What Is the Chelsea Boot?

What Is The Chelsea Boot?

Chelsea boots are a timeless wardrobe staple. Class and versatility have allowed this style to survive the test of time. We're here to break down everything you need to know about this functional and fashionable shoe.

How the Chelsea Boot Is Defined

Chelsea Boots are typically defined as a close-fitting, ankle-high boot, usually with an elastic side panel on one or both sides. They often have a loop or tab of fabric on the back to help you pull the boot on and off with ease. They're almost always black or brown and usually made of leather, although some newer styles may feature variations on these details. Chelsea boots typically feature a low flat heel, although some styles (especially women’s) add some height with a chunky heel.

Where Did This Style Come From?

There's some debate about the exact origins of this style, though it is typically agreed upon that the Chelsea Boot originated In London, all the way back in the Victorian Era. (Credit is generally given to Queen Victoria’s own personal shoemaker). This style became truly iconic in the 1950’s and 1960’s during the Mod fashion era. It was extremely popular with artists and musicians. The Beatles, for example, were widely known for frequently donning this style shoe. The name likely comes from Chelsea, London, an affluent neighborhood with a High Fashion history. Men typically dressed the Chelsea boot up with a modish suit. Women and girls often showed this style off with the cutting edge style of the time, like an above-the-knee skirt.

Are Chelsea Boots Considered Men’s Fashion or Women’s?

The short answer is: both. The Chelsea Boot is a long-time unisex style that's a staple for every wardrobe out there. These boots are considered smart and stylish no matter who's wearing them or what they're wearing them with.

What Are Chelsea Boots For?

Chelsea Boots are popular for many reasons, but at the top of that list is how versatile they are. They can be worn in formal settings or casual ones. They can complete your look when you're wearing jeans as easily as they can when you are wearing a suit. While not meant for severe weather, the Chelsea Boot can handle walking through some light rain or snow slush every once in a while. Be sure to pair them with your best long black winter coat for a cool and sleek winter look.

Are Chelsea Boots Work-Appropriate?

Chelsea Boots are absolutely appropriate for work. Men can style their Chelsea Boots with a suit for a sharp, professional look, or they can pair them with khakis and a simple button-up for a more business-casual look. Women have even more options to make the Chelsea Boot office appropriate. They can pair these boots with their favorite power suit for ultimate lady boss-vibes or dress it down with a long skirt or more casual pants.

Chelsea Boots can also be appropriate for work even if you don't work in an office setting. There're many work boot styles available within the umbrella of “Chelsea Boots” that are made for getting a little dirty. In addition to being fashionable and professional, these boots are also durable and comfortable. These factors make them a great option for working outdoors.

What Can I Wear With My Chelsea Boots?

The most fantastic thing about Chelsea Boots, besides being unisex and chic, is that you can wear virtually anything with these boots, and you'll look great. In the summer, pair these boots with an adorable A-line or fit and flare dress to accentuate and elongate your legs. In the fall, wear them with leggings and a warm oversized sweater and scarf for a look that's ultra cute and cozy. Most Chelsea Boots offer some type of protection against the elements, making them a great option for things like running errands in the fall or winter. Pair them with a modish wool coat for a high class but comfortable winter look.

Chelsea Boots also pair well with men’s wear throughout the seasons. They look great paired with denim jeans or chino-style pants. Cuff the hem of your favorite corduroy pants to show your Chelsea Boots off. Pair your Chelsea Boots with a smart cashmere sweater.

As you can see, there's good reason this style has been around for so long. When you own a good pair of Chelsea Boots, they're sure to become a go-to staple in your wardrobe in no time.


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