Like Superman around Kryptonite, we find ourselves powerless in the presence of fall's most unstoppable footwear fad: the over-the-knee boot. Rather than tucking our skinny jeans into mid-calf ropers or shoving our opaque-stocking-clad legs into wellies, right now we only want to slip on these semi-scandalous shoes. It may sound far-fetched, but it's true: these traffic-stopping boots are so aggressively chic that they make all other cold-weather options look passé. But why, you might ask, are these boots so powerful? For one, they were the sky-high style of choice for the most influential runways (which were jam-packed with up-to-there boots) and our favorite tastemakers took to the look in seconds flat. In short: they're the season's superhero shoes!
Before we delve into how the daring dressers are doing the über-tall boot, let us first give you a little trend tutorial. Spotted on the catwalks of designers like Isabel Marant and Paul & Joe, the F/W 09 runways showed scads of ways to wear OTK boots. At Chloé, for example, Hannah MacGibbon sent out slouchy Laced Over The Knee Boots ($1380) with her luxurious velvet and pleated separates, giving the looks a hint of Robin Hood-esque air. Meanwhile, Miuccia Prada opted for a decidedly more utilitarian style via her Thigh High Fishing Wader Boots ($2000, 888.977.1900), which added an outdoorsy element to her tailored tweed suits. Of course, there was some serious behind-the-scenes over-the-knee boot action, as well. Celebrated fashion forecasters such as French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld and L'Uomo Vogue's Giovanna Battaglia were both spotted wearing Christian Louboutin's Alta Fifre Boots ($1745) during the show season. However, the moment that solidified the fashionable fate of this footwear selection came when the ultimate material girl, Madonna, rocked Louis Vuitton's sculptural boots-as-bottoms to the highly anticipated Met Gala earlier this year. Needless to say, the over-the-knee boot was destined to become a hit!
As is so often the case, the key to executing this look lies in the styling. An OTK boot obviously makes a bold statement, so try to temper their inherent sexiness with more modest pieces. (Essentially, you want to avoid any outfit that makes you look like you're channeling Vivian in Pretty Woman!) That means instead of wearing a body-con dress with loads of flesh-revealing cut-outs, take a cue from former GOTM and current Chanel muse, Caroline Sieber, instead. The stylist combined Isabel Marant's thigh-highs and a modest frock for a Burberry event in London last month (above, middle). Though Sieber's chic dress and boots-along with just about every other piece-from Marant's collection are sold out, we suggest that you consider Sergio Rossi's Over-The-Knee Wedge Boots ($1295). Just like the triangular heel of Marant's must-haves, we think that the unexpected wedge of the Rossi boot will add a grounding touch to even the dreamiest dress.
When wearing OTK boots, obviously you must be careful about your outfit's silhouette, but that doesn't mean you can't experiment with texture! As TV-host Jameela Jamil and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley-two of our favorite British trendsetters-showed us with their sequins-and-thigh-highs ensembles, these major boots look marvelous with twinkly materials. Seen attending a London fashion week event in September, Jamil smartly tempered the statement of her shimmering Collared Sequin Dress ($580) by Sonia Rykiel with a just-above-the-knee vintage pair of Russell & Bromley flats; try Dolce Vita's Crosby Boots ($320) for a similar style. Huntington-Whiteley, on the other hand, proved that you can rock these boots with a pant-centric outfit, and get an equally flirty and festive end result. Though her exact pair of Karen Millen boots, which she wore to for a night out with friends, are not yet available, be sure to check out Millen's Suede Over the Knee Boots ($435) or Steve Madden's Suede Focuss Boots ($230) for two look-a-like above-the-knee options!
Of course, there are also some seriously well-styled iterations of this trend on this side of the pond. Olivia Palermo, in fact, represented the epitome of Stateside style by rocking a killer pair of Brian Atwoods to attend a Teen Vogue-hosted party at the Gramercy Hotel in New York City. Though fellow fashion plate Byrdie Bell has also been seen wearing Atwood's Suede Over-The-Knee Boots ($1470), we like the way Palermo mixed these high-wattage heels with an understated Breton striped tunic to bring some boyish charm to the drama of the boots. If you're over the moon for Palermo's picks, make sure to grab Marciano's Sophie Over The Knee Boots ($258), and layer your favorite extra-long shirt dress under Topshop's Premium Satin Longline Blazer ($160) to get that perfect high-fashion meets high-street look for any upcoming cocktail party.
Now that we have done all the heavy-lifting, we hope you run faster than a speeding bullet to pick up a pair of your own OTKs! After all, no matter what you pair them with, we are certain that these super boots will save the day-or at least your ensemble!
Photos, from Getty Images.