When I was a little girl, the end of summer was always marked by the annual pilgrimage for New School Shoes: the thrill of opening that Start-Rite box, the smell of patent leather.
As an adult, choosing a new pair of boots has taken on the same significance — signalling the start of autumn, with visions of wrapped-up walks in crisp air.
For the past few seasons, however, my love of boots has been dampened by the fact that the only stylish options have been of the ankle variety. And, try as I might, I’ve never found ankle boots that suit my short legs or my wardrobe. They look great with midi dresses, but, as I’m pint-sized, midis veer towards maxis on me.
On the left side, Boots, £73, Dune; Skirt, £35, M&S; Watch, £159, Rotary Watches; Ring, £320, Dinny Hall; Sunglasses, £125, Cubitts, and on the right, Boots, £450, L.K.Bennett; Skirt, £35, M&S; Bag, £250, Reiss
On the left side, Boots, £119, Zara; Skirt, £39, Topshop; Bag, £89, M&S, and on the right side, Boots, £595, L.K.Bennett; Skirt, £35, M&S; Bangles, £195, Giovanni Raspini; Bag, £310, ATP Atelier
So I’m terribly pleased to report that, on the tall boot front, this year I’m officially spoilt for choice.
The fashion mood on the Autumn/Winter catwalks was grown-up and classic. Cue a parade of beautiful boots that finish at the knee — or higher. They’re the only investment you need to give your wardrobe a fresh lease of life this season.
Take Hedi Slimane’s second collection for Celine, which revisits the original Celine woman of the Seventies, with wide-leg culottes, swishy skirts and pussy-bow blouses teamed with top-handle bags, silk scarves . . . and lots of block-heeled knee boots.
Luckily, this look is easily found in more wearable styles in the High Street — think a Seventies colour palette of bottle-green, caramel and deep burgundy, kitten heels, and snakeskin and python prints.
Before buying tall boots, consider what’s in your wardrobe. If you like pleated, A-line or floaty skirts, any style will work. If you prefer fitted pencil skirts, then boots that fit snugly on the calf are your best bet. If you’re a skinny jeans addict, tuck them into slouchy boots with a chunky block heel.
On the left side, Boots, £119, Zara; Skirt, £39.50, M&S; Bag, £650, Liberty London; Bracelet, £31, and ring, £27.99, Pilgrim, and on the right side, Boots £179.99, Mango; Skirt, £39.50, M&S; Watch, £209, Rotary Watches; Bag, £495, Liberty London
Kitten-heeled styles with pointed toes look fabulous under skirts and dresses — but avoid wearing them with jeans or you risk veering into Eighties pixie-boot territory. Above all, make sure everything is covered up — an exposed kneecap is the ultimate faux pas.
As for me, I’ve fallen madly in love with a pair of slouchy, zebra-print beauties by Toga Pulla.
I tried to keep them in their box, ready to savour when the temperature drops, but it was no good. They’re already helping me stride into autumn . . .