There are precious few comparisons between dressing for real life and for fashion shows.
The front row is, after all, an alternative universe whose inhabitants appear to exist within their own microclimates and with no strings attached to their purse. Nowhere is this distinction more apparent than when you spot the fashion elite tottering through the snow in stilettos.
Thankfully, in line with the industry’s relatively recent epiphany that comfy clothes are actually fantastic, such tragic sights are increasingly on the wane. And while every fashion week still has its most devoted pavement posers willing to sacrifice the feeling in their toes in pursuit of the perfect shot, flat, functional and crucially fleecy footwear is proving this season’s standout street style star.
Of course, if you’ve spent any proportion of December enthralled by Holly Willoughby’s jungle outfits, you’ll know that the hiking boot is no fresh off-the-peg trend but one that’s had a foothold in our wardrobe’s since the onset of autumn. Though while Willoughby’s boot of choice — otherwise known as Grenson’s Nanette — was the perfect option for navigating sub-tropical Australian terrain, its fuzzy cousins are where the buck stops now.
Certainly, with the mercury determined to hover around freezing point at the shows in New York this week, a shearling-lined hiker is an inevitable success story and one that played out in Paris last month when haute couture attendees found themselves adrift in blizzard.
Of course, the real joy of this hot ticket — aside from the obvious central heating benefits — is the fact that we can all get involved, whether you’re bound for the front row or not. While the fashion editor’s hiking boot of choice is Jimmy Choo’s Hillary Flat, yours for a cool £995, the shearling boot is no stranger to the high street either.
See Kurt Geiger’s fleece-trimmed Regent, available in arctic white or black and burgundy. What could be more problematic than tracking down the shearling hikers of which dreams are made is deciding what to wear them with. Admittedly, they look best with a floaty, floral dress but few of us bare to bear above the ankle when the icy blast hits.
This leaves us with no option but to team with trousers — a proposition that sounds more straightforward than it is. Jeans must be chosen carefully. Opt for straight-cut and ankle-swinging only (if in doubt, turn up) and steer clear of bleached washes — you’ll look more like you belong on a building site than at fashion week.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with leather trousers too. Those wishing to take the great outdoors trend a step further should try switching up their standard shoelaces for an authentic hiking alternative.
Shoestring Laces is great for this, as is your local branch of Mountain Warehouse.