We asked Hope Nicholls, a Charlotte fashion fixture and owner of Boris + Natasha, to talk about why the equestrian boot has been in shops, department stores and on ladies’ legs for more than four years now, with no end in sight.
In style time, four years is a millennium. The winds of style seemingly blow without regard to the mortal world, but I believe fashion is just as much “Buffeted” by folks like Warren as it is Kar-dashed by Kim.
The wilting recession of the last few years has spared no one. With the recovery in full swing, we see signs of life on the upper end of haberdashery, but regular folks that don’t have billions are still wondering what hit them and if it’s headed back.
When in doubt, we all reach to the familiar, the safe places in our closet. A riding boot traditionally signified a life of abundance, a lifestyle of leisure with just a touch of attitude – think Katharine Hepburn.
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Walking off the polo field and into our lives, these boots were perfect when the buoyant economy seemed unsinkable. Women loved that they looked equally great with skinny jeans, a swingy dress, or apres yoga with a wrap sweater. They worked with Fendi bags and grocery bags. Tory Burch made them a uniform, an emblem of success women wanted to display with casual confidence, an alternative to work wear or ballet flats.
When the crash came, we all felt a quake at our core. Style held its breath; people played it safe with their cash and their panache, at the risk of looking gauche or, alternately, broke, depending on their portfolios. Women all over the world hunkered down in their equestrians, toeing the line.
I’m no Wall Street wizard, but I see the market back at record highs. I see gas prices at new lows; now it really is time for change. So as you delve into your closet, ponder the mantra, “buy, sell, hold,” and let go, like letting go of the edge of a precipice; release yourself from the old paradigm. That style mirrors a status quo that has shifted. Let yourself drop-float, actually – down to that place where the people are, where you can wear short boots if you want, even combat boots in solidarity, or thigh highs, without judgment or disdain.
After all, it is just fashion, y’all.