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Do's and Don'ts for Selecting Fashion Boots

Linda has written content for national fashion and beauty websites. She enjoys sharing style trends and tips with her readers.

Fashion boots are typically thought of fall/winter must-haves. However, if you’ve checked out the runways and the feet of your favorite Hollywood celebs you have probably noticed them popping up year-round. Ladies boots run the gamut from sleek and classic to wild and trendy. Learn about the different styles, which ones will look best on you and how to pair them with your wardrobe any time of the year.

These ladies are in dire need of fashion boots.

These ladies are in dire need of fashion boots.

Ankle

Ankle boots were originally designed to wear under long pants, giving the illusion that you were actually wearing a pair of full-length boots. It was a great idea for many of us who didn’t want to spend the extra money on knee highs.

Over the past seasons fashion designers have increasingly included ankle booties in their lines pairing them with skinny jeans, shorts, skirts and dresses. Ankle boots can be fun and kicky or can provide an elegant touch to an evening outfit.

Ankle boots typically look better on women with longer legs. If you have short, stocky legs avoid ankle boots that cut straight across the ankle – they will make your legs appear even shorter. But never fear darlings, you can even rock ankle boots though you lack the stature of a super model. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Wear ankle boots with a similarly hued pair of skinny pants or opaque hose to give your legs the illusion of length. This will provide an uninterrupted line from your foot up the length of your leg.
  • Avoid ankle boots with a wide opening such as slouch booties. The gap around the ankle will only serve to draw attention to that spot and make your legs look shorter.
  • Pick an ankle boot with a sizeable heel. It visually slims the calves.
  • Steer clear of ankle boots with too much detail. An overabundance of buckles and straps counteract the sleek appearance you’re going for.
The modest buckles and straps don't interfere with the line of these ankle boots.

The modest buckles and straps don't interfere with the line of these ankle boots.

Knee-High

Of all choices for women’s boots, knee-highs are the most practical and versatile. Why buy a pair of white boots that go with only one outfit? Choose colors like black and brown that coordinate with most pieces in your wardrobe. Knee-high boots go with skirts, dresses and pants. They look particularly good with tucked-in jeans for a casual after work or weekend look.

  • Look for knee-high boots that hit just below the knee for the most flattering silhouette.
  • If you have heavier calves try to find a pair that don’t fit too tightly. Boots with a tight fit in the leg will only emphasize a thicker calf.
  • Petite women look better with knee-high boots with a slight heel. However, flat and now-heeled boots can be flattering on shorter women. Just be sure not to pair them with a midi skirt or wide legged pants tucked into the boots.
Knee-high boots are one of the most flattering styles.

Knee-high boots are one of the most flattering styles.

Thigh-High

This is purely a judgment call. Some of us wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of super thigh-high boots. But to each her own. If you are into the club scene and like an edgy look then go for it.

Obviously thigh-high boots are the star of the show so you should give them their due and not upstage them. To let your them shine make sure your accessories, hair style and makeup are understated. This is definitely a fashion boot style that should be left to slender, long-legged lovelies.

  • You can easily wear a maxi dress or blue jeans with these boots. It's a nice balance.
  • Just don't pair over-the-knee leather boots with leather pants.
  • Wearing them with a miniskirt might tend to look a bit tacky. Go with the longer skirt.
  • They should be worn with a cigarette pants. Instead of super tight pants, spandex gives it more of a sophisticated look
Thigh high boots are best on tall women with slender legs.

Thigh high boots are best on tall women with slender legs.

Cowboy

Cowboy boots are also one of those must-haves to round out certain outfits. You may not wear them every day, but once you’ve owned a pair you know how they can perk up your wardrobe!

One word of advice: please make sure you find good quality, good fitting boots. They can wreak havoc on your feet if you don’t. Spending a little extra will ensure a comfortable fit and boots that will look good and hold up, season after season.

Break them in for at least a month or so before going out for an evening of line dancing. Your boots should have that “lived in” look or you’ll be laughed off the dance floor. Also, your feet will pay the ultimate price of pain if you don’t do it.

  • Cowboy boots look as great with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt or a peasant skirt and blouse.
  • If you live in Texas you can get away with a pair of cowboy boots with a cocktail dress and wedding attire.
  • There are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to wearing them. Just have fun and kick up your heels.
You can bravely pair cowboy boots with skirts and dresses!

You can bravely pair cowboy boots with skirts and dresses!

Slouch

Slouch boots kind of look like they've come straight out of the 1980s but they are the perfect pairing with everything from printed midi dresses, pleated skirts and pencil leg jeans. Most of the wearable versions are the ones with neutral leather and suede plus those that come in mid-high heels.

  • They are a good choice for women with thin or wide calves, since they are not designed to fit snugly to the leg.
  • If you do pair them with a dress or skirt, raise your hemline to keep everything in proportion. If you hemline falls below the knee, it can make you legs look short and stocky.
  • Don’t wear mid-calf slouch boots with loose fitting clothes. They are meant to be worn with chic, tailored clothes. Bulky clothes and a slouchy boot will look sloppy. The only exceptions I can think of would be something like an oversized boyfriend sweater and a cute Boho mini skirt.
Pair slouch boots with skinny jeans to give slouch boots a classic feel.

Pair slouch boots with skinny jeans to give slouch boots a classic feel.

The Lowdown on Boot Heels

TypeWho Can Wear It

Flat

Best for those with average to long legs

Kitten

Look lovely on women with small feet

Cone

An ideal heel for anyone

Stiletto

Good for slender women or those with thin ankles and calves

Wedge

Great for women with curves and slim silhouettes

Stacked

Perfect for full-figured women

Platform

Add needed height for women with short legs More comfortable than a traditional high heel

Weigh In!

© 2012 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 30, 2012:

Thanks so much, K! I'm so flattered you have been enjoying my Hubs. I think with my clothing budget these days, I'm with you in the 1st photo! :) I appreciate the read and votes.

Kristi Sharp from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on October 30, 2012:

It's always a struggle to decide which of your great works to read. I need to take a single afternoon and read your entire works - I learn so much! Your fashion guides are always fun to read. Mostly because I'm pretty sure I'm in the photo at the top. :) Awesome & Up. -K

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 19, 2012:

Yes, Daisy, I think it is a good thing our preferences change over time. I hate to date myself, but as a young girl, I had a white pair of go-go boots that I just loved. Glad the styles have changed and I don't have to worry about keeping my boots scuff-free and pristine white! :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

Chantele Cross-Jones from Cardiff on October 19, 2012:

In my teens I used to be all about my girly knee highs and ankle boots with heels. Quite feminine boots. As ive gotten older Ive started wearing more masculine boots, and flatter ones or with wide chunky low heels - weird how my style has evolved. Now my favs are black suede cowboy style, doc martin red working boots and firetrap mens brown boots with some chunky straps and buckles! I still have the few girly pairs too, but not as many.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 10, 2012:

Glad you liked this Hub! Thanks for reading, voting and commenting, TToombso8! Always nice to hear from you! :)

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on October 09, 2012:

LOVE boots! Love this hub as well. Great information. Voted up and shared.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 07, 2012:

Thanks Om! I stick with knee-highs so I know they will be "in" for a while. Don't want to be buying new boots every year or so.

Om Paramapoonya on October 06, 2012:

Guess what? I actually love thigh-high boots! Unfortunately, they don't look so good on my super short legs, so I stick to the knee-high and mid-calf versions instead. Thanks for this fun hub! You're very fashion savvy.

QudsiaP1 on October 05, 2012:

*Gets the banner ready :D

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 05, 2012:

Glad you enjoyed the Hub Qudsia! Let's stick to our guns and continue the ban of thigh high boots! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 05, 2012:

teaches, we have a similar problem here in Vegas. However, we do have at least 3 months when boots are appropriate. The cooler temps and cold winter winds make wearing fashion boots a bit easier than in South Florida. Thank you for your visit and comment! :)

QudsiaP1 on October 05, 2012:

Absolutely loved this hub and much like you, I wouldn't be caught dead in thigh high boots!

Dianna Mendez on October 05, 2012:

I love boots, unfortunately here in South Florida they are only worn about three weeks every year when it gets below 40. I am all for the ankle and knee high boots - best match for my body type. Great hub and voted way up!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 05, 2012:

I know what you mean Dolores! I have been wearing flip-flops most of the summer and my feet are not ready to be encumbered. Luckily the "rules" for what to wear with boots have relaxed over the years. I say proudly wear your boots with short sleeves! Thanks for reading my Hub...and enjoy your weekend! :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 05, 2012:

Hi lindacee - this was a great read for this time of year. Though I love boots, it is so hard to transition from the open comfort of sandals. But just looking at all these boots puts me in the mood. I love to wear a short sleeved dress, or short sleeved top and skirt with boots, though one of my fashion critics (a son!) thinks short sleeves are inappropriate with boots. Please!!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 04, 2012:

Carol, I too would have a closet full if my pocketbook would allow it. I'm going to have to go in search for a new pair for the winter months. Thanks so much for the feedback, vote and share! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 04, 2012:

Thanks, Leah. Glad you liked this Hub! I love boots of all different styles. I typically stick with knee highs just to be safe!

carol stanley from Arizona on October 04, 2012:

I had so much fun reading this hub. I absolutely adore boots and would have a million pair if I could afford. As soon as the weather turns a bit cold that is my uniform for the day. Loved the photos etc. Great hub. Voted Up and shared.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on October 04, 2012:

I love ankle boots, but have short legs. This is a great hub, lindacee- I might try going with knee-high boots or matching the color of my pants to the color of the ankle boots.

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