Purchasing New (Fashionable) Boots, Organized by Calf Size (You’re Welcome.)

September’s topic is all about being crafty and economical. Fall is upon us, which means many ladies are beginning their dreaded search for the best boots. Goal: Spend the least amount of money as possible for boots that look great on you and work best with your existing wardrobe. I’m not here to tell you the exact pair of boots to choose, I’m not a fashion fascist. This is about giving you the knowledge to seek out the best boots for you.

Before we jump in, I want to note – if boots don’t look good on you, don’t buy boots, girl. You don’t have to buy boots just because other people are, and you’ll save the cash. Or wear boots that will fit under your pants and that have some sort of interesting toe or heel details.

I’m going to break these down into keepin’-it-real categories – calf size. And, I feel like I’m throwing around a lot of info here, please post questions in the comments, and Merin and I will help you navigate!

Search at Zappos for lots of options. Zappos is the best because, after you’re in the boots section, you can narrow your search by: shaft type, height and circumference + heel height and heel style +  “personality” + more. We’re still figuring out what “personality” means, but it sounds cool. 

Once you find a boot that you like at Zappos, google the name of the boot and compare prices. We have more than once found the shoe we were looking for at an extremely marked down price at Amazon (It’s true.).

General notes:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix black and brown. That rule is dead now, unless you live in the South, then people might still judge you. Hold your head high.
  • Cheap boots can often be improved by dropping a little cash on a Dr. Scholl’s insole and those little sticky rough things you put on the sole of your shoe to help with traction (I buy mine from Payless, along with my leather protector spray). Try the boots with the insoles in before you start sporting them – insoles might force you to go a 1/2 size up.
  • If you want a heel, go for around 2.5″ so that you can wear your boots every day without tears (and, later in life, bunions – I know, I know, but we’re not getting any younger). Wedges also help.
  • If you’re a shortie like me, shaft height is going to be your biggest challenge (The shaft is the part of the boot between your ankle and knee.). Don’t make your legs look like stumps – boots should elongate, not dwarf.
  • If you’re shopping online, take a string, wrap it around the thickest part of your calf, make a mark, then hold it up to a ruler. This is to determine the circumference of your calf – Zappos always has this info listed for the boot as well. This helps you gauge how the boot will fit your calf.
  • When looking in the mirror, consider how the boots flatter or don’t flatter your entire body shape. For example, for girls with hips (like Merin and I), a skinny jean tucked into a fitted knee-high boot amplifies hip size.

Jump to your calf size because this is already a long post.

If you have a super skinny calves:

The goal is to not dwarf your calf. I mean: be careful to select boots that do not make your calves look even smaller. Look for a boot that is…

  • Either short (called a bootie) or 3/4 tall (AKA “standard” height boot, this boot hits roughly 4″ below your knee).
  • Slim. When online shopping, use your pre-determined calf circumference (directions above). Be careful about selecting a boot that is more than 3″ larger than your calf in circumference.
  • …and, if you don’t feel ridiculous, try a cute sock over your tights to help add a layer of thickness.

If you have average size calves:

We hate you. Just kidding, Image of Perfection, we forgive you. The goal is to select the boot that makes you happiest – remember to keep in mind: select a boot that works with your body type. To narrow down your search, attack stores and websites with a pre-determined idea of what you want. And don’t meander, it will only exhaust you.

The best advantage over the other calf sizes: mid-calf boots. 

A store like Forever 21 is a good way to gauge the range of boots that are going to be out there today, and you’ll have a list of options to choose from that is not overwhelming. After you find a style or two you like, begin your search.

If you have larger calves and/or thicker ankles:

The goal is to cinch and lengthen. Look for a boot that is…

  • Tall. Find a shaft height that is to the knee or not more than 2-3″ below the knee.
  • Snug at the top of the shaft. You want the boot to hug the top of your calf, but avoid a boot that has that little piece of elastic on either side at the top of the shaft that is intended to stretch to accommodate your calves – this makes it look like you need the extra help.
  • Snug at the ankle (maybe). This is tricky: sometimes a snug ankle will help to define your leg better – this is a good thing. Sometimes a snug ankle will call attention to things it shouldn’t. Use your judgement, I trust you completely.

Questions? In the comments!




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