To recap, a bootie is any style of ankle boot. Some styles extend a few inches above the ankle bone, whereas others just cover it. A shootie is a hybrid between a shoe and a bootie. Think of it as either a very short bootie or a very high vamped shoe. My low heeled black and white oxfords are essentially shooties with laces, and my animal print ankle boots are booties. 

Booties and shooties, in both dressy and casual incarnations, have been THE item of footwear in fashion for three years. And after following the Spring 2013 shows, booties and shooties are bigger than ever for a warm weather season. I could scarcely believe the popularity of this “closed shoe style” for Spring and Summer. The peep-toe variety was especially prevalent. 

Wearing booties and shooties with regular length trousers and jeans is a natural pairing because of the continuos, elongating vertical line that is created from leg to toe. But these days all outfits can be worn with some sort of bootie or shootie, which means dresses, short shorts, long shorts, rompers and skirts too. It’s thought of as a very modern footwear pairing and a lot more on trend than its low vamped cousins.

In 2009 I suggested guidelines on how to wear booties with skirts and dresses because it’s easy to feel dumpy, stumpy, frumpy and short legged when pairing high vamped footwear with visible legs. First, it’s a question of whether you like the combination of high vamped footwear on a bare leg, or hosiery covered leg to begin with. Then it’s a question of finding the right style of booties or shooties. Heel height, vamp height, ankle fit, and colour contrast become important factors to consider when wearing booties and shooties with skirts, dresses, cropped pants and shorts. Some prefer the fit of a streamlined bootie, whereas others like them to fit wider around the ankle. Some like taller booties, while others prefer shooties. Some like them flat and casual, while others like them heeled and dressy. Some prefer light colours, while others prefer black. Some will only wear booties and shooties with low colour contrasting hosiery, while others are happy to leave off the hose. 

For my own style, I prefer to wear low heeled booties with a very streamlined ankle fit when wearing them in outfits with visible legs. Sometimes barelegged and sometimes with hose. Better yet, I actually prefer to wear shooties because it’s easier to find a snug fit around the ankle. I have small bony ankles, narrow calves and a dainty frame. Oversized booties that are cut wide at the opening don’t work well for me, while they work flawlessly on others. In fact, I have clients with larger ankles and calves who much prefer wearing booties that are cut wider at the ankle because it makes their ankles look smaller, and balances out the shape of their calf. 

Furthermore, I have a small head and very short hair. To my eye, a voluminous hairstyle will often help balance out the “flower stem in a plant pot” effect that is created when you wear booties with wide openings. There is no hope of creating this balance with my pixie. 

So ladies, after three years of the fashion industry encouraging the look of which there is no end in sight, how do you feel about pairing booties and shooties with visible legs? Did you get used to the pairing over time, to the point that it now feels “normal”? Did you love the combination from the word go? Or do you not wear the look at all because low vamped footwear always looks better to your eye.

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