We have a new contributor and I am so excited! Meet Marcy, the creator and stylist behind @luxeandlouche and luxeandlouche.com! Born from the idea that one girl can have multiple sartorial personalities while always staying true to herself, she loves to think outside the box when getting dressed and inspires her followers to do the same. She is a big supporter of the emerging sustainable fashion model and is a firm believer in buying forever classics (on luxury consignment, if possible!) and renting or borrowing almost everything else! Today she is telling us about one of her favorite wardrobe classics, the Chelsea boot - a boot with a stylish history and one that is both chic and functional - and why it should be in the closet of every modern woman (and man)!
If it’s good enough for the Queen, then it’s good enough for me.
The Chelsea boot may not immediately come to mind when you read that sentence, but it’s exactly what I’m referring to. The classic ankle boot style that many associate with the Beatles (though technically theirs was a variant of the Chelsea) was actually first designed by Queen Victoria’s shoemaker, J. Sparks-Hall, as a walking shoe for her in the late 1840s. This design, featuring an elastic side panel (and often a loop or tab of fabric on the back) which allowed the wearer to easily slip the boot on or off, was only made possible by Charles Goodyear’s development of vulcanized rubber. Initially referred to as Paddock Boots as it was thought they would be a great practical horseback riding shoe, they remained a fashion wardrobe staple for both men and women until the onset of WWI.
But it wasn’t until the mid-1950s and early ’60s, when the style regained popularity in the UK, that they got the name Chelsea. At that time, a group of young British artists, musicians, film directors and socialites (including the fashion icons Mary Quant and Jean Shrimpton) were hanging out in the King’s Road section of West London. Dubbed The Chelsea Set” by the media, the name Chelsea became synonymous with their lifestyle and how they dressed, right down to their shoes – and thus the Paddock Boot became the Chelsea Boot! This boot would go on to become the epitome of Mod fashion in Swinging London in the ’60s and would spawn variations such as the Baba or Beatles Boot, which was inspired by the famed British rock band and featured a Cuban-style heel, and the jodhpur boot.
To this day the Chelsea is considered a classic unisex boot that for men can be worn with everything from jeans to a three piece suit and for woman can be worn with tights and a dress, skinny jeans and a blazer, and almost everything in between! It’s a style that is simple but elegant, fashionable but also functional. In today’s world, when ideally we are shopping more consciously, choosing quintessential pieces that will stand the test of time, what more can you really ask for?
Photos in order of appearance: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Andy Warhol, Anello and Davide in London, 1965. Photo: Terry Spencer/Museum of London.
*All images are used for educational purposes. If you know source, please advise!
Here are a few Chelsea boots we are swooning over right now...