The Chelsea boot is making ever greater strides in women’s shoes. Most Spanish brands I follow included it into their Fall-Winter collections this year. I don’t own any Chelseas and never really felt the need for them. The other day I was sitting next to a woman who was wearing a pair of these boots and they looked to me just like what they were originally conceived as – a paddock boot, practical and well-suited for riding, but aesthetically I wasn’t sure they were working for me. They just seemed too masculine. Of course, with most fashion brands embracing the style, there is a great variety of Chelseas out there, which is worth exploring.
The classic Chelsea is an ankle boot with a low heel, rounded to elongated toe, and a trapeze-shaped piece of elastic (also called a gusset) inserted into the sides for a better fit. It is worn by both men and women.
The Chelsea boot owes its appearance on the contemporary fashion scene to the bohemian set of artists, musicians, and other creatives who tended to hang around West London’s Chelsea district in the 50s and 60s. And you know artists and musicians – they can’t help becoming fashion icons! So from that time on the Chelsea boot became a fashion item.
Still unsure about this whole Chelsea boot thing, I decided to get an expert take and who better to ask than Fraquoh and Franchomme of the popular Attire Club Blog! Even though it is dedicated to men’s fashion, the Vienna, Austria based Attire Club Blog offers excellent insights about fashion as a whole. Instead of chasing trends, Fraquoh and Franchomme, bloggers and fashion management consultants, focus on the fundamental fashion questions and conundrums. No wonder they have a lot of female readers. This is what they had to say about the Chelsea boot:
From the Desk of:
Chelsea boots are one of the best types of shoes you can have in your closet. A good pair of Chelsea boots can be worn from work to play with no stress. Of course, Chelsea boots, as almost any type of boots, should be kept out of formal settings, but they do work pretty much everywhere else.
Chelsea boots can be worn with anything from jeans and a sweater to work clothes, especially if you own dressier Chelseas. Chelsea boots come in many variations. One of the most common is the style that features an elastic band. Many people, both men and women wonder whether an elastic band is stylish enough to be worn on more special occasions. The fact of the matter is that you need to consider that you won’t be wearing an elastic band alone, which means that you should see your shoes as a whole. For example, the Verni collection by Spanish brand Neon Boots (see the red patent leather boot above) offers a series of styles that have a very balanced and, therefore versatile collection of Chelseas. The shine and details of the shoes balance the elastic band out, making them appropriate for almost every setting.
If you wear special Chelseas such as these and want to show them off, you can wear them with a pair of pants that features a shorter hem. These days, both men and women’s pants come with shorter hems, so this is a piece of advice that applies to both men and women.
Those who love alternative fashions can also make good use of Chelsea boots, as their style, which appeared in the 1850s, definitely has a similarity to what shoes were like back in a time when men’s shoes were not very different from women’s, which makes them to have quite an androgynous style. No wonder they were revived in the 1960s, when the lines between genders were becoming became quite blurred and today again, as egalitarian movements tend to have a big impact on Western society.
And, there you have it: regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, you can wear your Chelsea boots with a blazer and shirt and pair of dress pants or skirt or with a sweater and pair of casual pants, as these boots are made for going anywhere.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
A great piece! Now, if I do decide to get a Chelsea, I will remember the following:
a) get a boot that has visually interesting texture or details to take the attention off the elastic band
b) if you want to show off this boot while wearing pants, choose a pair with a shorter hem (short hems are in now).
c) Chelsea boots are not for formal occasions; in fact, most boots are not for formal occasions (oops!)
Thank you, Fraquoh and Franchomme!
And here are a few other cool versions of the Chelsea boot from some of the most original Spanish designers: