19 January, 2016

Brown Boots

Left: Outside ugg-boots (I have inside ones too): yes, it is totally
acceptable to wear ugg boots outside here, in fact quite common and exceedingly warm.
Middle: Dress-up leather boots, my most expensive boots ever, but I hope will last a long time.
They provide better support than the uggs, so I also use them when I have to walk a distance.
Right: Classy-looking gum boots that are primarily for the not-mid winter or mid-summer
months. My in-between rainy day boots.
Coming to Japan brought unexpected changes. We arrived in winter in 2000 (and to Sapporo, no less). Temperatures up there barely make it above zero for about four or five months of the year. Forget about culture shock, we had climate shock.

I grew up in sunny (and occasionally stormy) Queensland. Coming to Japan I had to learn how to use a scarf and buy a jacket and gloves. When we visited a church in Canberra prior to coming to Japan, a lady bought me my first pair of long johns. And I had to buy boots. Boots are rarely necessary in Queensland and never before had been a part of my wardrobe.

Now we're in Tokyo. We're not dealing with such severe weather, but the temperatures still are low. Average maximums in January and February temperatures are single digits (Celsius). I'm still wearing long johns! At this time of year I find it's too cold to wear anything that exposes the ankle, so I spend about three months wearing boots.

Somehow, I now find myself in possession of three pairs of boots. Each with their specific purpose. But all my boots are brown. In choosing between brown and black accessories, I'm definitely a "brown" girl.

I don't have much black in my wardrobe, no black outer clothing that I would wear on my upper body. My everyday handbag is brown and my everyday shoes/sandals are also brown. I have various shaded brown skirts, and a couple of pairs of brown shoes. The black in my wardrobe: A couple of black skirts, one pair of black pants, and one pair of black leggings, one pair of black shoes (not boots), and one black handbag for occasional use. No black boots!

So here is my fashion challenge: I grew up with the fashion rule that you don't wear black and brown in an outfit. So my dilemma is what do I wear with my one pair of black pants, or black tights? Brown boots! I wore black pants with brown boots (and brown handbag) today to a missionary women's event and was relieved to see a few others with the same type of combo.

I was reluctant enough to spend money on a good pair of brown leather boots, my spending isn't going to go as far as to have a fourth pair of boots! This webpage suggests that this "rule" is a little old-hat now. What do you think?


Caroline said...

I grew up (in Sydney) with the idea, mainly from older people, that "blue and green should never be seen", which I could never understand as blue skies seen with green hills or trees always seemed to be a totally normal, and attractive, combination. I remember some ladies at a neighbouring retirement village smiling at my Dad wearing blue with green, as if, well, you couldn't really expect a man to understand proper combining of clothes.

But I haven't heard of anyone worrying about this for years, and since there seem to be a lot of checked and printed shirts available these days with both blue and green, I've stopped worrying that some people might think I was odd wearing it.

I hadn't heard that brown and black were frowned upon, except in the case of shoes and handbags, which I was always taught should match (again something that no one seems to worry about these days).

Georgia said...

I always thought it was no brown shoes with a black suit for men. I still like to "match" shoes and handbag. I grew up with a rather little spoken view that purple was not a color for clothing. Of course today in the US there are no "rules" that I'm aware of. I love the older lady in our church who spent many years as a missionary in the Caribbean. She always wears something purple because she's a daughter of the King.

Celia Olson said...

I'm trying to care more about fashion. It's a struggle... I've been using a website that picks out clothes for me to help me replenish my wardrobe during home assignment (yay, don't need to shop!) and here's what they say about combinations of black and brown/navy: http://blog.stitchfix.com/ask-a-stylist-can-i-mix-black-blue/

I also have 3 pairs of boots: tall boots, short boots (both black leather) and rubber boots (bright blue, purchased at local hardware store). These are, of course, necessary for Sapporo winter and melt-season. Also, I have some cute girly slip-ons with hiking boot tread--helpful for days with less snow. I wear all of the above with black, brown, and gray coats, skirts, etc... but I don't even own a handbag. :) I've always tried to avoid navy with black, but I've generally liked brown with black combinations. I'd say don't bother with another set of boots.

Wendy said...

Caroline, I love blue and green together. And green and purple! Thank you for your vote of confidence in not worrying much about these things.

Wendy said...

Georgia, Great story. I also love purple these days. Probably I would baulk at brown shoes and black suit for men. But in a slightly less formal setting for a lady...seems more possible.

Wendy said...

Funny Celia. I thought you cared more about fashion, what with all that kimono detail that you know! Thanks for the thumbs up on brown and black. I'll wear it with more confidence now. Though to be honest I've been wearing this colour combo since I came to Japan. For ever so long I had only black boots (that's pretty much the only colour practical snow boots you can buy in Sapporo), so I wore them with my brown pants and got on with my life!