Twisting the words of T. S. Eliot a bit, September is the cruelest month. Summer is down to its final hurrah, your next holiday feels like eons away and that carefully nurtured tan has long departed. On the bright side, you can channel that back-to-school feeling into a wardrobe reboot—reboot being the operative word, as A/W 17 is all about boots in every shape and size imaginable.
You see, there’s usually one standout boot style per year to make things easy. This season, however, we’ve seen short, tall, shiny, matte, black, acid-bright—literally any boot permutation seems permissible. Saint Laurent showed a pair of scrunched, rhinestone-covered knee-highs at Paris Fashion Week (immediately generating a hefty waiting list despite the £6885 price tag), Gucci had heavily embroidered boots that cut off mid-calf, and Burberry went with pointed black sock boots that appeared suctioned to the leg.
The street style set isn’t making it any easier. Fashion buyer Annabel Rosendahl posted a boot selfie (a boofie?) of her clingy, zanily printed Balenciaga boots on Instagram at Oslo Fashion Week, where there were also snakeskin-like cowboy boots and Louis Vuitton’s optic-white over-the-knees in attendance. The message? Any style that floats your boat is fair game this autumn, as long as it makes a statement.
To help you sort patent from pirate (all will be revealed), here are the top nine trends in the boot department.
Style Notes: The first major boot trend of 2017 continues. Style mavericks pushed through this year’s dark, early months with some help from their cherry-red shoes, and it now seems that retailers have caught up, offering them in myriad styles, finishes, heel heights and price points. What’s not to love?
UNUSUAL HEEL DETAILS
Style Notes: It’s not all about the boots, you know? An elaborately sculpted heel is also big news—or just a contrasting heel if that's more your thing. There's plenty on the high street, or you could try Dorateymur’s Boots (£415) that come with a tiny black elephant propping up the sole.
Style Notes: If you’re the kind of person who is puddle oblivious, then perhaps avoid white boots. For everyone else, white boots are big news right now: Ever since Kendall Jenner made Kurt Geiger’s Strut design a household name (and increases sales by 118%), the fashion pack have become card-carrying members of the wonderfully impractical white-boot club. Start with Office’s reasonably priced kitten-heel boots, and see if you can keep them clean.
Style Notes: Those Saint Laurent glitter boots weren’t covered in glitter at all. Their sparkle was made up of 3000 tiny rhinestones. Nevertheless, boots with spangles, sequins and shimmer are very much in this season. And don't even get us started on those Chanel boots we saw everyone wearing at fashion week last season.
Style Notes: Not since Captain Jack Sparrow have we seen scrunched boots with so much swagger. Kendall Jenner recently wore Alexandre Vaulthier’s knee-high version that looked very pirate with her ruffled off-the-shoulder dress. & Other Stories has a £235 pair in slouchy leather with a stiletto heel—just avoid wearing them with pantaloons, okay?
BLACK PATENT BOOTS
Style Notes: We’ve fallen for vinyl macs and wipe-clean skirts, so it’s natural that boots are next. Influencer Camille Charrière has the right idea: Keep the styling pared back with an oversize coat, simple denim and a colourful bag.
Style Notes: If there’s one obvious functional and chic boot trend we're into this season, it’s over-the-knee boots. Not only do they cover you up in a sassy way, but they also look good with either short skirts or long maxis. Our preference? Wearing them with a midi dress that has a slit.
Style Notes: Is it a boot? Is it a sock? Who cares! The style was made famous by Balenciaga’s wallpaper-print stretch-jersey number, but it’s been taken up with gusto by the high street as well. Sock boots are flattering on the foot and look especially good with swishy pleated skirts—that’s how Scandi girls wear them.
Next up, the ultimate A/W 17 shopping list.