Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Advice Tuesday: Wearing Boots

I rather like when blogs have certain features for days of the week (though not necessarily a set pattern that they must follow for every day) so I've decided to start an "Advice Tuesday" where readers can write in with fashion dilemmas, queries, and quests.

Question from an intrepid reader: What do you think of these boots? Can I wear them with skinny jeans? How about a mini skirt? Tights? Black or brown? And how about mixing browns and blacks: is that acceptable or not?

[image from DSW.com]

Answer: Dear intrepid reader,
I will admit that I was struck with fear when I followed the link to check out the boots. The page did not load for a few seconds and all I could see was the name: "White Mountain Cadonia Suede Boot." Immediately I recalled one of the more unfortunate fashion choices of my high school years, when I purchased a pair of blindingly white, vaguely go-go-esque boots despite the fact that I never wear anything that could possibly coordinate with white boots, and despite the fact that they were so cheap that they began at once to have ugly black scuff marks on the toe.

But I digress. I was relieved to discovered that the name refered to "White Mountain" rather than Mountain Boots that were white. Instead, these boots are a classy upper-calf height boot with a scrunched upper portion (trendy but not overly so), a narrow 3-inch heel, and a gradually pointed toe.

The nubuck leather has a slight velvety look, which is particularly great for fall. These boots are an excellent pair because while they are brown leather and scrunched, they avoid looking like part of a Robin Hood costume because of the elegant heel and pointed toe. Unlike a certain brand of sheepskin-lined, slipper-like boots, these are not clomping-around-the-house shoes. These boots would look fabulous with a just-mid-calf length plaid skirt and an Aran sweater, or a navy pencil skirt and a white blouse. While these boots fit into trends for this fall season, they would be a good investment piece as they will not look out of place in future seasons.

Now on to the additional questions. I find the boots-over-skinny-jeans look to be quite excellent. It's important to have jeans that are narrow enough to fit inside the boots without blousing over (the breeches look should be attempted only with special training). I would go for a subtle dark wash. White jeans tucked into brown boots should never be attempted.

As for a mini skirt, it depends on how you define mini skirt. If "mini skirt" means ending up at upper thigh, forget it (boots and mini skirts generally give the impression "woman of dubious reputation"). If it's mid-to-lower-thigh, you could get away with it if you were wearing tights underneath and if your top provided enough coverage. No tank tops with that combination -- rather, a nice button down or classy tee.

Tights would be great with these boots. As brown and blue are complementary colours (tecnically, it's orange and blue that are complementary, but brown and blue work just as well), try a rich navy or even a brighter blue. As for black or brown, here we enter the next question.

One of fashion's most ponderous adages is the "never mix brown and black" rule. This can be quite limiting, and frankly, irritating. My take on the brown and black mixing is go ahead, but only if the difference in colour is apparent. The key is to avoid looking like you got dressed in the dark and put on your navy tights and black minidress because you couldn't see properly. If the navy tights are clearly blue, and the black minidress is clearly black, then go for it!

For these boots, I would lean toward black tights. Unless you can find tights that are the exact shade of the boots, there is going to be some discrepancy between the colours. Black tights against that brown will provide a nice contrast, and no one will think that you are simply colour-blind for mixing those two colours. Even if you did miraculously find brown tights that are the exact shade of the boots, you'd end up with the "mono-coloured leg" look, which may be slimming, but it's also dull.

Intrepid reader, I hope these ramblings answered your questions!

Troubles? Queries? Wondering what Brits means when they say suspenders? Write in your questions to morrow [dot] caroline [the @ symbol] gmail [dot] com. The address is funkified to foil spambots, of course. I look forward to reading your questions!


Cameron said...

I am quite sure that the intrepid reader you so thoughtfully assisted is quite pleased with the response.

What a delightful, thorough examining of all things boots and relevant attire. Thank you so-very-much for enlightening your fascinated readers to such insightful opinions.

Cheers to more Advice Tuesdays!

umlauf said...

Great idea for a regular feature!

If I have any fashion dilemmas, I'll certainly know where to go!

Caroline said...

Thanks! Tomorrow is Tuesday, after all...got any pressing dilemmas? : )