Have Your Boots On and Be Ready To Go

November 12, 2009

In building a wardrobe (including accessories and shoes!) appropriate for the cold and approaching winter, sometimes I get caught between practical and pretty choices. Yes I need edgy black strappy heels for nights out, but I’d really get more mileage (literally) out of some flat black boots. This time, mind wins over heart and I decided I needed to invest in a good pair of boots that would last hopefully several seasons.


Banana/Gap/Piperlime is currently holding their Friends and Family event, so it’s a perfect time to choose a few pairs and score the perfect one at 30% off. With Piperlime’s free shipping and returns policy, it’s also no-risk shopping! I’m not usually a fan of buying multiple pairs of shoes (sizing up/down, different colors, etc) but the site makes it easy to try and try again. I put in my order this morning for some Frye’s that I’m crossing my fingers will turn out to be the One(s).

Frye Melissa Button ($298) . The side buttons are cute and give the something extra I’m looking for. These look a little more Western due to the dips in both the front and back, but I’ve read that they don’t look too severe in real life.

Fryes have great reputations for their soft, supple leather and durable quality of the boots that lasts throughout the years. One concern I have about these is the circumference. At 13.5 inches, they might be squeezing tightly on my larger than average calves. Usually, I target 15-16 inch circumferences for boots (to allow for jeans as well), so we’ll see if these stretch a bit.


The second pair are the Frye Paige Tall Riding boots ($348). A little bit more pricey but these have a wider circumference (aah, much more roomy!), and look more sophisticated with the front flap styling. Still has the same round toe (makes feet look smaller!) and flat heel that I like.

While looking around for boots, here are the features I looked at and might be useful to keep in mind:

  • Shaft – up and down length of the boot. Depending on your height (I’m 5’2), I like them to go right under to my knees, so usually I look for 14-15 inches. Any taller and boots would make me look stumpy. Conversely, I’ve been looking at ankle boots to wear with skinnies and tights!
  • Circumference – the widest part of the calf area. Most people are between 13-16 inches, and I’m on the larger side. This is also what I look at when shopping for skinny jeans (though most measurements given for skinnies are the ankle opening circumference)
  • Heel height – This time, I knew I wanted flat boots, and was okay with going up to 1 inch on the height. A great compromise are the hidden or wrapped wedge boots (like these Steve Madden Idens) which still give a boost but have the comfort and look of flats
  • Smooth vs. slouchyness – Here it depends on personal preference. Some friends prefer the more casual/effortlessly cool feel that ruched/slouchy boots evoke, and opt for those. I, on the other hand, don’t like calling attention to my calves, and like my boots to have smooth sides. Slouchy boots are cute, but it’s about knowing what works for your body type
  • Durability / leather quality – Since flat black boots are such a wardrobe staple, I was prepared to make an investment into this purchase, and researched top brands in boots. Frye’s came highly recommended: stylish and built to last. Of course, how you care for your shoes can make a difference in their lifespan, but to some extent, the quality of the leather used and workmanship goes a long way. If I were looking for more casual, trendy pieces though, I’d be okay with a cheaper pair, but be prepared to buy another pair next season