Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rodeo booties

This is my answer to the current Oxfords trend: vintage '80s western shoes. Under jeans they look like cowboy boots, but they're only ankle high. Nine West made 'em. So did Zodiac — along with a number of other footwear companies — but if you want to start searching for your own pair among online vintage shops (check ebay and etsy, from where these images were culled) Nine West and Zodiac are good starting points

Oxfords are great — don't get me wrong — but when everyone jumps on a trend I sometimes like to steer clear. These rodeo booties are a great way to pull off a similar result: The floaty above-the-knee summer dress paired with a sturdy menswear shoe. And the bonus: You get just a little heel, a little cowgirl edge, a sexy pointy toe, and a shoe that will look great with your bootcut jeans come fall.

Rodeo booties aren't as sought-after as full-height boots, so seek them out in vintage stores. Because they're not in demand, they're reasonably priced. Because they don't have 15-inch shafts, you can stash dozens of pairs in your closet.

My suggestion: Start with a neutral pair. Brown or black (I have a pair of navy blue ones and they with nearly everything) make for a great first pair, and then you can collect the wilder, embellished models.

I did try doing some research on these ankle boots and haven't come up with much as far as when they were popular and what kicked off the trend. I can, however, totally imagine Drew Barrymore's character, Julia, in The Wedding Singer sporting a pair with a white sundress and a faded denim jacket. Or Mary Stuart Masterson as Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful. (Watts, by the way, was wearing black Oxfords with her cut-off jeans. Seriously. Rodeo booties would work!)

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of 80s retro. I lived through it the first time around. I'm horrified by the return of acid wash and stirrup pants. And the huge zippers on everything this spring... yikes. But cute western ankle boots: now that's a revival I can get behind. You heard it here first.

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