Still Hate Sandals? OK FINE, WEAR BOOTS ALL SUMMER LONG! Here's How To Do It

This marks the merciful end of the poorly planned Shoe Week. If it makes you feel any better, I'm not so sure I enjoyed it all that much either.

Jun 14, 2013 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

I GET IT. Not everyone is a sandal fan. I’m sort of with you! I myself wear lots of boots with dresses in the summer just because I like the way it looks. I’m also pathologically afraid of people stepping on my toes. And whenever I’m wearing super flat sandals in a restaurant, bar, or movie theatre, all I can think about is how if I move my big toe even a centimeter, it’s gonna touch the disgusting sticky floor.
 
As soon as the thought enters my mind, my movie watching experience/fancy dinner out/drinking binge is RUINED. The floor touching my toes is all I can see, even if I’m not looking at my feet. And what if someone spills a drink and then my tootsies and sandals are sticky all night?? (Cocktail waitresses everywhere are nodding their heads in agreement, I just know it.) But who cares, because a pair of summertime boots solves all these problems in one fell swoop!
 
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This photo is so meta: here I am (wearing boots in the summer!) with Sadie Katz, the actress playing a costume designer character based on, well, ME! in a pilot my old boss wrote. 

 
Thank goodness boots are perfectly acceptable to wear in the summer these days. I go to Joshua Tree (the Southern California high desert and final resting place of the great Gram Parsons) almost every other weekend during June, July and August, and I wear boots 85% of the time because, you know, there are SNAKES! Maybe it’s just the total Texan in me, but I find boots easy to wear no matter what the weather. If God hadn’t intended for us to wear boots in the summer, would he/she have started making open toed boots?
 
 
The defense rests their case. 
 
Now, I’m not saying that you can just slap on any old pair of winter boots and call it a summer outfit--Uggs are totally out of the question. I think over-the knee and patent leather boots fall into the same DON'T category.
 
In order to make summer boots work, they need to have a sense of lightness to them. This means they should 1) be ankle boots almost exclusively and 2) be a light color or have some detailing that lightens them up style-wise. Here are some celebs rocking the summer boot look flawlessly:
 
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From left: Hilary Rhoda, Kate Bosworth, Alexa Chung.

 
The common thread here is that none of their boot choices weigh the look down. It's a natural extension of the leg, just with a little heft at the bottom. Sometimes I think sandals look too sweet and twee with dresses or shorts. I almost always want the bad-ass chick edge of some clunky boots. Here are some styling ideas to help you warm to the idea:
 
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Black floral dress, $140.00. Blush deer dress, $43.00. Burgandy boot, $264.00. Pink boots, $364.00.

 
The easiest way to test the summer boot wearing waters is to fall back on the time honored floral dress+cowboy boot inspired combo. There's a reason this look endures--it's sweet, tough, innocent and punchy all at the same time. It's a classic, and you just can't go wrong.
 
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Left: "Life's a Grave" tee, $44.00. Galaxy skirt, $138.00. White perforated cowboy boots, $79.95. Middle: "Brooklyn" tee, $73.00. Pink scuba skirt, $19.00. Black embellished bootie, $191.12. Right: Red "Police" tee, $38.00. Black skater skirt, $430.00. Brown moto booties, $230.00.

 
This is my absolute favorite way to wear boots in the summer--with a groovy collectible t-shirt, a full skater style skirt, and sturdy ankle boots. It's the perfect get-up for a night out at a rock show. And don't be afraid to wear brown boots with a black skirt--they add in the sense of lightness I was referring to earlier. A pair of black boots with a black skirt can force the whole look into winter territory.
 
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From left: Striped t-shirt dress, $70.00. Floral boots, $192.00. Tie-dye boots, $320.00. Tiger print dress, $47.00. Grey combat boots, $150.00. Blue ankle boots, $258.00. Stripe belted dress, $63.00. Black heeled bootie, $249.00. Red patent boots, $204.00.

 
The right ankle boot can add some pizazz to a simple t-shirt dress. A fun color, print, buckle or heel detail dresses up an otherwise ho-hum frock and makes it seem almost fancy. Treat your stripes as a neutral--they can take a lot of contrast and still not look too crazy.
 
 
A patterned dress (especially one with some white in the background) gets a little bit of grounding courtesy of a classic brown/tan bootie. I own almost zero brown purses, so I'm always stumped as to what to carry when I wear a brown shoe. But I've recently realized that the answer, at least in the summer, is a white handbag.
 
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Clockwise from top left: Horn clutch, $59.99. Top handle tote, $89.00. Zipper clutch, $49.99. Satchel bag, $56.00.

 
A white handbag telegraphs to the world that you know it's summer, duh, you just choose to wear boots anyway!
 
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From left: Pink tank, $225.00. Leopard shorts, $45.00. Brown suede bootie, $225.00. White silk blouse, $154.99. Lilly Pulitzer shorts, $68.00. White woven lace up boots, $100.00. Purple thin strap tank, $275.00. Black & white shorts, $46.00. Black ankle boots with buckle, $93.94.

 
A good summertime shortcut to getting dressed up for evening is to wear some snappy shorts and a silky blouse. I'm not sure what other style of shoe you could wear with this look--it's so much exposed leg that you really need the visual relief of a covered ankle.
 
An ankle boot that has a generous shaft (meaning the top of the boot, you dirty girl!) is a way better choice than sneakers in the dead of sumer--not only does it allow you to pop it off and on at will, the open-ness allows a little more air to find it's way down onto your foot.
 
This post marks the end Shoe Week 2013. Are you sad? I hope you all enjoyed it--one reader for sure did. Note the special font color choice he made for his closing paragraph. (For the record, THIS is the post he is referring to. And you guys wonder why I never post pictures of my feet!)
 
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YOU GUYS, he's just a dude trying to help his wife! Get your minds out of the gutter. 
 
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison