How to wear stompy boots

— by Alyson Walsh

The practical gentlewoman. Photos: Andrew Crowley

Stompy boots and sturdy clothes: today I’m channeling Barbara Hepworth in her St. Ives Studio. Or Rosie the Riveter. The Practical Gentlewoman who gets things done; in durable denim, hardwearing workwear and utilitarian clothing. The last time I wore bovver boots was as a Dr Martens-loving student in the 1980s; so initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to supersize my shoes once more. But revisiting ‘stompers’ has been a complete revelation. Big boots feel SO right. I’ve barely had the Grenson’s hiking boots off my feet all winter. They’ve become part of an everyday uniform together with a pair of old, slim-leg, black coated jeans, a cashmere roll neck and a big overcoat. For my latest Weekend Style column in the Telegraph I decided to show how to wear stompy boots with a wider, cropped-leg trouser – and ta da! The workwear vibe really works. Functional dressing and a pair of flat boots you can walk in, what’s not to like?

These indigo jeans are from Toast’s collaboration with Blackhorse Lane Ateliers. Made in the UK at the denim brand’s Walthamstow HQ, each pair of jeans takes approximately four hours to make (and costs £225). For similar styles made at a faster pace, try Kin at John Lewis’ barrel leg jeans, or balloon pants, both £79, and COS, high-waisted straight or tapered jeans, both, £69. The matching, longline jacket is a versatile cover-up suitable for a range of different body shapes. As an impromptu wearer trial in the office revealed: three women of varying shapes and sizes gave the Toast/ Blackhorse Lane denim jacket, a whirl and it was a winner every time. Often called a ‘chore’ jacket, other places to find this utilitarian design include: Community Clothing, Everlane, Seasalt, Madewell and Toast has a cotton twill workwear jacket in a selection of colours. And there’s always actual workwear – one of my favourite boiler suits is from the French company Vetra, plus there are plenty of second-hand styles to be found on Etsy.

More chic than stompy

The navy leather, more chic than stompy boots are from Penelope Chilvers. The British brand is involved in a philanthropic campaign with the charity Solar Sisters whereby customers can return their old boots to Penelope Chilvers to be repurposed and then sent on to working women in Africa. The beautiful cashmere jumper in the photo is from Margaret Howell. All items were borrowed for the shoot and returned. The reusable coffee cup is my own. Made from recycled coffee cups, it’s an rCUP, available HERE).

Showing off my boots

Sturdy Workwear and Stompy Boots is inspired by my latest column for the Sunday Telegraph. I’m trying to figure out the best way to share these features – and so wanted to ask you if it’s useful to post something every few weeks as style inspiration (when there isn’t any overlap with what’s on TNMA)? The Weekend Style column is behind a paywall with restricted viewing (though you can sign up, or see all the images HERE). Please let me know your thoughts.


*Please note affiliate links in this post may generate a commission. 

Keep Reading

How to check your pension pot

Stompy boots and sturdy clothes: today I’m channeling Barbara Hepworth in her St. Ives Studio.