How to wear Dr. Martens boots – with class

posted on: October 12, 2012

About a month ago I bought my first pair of Dr. Martens, the black 1460s with 8 eyelets, and I’ve been stomping around in them ever since. At first rather painfully, I must say, because I have super-tricky feet (very wide and flat-footed) that basically don’t like any shoes. Dr. Martens’s are a bit notorious for being hard to break in as well – as the leather is pretty thick, it can be stiff and a bit uncomfortable in the beginning (although you might be lucky like Maja, who didn’t have any problems with hers at all).

The pros: they’re (now) extremely comfortable, can handle wet weather, work with both pants and skirts, and generally make me feel like the little almost-cool-musician I was a few years ago. The cons? Well, they can feel a bit expensive, especially if you’re used to buying more budget-friendly shoes. Still, if you think of the cost-per-wear, and how quality items can last many years, I decided that for me, it was worth it. Which leaves me with the second con: the stomping factor.

Imagine a stereotypical Dr. Martens-wearer. I’ll bet (s)he has a thing for well-worn denim, band t-shirts and lots of eye makeup, am I right? There’s just something about those shoes that begs for coolness, and as you all know by now, that’s not really me. And probably not all of you guys, either. So, I wanted to play around in Polyvore and show how I would… class it up a bit. Some tips:

– being well-groomed in general, and with great hair in particular. I know all my examples feature pixie cuts; I’m just so in love with my hair nowadays that I couldn’t resist!

– quality fabrics that hang nicely. When you’re young and reckless, you can’t usually afford/be bothered with nice wools or rayon jerseys or slippery silk, so “adult” fabrics always provide a luxurious touch.

– simplicity in most things, but especially shapes and silhouettes.

– natural makeup, perhaps with a statement lip.

– items with a single colour are better (for this purpose, I mean) than prints. Colours in general are excellent, though, as they prevent us from veering into goth territory with an overload of black.

Finally, remember that even though we’re aiming for classy, we don’t want boring. The secret is to find and wear items that have a sort of quiet confidence, rather than those who shout LOOK AT ME.

  • Suburban Style Challenge

    Thanks for the link! I LOVE all these looks. Proof that Docs are one of the most versatile pairs of boots. I still want a basic black or burgundy pair like this (scored a sweet floral pair at Salvation Army over the summer) and you illustrate perfectly how they can be worn virtually anywhere with anything!

  • Trajena

    Um, yes. I’ll have all of the above… wait, make that one of each and two of the second one (that green cardigan O.O).

    I love your styling tips, especially when aided by polyvores. I’m actually kind of sad that you posted this on a Friday, as I’m going to be cooped up at home studying for midterms and won’t have the occasion to emulate these looks until Monday.

    …you’re making me want a pixie cut. Can I get convertible hair? Maybe become a metamorphagus like Tonks? Have long and short hair whenever I want?

    Perhaps I should stop abusing question marks????

    • Maria

      I second that about the cardigan. Honestly, why don’t ANYONE make waist-length cardigans any more? They’re the only kind I can wear, and they’re nowhere to be found.

      About that convertible hair – of course you can have it. Anything for you, darling!

  • Silja

    I don’t usually get very inspired by boards like these, but that second one… Aaaah, makes me want to go prowling for a pair of stylish, black trousers and a cape NOW. I have my beloved Dr. Martens look-alikes that are perfect for basically any winter weather, but I’ve had real trouble styling them after I grew out of my stereotypical-Dr. Martens-user-look. Thankyou thankyou thankyou!

    • Maria

      Comments like yours always make my heart… glow, or something! It’s so wonderful to know my posts are useful to you guys :D

  • Maja H

    As always your polyvores are just exceptionally lovely. It is not quite cold enough to dig out my docs yet – they’re lined after all – but I really look forward to putting them on again!

    Also, it is so easy to fall into the grunge trap (however awesome that trap might be), so thank you for showing us the alternatives ;)

    • Maria

      Well, we can’t ALL pull of grunge as fabulously as you do, so I thought it would be nice to show some alternatives ;)

  • Sandra

    Det er rart hvordan et enkelt innlegg av deg kan få meg til å ville kaste ut hele garderoben min og bruke sparepengene mine på nye klær! Du er virkelig en inspirasjon. (btw, elsker den nye hårsveisen din)

    • Maria

      *fnis* Takk, Sandra! Bare husk å gå gjennom Defining Style-prosessen før du gjør noe _alt_ for radikalt med garderoben din, da ;) Men det er godt å høre, virkelig!

  • Frøyia

    Oi, her var det mye fint! Jeg får nesten lyst til, som Sandra også skrev, å kaste ut alt jeg har og kjøpe inn nytt inspirert av disse fantastiske antrekkene. Men det er vel ikke særlig lurt, med tanke på at dette i grunn ikke er en stil jeg kommer til å være komfortabel i. Men fine antrekk var det! Og Dr. Martens kan så absolutt fungere til mer søte antrekk også. Du inspirerer som vanlig, Maria :)

    • Maria

      Tusen takk, kjære! Kommentarene deres betyr mye mer for meg enn dere sikkert tror – på dårlige dager kan jeg bli sittende og lese kommentarer for å muntre meg selv opp, og det funker hver gang. Jeg har de fineste leserne i verden, jeg :D

  • Ingvild

    Wow….så utrolig mye fint og inspirerende! Den grønne cardiganen var STUNNING. Samme med den røde kjolen nederst!! Hvor har du funnet den grønne cardiganen?! ^^ Hehe, ble litt nysgjerrig.

    Maria, synes bloggen din er så fiin, er alltid noe pent og inspirerende her!! :D Du er kjempeflink, klem fra Ingvild!

  • chrisbean

    I bought my first and only pair of Doc Martens in London when I was 20 years old– in 1999. Oxblood 1461s. 6-eyelet. Crazy on trend for this season, so many seasons later.

    I still wear them regularly. They are my go-to snow- and rain-proof office shoe, and I think the cost per wear is down to infinitesimal fractions of pennies (pence?) at this point.

    They were probably the most expensive thing I’d ever purchased when I bought them, and definitely the first thing I bought new/not on sale. I had this silly to-do list when I went to Europe (“buy a copy of A Moveable Feast at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris; touch a Botticelli”), and I wanted to get Docs in London. I was totally never a cool punk-rock girl; my style is still more tailored than torn. And I still love my Docs.

    (Buy some arch-supporting insoles; they are magic.)

    • Maria

      It’s great to hear I’m not the only non-punk-rock-girl wearing docs out there! Thank you for your comment, I loved to read about your to-do-in-Europe-list :)

  • Defining style: multiple styles | Lost in a Spotless Mind

    [...] I went to the grocery store wearing my Dr. Martens; dark, tapered pants; a black, hooded leather jacket; slicked-back hair; red lipstick, but no other [...]

  • pizzamargherita

    hi, I wear doc martens since I was 12 (now I’m 23, lol), I have f…cough cough…ehm, many pairs of them. but I’ve never worn them with dresses/skirts ’cause I think they make the legs look shorter and larger, don’t you have this impression?

  • How to take care of shoes | Lost in a Spotless Mind

    [...] was just such a bother. Nowadays, though, I look for footwear that will only improve with age, like my Dr. Martens boots. Breaking in shoes is such a pain (yes, literally). I also tend to fall badly in love with my [...]

  • Caroline

    At 50 year old am I to old to wear doc martins

  • The perfect, high-waisted jeans: Magic Jeans from KappAhl | Lost in a Spotless Mind

    […] made of 80% viscose and 20% polyamide, and soft as a newborn kitten. To finish it off, I added my Dr. Martens, sunglasses from H&M, that necklace I always wear, the vintage bag Maja gave me, headphones, […]