the how-to: frye engineer 8R

I’ve had a crush on Frye’s Engineer 8R boots ($208) for years. That distressed leather, the buckles…it all creates a tough, take-no-prisoners, vastly-more-hip-than-I-appear style I long for every now and then. But I’ve never taken the plunge, mostly because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with these beautiful boots once I got them home. That downtown vibe is just what I’m after, but I wasn’t sure how to make it mesh with my eternally preppy style. Plus, the height throws me a bit. They’re too high to be “short boots,” and too low to be “tall boots,” giving me serious concerns about the boot height falling in the danger zone of making my calves look like sausages.

But despite all this, my crush persisted. So, when Frye offered to let me try out some styling ideas, I jumped at the chance to test out these bad boys. And I learned a few things.

{The Frye Engineer 8R in sand…so pretty, right?}

First, these are amazing with jeans of all shapes and sizes. You’ll see some wearing them with skinny jeans, and that’s all well and good.

{Left: Keira Knightly, Coolspotters; Right, BlueJeanBruises, whose head I removed in case she doesn’t want to be here!}

(Technically, those boots on the right are the Engineer 12R, but you get my drift.)

But my preferred method is to pair them with a straight-leg jean, cuffed at the bottom. The end result is the perfect balance of prep and rock…or so I told myself.

(Once again, my feet make a SMC cameo…I think all this celebrity is going to their toes.)

Good, right? They also work well with a boot-cut jean, though I think in that case, you have to be careful about keeping the rest of the look more young and fun, or they risk looking woefully out of place. Think moto jacket, not cardigan.

That said, of course, there’s another option for these beautiful boots, and it’s one I’ve always favored in theory but feared in reality. Pair these bad boys with your girliest, frilliest summer dress, and watch them instantly add that dose of edge you’ve been wanting (it also does a great job of translating the look to fall, especially when topped with that same moto jacket…or even a cardigan). Tights are optional – personally, I prefer a bare leg with this look. But in any case, this isn’t a look to attempt if you’re at all self-conscious about your calves – it does bring a bit more attention to that area, and you should never spend the day in an ensemble that stresses you out!

{Clockwise from top left: Evangeline Lilly, Coolspotters; Hailee Steinfeld, Apega/WENN;
Keira Knightly for
Vogue, 2007, via habitually chic}

One last tip: if you’ve been trying to figure out how to pull off the maxi-skirt trend for fall, these are your ticket in. Again, go for floaty fabrics like chiffon or silk – paired with these rugged boots, it’s a match made in fashion heaven.

What do you think? Are you ready to give these downtown classics their due?

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7 comments on “the how-to: frye engineer 8R

  1. Pingback: styled alternatives: cardigan fall 2011 » shoppingsmycardio

  2. Carolina

    When I read this post (just now); I couldnt believe it. I have crushed on these boots. These have been my thoughts for the last couple of years. The cost gets me and so does the decision on 12R Vs 8R? I have decided they will be my birthday gift to myself. Thanks for the clarity.

  3. Pingback: Footwear Friday: The ever elusive ankle boots. | anonymouschic

  4. Garri

    I’m a newcomer to your blog via Pintrest. I loved what you had to share. Thanks for the prep punk example. I wasn’t sure before if I was supposed to hang on to my straight leg (technically men’s vintage 501s and Lucky Brand) when the whole world (including myself) started to go skinny jean exclusively, but now I’m convinced, thanks to you great insight and cute pick with the cuff over the engineer boots. I scored on couple of pairs. I can’t wait to try your options. Thanks again.

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