Some of us love autumn, dark nights, leaves crunching under your feet and an excuse to wear a pair of warm boots and a big coat. For those who are less favourable to the colder months, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
In any season there is always a statement piece to any outfit with autumn being no exception. The main piece to polish off every man’s look this autumn is a suitable boot- the practical way to keep you looking stylish. Two of the most popular boots are Chukka and Chelsea boots, but where did they originate from? What are the differences and how do you style them?
One staple piece for every man’s wardrobe this autumn is a suitable boot – a practical way to keep you looking stylish. Two of the most popular boots are Chukka and Chelsea boots, but where did they originate from? What are the differences and how do you style them?
Experts in gentlemen’s fashion and retailers of high-quality leather boots, Frank Wright is here to provide us with an insight into the differences between the boots and how to pair them with AW 17/18 trends.
The Lace-up Chukka
Starting with where did the name originate from, it is thought that the name for this style derived from polo, where a ‘chukka’ is a seven-minute period of the game – although it is uncertain whether the shoes were worn throughout the game or by the players afterward.
Following World War II, where a variation of the Chukka boot was used for soldiers marching through desert terrain, the boot was introduced into every man’s wardrobe. They went on to become a major fashion piece in England during the 1950s. Ever since, they’ve remained at the forefront of men’s fashion – wearable for casual or smart occasions.
Also known as desert boots or turf boots, a Chukka boot is recognisable by an ankle length cut and pairs of eyelets for laces. They generally have a classic, plain toe design and an open lacing system. This style of shoe is usually crafted from calfskin or suede but leather can be used too – making the shoe more durable in the colder months.
The Traditional Chelsea
The Chelsea boot dates to the Victorian era where it is believed they were designed by the Queen’s personal shoemaker – J. Sparkes-Hall. Their popularity rose in the 1960s in Great Britain as they became linked with the mod scene. They also were associated with King’s Road, a street in Chelsea, and it is thought that this is where their name derived from. Celebrities such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones helped boost their popularity.
Similar to the Chukka boot, the Chelsea style of shoe is ankle length and generally made of suede or leather. It is characterised by its iconic elasticated panels that allow the shoe to slip on and off, and often there is a tab of fabric on the back of the boot. The fit of the shoe should be a close fit, and any flexibility in the shoe should be in the side panels – not in the instep.
How should you style for AW17/18?
Both the Chelsea and the Chukka boot are versatile styles that are suitable for many occasions. But how should you style the boots to keep up to date with the AW 17/18 collections?
The Chukka boot is an ideal alternative to more formal leather lace-up brogues if you’re opting for a casual look.
When matching the shoe to the occasion, look closely at the finer details of the boot. Synthetic fabrics and some suedes are more suited to a casual event whereas leather and smarter suedes can be worn more formally. Also examine the sole – the thinner the sole, the finer the shoe. More casual Chukka books can be recognised by a thicker sole and rougher stitching, giving a quirkier appearance.
It is likely that the Chukka boot will be suitable for your style, although they do sit better with narrow legged trousers. Some men prefer a shorter hem; pair with patterned socks for a stylish, casual outfit. Designs on the catwalk for this season included oversized jackets and knitwear. Wear with an extra-long, smart jacket with dark jeans and brown Chukka boots to keep practical and on trend.
For a smarter look, match a rounded toe, brown Chukka boot with a navy or mid-grey suit. Or, couple the same boots with moss green trousers – a prominent colour on the AW 17/18 catwalk.
Like the Chukka boot, the Chelsea boot is versatile and compatible with many items in your wardrobe. Although suede is often the material of choice for this style, to protect from the colder weather and rain, opt for a leather boot to get you through the autumn and winter.
A big trend for this autumn is roll necks. Pair a dark roll neck jumper with skinny jeans and a Chelsea boot for casual evening attire. Or for a smarter look, a grey suit with brown leather Chelsea boots and a matching briefcase.
This year, many designers went against the grain and created tailoring that wasn’t traditionally black or navy. Extend the colours in your wardrobe with an autumnal coloured suit such as burgundy or blue and pair with Chelsea boots – make sure that the trousers sit just over the top of the boot to show off the shoe but remain smart.