I grew up in Florida, and then moved to LA, so boots were never a significant part of my shoe collection. (Read: Not a single pair!) This was also convenient, since in addition to size 10 feet, I have huge calves. (Read: NOT cankles, just large, shapely calves that have become the bane of my existence…) So when I moved to Chicago, and could legitimately wear my all-time favorite outfit combo of a dress/skirt, sweater, tights, and boots, I was REALLY excited.
Until I actually tried to buy some.
Much like every other fashionable item, boots tend to be designed for very tall, very skinny women who neither have fat nor muscle, and who would probably be blown away in Chicago wind. Shockingly, I am not designed like that. But Ellen is not one to accept the fashion industry’s BS, so she shopped online and I went from store to store feeling bad about myself, and eventually I found some semi-acceptable boots as well as one really great pair from a Canadian company being sold at Clark’s. (I know it sounds old lady, but Clarks has some really great shoes!)
Even when I finally found some, I did not have any idea that a pair of tall black boots that look good with my skirts and sweaters would not be appropriate for a Chicago…but that is a whole different story.
So for 3 years (which here is synonymous with three winters), I made due with a variety of snow boots/shoes/buckets and this one pair of admittedly fantastic, but now quite boring, black boots with a 1.5 inch heel, squarish toe, and no fun buckles. The cobbler loves me. My coworkers were less than impressed. I am beyond over them.
This year, I was pretty resigned to taking my boots to the cobbler, again, and avoiding the boot ordeal for another year. It’s so demoralizing. And the looks on the shoe salespeople faces are just maddening. But I took my friend Stephanie shopping at perennial favorite Nordstrom (another blog post to come! WOOT), and at the end of our very successful day, we went to the shoe department.
Folks, what you are about to read brings tears of joy to my eyes even now: I tried on TWO pairs of fantastic boots- tall, luscious leather boots- and THEY FIT. It is not because my fantastic trainer found a way to make my calves smaller, either. According to the reviews of the Sofft and Enzo boots I found, they are “huge” and people are “swimming in them”. I laugh at your problems, ye of twiggy legs!
Friends, meet my soon to be new boots:
Not only can I wear these both to work, with jeans, with skirts and dresses, and with nothing at all- they are high quality, fun, and comfortable. They still won’t work in a blizzaster (see: Northface boots for the winter win!), but they will carry me through 8 months of darkness in style. You can all be jealous now.
May I make some suggestions for my fellow boot lovers, before I go on my boot purchasing spree?
1. f you live in a warm climate, don’t act like you live in the arctic- boots with fur and intense winter features just look ridiculous. (Note: After living in LA, I have developed an intense aversion to Uggs. Uggs are not boots. They are fuggly slippers. I WILL judge you. I will not feel bad.)
2. Flat boots are best for a starter pair, or a low heel. No one likes to see a wobbly chick in stiletto boots. Also, what is the point of those?! Just wear a pair of heels.
3. Cowboy boots= weekend boots. NOT for work. Also, watch where you go- those pointy toes hurt.
4. Animal lover or no, real leather rules. They last longer, look nicer, and wear better. I’m sure Ellen can hook you up with some faux-leather alternatives, if you must.
5. You get what you pay for, most of the time. I definitely understand not wanting to invest $200+ on a pair of boots if you live somewhere with the normal THREE months of winter. But if you live in winter, it’s worth it. Save up, buy them, and don’t feel guilty. Price per wear, right!?
6. Beware the super trendy boot. Just sayin.
7. Beware the leg cutters. And by this I mean a boot that is a bad height for you. Ellen has shown some great options. But don’t get boots that make your legs look stumpy.
8. Take care of your boots!!! I should do this more, but its still true. Love your boots and they will love you.
Let this be a tale of hope and inspiration, no matter what climate you live in or what size you are. There are boots out there for every calf size, twiggy to gargantuan. Websites abound with options (widewidths.com, Clark’s, etc), and there’s always Ellen.
Happy Boot Shopping!