avatarWinter is when most people get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and it’s no wonder; except for the occasional snowy wonderland, winter is full of gloomy gray skies and hide-your-face cold. So why does everyone pull on black boots with their black coats when moods are already darkening? The only time I’ve really seen color in the winter has been the occasional handbag or scarf. It’s sad that people are afraid of color or don’t know what to do with it (other reasons?). I know that fear and thrift are the main reasons for the black coats (yes, I have one too), especially in this economy: what will show stains the least (i.e. last longest) and match everything and never go out of style?

Okay. But shoes? Sure some colors become more popular than others, but I’ve rarely, if ever, seen a fashion magazine tell people to NOT wear a specific color. Maybe not with a specific outfit, but that’s a different story. orange in nycSo were you worried about those bright shoes going out of style? As long as you pick a basic shape you’ll be fine (maybe leave the fringe and cut-outs out). And worried about longevity? I suggest you just don’t pick suede; leather boots will look better for way longer than suede one ever will. Plus bright colors are also a great way to transition your winter boots into fall/early spring when all fashion becomes saturated.

Shoes are one fantastic category to experiment with at all times and in all seasons. Try a bright green wellie this winter and I swear you’ll bounce a little when you’re walking. Or try orange with a neutral gray jean like the girl above! Just incorporate color into your outfits the same way you would with black but reversed: If you can wear black boots with almost any outfit then so to can you wear colorful boots with almost any neutral outfit. Hues of brown, gray, black and white on top = party colors on your feet!

Don’t worry, I have even more ideas for you below to liven up your black coat (I’ll leave that to other fashion blogs).

First, these Steven by Steve Madden boots are a fun shade of pink and the puffy fabric (and faux shearling lining!) will definitely keep you warm. Wear them with a black tights/skirt combo and add a top with some pink in it (maybe florals?) or tuck your jeans into them with a button down in khaki and a white sweater. Second, these ankle boots by Calvin Klein are suede, but how can you resist those straps and that rich royal blue color?! Some colors look richer in suede and since I’m sure not everyone shares my aversion to the material (and even I make exceptions), I thought I’d add one worth the risk.

Steven Puffe Calvin Klein Peg
Dr. Martens Nellie Pull on Boot Jeffery Campbell Flawless
Frye Jenny Shortie Jessica Simpson Halk

You might think the bright yellow rain boots in the second row are a little cliche but take a closer look… they’re actually Dr. Martins with the famous stitching and chunky anti-slip sole! If Doc’s standard lace up mid-calf boots make you feel a little too punk/goth high schooler but you miss the durability of the brand, these might be a great alternative. And I think rain boots are the one shoe category where crazy colors and patterns are mainstream; no one will bat an eye. Next to those is a scrunched leather boot by Jeffery Campbell. These are a great wine red that doesn’t stand out too much or too little. And, you could wear these boots with almost anything: greens, browns, black, white, orange hues, other reds (although don’t go overboard), etc.

In the last row I wanted to add these olive green ankle boots by Frye since, in addition to color, they have a very walkable heel height and the brand usually makes great quality footwear. I’m sure you can see by now that you can ease color into your shoe-drobe starting with darker shades and eventually adding those special bursts of bright. But I’m sure some of you are still unable to pry yourself away from the easy stability of an arsenal of black boots, right? Ok, then at the very least I may be able to tempt you into the blackest of all non-black colors (no, not dark brown or navy – they count the same in this discussion): how about pewter!? Even though it’s shimmery, since the color is not mirror-reflective, boots in this color can work as a staple in the same way black does. Black dress and black boots = professional, but a black dress and pewter boots = professional & hip.

I hope I see some bright toes on the sidewalks soon! I have my camera ready.