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Chelsea boots have become staple wardrobe items for style conscious men wanting something with a classic yet unique look. Perfect for formal, casual or business situations, the Chelsea boot can be dressed up or down to achieve effortless chic in almost any situation.
If you’re looking to embrace the Chelsea boot but are unsure where to start, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you navigate the classic style. Regardless of your age or style preferences, the perfect pair of men’s Chelsea boots are out there waiting for you.
Chelsea boots are a simple and versatile laceless style of footwear that feature robust elasticated panels on either side. They are usually made from leather or suede and are available in a choice of colours, with black, brown and tan the most popular. The sleek, smooth vamp of the Chelsea boot is reminiscent of a fine wholecut shoe, yet it can have a rubber sole and offer some of the traditional protection of a lace boot.
Part of the reason Chelsea boots are so iconic is that they date back to the Victorian era. Indeed, the Chelsea boot was conceptualised in the mid-19th century by a cobbler named J. Sparkes-Hall. Known initially as ‘Paddock boots’, the idea behind their elasticated and hardy design was that they could be slipped on and off easily for walking and horse riding purposes. In the mid-1950s, the style was renamed the Chelsea boot after becoming popular with artists and socialites that spent much of their time in London’s Chelsea area. The style has remained popular to this day and has become associated with a range of celebrities including Noel Fielding, Kanye West, and Harry Styles.
The colour and material of your Chelsea boots should very much depend on the way you want to wear them. As a general rule, you should look for boots that are tough and made from premium quality materials. This will help make your look feel polished and chic. The rest, however, is up to you. Here are a few ways you may wish to style your Chelsea boots:
Chelsea boots are a great option if you want to inject some timeless style into your casual wear. For instance, slipping on some brown Chelsea boots instead of trainers with your usual jeans and white t-shirt combination will help you to win instant style points. Suede Chelsea boots are also usually considered a little more casual and are a great way to elevate any outfit for less formal occasions.
If you’re looking to team your boots with some subtly sleek outerwear, consider opting for a smart trench or peacoat. This is the perfect way to find that elusive space between smart and casual attire. Alternatively, wearing some black Chelsea boots with a rebellious leather jacket or playful bomber will help you to achieve a carefree and cool look.
Are you heading to a formal celebration such as a wedding or awards ceremony? Teaming Chelsea boots with your suit can be a classy move, making them an easy style win for men hoping to make a fashion statement.
Be aware, however, that the colour and material of your boots is far more crucial in the context of formalwear. If you’re planning on wearing a grey suit, always stick to black leather. If you’re opting for a black suit or something a little more flamboyant, feel free to also consider a brown or chestnut pair of boots. Remember, however, that leather tends to look more sleek than suede, so it is best to stick to this material when planning an outfit for your next important do. It’s also a good idea to opt for sleeker, slimmer soled options for formal wear rather than boots with chunkier rubber soles which are more casual.
Wearing Chelsea boots around the office is a great way to show off your style credentials to colleagues while staying well within the dress code. Consider teaming a pair of comfortable cream chinos with some brown suede Chelsea boots, for example, or mix things up with a pair of bold patterned trousers and black leather Chelsea boots. Ultimately, the office is a great place to experiment with formal styles, so shop around for a comfortable pair you can see yourself wearing on a day-to-day basis. One of the great things about Chelsea boots is that they can fit into any office environment, from those with a more casual dress code right through to offices in which suit and tie is the norm.
Before you go out and invest in a beautiful new pair of Chelsea boots, it is important to remember a few simple rules. Firstly, make sure they are made from good quality materials and feature a decent sole. This will improve their lifespan and ensure that they are comfortable.
Secondly, consider where and when you will be wearing them before deciding on material. Suede, for example, is not good for wet weather, whilst leather is a little more versatile. If your boots are primarily for casual or smart-casual wear then you might want to look at brown options, whereas black is a safer choice for formal or office wear.
Thirdly, as with any good quality footwear, it’s important to care for your Chelsea boots. The material that your boots are made from will dictate the most suitable care products to use, but keeping them clean and well looked after will ensure they will last you for many years and only become more and more comfortable with age. Take a look at our footwear care guide for more information on this topic.
As a stylish and versatile choice, it’s difficult to overlook the Chelsea boot, which is why we think every man should have at least one pair in his wardrobe.