Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Superboots? An Analysis

The CBS show Supergirl starring Melissa Benoist debuted to very respectable ratings on October 26th, but thanks to advance publicity, fans knew months before what Supergirl's costume would look like.  I imagine that boot enthusiasts' reactions to Benoist's over-the-knee, low heeled red boots were decidedly mixed, but we have to look backward through the history of Supergirl's costume to get a sense of what might have been expected and why Supergirls boots don't necessarily disappoint.

We can start with Helen Slater's boots in the 1984 Supergirl film.

The more or less flat boots may have come as a disappointment to fans of the '70s Wonder Woman series in which Lynda Carter always sported iconic high heeled red boots (except in stunt sequences).  However, the low heels and pointed yellow borders at the top of the boots are taken directly from the contemporaneous '80s comic book representations of the character.

In fact, in the comics, Supergirl's boots were almost always flat, appearing almost as red knee-high socks, going back to her origins in the 1950s.

Some of the '70s variations on her costume didn't even include boots, which led Mego to ship the Supergirl entry in their classic action figure line with red slippers.

Hopefully this history illustrates why boot fans may have had some level of trepidation regarding the costume design for Benoist's Supergirl.  We could have gotten any of these variations supported by comic book art.  And hopefully it's clear why Benoist's costume may gain some level of approval to aficionados of sexier boots.

Most notably, the boots have the over-the-knee component, which always lends itself to increased sex appeal.  Though I personally have a mild preference for the look of sleek knee-high boots, the fetishized aspect of thigh-high boots usually flaunts the adventurous sexuality of the wearer.  Also note the narrow almond shaped toes which are more fashionable and stylish than utilitarian.

Secondly, Supergirl's boots clearly have a glossy soft leather or vinyl finish.  Less neutral than fabric or suede boots like those worn by Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman, glossy boots are eye-catching.

Finally, the boots do have some heel.  They are not completely flat or sock-like as they appear in the comics.  For someone who doesn't eschew non-stiletto heels, this could be an appealing look.

My preferences for knee-high boots and slightly higher heels notwithstanding, I do find that the boots  have an appealing, even sexy, silhouette.  I haven't found the storytelling aspects of the show to be dramatically interesting, but the costume designers take on Supergirl will probably keep me watching for the time being.

Monday, November 9, 2015

When Boots Trump Dowdy

In season two, episode two of the FX show Fargo, we see a lot of Kirsten Dunst's character wearing a wonderfully vintage pair of brown leather boots.  While finding the image below, I read that Dunst needed to gain weight for the role.  Her character is a working class, married woman who works in a beauty salon and these facts together makes me think that the casting director wanted her to look a bit frumpy.

But to a boot fan of any degree, the boots just accentuate Dunst's innate beauty, even as wardrobe tries to disguise it behind big '70s glasses and a bulky coat.

This is just the latest example of the resistance provided by fashionable boots to attempts at "frumpification" of an otherwise attractive actress.  We can look all the way back to 1976 and the character of Adrian in the feature film Rocky. Adrian's initial intentionally dowdy image (reinforced by her unisex name), is almost entirely spoiled by the choice of fashionable brown dress boots.

Was this a conscious choice on the part of the filmmakers? When we see Adrian's tall, glossy boots, we immediately re-evaluate her appeal and look more closely at the classical features of actress Talia Shire.  We get a glimpse of the transformation of the character as illustrated by her wardrobe changes throughout the film.  We see the potential that Rocky sees.

Whether conscious or not, the choice of putting an intentionally Dowdy character in boots necessarily adds an additional layer to the character.  The boots soften the image and add a spark (and sometimes more than a spark) of sex appeal.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The False Promises of Comic Book Covers Are Visited On Boot Fans

Geeks like me, who read comic books, eventually become aware of sometimes necessary deceptions by comic book publishers.  The cover of a particular issue is often designed before the interior story and art are finalized, so sometimes the events depicted on the cover do not take place in the story.  That cool cover image of the Hulk uprooting a tree and knocking Iron Man into a building may or may not depict something that actually happens in the issue.

I discovered a prime example in my local comics shop this week.  Imagine my delight to see this issue of the DC title Grayson on the shelf.

Unfortunately, when I flipped through the book, not only do I not find Dick Grayson as a prisoner of this mysterious woman in gorgeous red boots, I do not even find anyone wearing this costume in the issue.  Granted, it was a quick look through the pages, but I'm normally pretty adept at spotting such things.  We'll just have to chalk it up to cover artist Mikel Janin's wishful thinking, and enjoy it for what it is; a talented artist's penchant for drawing stunning legs in boots.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

After long hot summer, Halloween may kick off boot season

For better or worse, Halloween is the day on which more ladies zip themselves into tall, shiny go-go boots, for the duration of the festivities, than on any other day.  Though we heartily promote the wearing of go-go boots on any occasion, we must admit that Halloween costumes provide as good an excuse as any for the fairer sex to adorn their legs with sleek glossy boots.

Here in southern California, the summer boot drought has now stretched into October.  Natalie Morales may have signaled the start of boot season on the east coast by gracing the Today show set on October 5th, sporting amazing black leather boots, but that fact not withstanding, boot season has been slow to arrive in warmer climes.

Assuming that things don't dramatically cool down, women may decide to wait until the night of October 31st, or at least their first Halloween party, to complete their costumes by pulling out their sexiest boots, or perhaps purchasing a pair of go-go boots online.

While we normally just dwell on go-go boot trends and news, we're about to get practical.  Ladies who may be tempted to purchase their boots from their costume vendor or from an online ad should be aware that pricing for go-go boots can vary greatly across vendors.  Any time one gets the notion to purchase vinyl go-go boots online, comparison shopping is in order.  Google Shopping, Amazon and Ebay are your friends.  Let's go through a couple of examples.  Let's say you're just looking for knee-high white go-go boots.  Starting with Google Shopping, we'll search for "white go-go boots" and see what we get.  Here are the first couple of rows of results:

Right off the bat we see a couple of "yuck" options, and that $19.99 pair may look attractive, but note, they're for "toddlers" (toddlers?)

Let's sort by price (low to high) and see how things change:

More "yuck", and once we've clicked on the $22.67 pair we see that they are also "child" sized boots. But we've confirmed that the $22.80 and $24.70 listings for Morris Costumes are the lowest priced traditional knee-high go-go boots (note the medium block heels and matte leather-look vinyl) in our search.  When you click through these particular listings you find that the size selection is limited, but this should give you an idea of the "low end" prices for that particular style on that day.  Now let's see how expensive these boots can be, if we click on the wrong ad.  To compare apples to apples, find the "model number" or UPC code and do a Google search specifically for that code.  In this case the UPC code is 898345000195:

Wow, you could have paid $67.95 for these same boots from Newegg.com.  Now as I said, the low-ball selection is only available in a few sizes.  If you search for the UPC or model in Amazon or Ebay, you can often find your size, but the pricing varies wildly as they search across vendors.

Now one of the most ubiquitous brand of go-go boots available in multiple colors, styles and finishes is Funtasma from Pleaser USA.  Their GOGO-300 style is destined to go down in history as a beautiful classic of anachronistically fashionable fun (and this blog is in no way receiving any financial compensation for this endorsement). But did you know that for those wishing to purchase white or black go-go boots, they also offer the GOGO-300WC style for wider calves?  Now many women who would normally eschew tight-fitting zippered go-go boots can indulge.  The WC style is available in white or black and in shiny patent or matte leather-look finishes.

For our second example we'll look at one of the more seasonable offerings from Funtasma - the red and white Wonder Woman boot.  We'll look at Amazon and Ebay first this time.  On Amazon the lowest price I found was $43.39

While on Ebay, the same boots were pennies less.

But look at our Google Shopping search results sorted by price (low to high):

If you're a size 11, you would pay only $28.76 (be sure to always check shipping costs which are sometimes outrageous and can easily render a good deal bad)  And look at the high end:

Truly the most frightening prospect this Halloween would be paying $67.99 for those Wonder Woman go-go boots; not to mention $74.09 for the platform style!

I hope that I've convinced those shopping for go-go boots this Halloween to take advantage of online shopping comparison tools.  Thanks to companies like PleaserUSA and Ellie's shoes, go-go boots are no longer rare and you really don't have to pay a lot for them.

If you have calves that are, shall we say, "muscular", I also hope you'll try the wide calf styles from Funtasma.

If you find any particularly great deals, feel free to share (after you've secured your pair) in the comments here or on the go-go boots Facebook page or post in the go-go boots Facebook group or YahooGroup.

Jackie Collins

The passing of Joan's younger sister, novelist Jackie Collins back in September reminded me that although Joan was the clear champion boot wearer in the family (at least on screen), we did have this single photo of Jackie grace the photo gallery of the original go-go-boots.com site.  The modern age of retina screens and other high definition media renders it rather tiny.

But a quick Google search reveals another pose in color in which Joan clearly seems to be paying deference to her sister's "tough cookie" look of black leather boots worn over denim.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mad-Men: First Class

One major character who never wore go-go boots on Mad Men was Betty Draper played by January Jones.  She wore riding boots in at least one episode, but no go-go boots, which is a little surprising considering that she used to be a fashion model.  But we don't have to speculate about what Betty would have looked like in sleek white boots thanks to the magic of behind the scenes photography on the set of X-Men: First Class, in which she played the magically wicked Emma Frost

Monday, July 20, 2015

A retrospective on Mad Men

I suppose it's time to speak to the cultural phenomenon that was Mad Men.  Over the course of the show, more women showed up in go-go boot than I was expecting, given the serious nature and often somber tone of the show (this wasn't Austin Powers, after all).

 We first need to speak to the elephant in the room - the moment that, I think, caught everybody (including her fictional father) off guard; that is the reveal of Sally Draper in white go-go boots.  Now, the first rule of go-go-boots.com is that we keep our "cool appraising stares" away from the kinder.  We're not interested in sizing up underage girls, even those wearing the most breathtaking boots, but since Sally's boots became something of a phenomenon in the fashion world, I think we can be forgiven for reviewing the two outfits with which she wore the boots.

The first time Sally put on the boots was to go to an adult party with Don and his co-workers.  Don made her take off the boots and make-up. While I don't have a daughter, as a father, I can't say that I blame him.  This is an adult look.  This is not to say I don't think young girls can put together more age-appropriate outfits that include white go-go boots.  I can imagine outfits with an adolescent-mod flavor including boots that exude youthful innocence, but I'd feel a little creepy throwing out examples here.
The second outfit, which is definitely more age appropriate, was worn on a clandestine date to a museum with the genuinely creepy Glen. It's too bad (though not surprising) that the date ended badly, with Sally suddenly feeling sick and running off, because it may have soured her on her bold fashion choices and she never wore the boots on the show again; though as I understand, actress Kiernan Shipka got to keep the "backup pair" for her own closet.

 The character of Megan played by Jessica ParĂ©, despite sporting some of the great mod outfits on the show, rarely wore boots. Here is a unique candid moment

Joan was another other character who only wore boots once as I recall. Hovering at the doorway of an office with a "shoes off" policy, Joan complains to Bert "I'm wearing boots!" And don't we know it!   At another point Joan is shopping for clothes and she tells the salesgirl that she will "take the boots"which presumably are off camera.  Now why didn't we get to see that pair?

For the most part, other glimpses of boots were on minor office characters passing in the background, but an office worker named Scarlett proves herself to be a bit more prolific in white knee-high go-go boots with multiple outfits.

I seem to remember a dalliance between Roger and a go-go booted stewardess, but couldn't find a picture of her.  Here is one that attached herself to Don one evening

Finally in a moment of crowning glory for the show, Bert who has just died, appears to Don in a "dream" song-and-dance number that features a blonde in white go-go boots.  I'll post a few stills below, but one really needs to see the dancer in motion to get the full effect.  To that end, here is the video.

Finding the right "appliance"

It's been quite a while since I played with the idea of keeping a go-go boots blog and an even longer time since go-go-boots.com had a home on a full-blown custom website.  In the interim I found that I enjoyed posting updates on a Facebook page whenever I would run across something noteworthy to the world of "women's boots and the women who wear them". I especially liked that Facebook had an easy way of managing feedback and allow others to comment and make sidebar posts.  Unfortunately the layout of the Facebook post as a "layout appliance" just isn't flexible enough for my tastes.  I've often wanted to post multiple photos and Facebook posts just don't lend themselves well to that.  When previewing a full length photo of a woman in amazing boots, Facebook is just as likely as not to cut the photo off at the knees, which sort of defeats the purpose.  I thought I had an image appliance solution with Pinterest where you can store multiple photos on a board, set a primary preview image and then link to the board from Facebook with an explanation, but I realized that Pinterest would try to cajole visitors into signing up.  I began to think that a blog would be needed to get the right amount of flexibility without the hassle of running a website.  I'll be able to create posts with multiple photos, change the layout to my heart's content and then link to posts from the Facebook page.

A note about the go-go-boots Yahoo group: Traffic has certainly died down over the past few years, but thank heavens it hasn't degenerated into an utter spam-fest like many Yahoo groups have.  Not to toot my own horn, but I feel like my own lack of participation and oversight has caused interest to wane.  I've done just enough moderation to keep the spam at bay.  I still like topical email lists, so I'd like to see this trend reversed, and now that I have a personal iPhone it is much more convenient to read and respond to personal email.  In fact I now feel genuinely capable of effectively moderating the list if folks still want to use email, but if technology trends overrule me and most posters end up moving to Facebook or some better social media format is suggested/vetted, I will be happy to roll with that.

I hope this blog can be a place where I can effectively and aesthetically manage go-go boot content that I feel compelled to share and then post links to it from Facebook and the Yahoo group.  People who want to share their own content can still use the Yahoo group or the Facebook group and of course, if I love it as much as you do, I reserve the right to steal it for the blog!