As the seasons begin to turn, along with it comes a wealth of opportunities to experiment with our personal style, and in particular, our footwear. As the days draw darker and the weather much colder, our footwear needs to adapt to suit. No longer are thin espadrilles or canvas trainers suitable for puddled streets and torrential downpours – we need something more robust that is able to withstand the elements. Boots are the perfect option; the definition of practical style.
Today I am going to be breaking down the two KEY boot styles for autumn/winter 2011 – so put down your One Direction/J.L.S/Insert Boy Band Name Here boots and let me show you how to take your footwear collection to the next level.
The brogue has been somewhat of a revelation within menswear the past couple of years. Seemingly coming from nowhere, it is now sported by some of the world’s most fashionable males. Such is its versatility as a shoe, it has become the ‘go to’ piece for many casual outfits – replacing the humble trainer. I would hazard a guess that the majority of our readers already own a pair of brogues; their almost chameleon ability to adapt to both formal and casual outfits makes them a true essential.
Although they have rose to prominence on the back of the heritage and outdoors trends we have seen over the past two years, I think we can now all class the brogue as a timeless piece of footwear that will never fall out of style again. Such is their popularity, perhaps the best thing to come out of this new found appreciation is the evolution of the footwear into boot form.
This year is set to be the time when the brogue boot really takes off. Being featured in many heritage inspired fashion campaigns, as well as the town in country and outdoors type editorials, they are the perfect finishing touch to any of these trend-led looks. They also work particularly well with the major fabric trends for the season – tweed and cord are going to be huge, and with roots in the countryside, there is no better partner than a trusty brogue boot.
However, what makes this style a key investment piece for your wardrobe is their versatility. They inherit benefits of a traditional pair of brogues – meaning they can pass as a smart shoe – but have retained the sturdiness and practicality aspect of a true weatherproof boot. This allows them to be dressed up or down as you see fit – they would look just as good paired with your suit as they would with your chinos tucked into them at the weekend.
Opt for clean leather styles in black or brown if you want to wear your brogue boots in the office, as they are much smarter and will coordinate well with every suit colour you have in your wardrobe. If you are looking for a smarter alternative to your trainers and military boots, then you should opt for some distressed leather versions in a brown or tan. The distressing relaxes the aesthetic and gives a more rugged appearance – perfect for outdoors or heritage trends – whilst the brown/tan colouring is great for coordinating with traditional blue denim or bold coloured trousers.
Take a look at the look book below for some inspiration, and then get your hands on one of the picks we have recommended for you this season.
If you think the brogue boot is slightly too smart for your personal tastes, or you would simply like something a bit more rugged to replace your increasingly popular military boots – then the hiking boot is for you. Thick, sturdy and very, very practical, the hiking boot has also been brought to the forefront of men’s fashion off the back of heritage and outdoors inspired trends.
They began to make some waves last autumn/winter with the resurgence of workerwear pieces such as gilets, thick socks, plaid shirts and the like, but they never really took off, as the high street didn’t give them a solid backing. This year couldn’t be more different; everyone from Zegna to Marks and Spencers are creating their own take and giving us a plethora of styles to choose from.
The benefit you have with a hiking inspired boot is that they are very resilient and waterproof. You can easily pound the pavements in these boots come rain or snow, without ever having to worry about getting your (thick ribbed, coloured) socks wet and your feet damp. They also have thick soles typically made from rubber, giving you great traction in slippery conditions. Who said fashion couldn’t be practical and stylish?
Of course, these have been modified for the fashion market, so don’t go confusing them with a pair of Merrell hiking boots – we are not advising you to actually going hiking and climbing in these! They are designed to give you some separation from the rest of the crowd and your looks a different aesthetic this year.
As for how to wear, the obvious choice is with heritage or workerwear inspired pieces. Pairing with quilting, gilets, plaid/check shirts and thick knitwear is always a winner, but don’t be afraid to experiment and start to integrate them with smarter casual pieces. They are particularly good at giving your chinos and blazer combos a bit of an edge, but just remember to relax the whole aesthetic by pairing with other outdoors accessories like backpacks, fingerless gloves and the like, in order to tie the look together.
Perhaps the key benefit to this style of boot is its ability to really make a statement. They are big, chunky pieces, and are designed to be worn with a thick sock sticking out over the top. You are NOT supposed to cover these boots – you should be embracing their quirkiness and tucking your chinos/jeans into the boots to really show them off. This is where you also get to experiment with adding pops of colour through your socks – so choose a bold pair and really inject some fun and flair into the dreary autumn/winter seasons.
Key Tip: One great way to revamp your hiking boots regularly is to pick up a new pair of coloured laces – it can change the whole look of your boots and breathe new life into them. Try coordinating your new laces with another piece in your outfit, such as your belt or one of the secondary colours in your plaid shirt.
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