Women 50+ are crazy in love with boots, ankle boots and booties. Sure, sneakers are comfy but let's face it, they have no sex appeal. Meanwhile, a pair of boots do provide that kick of confidence, glamour, edge and power we used to get from bossy high-heel pumps, minus the pain, pinched toes, sore soles and blisters. Shorter boot styles — like low ankle boots and their higher-shaft “bootie” sisters — have extended our love from a one-season fling to a year-round romance. Can't stop browsing boot sales online? Me neither. Even celebs are hooked. Here are my top 9 updates to playing footsie like a fashion pro:
1. Show some ankle and ... stop stuffing your booties
A flash of ankle adds the illusion of inches to your legs and styles up those booties. Start with any classic straight, relaxed fit or boyfriend jean. Roll the hem up one inch in a casual way — twice. Keep the rolls a little messy and not uniformly matched. (A too-neat roll looks dorky and a triple or quadruple roll is too bulky.) Get the excess inches trimmed to roll as suggested or get your jeans tailored to a length that hits right above the ankles. For a little edge, DIY and leave the edge raw.
2. Tailor so-called “ankle pants” to cover your ankle boots
For a more classic or business-like look or if you have thicker ankles, keep your pants long enough to cover ankle boot tops. Aim for a slight break at the top of the foot. Here's the secret: too often jeans and pants labeled ankle length are too long for most women (though online they fit the model perfectly). Any slim or straight jean or pant that bunches up at the bottom or puddles over ankle boots in a sloppy way needs to be shortened to your leg length and boots. Wear or bring the boots with you to the tailor.
3. Make classic knee-high boots easier to wear
Love a good classic equestrian-style boot or a dressier hug-the-leg boot with a little heel? These boots look great with dresses or skirts from knee to midi, over tights or bare legs and they work over leggings or skinny jeans, too. They're not good under wide, loose or flared pants so don't even try it — that's what ankle boots and booties are for. Knee-high boots can be hard to get on or off, especially if yours are oldies but goodies before full zippers and stretch panels were added. Mature legs tend to swell and some of us just have fuller calves. This trick is one I use on photo shoots: Slide thin plastic baggies, dry cleaner bags or sandwich wrap over your feet and ankles and then pull the boots up. They'll glide. Note that tall boots can be a challenge for shorter women since the top of the boot hits mid-knee rather than below the knee. If you're ordering online check the shaft length — anything over 15.5 inches will be too high (12 to 15.5 inches is ideal).