Laura popped this question into a comment:
I’m also fascinated by the too-tall boots example you gave in a recent post. If you’ve already written about boot height and proportions, would you point me toward that piece, and if not, would you do a post all about boot height? I suspect I may have the same problem with some tall boots in my closet… This would be great information to have before fall!
Many of you followed up by throwing similar requests into the suggestion box. So here we go!
These are my gorgeous taupe-y brown Coclico boots:
I’ve had them for more than two years and wore them constantly after winning them on eBay. But their most recent wearing was in October of 2011. Because they hit VERY HIGH on my leg. Behold:
Especially in an outfit like this one where there’s a lot of contrast between my upper leg and the boot, these just-shy-of-the-kneecap boots bisect my legs.* And, as the Golden Ratio states, it’s typically more appealing to see divisions of thirds than divisions of halves.
My John Fluevog Adriana Luna boots are also very tall, and bisect my legs when worn with dark pants, leggings, or tights:
Again, the boots are light and pants are dark, so the break is emphasized by their contrast. The long top layers make my legs look even shorter. Pairing these boots with lighter pants helps a bit:
But that’s pretty limiting. I’d prefer to be able to wear my boots with most pants and hosiery instead of feeling like they’ll only work with similar tones.
Just a couple of inches of shaft height can make a HUGE difference. Here are my Kork-Ease Alva boots:
These fall a few inches below my kneecap, which means that even worn with high-contrast underlayers, they make my legs look longer. In fact, these boots are my ideal height. They work with longer hemlines:
And with low-contrast layers:
They even do passably well against bare skin:
A few inches more, and things shift again. Here are my Frye Harness 12R boots:
I adore these boots and always will, but they hit much lower on my leg at a point where my calf is considerably wider. They aren’t necessarily making my legs look shorter overall, but the fact that they end where my calf is largest means that they do adversely affect my leg proportions.
As was true with the other pairs, this can be mitigated by wearing them with a similar pant or legging color. However, I scrolled through several years of outfit posts featuring these boots, and it seems that I don’t care to do that myself. Hmm.
So let’s see these side by side:
In my case, a pair of boots that hits several inches below the bottom of my kneecap feels the most flattering and versatile. Boots that are either much taller or much shorter than that can be challenging to style.
Now, there are LOADS of other factors that affect how flattering a pair of boots may feel: Heel, wedge, or platform height, how closely they fit to your ankle, how closely they fit to your upper calf, and, of course, how they’re styled within the context of your outfit. These boots aren’t identically shaped and they’ve all been styled differently, so they’re imperfect examples. But my hope is to illustrate how boot shaft height can impact your leg line.
If this is a figure-flattery priority for you, measure a pair of tall boots that fits you well to find out the shaft height. Most vendors measure the shaft from sole to shaft top, regardless of heel, but BEWARE! Some measure the heel, too, and online measurements can be deceiving. I’ve even ordered pairs that listed heel-to-shaft measurements that were incorrect, so I always purchase boots online from vendors who accept returns.
I realize that many of you cannot even find tall boots that will properly fit your calves, so nit-picking about shaft height may seem unimportant. Furthermore, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment, take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent.
Related post: Legs, Skirts, and Footwear
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