Less is more: boots edition.

As far back as I can remember, I have been  blessed plagued with calves that, according to boot manufacturers, are FREAKISHLY LARGE.  Adding lots of muscle through running has not helped this predicament. Mind, I am not now nor have I ever been “plus size” – I’m a size 6 or 8, depending on brand. It’s easy for me to find clothing that fits, as I have an hourglass shape and wear a common size. 

However, finding boots that fit my calves (almost 16″ around at their widest point) has been a repeated and frustrated struggle as every Autumn approaches — a fact to which upwards of a dozen returns to Zappos.com will attest. It’s not that “wide calf” boots don’t exist – they do. But cute wide calf boots? Not so much. Heel too short. Toe too boxy. Cheap-looking materials. Wrong color. It was always something. I was convinced the boot manufacturers thought that anyone with calves over 14″ were looking for a one-way ticket to Frumpsville.

So, over the years I’ve made do with a few pairs of fake leather stretch boots that were just okay, but I was never happy with how they looked or felt. One by one, each pair made their way to the Goodwill bag, like a cast-off one night stand. I found myself bootless and wondering if I’d ever find true and lasting love. I was tired of my short-term boot flings!

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from 6pm.com – one of my favorite sources for great deals on clothes and shoes. I decided to click through and see if by chance there were any great deals on a pair of brown boots – a wardrobe staple that I had been without since the last remaining cheapo plastic version got tossed into the Goodwill bag. As usual, I was skeptical that I would find anything, having been let down so many times before, but the eternal optimist in me pressed on.

And then I found them.

frye dannika 3 strap

I think I love you ...

The PERFECT pair of cognac leather boots. FRYE boots. Boots that are handcrafted and usually cost upwards of $300-$400, and here they were calling to me – ONE pair left in my size and on sale for $175! Although that is a lot of money, I added them to my cart and eagerly awaited their delivery.


A week later, the boots came. It was work from home day, and I was on a conference call when the doorbell rang. The last 20 minutes of the call dragged by s-l-o-w-l-y but finally I was free to run down the stairs, retrieve the box, and try them on.


The boots fit my calves, but just barely. No chance of a skinny jean or legging tucking in.

I was about ready to pack up the boots in defeat, when it occured to me that the three little leather straps could have extra holes punched in them to allow for more expansion around the calf. With cautious optimism, I typed “leather hole puncher” into my Google bar and checked out with a $7 leather puncher just minutes later.

Today I used my nifty new leather tool to add a couple of additional holes on the boot’s straps and success! The boots fit perfectly with just enough room to tuck in my skinny jeans. Finally, I have a pair of boots that not only look great, but are extremely well-made and in a style so classic I could pass them on to my daughter, if I had one.

Even though I’m talking about something as fun and frivolous as fashion here, there’s still an important lesson to be learned: with a lot of patience and a bit of creativity, solutions can be found for even the most discouraging situation.

Bring on Autumn! I have my cute boots and am ready to take on the world!


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