Your Stylist: Getting your favorite fall boots to fit perfectly
Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column
A common issue I hear from women around this time of year concerns the constricting nature of tall boots around their calves. And while it hasn’t exactly felt like fall lately, most people I know have already stocked up on boots of all styles.
If you have a thick or muscular calf, getting a tall boot to zip up all the way or at least not act like a sausage casing around the area can be tough. But there are a lot of options out there that will work for a wide lower leg, while looking sleek and slim.
Several companies offer styles with a wide leg shaft. Plus-size retailer Lane Bryant has a collection of sophisticated equestrian-style boots ($69.50) that are classic and very versatile. For something more edgy and on-trend, a company called Fitzwell has a style called “Edeen” ($159) that has multiple straps and buckles running from the ankle to upper calf. Either of these styles would look amazing over a pair of knit black leggings or jeggings –- but remember when the lower half of the body is sleek and fitted, wear something on top to balance the look. A hip-length blouse or sweater will look best, or layer a drapey cardigan over a shirt that falls a couple of inches below the hip area.
If you already have an impressive boot collection but a few pairs just aren’t fitting right around the calf, you can always have the shaft area stretched or altered so they work perfectly for your body. Cash Feschyan at Shoe Wiz at the Beverly Connection sees a huge spike in this kind of alteration when fall finally hits. He says the first step is to try to stretch the boot, but if the shoe has a zipper and it’s more than an inch from zipping all the way, he will most likely add extra material. He measures the area of the leg that won’t fit into the boot and adds leather or suede –- though he says it’s possible to work with a boot of any material, whether it’s leather, vinyl or canvas. Any color can be matched by having it specially dyed (the price starts to creep up here, but even the most obscure shade of green can be done.) To ensure that the lines of the calf area remain balanced and intact when material is added, Feschyan usually adds panels to the back of the boot rather than on each side of the zipper, so that everything looks equal from the front. Stretching a boot’s calf area costs about $15; adding panels and extra material starts at about $70 and can go up to $150 if leathers need to be dyed.
Since the thigh-high boot is such a trend again for fall, women also have to worry about the thigh area fitting into the top portion of the boot. If you choose to try this trend, know that investing in a brand-new pair of boots isn’t your only option. A cobbler can add material to an existing knee-high boot that you know fits you well, and voila! You’re catwalking in a sexy thigh-high boot.
If that look is a little too superhero for you, stick to simply stretching a pair of boots you already have and love. It’s less expensive, not to mention a bit less dangerous looking.
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-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photos: (Top) Fitzwell, $159, www.zappos.com. (Middle right) David Tate, $193, www.zappos.com. (Middle left) Fitzwell, $169, www.zappos.com. (Bottom) Comfortview, $59.99, www.onestopplus.com