Bossy boots: The changing looks of a style favourite
From patent leather in the Sixties to today, Prudence Wade looks at this fashion staple
Accepting that summer has gone and it's time to pack away your flip-flops is always a sad moment. But there's a silver lining - it's now officially acceptable to break out your boots. Most people have at least one pair in their wardrobe and, over the decades, boot styles have changed - ranging through knee-high to mid-thigh, slouchy to skin-tight. They've even had a velvet moment. Here's a nostalgic look back at the highs and lows of boots, from the Sixties to today.
Style icons in the swinging Sixties included Twiggy, Cher and Jane Fonda. One thing they all had in common was a love for shiny patent leather boots in block colours that came up to the knee. Whether you went for a classic white pair or ones in a bold yellow, this was not a decade of shy or retiring footwear.
After the geometric patterns and bright colours that were so popular in the Sixties fell out of fashion, boot styles changed too. Shiny patent leather was over. Instead, the fashionable Seventies boot-wearer opted for a sexier look, with materials like suede or velvet. These were the peak days of disco dancing, which also ushered in a time of higher heels and boots that crept up women's thighs.
After the glam styles of the Seventies, footwear fashion became slightly more sensible in the Eighties. Perhaps style mavens finally realised that walking in massive high heels wasn't all that comfortable, for the tides soon turned towards flatter boot heels. There was less thigh-high business as well, with most boots coming to just above the ankle. Laces became increasingly popular, meaning boot lovers in this decade could walk in their shoes all day long while still maintaining their fashion credentials.
The high street currently seems set on bringing back fashion from the Nineties, but there are some trends we hope are never revived. Two main boot styles reigned supreme in the Nineties. First was an all-leather model which had chunky heels, coming in at a particularly unflattering mid-thigh length. The second was a shorter, ankle-length style which boasted tiny stiletto heels. Almost like kitten heels for boots.
While some Nineties trends were questionable, it's safe to say everything was dodgy in the Noughties. Looking back, slouchy boots were an eyesore with their bunched up, loose leather, but back then, you proudly paired them with a skirt. Another key 2000s idea was the ever-climbing stiletto heel - until we suspect it was nigh-on impossible for those poor celebs and fashionistas to walk anywhere in their boots. Bonus points for celebs who managed to combine these trends when they decided to wear slouchy stiletto boots.
With the era of fast fashion, nowadays it's much more difficult to pin down specific trends. This is purely because styles pass with a flash of an eye thanks to Instagram fashionistas favouring one look, then swiftly ditching it for the next. That being said, the broad trend in boots seems to be falling into two camps. The first is ankle boots, with either vertiginous heels for going out or flatter styles for festivals - either way, it doesn't really matter, as long as they're paired with a miniskirt or shorts to show off your pins. The other popular style of the moment is thigh-high boots, in a throwback to the Seventies. Now, they're not seen as particularly provocative, but are a much more normal way to style your boots.