thinking about fashion: my fabulous little black chelsea riding boots

I was just thinking this rainy, grey, London morning, while my husband was doing two thirds of his triathlon training in the gym (running and cycling - he doesn't like swimming - he said between the two of us, we could do a triathlon), that I haven't been posting about fashion for ages.

Just because I don't post about fashion, doesn't mean I don't think about fashion. In fact - curious to find how often women think about fashion - I found these statistics in a refinery29 piece: on average, women think about fashion 91 times a day. Not 90, not 92, but 91.  Now, granted, that's women in the UK, and aged between 18 and 25 (presumably the number decreases with age - but judging by some of my friends, I'm not quite sure). And that's not counting women in some parts of the world who are dealing with, uh, survival, for example.

But it's still a lot more than men think about sex. Men, it turns out, don't think about sex nearly as much as we think they do: only 19 times a day - how ironic is that! The digits are reversed! - and nearly as many times as they think about food (18), closely followed by sleep: 11 times. None of which surprises me. Women think about all of the above less than men (see the Telegraph article if you want more details, I'm too lazy to quote it all now) but that's probably because they're too busy thinking about fashion.

Which is also why this new platform that's emerging - this LookBible, a kind of Pinterest but solely for fashion images - is so fascinating. It's currently invite only. But the guys who launched it, based on the discovery that their girlfriends are spending a lot of time online, thinking about fashion - are really nice, and if you ask politely, I'm sure they'll say yes.

I think a lot of the reason I'm thinking less about fashion at the moment is because my feet are sorted.

Shoes are so important: not as important, I guess, as survival, food, shelter, ELECTRICITY (as a lot of my NY/NJ/CT friends have discovered recently), or even sex, but they still really make or break a look. I bet the top of most women's wish lists (besides more, or better sex) is probably, at any given point, a certain pair of shoes.

And what's most important, once summer is over, is the right little black boots.

But I got that sorted, on holiday, on the North Fork of the end of Long Island. Because while my family's summer home doesn't have a town, a post office, or even a place to buy milk, it does have the cutest, 200 year old white clapboard church with pretty stained glass windows. And twice a week in summer, they have a thrift shop.

And I bought - for TWO U.S. DOLLARS - these black riding boots, seen above. Also called Chelsea boots - which my husband decided, out of the blue, that he wanted to revive, about four years ago - way before it became on trend (couldn't find them anywhere, gave up) - but now they are everywhere, in every variation.

Of course, had I not found those when I did, I could always find some alternatives. Clockwise from top left: Chloe, for £690, the glitter Miu Mius (£495),  those gorgeous Givenchy, at a whopping £800, and the quasi-dressage riding style 'leather monk-strap ankle boots' by Jil Sander (£535).

But my favourites of the Chelsea boot options are probably this lime-green soled black leather pair, with bright yellow zippers, from  Esquivel, a steal at £452.

Then there are so, so, many black boots, currently available at Net-a-Porter, that even if my fairy godmother said 'pick whichever you'd like, darling, it's on me' - even if my fairy godmother had a GUN TO MY HEAD, I'd still not wear them. I'm happy for Christian Louboutin that he's won the right to sue anyone selling red soled shoes, but sorry, Chris: red soles with black boots just doesn't float my boat. And I'm really not feeling the platform, cloven hooded silhouette anymore - certainly not with these designs. Even tho these are the more simple and conservative range of what's on offer, I'm starting to realise I don't really like boots with heels. Period. Is that just me? Where do you stand on the issue?

If anyone feels like whiling away a few hours - my God! it's after noon! - please send me a link (in the comments, or via email) or your favourites on the Net-a-Porter little black boots list.

And I realise I've mainly been focusing on Chelsea boots: there's a whole WORLD of options in the slouchy, or motorcycle, Cuban, or military boot range, which also appeals to the flat footed who walk amongst us. (Burberry, for example, did the PERFECT pair of ankle boots, and I do love the leather and snakeskin pair of ankle from Pierre Hardy: they're like the sixties boys' winkle pickers, slim and sexy) AND riding boots.. and let's not forget Wellies. But I think each of those deserve their own posts. I do, however, quite like the slouchy ones by Isabel Marant, £365, and while the Gucci 'brogue style Chelsea boots' are nice enough, at £495, are they really £493 nicer?

Which brings me back to my own incredible find.

I've since rubbed natural almond oil into them - they're as good as new, and fit like a glove. And a week after I found those at the church, someone donated the same pair in a beautiful shade of maple: a nice, nutty, warm brown. And then I kept finding these other amazing things.. a fabulous sixties coat, and a pale, lime green Barney's v-neck jumper... and a pair of black Converse, with the sweetest aqua and white trim..  I don't think I spent more than ten bucks in total.

So I am completely covered, style wise. It's like going thru a fresh lime phase, or sweet chili sauce: if you love something, you start to discover that there's nothing it doesn't go with. All I have to decide in the morning then, is which Chelsea boots to wear, and that's easy: if I'm wearing black, I go with the brown, and pretty much everything else, I wear with the black. This way I'm not too matchy matchy, but I'm bang on trend.

Which then frees me up to think about other things.


Charlotte Isabelle x said...

so many nice booties! I have a cute pair of dark purple velvet ones :)
great post!! <3


Veshoevius said...

I have to say I'm a sucker for the heeled boots every time over flats, but I wear flat boots out of necessity - usually a biker or riding style than the Chelsea but a Chelsea style like the ones that you've shown could be quite useful.
I can't say that I could possibly be thinking of fashion 91 times a day! There just isn't enough hours in my day to cram that in!

daisychain said...

Oh Jill,
your giving me massive shoe lust at a time where I can't even wear them! I have such a soft spot for chelsea boots; I bought a fab pair from Yull shoes last year that I wear to death (I think you'd like Yull a lot actually!) x

jill said...

Thanks for the tip: I found them here

What's incredible is, the design of the website is EXACTLY like a cosmetics line I designed with a cousin - over six years ago now - called Cupcake. (this was before cupcakes had peaked in London). Same colours, typeface.. they're great at £90, I'm just wondering if the ankle is a bit wide..but they're real leather.. you always source the best stuff, Daisy!

Veshoevious : I know! I was wondering how they came up with the number 91.. I mean, yesterday I hardly thought about fashion at all - apart from what I was wearing (I did wonder for a minute if my boucle vintage sixties big plaid coat, in black white and baby blue, was too loud for Remembrance Sunday, but then got caught up in the ceremony and forgot to think about fashion). I mean: Saturday morning I thought about fashion for a few hours, while gathering together these black boots - and squirrelling away a few more, like nuts in the winter (including heels!) for future posts. But that was continuous 'thinking about fashion' - does that only count as once?

last but not least Charliebelle, dark purple velvet sounds MAGIC! That would definitely go with everything. Including and especially red, nudes, tans, browns.. and the whole forest green/blues range would looks gorgeous ending up with dark purple velvet! You've got me in the mood to dress that way today actually, so thanks for stopping by.

ODYSSEY said...

Too bad there isn't a triathlon somewhere for teams. You and K could enter! Hmmm...maybe there is.

Great deal on the ankle boots. Really. Great. Deal!

I like a lot of these options here. Currently considering a few options from Acne, Rick Owens and perhaps others...

Pearl Westwood said...

I love reading stats, do wonder where they get them from though! You boots are wonderful, nothing beats a comfy pair! BTW are you back home now? Ive got some Uniqlo freebie codes on my blog if you want one shout me, I know you are a fan xx

Laura Haworth said...

Fabulous article and loved reading it Jill. Thanks for your time writing this for us all to enjoy.

Rosalind said...

Chelsea boot are just about my favorite comfy footwear. I have an extremely battered pair of brown ones that my mum bought for herself in a charity shop - then found were slightly too large, but exactly my size. (They were featured recently in a post I did on Suffolk; I use them frequently as walking boots too). Then, recently, like you, I found the perfect black pair - they even look exactly like yours, though mine weren't quite such a bargain! But they were from a great vintage shop that offers reasonably priced wares. And you're right, they go with absolutely everything.
Oh and we must compare sixties' coats - I too found my best ever one at my most local, tiny charity shop a few weeks ago.

Alexandra said...

Agree with Roz - Chelsea boots are the ultimate shoe. Go with everything, comfy, attractive and you can actually WALK in them! I have a fab brown pair from Clarks I bought in September and I've worn little else since.

I'm feeling a bit the same Jill - I'm not really posting about fashion because quite often there seems something more important I want to post about but I'm really enjoying wearing my winter wardrobe this year. Hope you're well, was lovely to stop by after such a hiatus from blogging + you've inspired me as always! Have been writing more about culture/education/politics recently which I'm really enjoying so if you get chance would love to know your opinion. Alexandra xx

Alexis said...

I love chelsea boots! I got a great pair from COS last year. Just had them re-soled and they're good as new again. My go to boot when I don't know what to wear!