The latest shoe hijacking our attention this winter would make prolific Vogue cover star Kate Moss proud—the unofficial queen of the heavy-duty wellington boot was well documented in 2005, trekking through Glastonbury Festival’s muddy fields in her Hunters.
Fast-forward to 2020, and wellies have had a major revamp. Ditching their countryside roots and music-festival aesthetic, the heavyweight stompers have reached high-fashion status. Back in February, the AW20 runways predicted the rubberised boot’s meteoric rise: Prada made a case for calf-skimmers with candy-coloured jagged soles. Meanwhile, Bottega Veneta’s waterproof ankle ‘Puddle Boots’ paraded down the catwalk in a variety of high-octane shades, and Versace created a chunky heeled version.
Hunter continues to reimagine the classic gumboot, recently launching an exclusive design with Saint Laurent—a world away from the Scottish company’s “original green wellington”, created in 1955. Similarly, Ganni’s sell-out recycled-rubber rain boots have become a hit with both the Scandi style pack and New York’s off-duty models (spot Bella Hadid in the calf version).
But long before the welly boot became a social-media mainstay, the Barbour-coat gang (think Princess Diana and yes, we’re still deep into The Crown) led the charge by tucking her corduroy trousers into them with maximum effect. These days, they can be styled with a preppy shirt dress or a 2000s mini kilt — the options are endless. And in a year when casual WFH athleisure became the norm, with only outdoor strolls to look forward to, we’re sure the trend will see us into 2021.
This is Vogue’s guide to wearing the welly boot, with a little help from Instagram’s most stylish.
A stickler for colour, stylist Emili Sindlev catapults her nude Simon Miller boots into modern-day dressing with a mood-boosting lilac padded coat and straight-leg leather trousers. Round off your look with a snug, winter-appropriate cable-knit beanie and thick-rimmed oval sunglasses.
If Instagram doesn’t see your latest outfit—taken during the golden hour, of course—does it even count? Basking in the evening sun, designer Sami Miró makes a solid case for the Issey Miyake x United Nude ‘Bounce’ boot. A grungy spin throws the look into Y2K teen nostalgia territory, with a vintage motorcycle jacket and plaid mini kilt. Our advice? Pair with fishnet tights and layer on a thick-knit vest.
3. Who? Style star and designer Matilda Djerf
Husband-and-wife design duo Nicolaj and Ditte Reffstrup know what works for Ganni—remember their detachable Peter Pan collars and coveted seersucker dresses? Case in point: notable style star and bona fide #GanniGirl Matilda Djerf’s head-to-toe black outfit, complete with the Danish label’s chunky Chelsea boots, oozes sleekness. For a subtle take, pair with a boxy leather jacket and turtleneck for that post-Christmas-dinner stroll.
Another Ganni convert, model Flame Faire’s monogrammatic approach is enough to make even the biggest welly boot sceptic reconsider. The Copenhagen-based creative adds an element of tailoring to her ensemble, with an oversized blazer over her Baum und Pferdgarten dress, plus sheer tights with Ganni’s wellies. Swap in thick hosiery as it gets colder (Lauren Perrin’s Lycra tights are ideal for transitional weather) and take a leaf out of Faire’s book with an eclectic knitted bucket hat.
5. Who? Stylist and creative director Pernille Teisbaek
Handcrafted in Florence, Italy, these stark-white boots are the result of a second collaboration between Danish stylist Pernille Teisbaek and Florentine designer Gia Couture, and offer just the kind of kick we’re looking for. Teisbaek’s nylon logo-heavy Prada uniform and simple colour blocking updates the look with an immaculate finish.