I have to admit, when I first thought about wearing boots with shorts all I thought about was the cute little starlets I’ve seen sporting the look in fashion mags. I mean, I can wear boots with a skirt or dress every day of my life, but shorts? And then I realized: I’m a grown woman and I can wear anything I want to. And so can you when you know my secret.
The look I’m going to focus on for this post will feature one of my favorites: cowgirl boots. Whether short or tall, blinged out or laid back, whether you are in the North or the South, cowgirl boots with shorts is a winning look when you do it the right way. The winning looks have nothing to do with how old the wearer is or what size she wears. To successfully wear this look, the only secret you need to know is how to work with balance and proportion.
First we’ll start with the individual pieces:
Cowgirl boots are a way to elevate any look. Most wearers pick a boot with a slight heel, which of course is very flattering to the line of the leg. Pairing boots with shorts is a great way to flatter your leg and an alternative to wearing heels, which sometimes can feel too dressy. For my leg, I prefer a taller boot. A shorter boot that hits right at my ankle is not at all flattering – the reverse effect of pants length, where I prefer an ankle length pant. (Ankle height boots might work for you if your leg is more of a uniform width or if your legs are shorter – more skin makes them look longer.) A taller boot that hits me mid-calf is so much better for me because it gives my legs the appearance of being a more uniform width.
Because your boots will really highlight your legs, you want to get the length of your shorts right. When trying on shorts I realized very quickly I should never wear 3.5″ length shorts! It couldn’t have been less flattering on me — it made my legs look out of balance. Longer 5″ shorts were so much better. Why? Because of where they hit my leg. They come far enough down to create a flattering line. The shorter shorts emphasized the widest part of my thigh whereas a longer short hit on a more narrow part, creating a leaner line. What works for my leg won’t necessarily work for yours and vice versa, so use a critical eye and try on a couple different lengths.
Now let’s put it all together:
BALANCE IT OUT
Say you’ve picked a shorter pair of shorts and a taller boot with some embellishments. You can balance these pieces with a longer sleeve, loose fitting shirt in a solid color. Always add accessories for visual interest. Here’s a great example of a balanced, modest look featuring shorts with cowgirl boots that gets balance and proportion right:
When I talk about “balance” I am referring to the amount of skin being shown but also to how dramatic (or not) any of the given pieces are. Most of us want a healthy dose of balance in our everyday style. This can be accomplished by showing less skin on your arms if you are showing more on your legs, or choosing a less ornate top if your boots have lots of detail. NOT adding a necklace might make the outfit too plain, but just the simple addition of the necklace balances the look above. Proportionally, this look wouldn’t work as well with longer shorts. It would make her legs look shorter. We can use the lines of our clothes to redirect the eye, remember?
WHERE TO WEAR?
For me, adding boots to an outfit with shorts is something I’d do on a special occasion, not for my weekly grocery store trip. So, where are you going?
Below are a few looks to give you more ideas. A longer, looser peasant-type blouse with denim cutoffs and boots would be a nice look for a date night, and a way to add some drama without adding the skin involved with high heels. A looser tank (to balance the tighter shorts) with the boots would be a great choice for an outdoor concert, especially if you have lawn seats and want to protect your toes and ankles from critters. And if you happen to have a local team you root for, your boots might be apropos for a game-watching-gathering, particularly if your team has a name like my local NFL team’s.
This post is sponsored by Country Outfitter. Images of models wearing boots were provided by them. All opinions are my own.
Here are some of my favorite boots: