The Ultimate Guide to styling Fairfax & Favor Tall boots
by Jess Cartner-Morley, Fashion Editor
Is there anything lovelier than the crisp crunch of autumn leaves underfoot on a weekend stroll? Well, yes, there is, actually: that same noise, but made by an excellent pair of knee-high boots. A great pair of boots of one of the joys of the season of nights drawing in. Boots are up there with sparklers and pumpkins and Strictly and log fires.
Much as I love summer, when the weather turns and I get to pull on a pair of favourite boots for the first time, I go weak at the knees. Boots exist at the sweet spot where function meets glamour, which is always where I want to be. Tall boots are undeniably fabulous while also being sturdily practical, which is an excellent combination of qualities. Cold-weather cheer is about the pleasures of cosiness, as much as it is about the practicalities of keeping warm and dry. Bowls of fragrant soup, blankets on the sofa - and the chic sturdiness of good boots.
A pair of knee high boots has a polish which instantly pulls an outfit together. That trusty pair of old-favourite skinny jeans, the backbone of many a closet, are transformed from an everyday basic into sleek sophistication when tucked into a pair of boots. The length of a pair of tall boots plays with proportion - just as wearing a huge pair of earrings does, or carrying a tiny jewel of a handbag does. Tucking your trousers into a pair of boots is the simplest of tricks for streamlining your silhouette - and if you add a sweater with a high rollneck to lengthen the line right up to your chin, that will elongate the look even more. Worn over good-quality leggings, a pair of boots and a long line sweater can easily elevate your athleisure into a more-than-respectable daytime look. And looser trousers can look marvellously elegant, tucked into boots - think of Meryl Streep as Isak Dinesen in Out of Africa, her linen strides paired with a shiny pair of chestnut flat boots.
Boots are timelessly chic with a knee-length wrap dress, or a just-above-the-knee skirt. (Close your eyes and cast your mind back to Monica in Friends, who did this look brilliantly.)
The Belgravia in Chocolate
And with miniskirts racing back into fashion this season, knee high boots are most definitely your friend. Mary Quant - who as the subject of a new British film and the godmother of this season’s hot hemline is very much a style icon of the moment once again - was fond of teaming minidresses with knee high boots with a sturdy heel.
A shorter skirt becomes instantly less exposing, when you team it with tights and knee high boots. It worked in the Swinging Sixties - and it worked in Central Perk in the 1990s, too. It wasn’t just Monica who gave good boot, in Friends. Rachel Green knew the girl-next-door-meets-goddess appeal of teaming a short skirt with long boots.
Buying a pair of boots is an investment. Like a Barbour jacket or a piece of good cashmere, your Fairfax and Favor boots will live happily in your wardrobe for a long time, so it’s important to find the pair that are right for you. Whether you go for heeled or flat depends on your lifestyle, and how comfortable you find walking in heels. Bear in mind that one of the many excellent things about quality boots is that they have an innate sense of occasion even without a heel, so there is really no need to sacrifice comfort if you prefer a flattie.
Black is timeless - but chestnut and mahogany have a seductive equestrian dash. Suede is plush and indulgent; leather may weather better. Fringed tassels bring a sophisticated-Seventies vibe; brass hardware can’t be beat for polish. The perfect boot is just waiting to be taken out on a bracing autumn walk. And afterwards, it definitely deserves to be taken to the pub and shown off over a glass of wine. Which sounds like autumn perfection to me.
Jess Cartner-Morley has been a fashion editor for 25 years, reporting from the front row of shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York. Jess has interviewed Donatella Versace, Victoria Beckham, Karl Lagerfeld and Naomi Campbell. When she’s not covering the catwalk, she can be found in her happy place - walking the dog on the North Norfolk coast where she spends her weekends.