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Cowboy-Style Boots Are a Winter Hit (December 22, 2005)

Boots with wrinkles around the calf
Big changes are afoot in shoe fashion this winter. Until last year, long boots with simple designs that gave the legs a sleek silhouette were all the rage, but this year lavishly ornamented or Wild West-inspired boots are flying off the shelves. The new must-have footwear is being adopted in different ways by women in different age groups. While young trend-setters in their teens and early twenties have latched onto casual boots with soft, wrinkly material around the calf, office workers in their twenties and thirties favor styles featuring more feminine-looking materials.

Boots with a fold-over fur trim
Baggy Boots
The streets of Tokyo this winter are full of women sporting stylish boots. In the Shibuya district, stomping ground of fashion-forward youngsters, boots with a soft, wrinkled texture abound. Known as kushu-kushu boots, they have a slouched silhouette that sets them apart from last year's tall, sleek boots. The soft contours give these boots a casual air that many wearers use to balance out the lavishness of this season's fur vests and Victorian-inspired clothing. For the generation that wore "loose socks" (baggy white knee socks) back in high school, these baggy-looking boots are an easy sell. The kushu-kushu style is even showing up in cowboy-inspired and fur-trimmed boots. The kushu-kushu boots favored by young girls in Shibuya retail for about ¥10,000 (about $83 at ¥120 to the dollar), and the most popular colors are black, brown, and white.

Western-style boots
Cowboy Boots for Grown-ups
Meanwhile, in the high-rise office districts of Marunouchi and Ginza, more refined boot styles suitable for office wear have taken hold, especially among female office workers in their twenties and thirties. Two types of footwear are particularly popular: feminine-looking cowboy boots and decorative short boots. Cowboy-style boots are effective at tempering the sweetness of the soft, voluminous skirts that characterize the current wave of Victorian-inspired fashion. Unlike the teens of Shibuya, women in their twenties and thirties are choosing boots with slim, high heels.

The Takashimaya department store in Shinjuku, which was quick to latch on to the trend for cowboy-style boots, has been selling these boots by order since mid-August. The boots are available in 50 colors and sell for ¥27,300 ($227.50). After receiving 170 orders in just two weeks, the store decided to extend the order period.

Western boots decorated with studs

This year's boot boom also includes short boots, a style that has never really caught on in the past. As well as those of the kushu-kushu style mentioned earlier, short boots adorned with straps and other decorative touches are popular among female office workers. One particularly novel style, designed to be worn with slacks, features a strap across the front that makes the boot look just like a sandal. Peeking out from under a trouser hem, this adds a playful touch to a plain old pantsuit.

With so many subtly different styles of boots enjoying popularity this winter, fashion watchers hoping to keep track of footwear trends need to keep a close eye on the feet walking the streets of Tokyo.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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