Pretty Woman: Workin It

Over the knee boots2

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The weather is starting to turn.  Days are shorter.  Back-to-School preparations have begun….Summer is coming to an end. 

One thing I love about the midwest (even though I complain) is the change of seasons. With a new season comes a new wardrobe.  Whether it’s going into storage or into the mall, you can start putting away the clothes you have been wearing for the last couple of months, and refresh.

I don’t know about you, but beautiful clothes always cheer me up (even if I can only get to look at them).   And there is no shortage of them in fashion magazines right now. 

The trend that stuck out to me while sitting inside pouring over magazine after magazine (it’s been raining for three days in Chicago) is over-the-knee boots.  They were around a little last season, but now I am seeing variations that look like they could be part of a work outfit.  Personally, I disregarded this fashion last season since I think they look like hooker boots.  That is not to say the person wearing them looks like a hooker, but when I see them, it is a strong association. 

That said, I saw some pictures in Elle magazine where they look very sophisticated.  Now, the woman wearing them was probably at least 5’7, so I’m still a bit leery about whether my 5’4 self can pull them off, but I actually took a moment to consider it.

My consideration does not mean that the hooker association is gone.  Personally – as someone who has watched Pretty Woman an embarrassing number of times – I still have the mental picture of Julia Roberts zipping up  – with a safety pin no less – her black patent leather knee high boots while getting ready for work.

Pretty Woman is a 90s classic, and most women working, and old enough to afford a pair of boots like that, would have seen the movie; which makes me wonder how a pair of boots goes from hooker, to sophisticated.  Now, the ones I was looking at were not patent leather or held up with a safety pin zipper, but the shape and movement was the same.

Which brings me to movement.  You have to walk a certain way depending on your shoes.  The same woman has a different walk when she wears flats, compared to pumps, compared to boots, and, I would now add, compared to over-the-knee boots.

In Pretty Woman, when Richard Gear pulls up in his Lamborghini, Julia Roberts’ hooker mentor says this classic line as Julia is walking up to his car, “Work it baby, work it, own it.”  She is coaching Julia to walk with confidence. 

Can you walk with confidence without knee high boots?  Of course.  But I do think  the hooker association involves confidence.  Afterall, confidence is sexy and powerful.  By separating the knee high boots from a leather mini skirt, and pairing it with a long collared shirt and suit jacket, you get rid of the hooker, of the sexy, but maintain the confidence and the power, reinserting a different form of sexy.

I think feminists would be up in arms at the idea that looking sexy is powerful.  Many believe dressing sexy causes female objectification.  This is true, but only when confidence is removed.  Power is sexy, and sex is power, as long as you know how to work it.


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