Review: Stuart Weitzman tall boots for narrow calves (& kids)

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Stuart Weitzman Mainline boots (similar), H&M 40 den(sity) tights and old peacoat (similar)
Ann Taylor leather trim skirt (similar), J.Crew turtleneck (this year's), Chanel accessories

Earlier this month, Nick wanted to visit the Arnold Arboretum before it was too late. I piled on three layers and pulled on my tall walking boots for comfort and warmth. Sandy had taken down most of the leaves, paving a crispy, golden path through the trees to stroll on.

In my frustrating search for narrow-calved boots, I never considered an over-the-knee (OTK) style until my friend Wendy spoke so highly of her Stuart Weitzmans. We are nearly the same size, so I really value her recommendations. OTK boots usually have a risque connotation, but the flat style makes these more classic. The calves are nice and slim, and the foot is narrow and sleek. The ones I am wearing are the "Mainline" low-wedges from last year, bought for around 35% off at an end-of-season sale. I don't see them available for women this year, but Stuart Weitzman's signature 50/50 boots are extremely similar with a different toe shape and no wedge.
arboretum1I absolutely love these boots, and thus was excited to see a little girls version for a fraction of the womens' price (albeit not real leather). The sizing went up to girls 5, which can probably fit a womens 6 to 6.5.  I've worn my adult ones so much commuting to work and on the weekends that I entertained the thought of a "backup" pair. I tend to scuff up the front of my leather shoes quickly, thus wouldn't mind a non-leather duplicate for beating around. The final push to try was the positive reviews - not by little girls...but by grown women claiming these were great petite-friendly boots.

Top left: SW Women's Mainline boot in sz 5  vs  Bottom Right: SW Girls Mainline boot in sz 4 (kids)
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As soon as the kids boots arrived, I realized they just could not compare. You do get what you pay for, and my expectations were probably too high from owning the womens pair first.

I've felt plenty of decent "faux leather" in the past, but these boots were on the stiff side. This sharply contrasted with the signature buttery soft leather of SW's adult boots. Also, perhaps to make these more child-friendly, they made the shaft below-the-knee height and added a zipper (I like, for ease of getting on/off) with a little heart-shaped pull (dislike, but this can be switched). The kids version was also a tiny bit wider in the calf, and a tad roomier in the foot. Aside from these differences, the concealed wedge and half leather / half stretchy material design are very similar. 

Despite my own disappointment, the online reviews by other women are positive, and I've heard from short-legged readers that they were pleased with these kids boots. I realize it's not fair to compare a $70 boot with a $550 one, plus there aren't many options for those with feet smaller than adult sz 4 (yes, Nordies carries the 50/50 womens down to a 4!). For interested shoppers who can wear womens, though, I'd recommend catching the adult version on sale and spending more for a big difference in quality/fit.
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Measurements of my sz 5 adults: 19" shaft front height (including a ~1.5" wedge), 12" calf circumference.

Measurements of the sz 4 kids: 15" shaft front height (including a ~1.5" wedge), 12.5" shaft circumference.

Keep in mind the shaft is slightly lower in the back. The stretchy panel is meant to fit taught against your calves, so the calf measurement should be smaller than what you'd need for full leather boots. Also, the measurements provided online are often using a standard size, and may vary with the size.
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I bought this ivory herringbone skirt with faux-leather pockets and trim at Ann Taylor several months ago (similar from F21). I was so excited to find it in my size and on clearance that I hastily wore it out before testing it (walking around, sitting down) at home. Turns out, the skirt forms large wrinkles across the front almost immediately from sitting. It drives me nuts, but I like the design enough to deal with this flaw. 
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Now that I have a great pair of fitted tall walking boots, the search passively continues for narrow (12-13" calf circumference), classic heeled, below-the-knee boots suitable for shorter legs (~13" shaft height). Any suggestions are welcome!

83 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so happy I'm the first to comment. Jean, I love ur blog so much that I put it as my homepage on my computer and Ipad. Pls keep doing all these awesome posts. I love that everything is so classic and work appropriate. Love ya! :-) by Adelia

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  2. You look amazing!! I love the outfit especially that skirt! So beautiful.

    Jenn
    A Petite Treat

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  3. So gorgeous! You look amazing as always! Love the boots. Instantly wrote of OTK styles for petite legs but you've changed my mind.

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  4. i never thought i could pull of an otk style boot, but you've changed my mind - you look great!

    xo julesinflats.com

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  5. The adult version of the boots look so much better on you. A lot more, well, grown up. It's slimmer and taller. And I love the look of an over the knee boot on you!

    x
    Sabrina

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  6. I have such a hard time finding boots to fit my slim calves! I find Zappos is nice to navigate and their multiple filters are awesome. Love the last photo, you are stunning and belong in a magazine!

    xoxo, Julie @ OBSESSED

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  7. Some of the photos aren't showing.

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  8. it's too bad about the kids boot! the women's boots look great on you. :]

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  9. Love the boots, I'm happy you were able to find a pair that fits perfectly. You really look like Wendy in the lat 3 pics.
    Xo
    Rachelle
    http://pinksole.com

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  10. Have you considered the black leather boots with a classic heel from Geox? They are slim fit and may fit you below the knee, depending on the length of your calves. I purchased one last year, but am not sure if they'll be selling the same or similar style this year.

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  11. I adore over the knee boots, I got a flat pair from Aldo. I love this outfit with the mini skirt and red short tweed coat!

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  12. Just wanted to say a quick "hello". I'm so glad I found your blog and even more excited to learn that you tailor is in my vicinity. Looking forward to your future posts.

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  13. love the bag!!!!!!! really nice outfit!!! you pull it off soo well!!!

    xoxo jenna
    http://thepetiteblog.blogspot.com

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  14. I found your look to be such a flashback for me. When I was in college I was an exchange student in Japan for 18 months and THE LOOK at the time was tall boots worn with a short skirt and a peacoat. Though, not always with tights and often with the skirt just peeking out under the coat. I then realized that I had really narrow calves and even in Japan couldn't find a pair of boots that "cut" well. After many months of searching I finally found a pair that fit with just a wee bit of space. I've kept those for years now, even though my feet widened with pregnancy.
    Your boot are fantastic (the women's version). I NEVER would have thought of OTK boots as I always think of Pretty Woman or something a Kardashian would wear. With the tights, it looks so cute.
    You bring up a good point on testing out the clothing for the wrinkle factor. Before, I'd just be so excited it fit (especially if no alterations were needed) that I'd fail to see if it rode up, wrinkled, etc.

    Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving!

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  15. Now that's what im talking about! Im the same anon complaining that the outfits are too mismatched in the previous post. This outfit is spot on. Love it. more plEase!

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  16. A few years ago, I stopped shopping at Aldos due to their discomfort and lack of quality. However, I was sitting in the store waiting for my sister one day and randomly tried on this pair of mid calves boots: http://www.aldoshoes.com/us/women/boots/flat-boots/90928231-candlish/28

    I'm the same height as you (not sure about leg length) and this boot hits me about 2.5 inches below the knee. They are super comfortable - I recently wore them to Italy, where we walked EVERYWHERE, and was very amazed at the comfort for aldo shoes. They are also lined inside with a cotton/flannel material that makes it extra comfortable and keeps your legs a bit warmer. These are leather with rubber soles.

    I got the cognac ones on sale..and if there's another sale, I might just go back for the black ones! Hope this helps in your search :-)

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  17. Love this outfit! That coat is adorable and I love the styling.

    creamyclothes.blogspot.com

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  18. I am on a site called DUO right now trying to decide which boots I want. I cannot buy boots from the stores, they are too big. I agree the kids boots are not made for adults. DUO boots are pricey, but they are made to fit your legs. I have very thin calves. Good Luck! Love the skirt BTW.

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  19. you look gorgeous, I love the boots!
    kisses
    www.petitgraphie.blogspot.com

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  20. Banana Republic currently has leather boots with a 13" shaft and sturdy heels! you should chek them out!

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  21. Beautiful photos! Love the backdrops! You are right, the adults version is much better than the girls' one. Good luck finding a replacement!

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  22. love the outfit! the bright red coat looks amazing!

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

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  23. I've always found Jimmy Choo and Louboutin boots to fit my narrow calves perfectly. My sister has the same issue and loves her Madewell boots.

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  25. What a gorgeous pair of boots! I especially like the stretchy back, which could fit a variety of calf sizes.

    http://www.xjole.com

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  26. This is a great post jean! I love your otk boots. Too bad I'm smaller than you. The SW Child might still be too tall for me. I am also looking for boots with 13" shaft. Btw, thank you for answering my tweet :)

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  27. (Original comment) I NEED those boots! I'm petite but I have large calves! So I love the stretchiness. Thanks for the review, Jean!

    [EDIT] I wish they weren't so pricey though...Could you recommend a less expensive boot that is similar?

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  28. This is a great post jean! I love your otk boots. Too bad I'm smaller than you. The SW Child might still be too tall for me. I am also looking for boots with 13" shaft. Btw, thank you for answering my tweet :)

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  29. try maxstudio boots. like this pair. http://www.amazon.com/Maxstudio-Womens-Malta-Boot-Black/dp/B003H06OFA/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1353517551&sr=8-14&keywords=maxstudio+boots
    a good cobblesmith can take in boots too.

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  30. Loving the boots! Thanks for the comparison!

    We're gearing up for Black Friday on The Glitter Life! http://the-glitter-life.com/2012/11/21/black-friday-energy-bars/

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  32. Excellent review! I'm always looking for a nice pair of boots to compliment my short legs. =)

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  33. I'm badly need a pair of walking boots after spraining both my ankles. Thank you for the review. I may need to save up for a pair.

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  34. I bought the Mainline kids version after seeing your first post...but after I received them, I was disappointed at the quality and height of the boots. I ended up buying the BP Runway boot for better quality and similar price. I'm in love with them:
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/bp-runway-boot/3167229?origin=keywordsearch&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Cognac&resultback=0

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  35. Great boots and I love the leather detail at the bottom on your skirt. I recently purchased a very slim pair of OTK boots and can't wait to talk about them on my blog.

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  36. For small calves, I love Aquatalia -Orion boots!

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  37. I LOVE the Mainline boots!! I am so proud to say that I found about 8 of those boots at a Saks Off Fifth store for $600, discounted to $469.99, then an additional 40% off, plus additional 10% off if you sign up for their store credit card :D

    2 of them were in my size too :)

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  39. I'm almost exactly your size and also wear size 5 shoes. I recently purchased a pair of Dolce Vita Girl's black mid-calf (on me) boots on Ruelala for $40 (originally $70 or $80). They zip up and have a 1 inch heel and 3 subtle buckles for decoration. They're fake leather but the quality is good enough for casual use. They go up to the widest part of my calf and fit perfectly snug there. I've had good success with Dolce Vita Girl's shoes - also recently purchased a pair of super cute orange suede flats.

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  40. Hi Jean,
    I just started following your blog recently (found it through Pinterest). These are my favorites pictures of you so far, especially that last one. Somehow this outfit makes you look tall! Being petite myself at 5'1", I was never brave enough to wear tall boots, but these look great on you. Fabulous outfit!!

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  41. For a girl who has even smaller feet (youth size 1), I don't really much choice for shoes. I bought the youth version boots(black leather one and the brown suede-like one) and I'm actually loving it. It is very adult-like. I would love to have the adult 50/50, but for the price I'm satisfied. I'm happy companies are making more adult-like shoes in youth sizes. Thanks for the review and you look wonderful!

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  42. I also purchased the same SW girls 50/50 boots. I returned them didn't feel they were worth the price. I'm still on a search for a cheaper version of the same style boots.

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  43. Hi Jean!

    Love your blog! I recently came across these pair of boots by Enzo Angiolini!
    http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/enzo-angiolini-shoes-zeric-tall-boots?ID=714411&CategoryID=13247&RVI=Catsplash_4

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  44. Beautiful outfit! After reading your post, I have realized that I probably buy boots too large in the calves and need to start thinking about that aspect of boot shopping :) Thanks for the review!

    http://fashionedible.blogspot.com

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  45. See for me I got the opposite problem. I got itty bitty feet with gigantor calves a testament to long hard labour and some athletics. I would love to own boots like this but the thing is can it stretch to at least 17' in diameter without me wearing anything?? Can it go farther for me to be able to wear jeans and leggings? If you think plain boots is bad finding a good pair of rainboots are worse.

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  46. I love the entire outfit, Jean! Love the back of this skirt, especially. I would also suggest Stuart Weitzman for their fitted heeled boots. I own a pair of suede below-the-knee from several years back. They are labeled "giving". I have a size 7.5 (normally 7 or 7.5). Here is a picture of them (I had them folded and scrunched...but unfolded and unscrunched they still hit below my knee): http://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z373/thepetitefittingroom/Outfits/OUTFIT_27.jpg

    Hope you and Nick have a great Thanksgiving! :)

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  47. Great outfit, love the first pic especially!

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  48. Now it's time to find a boot for people with thick calves. Find it Jean.

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  49. Happy Thanksgiving, Jean! I just found this blog while on my quest for narrow shaft boots. This blog specifically review boots for women with narrow calves. Hope it helps! http://littlecontessa.blogspot.com/

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  50. You should try Aquatalia. They are the most comfortable boots ever. They are super stylish too.
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/aquatalia-by-marvin-k?cm_ven=google&cm_cat=shoes&cm_pla=test_aquatalia&cm_ite=aquatalia_e&ef_id=UJQ2MgAAQmeppmnF:20121123010009:s&sort=customerrating

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  51. Thats a gorgeous coat! You make OTK boots work so well.. I rely on IMPO boots via DSW..

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  52. Child-version items can be a great disappointment sometimes (as I've suffered every now and then with Zara Kids). Thanks for the informative blog post.

    Unfortunately I almost couldn't recognise you- you look too much like Wendy. Hope you can find your own recognisable style. Maybe it was the updo + sunnies combo that was too reminiscent of Wendy (especially the hair). I recognise YOUR style as being very classy and pretty with the most perfect fit.
    I love your usual hairstyle but I get it that you'd want some variety.

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    1. Have to say I agree with the sentiments here about too much of a Wendy feeling in this post. I was so distracted by it, I almost missed the point of the post. We all try to channel our inner Wendy from time to time, I mean, that's why we follow her.She's an inspiration for us all. So please this is not meant as criticism at all.

      As this fashion blogging niche continues to explode, I think it's necessary for bloggers to find a unique place in the world and stick to it. Does not mean that styles cannot evolve. But the presentation of that evolution should be ownable by the blogger and recognizable by the followers who are helping these blogs succeed.

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    2. I agree with the sentiments too. However Mary Irene I'm surprised you think that because you support one of the most egregious style copiers in this fashion blogging niche.

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    3. If you take a look at Jean's past posts, this isn't the first time she has combined an updo and sunnies.

      Wendy has ordered UniQueen tweed jackets based on Jean's review before. Does that mean that Wendy has been inspired by Jean? Would you see it as Wendy borrowing Jean's style?

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    4. actually, i didn't confuse the two. i read both jean's and wendy's blogs and i think they both have their own personal style. they may be inspired by each other but are very different and that's why i enjoy reading both blogs.

      jean, great outfit and pictures. i love all the colors, so very crisp and bright. i don't have any suggestions for boots since i'm not petite but your OTK boots fit you so well.

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  53. Jean, I need ur advice. I want to buy this Jcrew dress online. I'm a perfect 0P at ann Taylor but have never gotten anything from JCrew. Are their sizes bigger? I'm 5'2" 105 lbs

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  54. FYI I'm currently pregnant otherwise I'd just buy it try it on and then return it. The dress I've got my eye on us this red peplum dress. It's pricey so I'm waiting for a good sale...

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  55. As a super petite fellow, I am so glad to run into your blog. I am 5'0" and 98 lbs. It is very difficult for me to find time to search for clothing that fits me, especially with 3 children, my time is very very limited. You have found a loyal follower to your blog!

    Lisa

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  56. Hey Jean, I'm a longtime reader, first time poster, and I wanted to chime in on the boots-for-thin-calves subject.

    I'm built very much like you-- I too have tiny feet (sz 4.5-5) and tiny calves (12-12.5 inches) and I struggle to find boots that fit. I've had good luck at Aldo getting boot that fit; this pair is currently on sale for 50% off. http://www.aldoshoes.com/us/sale/women/sale-boots/90802452-serowe/38

    The website claims they have a 13.25 inch calf circumference, and I believe them. I plan on getting a pair, and wanted to let you know about them. Good luck, and happy thanksgiving!

    Yimo

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  57. Hi Jean,
    I always enjoy reading your blog and wanted to provide a helpful tip that I have used over the years a number of times for boots, as I have thin calves, but large feet (size 40). If the boot has a seam up the back, a good cobbler may be able to take in the seam by a couple of inches. I have even had them put in a zipper up the back as a solution when there was no seam up the back and no side zipper. Not all cobblers are willing to do this and one cobbler in downtown Danvers, MA took it in by the zipper, instead of the back seam, which ruined the look of the boot. So, I would advise before doing this option to consult with the cobbler as to how they would take the calf in, especially with a nice boot. I am not sure which suburb of Boston you live in, but the cobbler in Salem, MA at Gagnon's shoe repair has done an excellent job with this for me in the past.

    Boots with laces have also been great!

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  59. I really like the outfit. I am always fascinated by the way you combine your clothes, it just looks so good!

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  60. Hi Jean, and everyone out there!
    I too have always had a difficult time finding flattering boots because of my narrow calves. I've had great luck at the Alton Place cobbler in Brookline. The guy there is very experienced with leather boots and charges only $25 per pair. He has taken in 3 pairs of boots for me and I have always been happy with the results. Also, it makes shopping lots more fun when you don't feel so limited! I hope everyone out there considers tailoring.

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  61. I bought these kids' ones also after you linked to them and I sent them back right away. They fit fine, but my husband took one look and said "Oh, new rain boots?"- they looked very plasticky, which is fine, but they weren't a good value at $70. Really like the way the adult ones look!

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  62. They look great on you. I wish there was also a version where it was leather all the way around. I'd love to see your suggestions for a classic-heeled, below-the-knee type of tall boot.

    http://shortandsweetjoy.blogspot.com/

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  63. Would a 4 or a 5 be good for someone who typically takes a 6 in boots? Thank you!

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  64. You Look a bit like Wendys lookbook in this post.

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  65. Hi, I've been reading your blog for quiet some time and love your style! I'm 5'2" and enjoy seeing how you make fashion work on a small frame. That being said, I've been on the hunt for a 'pea coat', but one that hits above the hips like the one you are wearing. I know you posted a link to similar coat, but could you tell me the brand of the one you are wearing? It looks much nicer, I love it!

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  66. I've been wearing SW boots for years. Two years ago, I bought a pair OTK boots from SW. Absolutely fabulous. I've got size 4 feet and am 5'2. They fit perfectly. I can walk, run, trek through puddles and snow and they're in fantastic condition.

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  67. Boot idea for small calves:
    http://www.dsw.com/shoe/civico+10+sportster+leather+riding+boot?prodId=194965
    (maybe you can still hunt these down somewhere)

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  68. For a skinny-calf tall boot, you might try Timberland Stratham Heights Tall boots:
    http://shop.timberland.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11618420

    I can verify that the size 5.5 has a 13" shaft and 13" calf circumference. The medium brown is actually a deeper color brown than depicted and the boots are really not as rugged as they may appear in the online picture.

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  69. Boots with the furrr

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  70. I just bought these and they fit like a glove..and believe me my calves are skinny.
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/blondo-vergara-waterproof-boot-nordstrom-exclusive/3290859?origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=0

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  71. Hi Jen

    How much was your Chanel bag/clutch (?) I love it! Wondering how much they are in the states (Im from Sydney)!

    http://purselux.blogspot.com.au/

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  72. Hi Jean,
    Check out the Chanel sale at Saks on Friday! I saw a lot of boots at presale (at least in the New York location) at a 30% discount. ^_^

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  73. Hi Jean,

    I just bought these boots because of your entry. I was wondering how you care for these boots?

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  74. Hi Jean,

    love your blog. im just 5'0", can i wear a SW 50/50 OTK boots? what should i beware of when wearing this shoes?

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  75. i just bought the SW kids boots. cant afford the adult. I am a kids size 4 and also womens 5.5/6 I am 4'11.. have musclular calfs from gymnastics and I love love the kids boots. no not real leather but the fit me great so just a fyi for readeers. love jean.. best dresser I know!!!

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  76. I just bought the SW kids boots too, however it's too wide for my calves, I'm about to sew the fabric together to make the boots looks more narrow. But anyway it's a good alternative for the women version.

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