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Boot Guide

Rihanna's caged booties match several trends with their shape, peep toe and scrolling cutouts.
Rihanna's caged booties match several trends with their shape, peep toe and scrolling cutouts.
Florian Seefried/Getty Images

Each season brings something special. Winter has the first pure, white snow; spring offers rebirth; summer, sunshine; and autumn brings boots. Fabulous, to-die-for boots. It's worth saving up all summer for a new pair. Maybe two.

But which of the hundreds on hundreds of styles to choose from? There are the old standbys, of course, which never really get old. The refined, black leather, high-heel knee boot, or a flat one in brown suede. And the streamlined, neutral ankle boot with a sharp, pointy toe. They'll never go out of style, and a great-quality boot can last forever.

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Other styles, though, are a bit more timely. What's in for fall 2010 may be out in 2011 (and back in again in 2013). But who cares? They're boots. We love them. And this season's styles are knock-outs.

Our look at fall boots begins with the leg-lengthening, mini-skirt-grazing phenom that is the OTK.

 

Jennifer Lopez performs in a pair of glittering OTKs.
Jennifer Lopez performs in a pair of glittering OTKs.
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Knee-high never goes out, and this season is no exception. But the big question is: What about beyond the knee?

OTK, or over-the-knee, is still in. And thank God, considering what we spent on that tall drink of leather in '09.

Fall 2010 is bringing a whole new batch of over-the-knee boots alongside the usual, and stunning, knee-high varieties. Pointy or round-toed, platform or spike-heeled, it's all out there for fall. Rising all way up to the thigh, OTKs can make your legs look longer and give any outfit a sexy edge. But they may not be in for much longer -- so if you're dying for a pair, go for it now.

Like the next style on our list, the OTK boot is sporting all sorts of embellishments this season, which we'll get into in a minute. First, let's look at what is perhaps the most important shoe of 2010.

Lauryn Hill sports beige booties during a 2010 performance in California.
Lauryn Hill sports beige booties during a 2010 performance in California.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Knee-high is forever and thigh-high is for getting noticed, but neither takes the prize for silhouette of the season. That one goes to the bootie. (Or sometimes the "shootie.")

The bootie just barely skims the ankle and works with jeans, dresses and tights. It takes every form and embodies every look this fall, from feminine to dominatrix to, dare we say it, conservative. Booties can take you from day to night, and they're an absolute killer with skinny jeans.

Oh, and with that bootie, there's nothing wrong with showing a little toe.

The singer Amerie sports peep-toe booties at the BET Awards.
The singer Amerie sports peep-toe booties at the BET Awards.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

It's a peep-toe pump. It's a sandal. It's a bootie.

It's perhaps the greatest combination since the peanut-butter cup.

The peep-toe bootie is a perfect summer-to-fall transition shoe. Open enough to show some toe, closed enough for a brisk day, and utterly in fashion right now, this shoe takes every outfit up a notch. Wear it with skinny jeans, leggings or a fall mini.

And speaking of boots with minis, this one changes everything.

Call them motorcycle boots, engineer boots or work boots, they're all a little clunky, casual, and can completely alter your look. A mini dress that says "I'm hot" suddenly seems irreverent and maybe even a little rebellious when paired with gray-leather, slightly slouchy, mid-calf biker boots.

Use a pair of tough-girl boots to dress down a skirt or edge-up a pair of jeggings. (You may find they're easier to walk in then 4-inch heels, too, which is nice.)

And should those tough-girl boots have studs, laces, or buckles, all the better.

Hang onto your boots. This 1989 pair of Vivienne Westwood lace-ups are decidedly on-trend again with their laces and mirrored hardware.
Hang onto your boots. This 1989 pair of Vivienne Westwood lace-ups are decidedly on-trend again with their laces and mirrored hardware.
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Embellishment is everywhere. Laces, studs, grommets, buckles, cut-outs and straps on boots of every height and style are big this season. A boot collection simply isn't complete without at least one pair of ankle, knee-high or OTK boots that go all the way.

You'll find you have options: over-the-knee, "worn in" brown leather boots with a studded, fold-down collar; high-heel, laced-up granny boots with a modern platform; simple black-suede booties with a grosgrain-flanked gold zipper up the back; a knee-high leather covered in grommets; a laser-cut peep-toe silver-suede bootie; a thigh-high bandage-style, with crisscrossed blue leather wrapped all the way up and topped by a giant buckle.

You get the idea -- everything is out there this season. Playing it safe is for fashion sissies, and you'll find some jaw-droppers this fall. Invest in as many forever styles you can fit in your closet, but go for one great pair you'll strut in.

Maybe two. If your closet's huge.

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More Great Links

Sources

  • Barberich, Christene and Piera Gelardi. "Fall Preview: The Best Boots For Fall." Refinery 29.http://www.refinery29.com/the-best-fashion-boots-for-fall-2010.php
  • It's a Bootie Call: Fall 2010 Boots. The Glamazon Diaries. June 2010.http://www.theglamazondiaries.com/2010/06/its-bootie-call-fall-2010-boots.html
  • Smith, Qianna. "The Ultimate Fall Boot Guide." Shape.http://www.shape.com/beauty_and_style/style/footwear/the_ultimate_fall_boot_guide
  • The Ultimate Lucky Shoe Guide. Lucky Magazine.http://www.luckymag.com/shopping/fall_shoes
  • Valter, Veronica. "Shoe Trends Fall/Winter 2010/2011." July 8, 2010.http://www.millionlooks.com/trends/footwear-trends/shoe-trends-fall-winter-2010-2011/
  • Zalopany, Chelsea. "The Verdict's In: The Warm Weather Ankle Boot." Vogue. April 2010.http://www.vogue.com/voguedaily/2010/04/verdicts-in-the-warm-weather-ankle-boot/

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