What’s a spring boot when it’s at home, enquired a non- fashion friend the other day, and I had to take stock of my current brain wiring.
I suppose there’s jargon in any industry; it’s just that fashion’s pet gobbledygook gets held up to ridicule more than most. Some of it is a bit nonplussing. When did trousers become singular, as in, ‘That’s a really great trouser’? And why is it OK to address an item of clothing as she?
But pause for the spring boot, because not only does it exist, but you’ll be pleased to know about it. And soon you will be talking about spring boot this and spring boot that, as if you were Eva Chen…
Don’t imagine we’re referring to an ankle boot here, which is obviously the beginner’s class of spring bootwear. The new spring boot is a full-Monty knee or over-the-knee version, which will get round the thorny issue of tights (you probably won’t need anything more than socks with them most days) and ease you into all those not-quite-warm-enough-for-March summer dresses that you’re impatient to wear now.
On the surface of things, this makes the spring boot not a million miles away from the winter boot. Truth to tell, your spring and autumn boot could, and probably should, be one and the same thing. It’s all a question of colour. If the winter boot tends towards black, then the spring/autumn boot is paler. On the catwalks, it is cream or ivory or nude, presumably to summon up feelings of optimism, luxury and all things Michael Kors-y.
In reality, after two wears cream boots will look about as optimistic and luxurious as the Tube at rush hour, while nude ones will, from a distance, look as though you really let your skin tone go to pot over Christmas.
Focus instead on useful shades such as tan, chestnut or khaki. Avoid kitten heels unless you’re planning to walk literally nowhere in them, otherwise it’s an accident waiting to happen the first time you step on to an escalator. Or a loose paving stone. I’m fantasising about a boot with a medium block heel and a round-square toe (like the ever-popular nail shape) that doesn’t cost £1,200. There are still some in the sales…
Grey, £615, Stuart Weitzman at Selfridges; Camel, £580, Isabel Marant at MyTheresa; Burgundy, £225, COS; Brown, £65, Charles & Keith; Square toe, £119, Zara; Suede, £495, By Far at Net-a-Porter; Nubuck, £300, Ariat
Suede is a wonderful thought, because it’s soft and supple and somehow not robust enough for winter, which makes it instantly desirable when things get less stormy. It also fades less when it’s already in a pale colour to start with. Suede knee boots tend to be more comfortable than leather ones too, and will add glamorous texture to your cotton or chiffony outfits.
Snakeskin prints are less versatile – only maximalists will want to wear them with other patterns – but if you always wear plain fabrics in muted colours, they can inject real fashion attitude into an otherwise low-key look, making life easier. When all’s said and done, that’s the entire reason spring boots exist.