After-Hours Ankle Boots

We don't usually associate ankle boots with summer dressing--let alone evening affairs--but thanks to fashionable ladies like Rashida Jones and Karlie Kloss, we're beginning to rethink the idea. A longtime signature of the model-off-duty wardrobe and a Balmain staple, the after-hours ankle boot is quickly gaining ground at both red carpet premieres and fancier fashion events. So why do we love this look so much? The shoes offer a touch of toughness, which in turn gives dressed-up looks a cool edge you wouldn't otherwise get from a pair of pumps or sandals. A year-round essential that every girl should own now, the after-hours ankle boot is the subject of today's Trend Report!

On the Runway
The must-try combo of fancy frocks and ankle boots were present on many S/S 12 runways, but it was Balmain's skintight silhouettes and downtown footwear that really stuck out in our mind. For his first full outing as designer for Balmain, Olivier Rousteing showed ornate embellishments on everything from strictly tailored jackets to body-skimming mini dresses. The collection's Louisa Embossed Velvet Booties ($1226) shared the same spirit as those hard-edged pieces and made the perfect addition to pairings like the Golden Embroidered Bolero Jacket ($17700), Golden Embroidered Dress ($18800), and White Belt with Golden Buckle ($1400), shown above. The result is a tough-luxe look that is perfect for a night on the town with the girls.

On The Red Carpet
WHO: Karlie Kloss
WHAT: Arriving at "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour" at Madison Square Garden in New York two months ago.
WEAR: Versus dress and boots from the F/W 12 collection.
WHY: A long-sleeve body-con mini plus cap-toe Chelsea boots equals instant biker chic. Styling note: when your dress is thigh-high, go for a lower-heeled boot to keep your ensemble elegant.

WHO: Liya Kebede
WHAT:Attending the Cosmopolis premiere at the Cannes Film Festival late last month.
WEAR:Proenza Schouler dress from the F/W 12 collection; Dolce & Gabbana boots.
WHY: Mesh peep-toe booties-a.k.a. the elegant ankle boot-keep this modern mini from looking too heavy.

At Events
WHO: Rashida Jones
WHAT: Celebrating the launch of The Conversation series at the Diane von Furstenberg studio in New York last month.
WEAR: ASOS boots.
WHY: Suede black booties undercut the sweetness of a textured top and skirt.

WHO: Dree Hemingway
WHAT: At the 2012 CFDA Awards earlier this month.
WEAR: Creatures of the Wind Silk Jacquard Pleated Empire-Waist Dress ($1795, 312.587.1000) and jacket; Tabitha Simmons for Creatures of the Wind Silver Patent Leather Boots ($1895, 312.587.1000).
WHY: The future-is-now metallic boots lend a neutral print dress and cropped leather jacket a fashion-forward look.

WHO: Ruby Aldridge
WHAT: Spotted inside the 2012 CFDA Awards earlier this month.
WEAR: Helmut Lang Bronze Multi Drift Print Shroud Dress ($830, 212.242.3240) and Black Burnished Suede Wedge Booties ($645, 212.242.3240).
WHY: An asymmetrical dress is the perfect way to show off a pair of wedged boots.

Get the Look
Low Heels
Before you slip on a pair of after-hours ankle boots for your next evening fete, do yourself a favour and check out some of our suggestions first. If you know you're going to be standing most of the night, you'll definitely want to pick something with a sturdy heel, like Rag & Bone's Harrow Leather Biker Boots ($495) or Zara's High Heel Cowboy Ankle Boots ($90). Also, since the heel errs on the shorter side, you can team either pair with a slim mini dress like Kloss did.

Ultra Fancy
If you prefer dressier boots a la Kebede, Diane von Furstenberg's Angel Cutout-Panel Suede Ankle Boots ($220) and Calvin Klein's Addison Boots ($138) are two stellar options. We also approve of Mark & James by Badgley Mischka's Dallas Booties ($255) and Reiss' Fonda Weave Leather Booties ($360), which are a bit sexier and would look especially chic with a LBD.

Metallic Styles
For those of you inspired by Hemingway's look, we think Pixie Market's Gold Metal Tip Booties ($180) and Alice + Olivia's Doris Pointed-Toe Metallic Booties ($395) are right up your alley, just the thing to give your look that quirky finish you desire.

Investment Pieces
Lastly, if you can afford to invest in a little more, we recommend either Valentino's Studded Suede and Leather Ankle Boots ($1195) or Tod's Two-Tone Ankle Strap Booties ($684). Sure, they both come with a hefty price tag, but we promise they will get you through many a late-night soiree this year!--Jessica Baker

Photos of Dree Hemingway, Rashida Jones, and Ruby Aldridge, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photo of Liya Kebede, courtesy of Splash News.