Mirror, Mirror: Shoe-booties range from fashion functional to fashion chic

Posted: September 04, 2014

This fall shoe-booties have moved sooo beyond the weathered, the chunky, the basic, and the black. Instead, they are sexy as slingbacks, serious as suedes, and classically colorblocked.

"What other shoe transitions so well from day to night?" asked Elena Brennan, bootie aficionado and owner of South Philly's Bus Stop boutique. "It's one of the most versatile: cute with a dress, cute with jeans. Just cute."

After making its functional fashion debut in the 1920s to protect women's feet from dusty streets, the rugged and reliable shoe walked into high style in the 1980s with punk rock. Thanks to Dr. Martens and Timberlands, they remained in our fashion periphery through the 1990s, and in 2010, English designer Phoebe Philo introduced an open-toe bootie for the Paris debut of her luxury womenswear collection, Céline.

Since then, the bootie has been able to hang in mixed company that is both cozy and chic - just as appropriate for a daytime stroll in dressy jogging pants as it is for a night on the dance floor complementing a little black dress. The boot comes in all varieties: caged and ankle height, mid-calf and perforated, and sporty - as if channeling high-top sneakers.

But with so many kinds, it can be hard to choose which not-just-for-cold-weather shoe goes with your personality. Take our quiz to see which shoe-bootie suits yours.

1. Your workday most resembles:

a. trekking the streets writing tickets courtesy of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

b. scurrying around a Northern Liberties art studio.

c. hunkered down in a Comcast building cubicle.

d. hosting charity lunches on the Main Line.

 2. Your favorite restaurant is:

a. a burger and beer joint - Copa's in University City.

b. all things urban and green - HipCityVeg in Rittenhouse Square.

c. a place with a great happy hour - Vintage Wine Bar in Midtown Village.

d. a spot with major rooftop ambience - R2L.

 3. When you have a free afternoon, you:

a. hang at the Philadelphia Zoo.

b. go tattoo shopping on South Street.

c. drive to Chaddsford Winery for a tasting.

d. attend high tea at The Rittenhouse Hotel.

 4. Your favorite pair of new trousers are:

 a. reliable flat-front khakis.

b. distressed jeans.

c. dressy jogging pants with a tuxedo stripe.

d. two-tone shiny leather and suede leggings.

 5. What kind of skirt speaks to your vibe?

a. Can't denim skirts come back in style?

b. Who needs skirts when sundresses are good year round; all you need is a chunky sweater.

c. Anything solid and A-line that can be paired with a blouse, a blazer or a sensible v-neck cashmere sweater.

d. a skinny pencil skirt in this fall's trendy winter florals - in stretchy neoprene fabric, of course.

 6. Your favorite drink?

a. Long Island iced tea

b. craft beer

c. wine

d. dirty martini

 7. When it comes to nail art, you:

 a. prefer clear to nude hues; they don't look horrible when they chip.

b. gray + beige = edgy greige

c. red nails with no-chip gel polish

d. purple with a sparkling, silver accent nail.  

If you picked mostly As, COMFORT IS KEY

You're on your feet a lot, so your toesies don't have time for foolishness. But don't throw fashion to the wind. Try a color-blocked flat for a little shoe-dazzle. And don't be afraid of heels either; just chose a wide rubber sole for height and balance.

P. Monjo, $515, at Bus Stop.

Tory Burch, $375, at Peter Kate.

All Black, $159, at Bus Stop.

If you picked mostly Bs, you are


You like your booties vintage, which is probably why you never stopped wearing those Cyndi Lauper-era styles. You dig the 1970s Bohemian look, too, so you pair your beat-up faves with chunky sweaters and flowy dresses. Go outside that hipster box this fall and try an open-toe wedge.

Antelope, $253, at Bus Stop.

Loeffler Randall, $395, at Peter Kate.

Ceremony, $260, at Bus Stop.

If you picked mostly Cs, you are


You take the train or drive into the city and often find yourself running errands after work. Still, your comfortable shoe must complement your corporate-worthy style. Try a little edge with a caged version, and wear with contrasting tights - especially on Friday night happy hour.

Nicole, $119, at Bus Stop.

Sam Edelman, $140, at Peter Kate.

Vince Camuto, $149, at Macy's.

If you chose mostly Ds, you are


In your stylish world, fashion always trumps function. That means heels go with everything, whether with ripped jeans or a classic sheath. Try giving those arches (and ankles) a rest in short, leather booties that feature funky zippers and kitten heels.

BCBG, $139, at Macy's.

BCBG Generation, $119.99, at Macy's.

BCBG Generation, $169, at Macy's.


215-854-2704 @ewellingtonphl

Shoes courtesy of Bus Stop, 727 S. Fourth St., 215-627-2357, www.busstopboutique.com; Macy's, 1300 Market St., 215-241-9000; Peter Kate, 3830 Kennett Pike, Greenville, Del., 302-656-7463.

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