By Sally McGraw, alreadypretty.com
Ankle boots may be hogging the footwear spotlight at the moment, but knee-high boots are eternal. Well, eternal since at least 1965. And this means that you'll always find stellar pairs in your size at your local Style Encore, AND that sinking some cash into a quality pair is a smart move.
But tall boots are notoriously tricky to fit, especially if you have wide or narrow calves, and finding a pair that works can be challenging. So before you begin trolling the racks, read on for some advice on nabbing your personal perfect pair.
They may be called "knee-high boots," but in reality they should be "just-below-the-knee boots." Not sure why, but we've trained our eyes to expect the knee to be the midpoint of the leg. Of all legs, in fact. And, proportionally speaking, it's less pleasing to see anything cut in half than it is to see it divided into thirds or another fractional breakdown. So! Instead of a boot that hits right in the middle of your knee, seek a style that ends an inch or two below the bottom of your knee cap. Above the knee will shorten your leg line, and mid-calf may create the illusion of wider calves overall. Just below the knee is the sweet spot for height.
If you're one of those folks who has naturally wide or narrow calves, you're gonna hate this part. But I'm sticking it in here anyways because it's always a good idea to get as close to the ideal as you can. Tall boots should hug your calf. They shouldn't be so tight that they stop the bloodflow to your feet, but they also shouldn't be so loose that they stand away from your leg like galoshes. You should be able to get a single finger between your calf and the boot shaft, but ideally no more than that.
If you're whimpering while reading, take heart: A snug fit is a worthy goal, but nearly impossible for women of all shapes and sizes. Get as close as you can, and don't fret too much about it.
Consider three elements of shape when shopping for tall boots: Opening, heel, and toe.
Most boots create a horizontal line across your leg at the top of the shaft. Depending on your leg shape, skin color, and hosiery this may create a hard break. They are slightly harder to find, but boots with some sort of dip or curve at the front-facing portion of the shaft top will create a softer line.
In my opinion, tapered heels will always be in style. True block heels, kitten heels, and stilettos fall in and out of favor, and also tend to be less versatile. You don't need a heel that tapers to a tiny point, but pick a style that has some slope. (Or skip heels altogether and go for comfy, flat riding boots!)
And if you want a timeless toe shape to complement your timeless heel shape, go for almond. Round toes are fun, but tend to shorten the leg line visually. And they can sometimes read as "cute" instead of "elegant." Square toes phase in and out of style, and they're currently out. Same goes for truly pointed toes. Almond toes are elongating, flexible, and look fantastic on women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and styles.
Finally, a note about scrunching: Since I hope you'll be searching the Style Encore racks for your next pair of tall boots, you may notice that many used pairs have a bit of scrunching around the ankle. Do not be put off: The fact is that finding a pair of boots that fits to your ankle shape and width is EVEN HARDER than finding one that fits to your calf. Brand new tall boots will begin to scrunch at the ankle after a single wearing, unless they're a miraculously perfect fit. This is normal, happens to nearly all boots, and nothing to shy away from. Trust me.
Hope these tips were helpful, and good luck boot hunters!