Well, no, I am not the whiskey-smuggling, illegal-activity kind of bootlegger, but for the number of times I wear boots when the weather cools, I feel that I must redefine the term! (Fashion) Bootlegger: noun. 1 a: someone who wears boots to ward off cold feet and legs. verb. Bootlegging 1 a: the art of wearing boots as a replacement for stockings and and sock wear.
The truth is that when the weather cools you need a go-to type of shoe; something that does more than add height to your look but actually redefines how you warm your legs. Boots are your answer. You will need to remember the following when purchasing a pair (or two, or three!) of winter boots: find a color that is versatile and will go will most things (black is always a good idea), a little heel (like a wedge) is a perfect compliment to both pants and skirts and dresses, and a weatherproof boot will be your new best friend if you get caught in drizzle or rain or snow. And remember to make sure your boots aren’t too tight-fitting – you want to have enough room to accommodate heavier socks and tights. When you do, you will find yourself wearing boots dressed up and dressed down, always and in all ways. Become a bootlegger, like me, and give this naughty word a whole new meaning!
Wearing my two favorite black boots; suede wedges by Dior and waterproof wedges by Taryn Rose
Photos by Kendra Olson
Two years ago my friend, the very talented artist, illustrator, writer, and designer Patricia Saxton took these photos of me with my boots. I am happy to report that two years later – thanks to caring for them and protecting them against the elements – the boots are still in good shape; in part because of the Kiwi shoe polish, in part because of shoe repairs at the cobbler. But mostly, because of my Dad. As a kid I would polish my Dad’s shoes. I would line them up with newspaper and spend time in front of the television polishing them to their shiny core. The black shoes, the brown shoes, and the cordovans. It sounds rather like a Charles Dickens tale but I remember it was quite satisfying and something about it must have stuck because now I do it for my own boots. And this is the season. Just as I am tucking my open toe shoes and sandals away for winter hibernation I am also evaluating the state of my boots and shoes and seeing what needs to be prepped for the upcoming weather and months.
This tradition has not only protected my shoes and boots but has also allowed me to hold on to what I own. We all know that shoes and boots can be expensive and few of us have the resources to replace them every year. That’s where polish and care come in; you can preserve what you have and save yourself a lot of money. And unlike other wardrobe items, shoes and boots are classics that rarely go out of style. They are worth the care.
Photos by Patricia Saxton