WORDS BY FLORENCE TROTT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKKO PUTTONEN
Tackle thigh-skimming footwear with our seductive styling guide.
In 1990, Julia Roberts walked onto our screens as Vivian Ward in what can only be described as the best chick flick of all time, Pretty Woman. If the Hunza G dress didn’t make her a style icon, the thigh-high PVC boots did. Whether you love or loathe that flesh-baring look, thigh high boots have come a long way since the big hair and bodycon of ‘90s America. Thanks to the likes of Bottega Veneta, Miu Miu and Gianvito Rossi, these days they’re a lot more sophisticated. Of course, they’ll never lose they’re sex appeal – there is something so seductively punk about a thigh high boot. They ooze rebellion, temptation and drama. No other shoe is as likely to raise eyebrows as an over-the-knee boot, but they’re a lot more wearable than you think. Here’s our beginners guide to tackling thigh-highs.
FIND THE BALANCE
Thigh high boots have some racy connotations. It’s a huge part of the appeal. But go too far and you risk showing so much flesh you could barely be considered dressed (if that’s the look you’re going for, all power to you – please ignore this advice). It’s all about finding the balance. Keep the rest of your outfit relatively conservative – think high necklines, long sleeves, heavy overcoats and generous silhouettes (even if you’re wearing a mini dress). A suggestive flash of thigh is super sexy. Keep them guessing.
There is a stark contrast between a pair of stone suede thigh-highs, and patent black leather ones. We love both, but depending on the mood you want to strike, the material is critical. If you’re not ready to step into the punk-chic territory of a red Saint Laurent second-skin, consider lighter colours and textured materials to soften the edges of your look.
Before splurging on boots that cost more than a small car, scout around for some style inspo. Will you wear them like Vivian? All flesh and towering heels? Possibly not. Scan the ‘gram and your favourite glossies for modern styling ideas. Think Miu Miu’s block heels and plaid minis or smart Gianvito Rossis with an ankle-grazing camel coat, layered over split silk midi skirts and cashmere.
The height of a thigh-high boot’s heel will completely change the vibe of your look. Generally speaking, the higher the heel, the saucier the boot. That’s not to say that Bottega Veneta’s flat chunky thigh-highs aren’t saucy. They are, just in a more brooding way. Decide what you want your boots to do – be they destined for the dancefloor, a sophisticated day-to-night accessory, or an everyday statement – and choose your height accordingly.
If you’re not ready to bare your upper thigh, but fancy the drama of a thigh-high boot, wear them over skinny trousers and jeans or under a midi. Team Isabel Marant’s black leather heels or flat Ann Demeulemeester boots with utilitarian coats, oversized Tees, boxy blazers and shoulder pads for an androgynous but devastatingly chic look.
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