These Boots Were Made For Talking

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Now that dramatic styles are de rigueur in the accessories arena -- first came cavernous It Bags and enormous sunglasses, then showy bib necklaces, which morphed into shoulder-grazing earrings -- it's about time footwear gets its moment in the spotlight. This fall, classic and practical boots become showboating standouts adorned with embellishments and splashed in brilliant hues. Sure, you could go for another pair of basic brown riding boots -- but why would you?

-- Michelle Thomas


Studs, straps and chains: Oh, my. A smidge '80s, a dash biker and a whole heap of rock-and-roll, these boots lean tough with metallic, edgy accents. (1.) Bakers's attention-getting Studs style ($169.99 at Bakers stores and http://www.bakersshoes.com) is the result of heavy-handed bedazzling and a clear nod to Joan Jett, while (2.) Abaeté for Payless's chain-draped Antoine Bootie ($49.99 at http://www.payless.com) gets in on the slightly subversive trend but stays subtle enough for the office.

Feminine Flourishes

As a direct counterpoint to hard-edged hardware, this season also offers a slew of boots adorned with girlish frills, from delicate laces and flirty ruffles to oversize rosettes and ladylike bows. Look for modern ankle boots highlighted by vintage-inspired embellishments: (3.) Brian Atwood's Miri ankle boots seem almost Victorian with their romantic, dainty laces ($785 at http://www.net-a-porter.com); (4.) the sidesaddle leather blossom on Kelsi Dagger's Rosabella has a carved quality that wouldn't seem out of place among antique treasures ($200 at http://www.piperlime.com).

Bold Brights

Though autumn's footwear rainbow slaps bold hues like royal blue, plum-ish purple and stoplight red on just about any type of shoe, what makes this trend feel fresh is the pairing of vivid, look-at-me shades with unexpected styles. Here, (5.) Frye's Western-style Carson boot ($348 at http://www.piperlime.com) is elevated by a surprising punch of shocking fuchsia (and comes in a spectrum of other colors). And (6.) Matiko's Honey-Dipped lace-up wedge booties ($178 at Anthropologie stores and http://www.anthropologie.com) match an intensely cheery hue with a "Little House on the Prairie"-meets-construction-site shape that still manages to seem very now.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company