When I first moved to Cape Town I was horrified at the sight of Wellington boots, or ‘gumboots’ as they’re known in SA, on sale in retail fashion stores. Surely they weren’t serious? Or had the world caught a glimpse of Kate Moss on yet another binge weekend, knee deep in mud at Glastonbury – and decided it was a great idea to bring wellies back.
Stubbornly I splashed through winter puddles in my worse for wear leather boots, and desperately tried to dry my sneakers with a hair dryer while my socks were soaked through. I just couldn’t detach my sense of style from what I really needed in my shoe collection – practicality.
Then they arrived – Hunter boots: worn by all the cool kids in Europe, including the monarch no less, finally available on local shores. These meticulously crafted, wellington boots stole my heart instantly. Knowing that these rubber beauts have been given a royal warrant, by appointment of The Queen herself, just makes me feel all the more classy and back to my English roots. My grandfather would’ve been proud to see me striding through the rain in such fine British footwear.
The makeover of the humble wellie has been quite dramatic this season. Prints, key colours and trendy details such as fabric inserts, fur trim and laces have brought the wellie in from the cold.
So how do you wear them without people laughing at you? Well, while they’re cursing the rain you will rejoice at the waterproof wonder on your feet. Enough said.
But generally boots of any kind look best when worked into a layered ‘urban’ outfit. Wear with long socks, thick tights or skinny jeans during winter, or go bare legged in shorts for a summer festival ala Kate Moss. Personally I love the versatility of the black knee high Wellington boot – a timeless classic which you’ll still favour for rainy seasons to come.
Alternatively, if you have a sense of humour about fashion, then a pair of bright red boots are the way to go. Don’t worry about matching an eye-catching pair to the rest of your look. Keep it simple. The Statement Boot needs to get all the attention.
So when you’re about to leave the house rubber-heeled; if you’re in any doubt that you’re actually the one ahead of the pack - Think of this: Kate Middleton, Sarah Jessica Parker, The Olsen Twins, Alexa Chung, Nicole Richie, Anne Hathaway, Liv Tyler, Pixie Lott, Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman, Hilary Duff, Kate Winslet, Rachel Bilson and Kate Moss can’t all be that off-trend can they?
If those red Hunter boots were good enough for Angelina Jolie in Mr & Mrs Smith, then they’re good enough for me.
Don’t get left out in the cold this winter. Try online shopping - Hunter boots are now available in selected styles on www.36boutiques.com.
Alexis Chaffe is the online fashion editor for 36magazine.
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