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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Toughen-Up by Poetic Licence

Is It Tough Enough? Poetic Licence's Toughen-Up is a riff on Victorian button-ups with a modern twist.
In England they must call this shoe the Stiff Upper Lip—it certainly has a heavy Victorian influence that we cannot ignore and must instead love. The Toughen-Up riffs the Victorian button-up boot, but deposits it squarely in the modern world. For one, you don't have to actually button it up. (This alone will save you 15-20 minutes.) However the buttons are operable and, as in a men's suit sleeve, working buttons are a sign of extra quality. Another modern touch is the nod to collar boots—boots and booties with a fold-over that extends all the way down the shaft to cover the upper and some heel. This creates a great silhouette and the extra material feels luxurious. (Also luxe is the metallic leather lining, but that's a private luxury.)

A 2-3/4" stacked heel is modest; Toughen-Up makes its mark not by height, but by details. We love the leather-covered buttons, the sawtooth edging on the fold-over and cap toe, the slightly Americanized snub toe which seems a compromise between a Western squared and an English equestrian. Other compromises also work for you: the shaft circumference is perfect for layering in leggings or a thicker sock and the middling boot height plays well with short jean skirts or a full jean, tucked or over.

Did we mention the leather? That's because we saved the best for last. This boot is so supple you'd think it were rubbed with butter (it's not). It proved to be a bit of a pain to photograph it was so melty. What that means for you is a die-for comfortable, easy, forgiving fit. You can probably even scrunch Toughen-Up a bit for a casual slouch.

Collar boots, vintage looks, short boots ... these are all the qualities of fall in 2010 and they are all present in this one beaut of a boot. Between the detailing, the buttery (but, we stress, not buttered) leather and the smart construction, Toughen-Up is the way to beef up a 90-pound-weakling wardrobe.

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