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    How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Let your boots boost your mood this winter 

    How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Let your boots boost your mood this winter

    • Shane Watson shared her advice for embracing this season’s boots trend 
    • She advises pairing over-the-knee tight boots with dresses 
    • British style expert revealed a selection of High Street stores offering the look

    When did you last fling open your wardrobe and reach for the slightly sparkly, dry-clean-only, needs-a-camisole-underneath top?

    Not in 2020, I think it’s safe to say. The fact is, our clothing requirements have shifted and our fun clothes-wearing opportunities have been whittled right down.

    These days, a lot of what’s hanging in our wardrobes looks like it was bought for someone else’s life. (Perhaps the Duchess of Sussex has the same thought when she does a circuit of her walk-in wardrobe in LA: not a lot of use for those pillbox hats and safari sheath dresses any more.)

    We’re all looking for fashion that fits this new life: easy to wear, versatile, flattering.

    Pictured: Celine Dion

    British style expert Shane Watson, shared her advice for embracing this season’s boots trend at any occasion. Pictured left: Heidi Klum, Pictured right: Celine Dion 

    Unless you’re talking about boots. I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I am mad about boots, but I’m sharing this information again because it seems to me that boots are the post-Covid joy-sparker we’re looking for.

    I don’t just mean go-with-everything ankle boots, or sturdy slip-ons, or any of the many designs that have comfortably established themselves as easier and better all-rounders than other shoes.

    I’m talking about the boots you don’t need but which nonetheless might turn out to be your smartest purchase this autumn because they have the I’m Still Standing factor.

    There’s no point buying a one-off, red satin rubbernecker of a dress right now, but there is method in the madness of purchasing a pair of scarlet suede boots.

    Not only will you wear the boots more often than the dress (even in the good old days, when people were still asked to parties, you would get only a couple of wears out of an extra-special dress), but they will also be your one-step glamourfier — the thing that turns an everyday jumpsuit or trousers into Diana Rigg gold.

    Apart from that, these boots will be top of the list of items in your wardrobe most likely to make you smile, and change your mood from Appropriate Effort to I’ve Still Got It. 

    Shane said it's best to opt for a block heel, if you want a boot that you'll wear for more than one season. Pictured: Hailey Bieber at Paris Fashion Week

    Shane said it’s best to opt for a block heel, if you want a boot that you’ll wear for more than one season. Pictured: Hailey Bieber at Paris Fashion Week 

    Don’t forget, you can be whoever you want to be from the knee down, no matter your age: minimum effort, maximum impact.

    The most over-the-top boot you might consider is the over-the-knee boot.

    BOOTS: THE NEW RULES 

    • Stick with a plain, solid heel.
    • Wear over-the-knee tight boots under dresses.
    • Go for coloured suede, not leather.
    • Don’t save for special occasions. Use Scotchgard.
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    The ones that strike the right tone — not too pantomime dame or cavalier — are Dune’s, which come in scarlet suede and a deep, dark purple (£220, dunelondon.com). You will require a reasonably long, decent pair of legs to carry off this style of boot.

    Otherwise, they need to have a plain, solid heel — medium height or lower — to avoid any whiff of kinky boots. Try Russell & Bromley’s version (£395, russellandbromley.co.uk).

    There are square and pointed toes around, but if you want a boot you’ll wear for more than one season, a block heel and a round or almond toe is your best bet.

    The more accessible sort of over-knee boot is tight to the leg, believe it or not. You can wear them under those flowy midi-dresses or skirts that are so easy to pull off — apart from ones with splits in the front or sides (the last thing we want) — and are more exciting with a pair of thigh boots.

    These days, I wear my Rixo dresses with over-the-knee black suedette boots from Zara. For something similar, try Steve Madden’s over-the-knee design (now £73.49, zalando.co.uk) or Asos’s take (£110, asos.com).

    Shane suggests opting for mock croc or snake OTT boots. Pictured: Natalia Vodianova on catwalk at Tory Burch show

    Shane suggests opting for mock croc or snake OTT boots. Pictured: Natalia Vodianova on catwalk at Tory Burch show

    The other way to go with the OTT boot is something in a wild texture, such as mock croc or snake.

    Generally, I think a three-quarter boot has a lot going for it at the moment: it’s long enough to perform under midi-dresses and short enough to work under trousers and not weigh you down.

    Try Miista’s Carlota boot in snake (£290, miista.com), or a taller boot with slouch, such as its Finola boot in a burnt cream (£430). Zara does a midi-boot in tan animal print (£99.99, zara.com) or a slouchy, higher-heeled one in olive green suede (£95.99).

    Essentiel Antwerp has glossy mock croc turquoise knee-highs (£330, essentiel-antwerp.com), admittedly quite full on, but the fashion crowd are all saving up for Gucci’s emerald green suede platform boots. Just don’t ask what they cost.

    It’s these flashes of madness — the bright cord jacket, the fabulous giant scarf — that will get us through.

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