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:
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.
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:
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 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
$198 - zappos.com
$140 - zappos.com
$127 - zappos.com
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
$208 - zappos.com
Dolce Vita »
$228 - zappos.com
$189 - zappos.com
$100 - zappos.com
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!