Chelsea boots make perfect partners for a wide range of formal and casual outfits, surely deserving a place at the heart of every well-dressed gent’s wardrobe.
Instantly recognisable by their ankle-high fit and the elasticated side panels, Chelsea boots were invented by Queen Victoria’s shoemaker, J. Sparkes-Hall, in the 1850s as a hassle-free alternative to the tall, laced riding boots of the day.
Originally called paddock boots or jodhpur boots, they were relaunched in the swinging ‘60s when the Beatles, started wearing them on the famous Chelsea scene. With the celebrity seal of approval, Chelsea boots soon became the footwear of choice for mods and rockers alike.
Here are our five top tips to bear in mind when buying Chelsea boots.
1. It’s all in the fit
The beauty of the Chelsea boot lies in its sleek, close-fitting design, so it’s really important to find a pair which fit snugly without being too tight. If your feet feel sore and pinched, you won’t be keen to step out in your new purchase.
With this in mind, make sure you try your boots in a couple of sizes and/or widths before opting for the best fitting pair. Don’t be afraid to walk around the store in them to double-check fit and comfort levels before you take your new “sole-mates” to the till. Or, if you’re buying online, make sure you wear them indoors for a while to check their comfort.
2. Suede or leather?
When and where will you be wearing your Chelsea boots? Suede signals luxury but requires more upkeep in wet and muddy walking conditions. Unless you’re prepared for regular maintenance, it’s usually best to stick to dry weather and dirt-free environments with your suede uppers.
Leather is ideal for autumn and winter use, but either way, always invest in boots with high quality repairable soles, well-made elasticated gussets and premium suede or leather.
3. Keep it simple
Chelsea boots are characterised by their streamlined simplicity, but over the years, they’ve been reinvented to suit current fashion trends. So whether you like your Chelsea boots with pointy toes, broguing, high-shine patent leather or coloured soles, there’s bound to be something out there for you.
Do bear in mind though, that the more design frills your boots have, the harder they are to style. If you’re looking to make a statement, by all means go for it with that high Cuban heel or brightly patterned gusset, but sometimes simplicity is the best bet. Clean-cut black or brown Chelsea boots will never go out of fashion and will see you right for years to come.
4. Slim fit
Chelsea boots work best worn with slim-fit trousers, helping you to maintain a streamlined figure-length silhouette. Polished black Chelsea boots look sharp with a grey, blue or black ensemble. Alternatively, for a fail-safe colour contrast, why not try wearing your brown Chelsea boots with a navy suit?
Kicking back for the weekend? Dress your boots down with slim black or blue jeans and a white t-shirt.
5. Show some ankle
For a modern, edgy vibe, it’s fine to wear slightly longer jeans which add a little “stack” of gathered folds at your ankles. But to really get the most from your Chelsea boots, we suggest opting for a shorter look that reveals those swanky elastic gussets – it’s all part of the Chelsea chic.
With their inherent style and versatility, it’s easy to see why Chelsea boots have remained a fashion favourite for nearly two centuries. Chelsea boots are an ideal option for every occasion, whether you’re going to a classy event, to the office or relaxing in a country pub.
How are you wearing your Chelsea boots this winter? Share your pictures and tips with us on Facebook – we always love to hear from you!