11.15.2009

Style Secrets: Over the Knee Boots Demystified

“One must always have one’s boots on and be ready to go.”
Michel de Montaigne

Dolls of course you want your attire to be intimidating and fierce; but as the wearer one does not want to feel intimidated by their own foot accoutrement. Mais non; you simply want to intimidate others. But I digress; I don’t blame one for feeling frightened at the mere contemplation of over the knee boots. I counted myself amongst the fearful up until a few short months ago when I ordered a pair of knee-highs which, incidentally, went a good four inches over my knee. Apparently they were knee-high boots for the tall; over the knee boots for the petite.

The aesthetic of such a gorgeous getup left me in awe mixed with alarm. How I, an individual standing no more than five-foot-one-and-a-half-inches could rock such a look in the same fashion as Daria Werbowy, Lily Donaldson, Coco Rocha, and Chanel Iman; towering goddesses strutting their stuff in these very same designs on the runway, seemed unfathomable – even for me, a person willing to take risks for the sake of style.

Those boots sat untouched, simply being oohed and aahed over in my mind for a full three weeks before I finally worked up the courage to wear them out of my palatial bedroom. And once I did…I was addicted. The truth of the matter is, darlings, while over the knee boots retain the ability to tantalize and terrify both the wearer and the viewer, styling them is an uncomplicated undertaking with the power to revamp your wardrobe in the blink of an eye; as long as you know exactly how to work with them, as opposed to against them.

Hues, Textures, and Materials, Oh My! I’ll be the first to admit that I have a slight obsession with patent leather due to the fact that it’s slick and shiny. While these two traits are fabulous for that divine new Derek Lam Harriet Bag, when it comes to over the knee boots these are two things that you want to steer clear of. Hues, textures, and materials are essentials to consider when selecting the over the knee offering of your dreams, for they are the determinants in how you present yourself, and how others will perceive you. Take into consideration the fact that height is the true crème de la crème of the over the knee boot; it need not compete with a flashy color, reptilian texture, or embellishments galore. Go for subtlety. Stick to suede and natural leather pieces in neutral tones such as blacks, browns, or, if you feel a deep desire to channel your inner Serena van der Woodsen, grays – these shades and materials will work with anything and everything lurking within your closet; in addition to complementing your wardrobe in the most mesmerizing of ways.

“I’d like to die with my boots on.”
Daniel Berrigan

Height or No Height Be aware of the fact that you are already lengthening your look with the height of the over the knee boot; therefore, don’t feel that you must search for a sky-high heel in order to do these stunners justice. In fact, I recommend a flat boot for the sheer fact that they are more wearable in an abundance of situations – from job interviews to girls’ nights; and come across as more sophisticated than shocking. I think of Giuseppe Zanotti as an over the knee boot genius. For the girl who wants something understated, he has the Thigh High Flat Suede Boots with Flex Sole, and for the lovely looking to proffer a bit of attitude, there are the Python Print Over the Knee Boots. These are both paradigmatic models of what the perfect over the knee boot should look like in either venue, be it flat or heeled. If you should opt for a heel, look for a chunky one, as opposed to a stiletto to avoid looking too risqué. A chunkier heel neutralizes the silhouette and comes across as more classy and chic than outrageous and over the top.
Welcoming Widths After the success with my first pair of over the knee boots, I decided to spring for another in a similar style, which I purchased Online. They were absolutely gorgeous once they arrived at my front door, but there was one noticeable difference between the two – the circumference. Looking at the height of the shaft and heel is like second nature to us seasoned shoppers, but we often neglect to learn what the width of the leg opening is. Tawdry checkout stand tabloids (which I am slightly addicted to) go on and on about “thigh spillage,” a term coined to describe the loose skin that hangs over the top of over the knee boots – i.e. an expression you most definitely don’t want to hear used in reference to you. To avoid such a tight fit, make sure to decide what look you’re going for beforehand and purchase accordingly. Do you want something that fits in the same fashion as a legging, like Robert Clergerie’s Fissaw Over the Knee Boots with Stretch Shaft; or do you want a style that will let you move and groove like Chinese Laundry’s Tripin? Take into consideration what you’ll be wearing with these boots – skinny jeans, bare legs, tights…and slip them on with such ensembles before buying; it’s definitely better than realizing ten minutes before your hot date that the boots of your dreams are incapable of being worn over your seductive skinnies!

“Beware of fishing for compliments – you might come up with a boot.”
Carol Weston

Back to Basics I am of the belief that when wearing over the knee boots, the shoe should be the focal point of your look du jour; thus, it is your job to ensure that the pieces surrounding them are working to complement their fabulousness, as opposed to competing with it. Lock your bold prints and bright colors away, if only for a fleeting period of time – over the knee boots work best when married with monochromatic hues. Pair Dolce Vita’s Crosby in Black with ebony-toned tights, don Steve Madden’s Montrell in Grey Suede with dark wash skinny jeans, wear Qupid’s Nesha-42 in Brown Suede with skintight, chocolate leggings. Not only will your footwear steal the show; but the solid colors will make you appear more lithe and lanky than you already are, and no girl can resist that!

Perfect Proportions The main reason I avoided my over the knee boots for so long was that I was clueless as to how I should style them. Once I actually began to try them out with different looks, however, I realized that they easily worked with most of my wardrobe. The key thing to remember is that you don’t want to appear as if you’re on your way to a costume party; thus, you must be fully aware of your proportions. Form-fitting or tunic-like sweater dresses that fall just below the derriere look gorgeous when worn alongside flat over the knee boots with a legging fit; while boyfriend cardigans, cropped blazers or motorcycle jackets, and even plain t-shirts worn with leggings or skinny jeans can dress such footwear down and make it more playful and fun. A word of wisdom…over the knee boots do have the potential to make one – especially shorter girls – look slightly heavy about the rear if not careful. Rely on accessories like a statement necklace or perky scarf to detract attention from your posterior, and keep you feeling confident.

“Having a few pairs of boots, which can go with a variety of lengths, is really functional.”
Valerie Steele

Darlings, it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Hold fast to his words of wisdom and plunge into the sea of over the knee boots. Mark my words…you won’t regret it!


Fashionably yours!


Thanks to Fashionising, Sterling Style, Science Blogs, and Batch Please for the pictures.


Don't forget to enter the Fashionista in the Kitchen Giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat.
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42 comments

meraldia said...

Great tips!

miss jordan. said...

Yes I'm afraid to try them simply because I am 5"2. But now...this post has given me more confidence.

Bella said...

I LOVE them. I bought ones this summer because they were special price at Zara and I wait, wait, wait until I could wear them. The result was great. Mines are grey (something similar to ones Serena, GG, wore in one chapter) and now Im crazy for a pair in black!
Great post, I love all the images.

Mimi said...

This is a gorgeous post! The pictures are beautiful and make me want to run out and buy 5 pairs to wear all winter long. Of course boots with heels are great for going high end, but I prefer flat boots for more casual. :)

Rachel said...

Fantastic post! I too had been afraid to try these because of my height. (I'm only 5'2.) However, this post has really changed my mind. I think it all just depends on the boot itself and how you style it. I definitely must search for a pair now!

Leia said...

Great tips! I'm new to boots as I haven't lived in a cold climate for very long, and I'm still intimidated by them, but little by little I'm incorporating them into my wardrobe :)

Couture Carrie said...

Gorgeous tutorial and street style pics! I adooooore OTK boots!

xoxox,
CC

Becca. said...

I adore knee high boots, there gorgeous.
all the photos are stunning too!
great tips!
and thankyou for the comment on my blog erica :)
XOXO, BECCA
http://fashion-train.blogspot.com

Jacqueline said...

I love OTK boots and I love the photos you chose. Your tips are wonderful! xoxo

www.FashionSnag.com

Erin said...

I love over the knee boots! I have the opposite problem at 5'9". The post was still lovely, it's great to see that these can be so versatile.

Sherin said...

I heart over the knee boots so much. They are so cool to wear. I was a bit scared to wear mine when I first got them as well, but I've fully embraced them now.

Savvy Gal said...

great tips. i am still on the fence and have yet to find a pair to my liking yet.

Luinae said...

Awesome tips! I have yet to find a pair that I think I would buy, but your advice is sound.

Melissa Blake said...

Wow! Those are high boots!

Sam said...

Aren't they gorgeoous! I think they would be taller than me though so I can only admire them from afar!!

Emily said...

I want, I want, I want! I just got my pay check - meaning NEW BOOTS! These are definitely on my list ;)

janettaylor said...

I really love Pandora's outfit.

XoXo

diana said...

I have yet to buy a pair of over-the-knee boots for the same reasons you initially feared to wear them. Yesterday, I finally found the courage to try on a pair and I must say that I was shock. I couldn't fathom why I didn't try them on sooner because they looked fabulous on me. My next paycheck will be arriving soon and I plan on grabbing a pair.

Couture Cookie said...

Aww! Don't hate me, but I found it so adorable that your knee-highs accidentally became a pair of thigh-highs! I'm glad you finally got over your "fears" and took your boots out on the town - I think petite girls can look just as fabulous as us tall ones wearing over-the-knees, as long as they know how to style them. And that should certainly not be a problem for you, right?!

I like wearing mine with skinny jeans right now... anything else gets cold after a while. :(

Leah said...

Erika, you made me rethink my decision not to purchase an OTK. When you describe ways on how to wear it and that it will be awesome with my black and gray outfits, I'm having second thoughts, I have to have one. Hmmmm... I guess I can justify my buying an OTK... I'll be back in Cali in January.

Hope we can meet up when I'm there. Hugs!

All Women Stalker said...

I am THIS close to buying them but I live in a warm country and I have nowhere to wear them :(

-meream

Jennifer Fabulous said...

I have always stayed away from over the knee boots simply b/c I thought they would make me appear even shorter than I already am (I'm five feet tall). But now after reading your post, I'm kind of intrigued...I might pursue a pair now. They're quite fabulous. It would be a shame not to. :)

WendyB said...

Great post! I haven't really understood why people are so freaked out by them. I've had a pair for years and just wear them with skirts.Not a bigger deal than other boots to me. Too much energy to tuck everything in and wear them over pants.

E said...

I would love a suede pair and you are totally tempting me with your picks!!!

Polished Sense said...

Love the over knee boots. I wish I had longer legs to pull them off!

Happy Sunday!
♡,
Jessica

Elizabeth Marie said...

I adore OTK boots but you are so right, it takes some thought and time to find the perfect pair!!

bryna said...

awesome post!

Fashionista said...

love love love!!!

Cancha-diction said...

love this post. ive been intrigued with the trend ever since it started. i think i need to tone my legs before i invest in these boots. haha.

la petite fashionista said...

i would love to try out this look even though im short-- i try not to let those things discourage me. it seems like every fashionista has that same pair of black & slouchy OTK boots! love it.

nicole said...

AWESOME POST ERIKA! I couldn't have said any or all of that better myself. And great advice for us petite girls as well ;)

THANK YOU so much for all your wonderful comments!

And I'm glad you finally worked up the courage to wear your OTK boots out as well, I love mine to death hahaha

gleenn said...

i love the way you presented the beauty of a knee-high or over-the-knee boots through this post. Indeed, they are owesome. i always had coveted such boots yet until now I still don't have one. the highest boots i do own is only up to mid-shin. but i know, i must get them.

Harriet said...

Great photos, I have to say it is very tempting seeing them worn in so many different ways, I just dson't know if the OTK boot is for me *sigh* Maybe if I found the perfect pair...

daisychain said...

I love otk boots, I'm getting a flat pair for Christmas and I cannot wait!

Keith said...

Hey Erika. Great post. You definitely always post such interesting things. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Take care. Enjoy the week ahead. Cheers!

The Pocket Stylist said...

Love over the knee boots I have a perfect pair. They took me a while to find!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Great tips Erika! I have a pair too that I think were knee boots for the tall (Coach Monets from 2 years ago). They are so lovely I haven't had the courage to wear them! But I definitely shouldn't let those just sit in the closet.

D. Marie said...

These boots are so sexy! I love how they look on Hayden Panettiere with the coat and skirt!

Style, via TIa said...

This is a great post I am a mere 5'3 but I have a pair of over the knee boots and I love them!

MissNeira said...

I love the flat ones! and definitely the ones Kate Moss is wearing (I basically love anything she wears)

Dexter said...

Thanks for stopping by!
This was a good read for this Monday night, I really enjoyed it!

Chic Mommy, Cool Kid said...

This statement, so true!: "A word of wisdom…over the knee boots do have the potential to make one – especially shorter girls – look slightly heavy about the rear if not careful." That is my biggest fear. But I am obsessed with this look and determined to find the right knee high boot for my height (i'm a short girl too), shape and price range! Great post!

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