Last week I shared my Fall 2017 Wardrobe Essentials so today I thought we could talk more about boots since they are one of the best things about fall fashion. Can I get an amen?
When deciding how many pairs of boots you need and what colors and styles you should to have in your closet, it’s important to do a quick lifestyle audit and think about what types of clothing you usually wear, what your weather is like, and of course your personal style aesthetic.
It’s easy to get drawn to the newest thing, but there’s nothing worse than buying a fabulous pair of shoes only to have them sit in your closet because you have nowhere to wear them. (Not that I’ve ever done that before… ahem.)
I live a fairly casual lifestyle so while I’m drawn to heels, I try to make sure to have some lower heel options in my closet that are more practical for everyday. Also, fall and winter weather here in Philly can be messy so I like to have some leather options as well as the more popular suede styles because leather is more durable and weather resistant.
Since we all have different lifestyles and different needs, I’m not going to make a numbered list of must-have boots because I’m sure that varies person to person. Instead I’m going to share what styles and colors I like to have in my closet and why, and hopefully you can take that information and figure out what you want to have in your closet.
Fall 2017 Boot Guide
Let’s start with ankle boots.
Every woman should probably have a couple pairs of ankle boots in her closet, but the colors and styles depend on the rest of your wardrobe. I personally love taupe ankle boots because they are highly versatile and the lighter neutral is a great transition color. You can start wearing them now with shorts and crop jeans and then wear them right through fall and into winter. Last year I wore my taupe booties more than any other.
This year during the #NSale, I bought a pair of Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots that sold out, but this pair by Vince Camuto is similar. I’m partial to the foxy color (pictured here) but they also come in black, charcoal grey, and a gorgeous rusty red that is calling my name. (More on colors in a sec.) I like the casual, slightly rugged styling of these booties because my outfits tend to be very casual. Plus the lower shaft makes easy to style with length skinny jeans. Mine have a slightly lower heel, which I love, but these would work for the same types of outfits as the ones I have, and they’re very comfortable. I’ve never been disappointed by a pair of Vince Camuto boots.
Another popular neutral shade right now that serves the same purpose is wheat. Either works, it’s just up to you and what you like best and what works with your closet. The lighter neutrals are definitely trending, though.
This pair of Lucky Brand booties has a lower heel, and the leather also makes them practical. They come in wheat, grey, and black.
I also like to have a pair of black or grey ankle boots in my closet because they work well with the darker jewel tones that are popular in the fall as well as with grey and black, and I tend to wear those colors a lot.
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I have a pair quite similar to these that I picked up late last winter, and I can’t wait to get them out again. If you’re looking for work wear, this style might be more practical for you. These pair well with black jeans, and you can probably wear them with ankle pants as well if jeans aren’t appropriate for your work place.
You may want to have a pair in cognac or chestnut. I love a good chestnut suede boot in the fall. Whether you need both the brown and grey or can choose one or the other depends on your wardrobe and how often you wear ankle boots.
Style-wise, Booties with a higher shaft like this look best with crop flares or with legging ankle jeans tucked in. If you’re going to wear your jeans tucked in, they need to fit fairly tight to the leg so they don’t bunch or fold over.
I also have a pair of black suede wedge booties that I wore a lot last winter, but I’m not noticing as many wedges this season. These Kork-Ease booties look like a practical choice, and I like that they’re leather.
This year I added these black peep toe booties to my shoe wardrobe, but they’re not as versatile the styles that are more closed up. I like these for wearing in late summer and early fall. If you live in a warmer climate, you can probably wear these all winter long, but I’ll have to put mine away when it gets cold.
Finally, don’t rule out a color. I bought a pair of beet red suede wedge booties last year, and I loved wearing them with denim and neutrals like grey and black. These are a nice choice for a lower heel.
The other big thing coming this fall (believe it or not!) is white ankle boots. I KNOW! My first thought is gogo boots as well, but this will be trending. I don’t expect to see them around where I live anytime soon, but if you live in more metropolitan areas, I think you’ll start seeing them this fall. I actually kind of like these with the wood stacked heel… not sure I’m ready to invest just yet, but I’m going to keep them in mind. This ecru color is nice too.
The other boot trend this fall that I’m considering is leopard ankle boots. I saw them some last year and wasn’t ready for them, but they’re starting to grow on me. I really kind of like these and these.
To sum it up, most of us probably need at least one pair of neutral suede ankle boots (I’d go for taupe or wheat or cognac) and one pair of leather (black or brown.) If you wear ankle boots a lot, maybe you want to have all of the above!
At this point, I think I have them all, but I admit that most sit in my closet a lot more than I’d like. I’m more likely to throw on ballet flats than ankle boots when I’m going to be home all day, which is more often than not.
Moving on to tall boots…
With tall boots, we have mid-calf boots, knee-high boots and over-the-knee boots and within each of those categories, as with ankle boots, there are different shaft heights, heel heights, and a myriad of styles to choose from.
Riding boots are always a classic, but I feel like they’re taking a backseat to more urban styles and the over-the-knee trend right now. That said, you certainly can’t go wrong with a classic pair of riding boots, especially from a brand like Frye or Tory Burch.
Knee-high dress boots are always nice to have. I have a grey suede pair from last year’s #NSale, and this year I added these caramel suede knee-high boots to my closet. I think this color will be fun for fall and pairs well with the mid-wash jeans and lighter neutrals that are trending right now.
Unfortunately, these sold out during the Anniversary Sale, and I’m not seeing many similar options right now. Maybe as retailers start stocking more for fall, there will be more options, but it seems like the OTK trend is taking over.
Over-the-knee boots are definitely becoming more mainstream, and I do love this look, but I’m personally a fan of the ones with the shorter shaft. Maybe that’s because I’m only 5’5″ but some of them are so tall that I find them hard to style.
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I have a pair similar to these that I’ve worn for the past two years. I like that they’re leather so I can wear them in all types of weather, and they have a great downtown vibe that I love. These have a memory foam cushioned footbed, and they’re water proof. I particularly like the 15″ shaft — it comes just over the knee but they’re not super high. Stuart Weitzman has a similar pair that are gorgeous but they have a 22 1/2″ shaft, which in my opinion makes them harder to style — at least for me because I’m only 5’5″.
If they’re in your budget, the Stuart Weitzman Lowland Boots are iconic, but again, the shaft is quite high at 23 1/2″. Also, they’re made of a stretch-suede with a tie back closure, as opposed to the notched topline of so many other suede boots. I have a pair of these from the #NSale sitting in my bedroom, waiting for me to decide if I want to keep them or not. They’re definitely an investment, and I’m just not sure I’ll wear them enough to get my money’s worth, and there is the issue of the height. They are gorgeous, though!
Steve Madden makes a pretty good dupe if you’re looking for this style at a more budget-friendly price point.
I think I really prefer this style OTK boot with the notched topline for ease of movement. I have a similar pair in a chestnut color that I’ve had for a few years and they’re incredibly comfortable and also quite versatile to style. This pair comes in grey, taupe, camel and black. The shaft on these is 20″ high, which seems to work better for me.
I’m finding WAY more OTK boots to link to than knee-high boots I think that’s our clue that the OTK trend is definitely taking over.
Mid-calf boots are your other option.
Often these have more rugged styling or a moto look to them. I don’t currently have a pair, but they’re something to consider. They are probably the most practical style because you can wear socks with them but they don’t come up high enough to be bulky when you sit down.
Finally, don’t forget about rain boots!
We often thing about rain boots for spring, but they come in handy in the fall as well.
Ultimately, when curating your boot wardrobe, you have to decide what works best for you. When the weather is mild, I find ankle boots a lot easier to wear than OTK boots, but when it gets cold, ankle boots are tricky. You can wear socks with some styles, but not all of them work with socks, and there’s nothing worse than cold feet in the wintertime.
OTK boots are warm and stylish but you may feel they’re a little much for some situations. That’s why I still like to have a good pair of knee-high boots to fall back on, and the mid-calf styles are good as well.
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