Outfitting Tip: Strike a Boot-to-Pant Ratio

Achieving the kind of personal style that makes you want to be that girl can sometimes feel a great deal like putting together the best version of a universally tasted, or at least acknowledged, recipe. Think apple pie or spaghetti dressed in tomato sauce. Both of these dishes require less preparation than their more complex brothers, sisters and further distant relatives but when prepared with just the right amount of cinnamon, or basil respectively, each can blow you away like the lightest leaf withstanding a stage five hurricane.

This principle works on style, too. Anyone can wear a pair of jeans with boots — I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, it can look as meager and plebeian as a boot-cut pant hunched over Uggs or conversely as wacky as a pair of fringed-trim Junya Watanabe wunderkinds trying to flirt with jewel encrusted mid-heels. But it takes the spectacular, an eye so acutely aware of the nuances of that which makes a pair of jeans the optimal choice to counter a pair of boots that it’s almost incapable of anything else, to strike a balance that seems so simple, so smart, so downright perfect, unilateral execution brings on a case of textbook performance anxiety.

But there are a couple of ways to combat the disquiet. If you’re more adventurous and your eye can travel, you’ll note that the jeans are cropped — they’re cropped and slightly flared. So you’ll begin a search. You might comb the pages of Asos, then jump over to Topshop and if you don’t find anything that suits you, you might think to address your luxury label e-comrades who will point you in a direction that likely further enunciates that which you saw in the high street locations. You will repeat this process to find a pair of boots, though striking a balance that must contend with Vuitton under the reign of Ghesquière will, of course, be difficult. So instead of seeking interpretations, you will look to what democracy has done for fashion: The Outnet might very well have a similar pair languishing among its pages of stocked boots. And if it doesn’t, there is an almost 0% chance that Yoox will not be able to help you.

If this takes too much time or requires more work than you’re willing to put in, there is, of course, always the option of sheer imitation.

For the uninitiated, a benign Google image search will inform you in no more than two or three clicks that the jeans you’re looking at are the contrivance of the UK-based design duo Marques’Almeida. If your eyes happen to be failing you, a simple zoom-in will crystallize just how Louis Vuitton those Louis Vuitton boots are and as for the black sweater, I defer to my theory about the apple pie. You can find the one on your own — just keep in mind some use more cinnamon than others.

  • I need jeans like that!


  • Gabriela Grębska
  • parkzark

    Oh you articulated the process so perfectly. I’ve been looking for the perfect looser straight leg jean and boot combo for a while now, and I may just may be close to finding it.

  • Emily

    Love this – but I still have trouble with boots and jeans because I’m so short with stocky legs. Would love some tips for that! http://meowemily.blogspot.com

    • Leandra Medine

      ooooh. do you hem your jeans?

      • Emily

        Yes! It’s usually a must for me. Even when I do that, I find that the boots/jeans combo makes me look large. Which is disappointing because i LOVE it.

    • sharemychic

      Hi, Emily
      Wear impossibly long pants with high heeled boots underneath. The entire outfit should be the same color. Preferably dark. This will elongate what you’ve got. xo

  • This is a complex mathematic equation i’ve been struggling with my whole life



  • Kandeel

    I think about this very often and this is kinda #goals

  • lavieenliz

    so stylish

    giveaway on blog!


  • Anita

    love the look. need to try this soon
    x Anita

  • Amelia Diamond

    she’s a good, good egg

  • Leave it to you to come up with a look that totally speaks to me! I must have. But I’m going to make my own with a pair of jeans I already have. Just going to chop off a few inches.
    I wonder how one gets that extra long fringe going?

  • I’ve made my own cut offs (with instructions from the blog A Pair and a Spare)…and I like them better than all my previous store-bought cut offs. 😉

    For those who cannot DIY handbags (myself included), I found great handbags to go with an outfit like this on http://www.trovea.com

    Shop great emerging designers from all around the world in one place. Wear something unique with a great story, from places like Uruguay, LA, NY, Sweden, Spain, Dubai and India.

  • Lua Jane

    It’s a gorgeous, subtle and yet strong look, but it is only doable for people with really long lean limbs, such as the lady on the picture or yourself. It takes a skinny ankle to pull that look off.

    And in general, it’s a fact that fashion is by no means inclusive and meant for all, because it is created with very limited choice of body types it caters too. I’m not even talking about being chubby or obese, just not being the tallish and slender “model type”.
    I love fashion and clothes, but that aspect of it, makes a socially conscious human in me cringe a bit everytime some very exclusively skinny trend comes out.

    Also those Margiela cut out heel booties are dreamy.

  • Amalie

    You always have the best post! I just love reading it xx


  • Love the process of finding the boot and jeans combo! The best part is that if you find it then the look is fantastic!

  • Erin Roth

    Thank you! I am obsessed with this issue. Finding the perfect ratio feels completely elusive if I think too much about it. Jeans are easier for me than “work pants” though. I would so appreciate your take on this ratio for a work look. AND for a work look in the winter when my ankles are freezing if exposed. Maybe just a slightly taller boot under the same pant I was wearing with ankle boots and skin exposed? Looks good when standing but sitting looks a bit odd as pants ride up. Which brings up the sock question…

  • xtyb

    You blow my mind with tracking down those pants (I never would have recognized them because they were styled with sneakers over there on Matches.com and to be honest this makes me feel like I just wasted crazy money on my bazillion sneakers because that looks so frumpy compared to above)…but my point is, you google image angel, can you use your skills to figure out-or maybe you just know-WHAT WAS GWEN STEFANI WEARING LAST NIGHT ON THE VOICE???? I don’t care if I’m a nerd for watching that show I’ve never seen it before but I love to hear Pharrell talking, so.

    But Please, one of you google image angels, help me. I want that to be my xmas outfit this year, preferably in a darker color, but.

    Thank you!!

  • Love your boot choices! And yes…I’m always checking my boot to pant ratio and often end up cuffing all of my jeans to make them cropped to show some ankle!


  • Repellerista

    Cheap Monday Lady Teddys do the trick as well though one would need to comb ebay for them. Sadly, they’re discontinued. Can you pull some strings and get them back in production, LM?

  • LinzLasagna

    All of the above (minus the somewhat-obnoxiously labelled LV’s) can easily be found Goodwill. It’s the promised land of awkwardly proportioned clothing pieces that can artfully be put together into something breaktaking, such as our friend above.

  • bp

    I was just undergoing this shopping process- like the chicken & the egg- do I get those boots that complete these pants, or try out those pants I wouldn’t normally get because they’re amazing proportion wise with that boot? It’s a science, isn’t it? Love that you wrote about this!