Booties are the one Fall Fashion Item You'll Wear to Every Event
What's the Best Thing that's Happened in Fashion in a Decade
Take this test:
What is the best thing to happen to fashion in the past decade?
b) The Juicy Couture velour tracksuit. Don’t judge, I had one.
c) Leggings? (could be my third place winner)
d) Skinny jeans? (may be the second runner-up)
But, in my, fashion-obsessed, opinion the winner is…. Drumroll, please!
No, not "booty" as in a Brazillion butt lift. Though the emphasis on a more ample backside has impacted fashion and beauty in a major way. I mean bootie - as in footwear. The ankle boot, in all its incarnations - flat, stiletto, slouchy and so much more.
Surprised? After a look at its versatility, non-age discrimination, and staying power you'll be convinced. This simple footwear item rocks the decade.
Really, the bootie?
Fashion's had a long-term love affair with the bootie. But after a strong decade in popularity, is the booty end (great word play) in sight? In this, fashion item's case, I doubt it.
Everyone knows that all fashion trends come and all fashion trends go. Anyone near my age range has seen every fashion trend fade and resurface, time and time again and again and again..... and again.
Trends on Repeat
What was hippie - became boho chic.
What were hip-huggers - became low-rise.
What were designer jeans - became every jean on the market.
What were Reeboks - became sneaker fashion and athleisure
What were bell bottoms - became boot cut.
Fashion Icons for the Decades
Every decade has a fashion piece or two that represents that era. Will the humble bootie find her place on fashion's most wanted list? Before we settle that, let’s look at some of the fashions that became the icons of their decade.
The Decade That Roared
The roaring 1920s saw a dramatic “shift” (more great word play) in women’s fashion. It was a move from constraint towards freedom and relaxed comfort. Bobbed, marcelled waves and…..the iconic flapper dress. These were this decade's signature pieces.
The Decade that Swang
A similar change occurred in the swinging 60’s with the advent of the mini. Feminists can debate whether the mini was a woman's step forward towards more freedom vs. sexualization in fashion. Either way, the mini was here to stay. The 60s melted into the 70s and then into the 80s. There was social upheaval and hippie peace and love. Styles included hip-huggers, bell bottoms, fringed leather, and tie-dye. The first round of boho fashion burst on "the scene".
And All Those Wild and Crazy Decades That Followed
80’s freedom meant more women entering the workplace. Fashion meant stiff shoulder pads but, also, relaxed leggings, designer jeans, and high top Reeboks. There was a trend into safari style when Out of Africa, 1985, won several Oscars including Best Picture.
Other fashion notables were Vamp nail polish, pointy toe stilettos, chandelier earrings, scarves, leather jackets and pencil skirts - think Kelly McGillis in Top Gun for the last two.
More recently we’ve seen midis, maxis and exposed shoulders revisited…again. And then, somewhere around 2007, the bootie as a true fashion item surfaced. But not for the first time…
Fashion Gets The Boot
Sexy and Unisexy
The Early 1990's
In earlier times, ankle or calf-high boots were what everyone wore, both men and women. In the early 1900s, the most celebrated French fashion couturier was Paul Poiret. His modern designs both horrified and delighted fashionistas worldwide. It was no surprise that his wife, Denise, was fashion forward as well. In 1913, she caused a sensation when she wore a pair of Poiret knee length boots in a creased Moroccan leather with a low heel and square toe. The style was called Russian Boots. Following her lead, boots remained a fashion stable well into the 30s and then faded away, temporarily.
The 40s, 50s, and 60s
In the late 50s and 60s, a shoe design house, Herbert Levine, brought back boots as fashionable footwear. They were soon followed by Balenciaga, St. Laurent, Vivier, Courreges, Cardin, and Quant.
Courreges is known for styling the go-go boot. This was the first fashion piece I can remember wanting with a passion. I asked Santa for a pair (yes, I was very young at this historical point). They’d become mainstream - see old videos of American Bandstand for the evidence. I still bear the mental scars of waking up Christmas morning. Nada, no no on the go-go boots. In the 60s Courreges also did a knee-high white vinyl style. A decade later those vinyl boots were still being worn on school and college dance teams...like mine!
For men, the ankle boot, known as the Chelsea or Baba Boot, was THE thing in the 60s. This boot soared through the stratosphere due to the rock ’n roll stylings of the best band ever - The Beatles. Every rock star wore the look- the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, you name it. So very cool.
And, who knew, when Dr. Klause Maertens invented his air-conditioned soles due to a skiing injury that another boot icon had been born? It was in Munich in 1945. The, once considered, conservative work boot also called Bovver Boot, became much, much more. Doc Marten’s have been worn by British skinheads, a pope, the urban disenfranchised and mainstream teenagers in private schools. The original was an eight laced boot with yellow stitching and thick soles, patented by the Doc.
The 70s and 80s
Beyond go-go boots, fashion boots didn’t hit the true mainstream until the 1970s. I never got those white go-go boots. But, this time, I did successfully negotiate with my mom for my first pair of boots. They were a knee-high black lace-up style I wore to a dance during my first year in high school. The second pair I acquired were those dance team vinyl stables a year later. By 1977 boots hit an all-time fashion high. They, now, accounted for 20% of women’s shoe sales. As the decade finished, boots were as much a part of women’s footwear as shoes. Boots could be found in haute couture and at Sears.
Urban Cowboy, the 1980 movie, brought cowboy boots out of the corral and onto Main Street. I had a red pair! They were, actually, very versatile. I wore them with a short dark purple North Beach leather outfit, to work with a calf-length chambray dress and with leggings. The Wikipedia page on boots in fashion has a great overview.
Boots and Bootlessness as the 80s Continued
The mid-to-late 80s were a, mainly, boot-free era - with only an occasional sighting.
There was a brief era, in the 1980s, when a flat “Beatle” boot made an entry back into the fashion world. It didn’t last long. Of course, I had to have a pair. They were black suede with a flat heel. I wore them with Joan Vass sweater skirts and black tights. I didn't wear boots again for several years. They weren't strong in the fashion mags either.
Thigh-highs surfaced and were available for the boot adventurous. I tried a pair but looked more like a pirate or a Mother-Goose-pre-Shrek Puss ’N Boots (no profane pun intended).
Other than cowboy boots, there were no other short boots on the immediate fashion horizon. Knee-high boots in a flat riding style came and went as did boots with a high heel and slouchy calves. Hemlines went up and then down. Shoe boots were a thing for awhile. Donald Pliner ruled on this style. But, mainly, there was a boot gap in time.
Boots are Made for Walking Back in Fashion
In the past decade boots came back with a vengeance! Then the ankle boot began it's current reign. Now boots, in various styles and heel heights, are a part of every woman’s shoe wardrobe. And, now, that includes ankle boots or booties!
Boot fashion now ranges from the thigh-high to the Shoe Boot. But none are as versatile as the ankle boot, AKA the bootie.
Today Ankle Boots Are Fashion's Most Versatile Footwear
In the past decade boots came back with a vengeance! And, the ankle boot began it's current reign. Now boots, in various styles and heel heights, are a part of every woman’s shoe wardrobe. And, now, that includes ankle boots or booties! Here are a few selections from my wardrobe I'll be wearing this season as well.
Why do we love booties?
You can wear booties with anything - skirts, jeans, dresses, shorts, and pants. Booties go with both skinny, wide-leg or boot-cut jeans. You can tuck pants or jeans into booties or let them hang over. Bare legs, slouchy socks or tights work with booties. Flat, Cuban heel, kitten heel, flat, stilettos or block heels - I've worn them all. Casual wear, work wear or formal - any occasion will work with booties.
Ankle Boots are Ageless
Age doesn't preclude wearing booties. They don't age discriminate. You can wear booties to the most conservative function or urban gathering.
Ankle Boots Make a Boring Outfit More Fashion Forward
A conservative skirt and sweater looks much fashion forward when worn with booties! Fray and crop the hems of a blah pair of pants, add a block heel bootie and you're ahead of the fashion curve. Plus, you've taken a blah outfit to fabulous! Don't throw away...revamp!
Ankle Boots Know No Season
Ankle boots know no season. In the heat of the summer or the chill of the winter - booties will look amazing. Take the examples above - if you don't wear shorts or short skirts (as I no longer do) the same looks work, just as beautifully, with longer versions. If you're interested in a good overview of boots in fashion see this great article Fashion Boots on Wikipedia.
Living Better and Feeling Better with Better Fashion Sense
Booties are the one item you can add to your wardrobe right now for an instant style upgrade
Booties are a simple addition to your wardrobe that boost the style of any outfit, for any women, at any age and for almost any event. Their comfortable and come in wallet friendly choices or designer high prices - whatever your budget. Trade in your basic flats for a pair of western style booties or and your pumps for stiletto ankle boots and your outfit is instantly on trend.
Share your ideas and photos for how to upgrade an outfit with booties! Share your flair!
More Better Fashion posts to come soon!
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Post your fashion boots pics in the Comment Section below. Let me see your throw back booties from the past. Also, show us how you are styling your booties today. I'd love to get more bootie fashion tips from you!
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