderline costumey really quick. When I first popped them on with bare legs, I felt a bit like a kiddo playing dress-up in firefighter boots or galoshes. Maybe it’s the sheen, maybe it’s the buckle. But I pressed on. Here are all the subtle tricks I learned to take these boots from good to great.
1. It’s best when the shaft is fully exposed.
That’s…what…she… OK, I won’t do it. But I will let the search engine bots have fun with that subheading.
OK but seriously: whether that means tucking skinnies into the boots OR pairing them with cropped or cuffed pants — either works.
The option on the left (above) isn’t terrible, but with the low-rise jeans (these have seriously converted me back; more details in this post) AND the chunky boots, the outfit is heavily weighted…down. (Is it just me, or does it almost feel like the boots are dragging the pants off my body? lol.) On the right, a small cuff shows off the shaft of the boots and just a peek of skin. Much better.
tee (TTS – XS) | jeans (size down one – 00) | leather jacket (I sized up from a 0-2 to a US4 – limited sizes on sale here; more sizes here and with price matching (!!) here; or similar in the NSale here) | boots (TTS)
With skinnies (and especially in all black) you could go either way. I think I slightly prefer the look of the left, but if you’re trying to actually stay warm this winter, the option on the right lets you layer some hidden thick socks into the mix.
Even in this iteration, where the boots are arguably a bit too heavy for the outfit, the clean line where the skinny runs flush into the boot is still flattering and just fine, indeed. (I’d ideally add something just a little funky up top. This campy camo bomber sweater would be perfect.)
I’m even OK pairing them with leggings, so long as the outfit skews more street than sporty. (More on this whole look in this post.)
2. They also look best when they’re not paired with too much bare leg…
Something about the shiny patent coming right up against a stretch of bare skin emphasizes the galoshes vibe. An inch or two of bare skin? Fine. Any more than that, and it starts to feel like something’s missing. And that’s because there is something missing. Socks!
Bear with me here, but adding socks softens the transition from glossy leather to bare skin and also leans into the boots’ funkiness that initially drew me in. And friends — the socks I happened to grab are patterned, but a textured knit sock in a solid color would work too. (Linking up a few fun options below.)
It’s also worth noting that I’ve been looking for something comparable to these jeans for the past year, and the same style but with slightly different distressing is in the NSale — but sadly sold out at the moment. (Might be worth bookmarking the page since they’ve been restocking quite a few things.) These, however, are the same style in the closest wash to mine that I’ve found — and decently stocked, too. (Oh wait!! Laura just found my exact wash here! Love that lady…)
top: tee (TTS – XS) | jeans (size up one — 26; OR same style, different wash) | boots (TTS) | boots (TTS)
bottom: Voloshin x TME dress (TTS – XS) | leather jacket (I sized up from a 0-2 to a US4 – limited sizes on sale here; more sizes here and with price matching (!!) here; or similar in the NSale here) | boots (TTS)
The outfits on the left — fine. Passable. But the peek of socks on the right just feels more…intentional. (Interestingly, I wore the Voloshin x TME dress with black high tops, no socks, just the other day and liked the effect just fine, so I really think it’s something about the high gloss and the lug sole that makes these a wee bit more challenging.)
Shop My Fave Socks for Mid-Rise Boots
3. …oh, wait. Unless you’re showing a serious amount of skin.
For some reason, this works. Not sure how realistic this outfit is, period, but I feel OK about these 501 shorts both with the socks and without the socks. Maybe the impracticality cancels out any awkwardness? Though truth be told, I kinda like it…
4. Find the right balance! Through color…
tee (TTS – XS) | jeans (size up one — 26; OR same style, different wash) | boots (TTS) | knit blazer (TTS – XS) | leather jacket (I sized up from a 0-2 to a US4 – limited sizes on sale here; more sizes here and with price matching (!!) here; or similar in the NSale here) | boots (TTS)
So, color. Black boots are typically pretty foolproof, but when you add in the shine, they pull even more visual weight down to the foot. My advice? Unless you’re going the all-black-everything route (which I will always endorse), counter all that weight with pieces up top that breathe a bit but still balance things visually. I love the white-on-white. The jacket is substantial enough to hold its own against the boots, and over a white tee, there’s not too much contrast breaking up the body line. Flattering and cool. (Even in the Canadian Tuxedo in the next section there, this rule applies.)
White tee and black jacket, you say? That works, too. The center line of the body still breathes while the black jacket offsets the tee with just enough weight.
jeans (size up 1 for snug, 2 for slouch) | tee (TTS – XS) | knit blazer (TTS – XS) | jacket (I sized up from a 0-2 to a US4 – limited sizes on sale here; more sizes here and with price matching (!!) here; or similar in the NSale here) | boots (TTS)
And here? Well, here’s where it gets tricky. All we did was swap out the white tee for black (and the jeans are a slightly darker wash), but on the left, the long white jacket contrasts with the black tee and the jeans so much that it ends up competing with the boots for attention and looking a little…ring-leader-y? Would I still wear it? Probably. But if you’re gonna put something as dark as black up top, just commit to it, I say. Like on the right. Much better.
(Note: just got these BDG Mom Jeans in, and I love them in concept — they feel like the AGOLDE Jamie Mom Jeans I love so much — but they run small and narrow. As in, I got them over my hips and on but juuuust barely, and it was literally painful to lean over to zip the boots. Ha! I’d go up at least one size, two if you’re between sizes.)
…and find the right balance through style.
If you’re pairing these boots with another piece that could skew a little over the top, consider toning things down a tad with an elevated basic.
Here the camisole on its own almost plays up the costumey vibe, but adding a dark, neutral sweater (this one is as good as I’d hoped, especially for the price) calms things down a bit. The boots still look rad. The cami still looks rad. It’s just less…shouty.
Note: if you’re looking for a leopard print camisole, the print on this option is gorgeous, and it’s pure silk and on sale at Nordstrom. Fully stocked, too. Honestly considering the upgrade.
4. And FINALLY:
When in doubt, stick with elevated basics…
All black everything? Yes. In fact, this is may be my favorite outfit in the whole post and the closest to how I envisioned wearing the boots when I first received them. Comfy, easy, chic and just the slightessssttt bit grunge. Perfect.
…or just lean fully into the boots’ quirky potential.
Canadian Tuxedo? Also yes. And in theory, this delivers on the balance of color, too. Nice long, lean body line. Funky, but not obnoxiously so.
Shop The Paul Green Boots + The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Finds I Styled Them With
Everything from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (and a couple of Nordstrom items outside of the sale) discussed throughout this post.
Shop The Outfit Ideas I Paired With The Paul Green Boots
All the non-NSale finds I pulled from my own closet (and some seriously covetable dupes!).
So — there you have it. Overall a really good pair of boots that, with a little bit of trial and error, more than live up to their potential — even within the confines of some pretty basic wardrobe pieces.
And, yes, even to this typically budget-minded shopper, I’d say they’re worth the investment. Just the fact that they’re SO light and easy to zip off and on increases the likelihood of me wearing them tremendously, so from a cost-per-wear standpoint, I have a feeling these will end up looking pretty good.
Got more tips for how you’d rock ’em? Lay ’em on me, folks. (And if you’re looking for more #NSale shopping goodness, head over to our Nordstrom Anniversary Sale guide.)
Guys! Follow me on Instagram for more peeks into our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!