The 8 knee-high boots of autumn and what to wear them with

Long boots aren’t going anywhere, and this season there’s a pair for every occasion. Frankie Graddon rounds up the styles to know about, plus the outfits to match

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By Frankie Graddon on

I was watching The Little Drummer Girl the other day – have you seen it? Terribly good. Le Carré’s plotline is gripping, Alexander Skarsgård is divine, but the thing that really gets me is the costumes. Pure 1970s retro heaven. A yellow, bias-cut floor-length dress and turquoise Norma Kamali-esque swimsuit are among the highlights from episode one; however, the star of the show is a pair of chestnut leather knee-high boots, which make an appearance in the first 10 minutes. Emerging from a copper-coloured sports car and worn with Farrah Fawcett hair flicks, they had my heart beating far faster than the tremendous explosions that followed. “Ooooh, those boots,” I muttered to my phone, while simultaneously googling “brown knee-highs”.

I have, in fact, been thinking a lot about knee-high boots recently. They made an epic return to form last season, and this autumn has seen boots of the long variety go positively stellar. Thanks to the likes of Isabel Marant, Fendi and Dior doing them on the catwalk, knee-high and over-the-knee boots are usurping their ankle counterpart. And while my first love will alway be a pair of ankle boots (currently these), I’m totally sold.

Last month, I gave you the hows and how nots to do long boots, so this time around, let’s discuss what to wear with them, because it is this that I have found can prove the trickiest. So, with that in mind, here are the key boot styles of the season and the outfits to match.

The sexy leather over-knee boots

If Chrissie Hynde was a pair of boots, she’d be these – pure rock ’n’ roll and incredibly sexy. This pair from Kurt Geiger are made from buttery-soft leather and can be worn pulled high over your knee, or scrunched down, depending on the look you’re after. I love the cone heel, which not only looks stylish, but is far more comfortable than a stiletto. To balance out all that leather, you’ll want to pair them with something soft and fluid, like a silky slip skirt. Chuck on a slouchy jumper to add an element of the low-key.



The white knee-high boots

Someone call Pan’s People, we’ve got their boots. Yep, yet again, white boots are having a major fashion moment, and this season they’ve gone long. Practical? Not in the slightest, but they do look good. White boots are a great backdrop for brights, and this pair from Zara would work brilliantly with Marks & Spencer’s red printed midi. For some sound advice on how to keep white boots white, read this.



The red long boots

Along with brown, red is one of this season’s key colours, with everything from tomato to burgundy providing a sartorial hit. The suede of these Mint Velvet boots gives softness to their poppy-red, giving them a cosy, autumnal feel. If you’re going bold on the boots, I’d suggest keeping the frock monochrome, such as this black and white floral midi from AND/OR.


The kitten-heel boots

The LBD of the long-boot world, a simple pair of black kitten heels will go with practically everything. However, I’d counteract the classic style with something seriously razzy, such as & Other Stories’ leopard-print dress.


The flat over-knee boots

Normally, I fear long boots of the flat variety on account of them looking a little too equestrian, however, this grey pair from Boden is the exception. I’d wear these almost like tights and pop them underneath a pretty floral dress with a chubby cardigan thrown over the top.



The animal-print knee-high boots

Is anyone bored of animal print yet? Nope, me neither. Where leopard-print long boots can look a little Pat Butcher, moc-croc or snake-print are stylishly subtle. I’d keep the colour palette tonal and wear Finery’s snakey pair with Warehouse’s leather midi and a slouchy roll-neck from John Lewis.


The not-quite-knee-high

If you’re yet to be sold on boots that reach your knee, give a mid-calf style a try. Zara’s brown suede pair would look brilliant with Kitri’s burgundy midi dress. You could always add a pair of sheer denier tights for warmth.


The long (night) party boots

I’ve been sold on party boots for a long time, seeing as they permit socks to be worn on a night out and mean you needn’t paint your toes. This fringed pair from H&M provide plenty of festive spangle without feeling naff, and make the perfect partner to Hush’s leopard devoré maxi dress.



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