these boots are made for walking

Today is all about some of my favorite shoes, aka one of the reasons I can get through the long, cold winter! Thanks to Jamie for the post request! It doesn’t take much to get me talking about one of my favorite parts of fall: chic boots.

Boots are that amazing fall accessory: they look great and they’re super warm. They look as good with a pencil skirt as they do with jeans. But I’m slightly troubled – I’ve heard from at least three friends who say finding boots that fit them is a huge challenge because of the size of their calves. I feel your pain, and I’m hoping that my tips will help you find your Boot Nirvana. For this post, I’m turning to my darling and lovely former roommate Shea is the boot queen – she wears heeled, cowboy, rain and Uggs, and has tons of ideas for all of you shapely-calved readers.

Try them on in person.

Boot sizes can be tricky. I routinely wear a 10.5 in Talbots shoes, but I have to go up a half-size for boots. Why? Who knows. The point is if you’re looking to spend on boots, find a brand and size that works for you in the store before ordering them online. You just never know with sizes.

Try boots with side zippers.

This is especially important if you’re looking to tuck jeans or leggings into your boots. Side zippers make putting them on so much easier, and most blend in with the boot itself. I’ve even seen boots with a small leather flap over the zipper so you never even know it’s there. Personally, I think the zipper is part of the boot’s appeal and don’t mind if it shows.

If zippers don’t work, look for boots with elastic or some stretch in the style.

Shea’s experience was that boots with zippers actually didn’t work for her. If this is also true for you, one option is to go for a boot that hits around mid-calf. These are great for tucking under pants or a long skirt, or pairing with cute argyle knee-socks. They’re also super easy to get on and off.

Slouchy boots are great because they have the stretch built into the style. Plus they can be worn dressy or with weekend wear. Some styles of boots have a little elastic “hidden” in the back at the top – super nice when you’re going for a more dressy style. Shea’s final advice on zippered boots: “If the ankle on the boot looks very narrow and fitted, most likely it won’t fit your calf.”

Now about those gorgeous calves – go for the wider size.

Shea has lots of ideas, but this is her Double-Top Secret most amazing tip: lot of boots have regular and wide-calf size. Make sure when you go to try on these boots, you wear jeans if you’re interested in wearing the boots over pants. That way, you can see the difference between the two sizes. A wide calf boot might work over jeans, but could be too big if worn alone.

When in doubt, go for a bootie!

These fall under my “fall must-haves.” I’m still searching for the perfect pair for myself, and I will not stop looking until I find them. Booties – or shoe boots as some people call them – look equally good under pants as they do with tights and a skirt or dress, and they come in a plethora of styles and heel sizes. A few seasons ago, I thought wearing these with a dress was a bold fashion choice. Now I’d do it tomorrow. Dammit, I wish I could wear them with a dress tomorrow!

Some Recommendations

1. Talbots tumbled leather riding boots, $249
2. Target moto mid-calf boots, $34.99
3. Liz Claibourne Lachlan boots, $79.95
4. Ann Taylor Adriana Studded boots, $298
5. Madden Girl Preppie boots, $59.95
6. Bare Traps Rynona Boots, $69.95
7. Ann Taylor Arlena Suede Stretch boots, $348

Anyone have any other tips for finding the perfect boots?

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  1. Fabulous boots and I love your selections!

  2. I’m lovin’ the Talbots boot. I saw this riding boot that I really like in a Lands End catalog…but, having “shapely calves” I’m afraid to order.
    Also…my dilemma – black or brown???

    • Go for it!! I read some of the comments – it looks like these boots will be perfect for you! Personally I like tan instead of dark brown – tan goes with black too! So I would get the black. Perhaps you just need both? ;)

  3. Thanks for doing this article!!! Target not only has cheap boots, but in my experience they also accommodate my “shapely calves”. (I loved that term!)

  4. Thanks for the mad love :-) I’m not very fashionable but at least I can give good tips and feel like I am somewhat! Can’t wait to see you!

  5. i love boots, too!!
    i really dig that first outfit, lady. good one. :)

  6. Are the boots in the first picture your Talbots boots? Because I heart them.

  7. work it girl. you look AMAZING. i love the red. great post, love. If you get second, I’d love if you’d check out my pictures from my first Halloween in Hollywood. thanks, love. xo

  8. I love the rain boots! So cute! My sister just bought some and I have been coveting them. Now I really want them!

    • I love them too! If you live near a Burberry outlet, that’s where I found them – for a great discount. I’ve noticed a lot of stores are selling much cheaper versions of boots like this too.

  9. Okay, I love those boots you’re wearing in the first photo!

  10. oh boots…my loves. May I make another suggestion…THRIFT STORES! Also, you need to come to Vancouver and we will have a “tipsy” shopping afternoon or day or week! LOVE YA BFF!!!!!

  11. So I may have just bought the Madden Girl boots you posted…..I’ll let you know how they turn out!! I LOVE and their free shipping both ways!! No risk on the online shoe shopping :)

  12. these are all great tips!! i love your boots and blazer = that color is gorgeous!! ;)
    xo ~ kristina

  13. I love these tips! And those boot recommendations. I’m always on the look out for boots with wider calves!

  14. fabulous tips, i must say that i more into booties lately, especially those motorcycle boots are fabulous! i am just 5ft and i don’t love boots that are too high! it is like you can only see a little part of my leg and it makes me even shorter! my mother has a problem with calf-size because her legs are pretty thin! it is doesn’t look good when they are too wide because she always wears skirts! fabulous tops girl

  15. love the choice of boots
    Great Post
    Always following

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