Well, nothing but a good ‘ol “howdy!” seems appropriate this afternoon! A few weeks back I received the sweetest email from reader Stephanie. Just to let you know how awesome Stephanie is, the subject line of her email read “YEEHAW! Cowboy boots!” Here’s what she wrote:
Just an idea for a blog section, perhaps? I can’t be the only Southern girl with a real hankering to break out my dancing boots at the reception, can I?! Although my traditionally Southern mother will probably have a heart attack, for my reception I plan on switching out the Manolos for a stylishly Southern pair of cowboy boots. Only problem is that I haven’t yet found the perfect pair… I’m wanting tall brown boots, with a square or round toe, preferably with purple embroidery. Maybe you could do a feature on some good options? Just a suggestion… Honestly, your blog/magazine/etc are my favorite thing about the wedding planning process thus far! My wedding is Southern-themed in Virginia, and I can’t wait to incorporate your ideas!
A “Southern-themed reception?” I’m not sure what, exactly, that means, but it sounds fabulous!
In order to help Stephanie out, Katharine and I set to work rounding up a plethora of options. I’m not sure we found her perfect pair with purple embroidery, but I hope she’ll find something to love! Since KTW is the more expert half of our cowboy boot duo, I thought I’d let her introduce our selections.
From Katharine: My Virginia-based father owns seven (yes, seven!) pairs of cowboy boots, ranging from his classic, tried and true Justins to his favorite UVA-orange ostrich kicks. (He’s currently enamored with a snazzy pair of green eel skin boots, though the verdict’s still out on where, exactly, one wears green eel skin.)
For those of us who can’t lay claim to such an enviable collection but still itch for a pair of cowboy boots to call our own, you’ll probably want to steer clear of boots made of unusual materials or with flashy coloring and designs. For first-time boot-buyers, brown and tan are your best bet. Hands-down. They’ll match anything (really, anything!) and will be a subtle foray into the Western look. Added bonus: get the right pair and they’ll almost certainly top the list of your go-to kicks. Next to my running shoes and flip-flops, my first pair of cowboy boots is what I wear most frequently.
Where to find these lovelies:
A. Lucchese L4611, B. Laredo Timekeeper, C. Durango Western Boot, D. Roper Madison, F. Bruce Pull On from Frye, G. Durango Crush, H. Ariat Legend, I. Carson Pull On from Frye, J. Justin Vintage Goat, K. Lucchese N4710, L. Justin Bay Apache
For a classic, sophisticated look that you can dress down with jeans or spruce up with a sundress, opt for a tall base (at least 11″, though I personally prefer 13″+) and either a traditional pointed (sometimes termed “narrow rounded”) or “fashion” square toe. Avoid a true rounded toe to keep the look of your boot modern and stylish without becoming costume-y. First-timers often cringe at the thought of the classic pointed toe, but the non-rounded toes are classics for a reason. Trust me: nothing looks better under a pair of jeans than a narrow rounded or square toe!
With some help from the expert (thanks, Dad!), I settled on the Justin Bay Apaches (Letter L, above). I’ve had – and loved – them for the past four years, and only now am thinking about adding to my collection. The more luxe and less rugged Lucchesse tan “Mad Dog Goats” have my name all over them (Letter E)! (Or how about these for a fun twist on the basic boot?)
While you’ll always love your first pair of boots best of all, branching out from basic brown to black, white, turquoise or even – gasp! – red with skull + crossbones is where the fun really begins! Think bright, bold colors, varying heel and base heights, fun stitching, funky patterns and kick-butt embellishments. There really is no limit to the cowboy craze, made fashionable by celebs like Taylor Swift, Hilary Duff and Jessica Biel, just to name a few. The craziest I’ve gotten with my c’boots so far is black + white snakeskin, courtesy of Dad, but boy, do I love me some vintage turquoise (check out Option F above)! Sure, you won’t get nearly as much mileage out of your fun + funky boots, but you’ll absolutely make a statement.
Where to find these lovelies:
A. Old Gringo Leigh Anne, B. Liberty The Cutie, C. Liberty Spider, D. Durango Fringe Suede, E. Liberty Flor Chale, F. Lucchese NV4005, G. Dan Post Alice II, H. Liberty Luna, I. Liberty Morning Lilly, J. Lucchese Alexia Stitch, K. Liberty Love and Peace, L. Durango White Leather, M. Liberty Santa Fe
A final note? Great boots can also be found vintage — try searching eBay, antique or consignment stores, or your neighbor’s garage sale. Happy hunting!
Weigh-In: Do you own cowboy boots? What’s your favorite brand? Are you wearing or would you wear them on your wedding day? Care to share a photo of you – or your ‘maids – in your favorite pair of boots? Email us!
Top photo by Our Labor of Love and bottom photo by Meghan McSweeney