14 In Style

The Autumn Reboot

 

Balenciaga square toesBalenciaga Square toed boots

One of my favourite things about autumn and winter fashion is boots. Every year I invest in a new pair so that I don’t thoroughly wear out my existing ones. Not only are boots warm and practical, but the right pair can bring elegance and edge to almost any outfit. The big trend for this winter is a square-toed boot. We’ve not seen these since the 1990s, and I personally find it a particularly tricky shape to wear. It isn’t ladylike like a pointed toe, and it isn’t sweet like a round toe. It also isn’t neutral like the in-between, an almond shaped toe. It is unusual and fashion-forward. A square toe works well with equally fashion-forward and unique clothing (think asymmetrical hem skirts, cropped wide trousers, or loose retro style jeans). It also completely updates wardrobe classics; a basic outfit of jeans, sweater, and a trench coat looks ultra modern with a square-toed boot. This is why the style has become popular so quickly with the fashion crowd, especially the basics-loving Scandis.

Balenciaga boots, Image via Vogue.com

In perpetual pursuit of novelty, fashion’s pendulum always swings to the extremes. We’ve had several years of designers serving up pointed toe shoes. Balenciaga is behind the insanely popular Knife Mule (see below) and has also wheeled out the extreme square toe boot pictured above.  At this moment on their website, you can find both. It is unusual to have both an extreme pointed style and an extreme square style playing out in the fashion wild together at the same time from the same brand.  Even more confounding, Balenciaga has a few styles called the Square Knife, (which are not square at all).

Despite my usual clear opinions on fashion, square toed shoes and boots are one trend I’m on the fence about. They can look edgy and interesting, but they are also perilously close to fashion victim territory. If you’re not careful, they can actually look a bit ridiculous. With my style and my shape, square toes skew clunky rather than edgy, so I don’t wear them. That’s perfectly fine, I’m happy to sit out trends that don’t serve me and my wardrobe for the long haul. I only buy what really works with my personal style, and a pointed or almond toe is a much better investment in my wardrobe.

I do have to admit that I’m a little tempted by the shiny red Prada subtly-square-toed patent knee boots (So cheerful! So Nancy Sinatra! So superheroine!).  The flash of shiny statement colour speaks directly to my aesthetic. Almost any winter skirt or dress would be immediately improved by wearing these gleaming cardinal-red show stopppers. I could probably make these work in my wardrobe, but they still aren’t quite as versatile or enduring as an almond toe style. If my wallet is going to suffer a Prada price tag, the boots have to have serious longevity. Still, let’s just gaze at their wondrousness, shall we?  Just imagining them with a turquoise or orange dress is making me dizzy.

Prada-Red-Boots

Despite square toed boots being a style that can date, if they work with your wardrobe and your personal style, they are well worth investigating. They have such a lovely edge about them. Not only are they more comfortable than a pointed toe, but your trusty basics will get a thoroughly modern reboot by adding them into your wardrobe. I’d never consider the extreme square toe shape (too fashion victim, even for me) but here is a selection of styles to train your eye, or to buy if you’re tempted. I’ve signed up for sale alerts on the red Prada ones, just in case…

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    whatlizzyloves
    November 5, 2019 at 4:08 PM

    Oh Lisa, those red Prada boots are so you. Every style you share here is stunning. Like you, I love wearing boots and find that they really alter the look and feel of an outfit. I’ll stay tuned to see if any of these make their way into your closet. Brilliant writing as usual by the way xxxx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      November 6, 2019 at 11:40 AM

      The Prada boots are kind of amazing, aren’t they?! Wishing they weren’t so expensive. I know you appreciate a good boot too!

      Thank you so much, Liz xx

  • Reply
    No Fear of Fashion
    November 5, 2019 at 4:24 PM

    Those red Prada boots are insame: both in beauty and in price. I have one pair of silver blockheeled pumps with a nose which is in between almond and square. They look great underneath jeans but I hate them underneath skirts. And I have white ankle boots with a rounded-of square nose. Those will do me fine, no need for more. My wallet and my wardrobe cannot handle any more shoes.
    Greetje

    • Reply
      Lisa
      November 6, 2019 at 11:38 AM

      They are, aren’t they? Maybe they’ll end up on Ebay or on a big sale. Prada shoes are a lifetime investment, but still, that’s a lotta money for something that isn’t a ‘staple’ wardrobe item. Your white boots are SO fantastic, I’m still on the hunt for something similar since I missed those Sam Edelman ones. xx

      • Reply
        Greetje
        November 6, 2019 at 12:29 PM

        I think you are referring to my Essentiel boots. They have a pointy nose. I also have white ankle boots with more square noses and a more convenient block heel.
        Greetje

  • Reply
    LA CONTESSA
    November 5, 2019 at 4:43 PM

    I think a LETTER TO SANTA needs to be DRAFTED RIGHT AWAY!
    BIG HUG!
    XX

    • Reply
      Lisa
      November 6, 2019 at 11:36 AM

      That is a fantastic idea, Elizabeth! xx

  • Reply
    1010parkplace
    November 5, 2019 at 4:46 PM

    I love your boots Lisa! Last year Stuart Weitzman had a pair of boots that were swoon worthy and in a narrow… which I need. Since I really didn’t need the boots, just wanted them, I gambled that my size would still be there when they went on sale. WRONG! Then I decided SW would bring them back this year. WRONG! I can’t believe I let them slip away because I’m the one who tells women if you really want something, don’t risk it by waiting until it goes on sale. xoxox, Brenda

    • Reply
      Lisa
      November 6, 2019 at 11:36 AM

      Oh no, Brenda! There’s always Ebay or the good second hand places, like Vestaire Collective. Maybe your SWs will turn up. Hope springs eternal. I’ve learned the hard way not to risk it, but there’s always more beautiful stuff out there for you. xx

  • Reply
    MT
    November 6, 2019 at 12:09 AM

    I think you’re right (as always) to be on the fence about this. The 90s subtle square toe sits nicely in my collection of boots however its extreme fashionista cousin looks way too space oddity for my taste. I agree with you it borders on try hard and I can’t imagine ages well. That said, I bloody adore the new Balenciaga knife mule. Trying desperately to justify a backless shoe going into winter, although it’s square back ballet cousin could be a winner for me.
    Ack Woman you’re such a bad influence on my shoe addiction!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      November 6, 2019 at 11:33 AM

      If we thought the extreme square was bad in a sandal, it is almost worse in a boot form, right?! The Knife mules are really more timeless… there will be a few stages where a strong pointed toe looks a little odd, but they ALLLLLWAYS come back. Stay on top of those sales alerts or Ebay! xx

  • Reply
    Nancy
    November 6, 2019 at 10:10 AM

    Square toe boots give me a bit of a Austin Powers MOJO feel. But the red ones are just extremely sexy and elegant.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      November 6, 2019 at 11:30 AM

      I agree Nancy, there’s something just a bit off about an overly square toe, it seems unnatural! xx

  • Reply
    Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb
    November 6, 2019 at 1:55 PM

    Ughhhhh those red Balenciaga boots with the red skirt and red bag are to die for… who do I have to kill to get that ensemble?!!

    Amazing post, Lisa – like you I’m a bit on the fence about the square toe, and I would also worry that they’d date very quickly. Oh, the dilemma!! One can dream though 😉

    Catherine x

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