Higher than your average boot and potentially twice as sexy, the over-the-knee style wins out again for 2013, giving you ample opportunity to turn your fall / winter 2013 wardrobe into a statement-making one.

Of course, there’s lots that’s new about the on-trend styles for the season, this ever-evolving trend exploring new territories. To find out more, read on after the break.

Thigh high boots trend 2013

Thigh high boots: the trend.

It wasn’t all that long ago that thigh high boots were met with raised eyebrows if worn down the street, and branded with the (not particularly complimentary) nickname of come fuck me boots. But with enough glamorising and desensitising, high fashion has the power to change perceptions of just about anything. Sexy? Sure. But no longer then kind you have to pay for on a street corner.

It’s not the first time fashion has been through this cycle (think, the 1970s) and it surely won’t be the last. So the question is of course, what’s new with the thigh high boots trend in 2013?

thigh high boots fall 2013

Thigh high boots for fall / winter 2013.

This most recent cycle of the trend goes back to 2009/2010, when over-the-knee boot styles started to really become mainstream. We took a break last year to reignite our love for knee high boots, but on the fall 2013 runways, the spotlight fell back on the thigh high as the more interesting trend of the season.

This time around:

Your shoes are also your boots.

You know how your gladiator sandals were also your cutaway boots during spring? Well now your cutaway boots are also your shoes.

Sounds crazy, but the underlying point is that shoes and boots are no longer two very differently defined things as they used to be. Going crazy with cut-outs means the thigh high shoe-boot is a far more interesting hybrid of the two.

Phillip Lim, BCBG Max Azria, Chanel and Prabal Gurung are all to blame – or rather to thank – for these unusual goings-on. Chanel gave theirs a punk leaning, while Casadei for Prabal Gurung produced something of a military-fetish hybrid that cements itself in the mind as the ultimate thigh-high statement of the season.

cutaway thigh high boots
Cutaway thigh highs at Chanel & Prabal Gurung, F/W ’13

If you want to go for a more classic take on the cutaway shoe-boot, look to BCBG or 3.1 Phillip Lim for examples. Theirs are really made like a high heeled shoe with a thigh high boot incidentally creeping up out of the top of it.

thigh high shoe-boots
High high shoe-boots at BCBG Max Azria & 3.1 Phillip Lim, F/W ’13.

You don’t have to see the tops of them.

But if we can’t see that they’re thigh high boots, what’s the point of them? Right?

Wrong, according to the runways, it’s perfectly OK to have your hemline overlap with your boots. In fact, we would argue that it’s not only ok, it gives you extra ways to wear them. If you were worried a curated wardrobe didn’t leave much room for things like over the knee boots, the fact that you can also wear them as a kind of substitute for socks/stockings/leather pants might make you reconsider.

You have two options here: wear a skirt or dress that reaches your knees or below, or wear boots so tall they pretty much cover up your entire thighs.

thigh high boots worn with knee length skirts
Thigh high boots worn with knee length skirts at Celine.

The latter idea was championed by the likes of Balmain, Barbara Bui and Tibi, who all produced extra-tall leather boots that rise up the leg like trousers. So your sandals are your boots are your shoes… and are also now your pants. Take that for blurred lines, Robin Thicke.

thigh high boots worn with knee length skirts
Thigh high boots that blur the line with leather pants: Barbara Bui, Tibi & Balmain, F/W ’13.

Thigh high boots become evening wear.

Mainstream they may have been for several years now, but it’s still not all that common to see thigh high boots as a replacement for delicate heels after dark. We’re not talking vampish night club looks or house party getup, here – but rather thigh high boots as an accompaniment to a beautiful silk dress or brocade skirt suit.

That’s started to change this season, with runway styling beginning to embrace the idea.

thigh high boots worn with evening dresses
Thigh high boots as evening wear at Prabal Gurung & Shiatzy Chen, F/W ’13.

While you won’t see them on every red carpet just yet, this does open up new styling inspiration for wearing thigh high boots after dark.

Trends to wear with thigh high boots this fall.

There really isn’t much of a limit here. You’re limited by your imagination in the ways you can work a thigh high boot into your wardrobe, but to get you started here are a few as highlighted by the fall / winter 2013 runways.

Thigh boots worn sporty.

Sporty fashion remains such an ingrained trend that we don’t imagine it being bucked anytime soon. Even for autumn. A sleek leather boot paired with bright colour blocked pieces, perforated leather, crisp white or a chic sporty bomber or quilted jacket marries up rather nicely.

leather thigh high boots sporty
Thigh high boots as a sporty look at Tibi.

Thigh high boots as a punk statement.

As already mentioned, the new wave of punk-gone-high-fashion is ripe for making a thigh high statement with. Chanel’s chain-embellished boots were the example of the season.

The great thing about the punk-inspired thigh highs is that the rest of your outfit need not be thematic. The boots are the accessory injection of punk, and as for the rest – well, you can make it whatever you want.

thigh high boots punk
The punk trend and thigh high boots at Chanel, F/W ’13.

Thigh high minimalism.

Winter is the perfect time for minimalism. Sophisticated, simple silhouettes and luxurious outerwear make winter dressing elegant. Celine is the go-to fashion house for all things minimal, so their second-skin thigh high boots are, naturally, the way to do minimalist chic this season.

thigh high boots minimalism
Minimalism and the thigh high boot: Celine.

Boho rock’n’roll.

Always a fail-safe way to wear a pair of thigh high boots – particularly if they happen to be a 1970’s inspired suede pair – is with a bohemian edge. Look no further than the Pucci runway for inspiration: modern boho rock chic in spades.

thigh high boots boho
Boho boots at Pucci, F/W ’13.

How to wear thigh high boots: more inspiration.

If you’d like more picture inspiration on wearing thigh high boots this season, you can also check out the gallery of runway examples by clicking on the thumbnails above.

Trend Updates

Thigh high & over-the-knee boots: the trend before now.

It didn’t seem all that long ago that boots on women fell strictly into two domains: equestrian pursuits and ‘come fuck me’ boots. Thankfully society’s hang ups about women in knee-high boots have long since vanished, as has a penchant for overly conservative boots. In 2010 boots became anything but conservative.

Over-the-knee boots / thigh-high boots 2009/2010Over-the-knee boots by Loewe, Hermes, Hussein Chalayan, and Louis Vuitton

Originally we tipped that this trend would enter the wardrobes of fashion forwards women in Winter 2009/2010, but you all went ahead and wore them anyway. Yes, Summer be damned. You want your thigh-high boots, and you want them now!

Over-the-knee and thigh-high are undoubtedly the hottest shoe trend for women in the Autumn (Fall)/Winter season, but while they scream ‘sex’ make sure they don’t do it in the wrong way. Let’s not forget, that both styles of boots are also the domain of those lovely women one sees quite frequently at night ensuring that cars don’t linger for too long near street corners. So to avoid the “I wonder how much she charges” glances, 2010 was all about avoiding two main things: chunky heels and a high-sheen patent finish.


In the past, patent and PVC were a no-no but leather in classic matt black or brown, or olive greens and greys, as well as suede – in black, brown, grey, maroon, or pretty much any other colour variation – were the go-to choices.

Suede over-the-knee boots autumn(fall)/winter 2009/2010Suede thigh-high boots by Antonio Berardi, Marc Jacobs, Hermes, & Isabel Marant


In 2010 we were breaking it down into several different styles: Classic, Rock-chic, Futurist and Cyberpunk.

Leather over-the-knee boots autumn(fall)/winter 2009/2010Leather thigh-high boots by Topshop Unique, Chloe, Ohne Titel, & Rodarte

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