It’s December. And it’s not cold. It’s not even cool.
But that doesn’t mean we Southern Californians can’t fake it: $45 polyester “wool” fashion coats from H&M, beanies in 60-degree weather, bare legs with piled-on circle scarves. Just ’cause we don’t actually get the cold doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in the easy sophistication of winter clothing. A major plus, though? We won’t ever—ever—have to do the whole January/February down-filled, marshmallow-man, ankle-length, sleeping-bag coats.
But the most essential (and obvious) part to any cute winter outfit everyone can do? A good pair of boots. The right pair of gorgeous boots can kick up any blah sweater-and-jeans ensemble.
This autumn/winter’s most sought-after boot—other than the undying black-ankle-bootie trend, of course—is the lace-up.
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Whether heeled or flat, the lace-up boot is a clear nod to the hipster-driven grunge-rock trend that has been raging hard for a few years now, led by designers such as Alexander Wang who dictate that people drape themselves from head to toe in studs, exposed zippers, rips, tears and tie-dye.
Case in point: Doc Martens are back. The footwear brand started by Dr. Klaus Märtens of Germany has long been popular with various youth subcultures such as skinheads (uh, as in the non-racist, rudeboy-influenced working class of 1960s U.K.), punk rockers and grunge kids. And, thankfully, Doc Martens has noticed the resurgence, taking full advantage and reissuing all sorts of classics from our youth, in a rainbow of colors, from patent magenta to floral patterns. The funny thing about Docs? When were they ever inexpensive enough for real punk and rock types to afford them anyway? With their classic eight-eye combat boots reaching well into the $100 range, they’re also not the most affordable lot, as archetypal as Docs are.
But if you’re not ready (or brave enough) to go full Daria with the combat boots, a great alternative is the Lace-R style boot, which retains just a touch of edginess. While retailers such as Urban Outfitters are slinging such cheap look-alikes as the Seychelles’ $178 Lace Up Foldover Boot or Topshop’s $135 Albert Fringe Lace-Up Boot, you can just skip all that and get the real thing. The original Roper boots are produced by a country-as-hell company called Justin, started in the late 1800s. The leather mid-calf-height boots are also eight-eye lace-ups, but they are less clunky and more form-fitting. The most identifiable feature of the Lace-Rs is the fringe peeking out from beneath the bottom of the shoe tongue. A brand new pair of Justin Lace-Rs will set you back about $89.99, but lots of used pairs are crawling all over sites such as eBay. And Lace-Rs work a lot like Converse Chuck Taylors: The more beat-up they are, the better they look.