Poll: Are knee-high boots appropriate for work?

2017 Update: Check out our most recent round-up of the best knee-high boots for commuting to work, as well as our last discussion of whether boots are acceptable for work.

Yesterday was the first day of autumn — hooray!  Already around New York City we’re starting to notice women wearing dresses and knee-high boots, mostly barelegged (but some with tights).  Today we passed a girl wearing knee-high black boots, a happy yellow mini-dress, and a cute cropped black jacket.  She looked absolutely adorable.  But we also thought she looked totally inappropriate for work.

A few years ago we thought knee-high boots were 100% acceptable for work, provided they weren’t over-the-knee boots (like Julia Roberts’s in Pretty Woman).  But after a few years of working in a conservative office, we’re not so sure anymore.  Condoleezza Rice took heat a while ago for wearing black knee-high boots — even The Washington Post accused her of being too sexy, too dominatrix-like or Matrix-inspired.

But hey… maybe we’re old-fashioned.  Or crazy.  So, we thought:  Poll.


  1. I think this is one of those things where you need to take your cues from others in the office. I would NEVER wear knee high boots with a skirt on days I had to meet with clients but I definitely wear them if I’m going to be hanging behind my desk all day. I retired a pair of black knee high boots that I love b/c the heel was too tall/thin for work (although I still wear them with suits on occasion) but I have other pairs that are more kitten heel and I think those are appropriate.

  2. I think it totally depends on the heel height. I just bought a great pair of Flat black knee high riding boots that I will definitely be wearing to work this year.

  3. Good point, H! I feel completely comfortable wearing my flat tan corso como knee high riding boots with leggings or tights and skirts/dresses. BUT I wouldn’t wear knee-high boots with a skinny heel to work, probably under any circumstances.

  4. I struggled with this question a lot when I started work last year, and I wish that I could have seen this poll then.

    I think that it really depends on what you wear them with. For example, I think that my just-above-the-knee (C-length, in reference to your past poll) black skirt looks conservative with black heels, but somehow, when I put it on with black boots, I look completely inappropriate for work.

    After experimenting with this for some time, here is my best advice: this look seems to work best when your skirt comes down to or below the top of your boots (so you aren’t showing any leg at all) or with dark tights.

  5. I think with a longer skirt — one that hits anywhere below the knee — I would almost argue that tall boots is the ONLY thing to wear with it. I think a lot of people’s points about kitten heels and lower heels (versus spike stilettos, say) are definitely well taken…

  6. this is a west coast vs. east coast issue, for the most part. I was horrified with all of the JLO-esque hooker boots that the secretaries were wearing o my law firm, and noticed that female attorneys did not go there. To me, it was a question of class. Also, I have super-thin calves, so boots look stupid on me…even stretch boots. If you have more shapely legs, and it’s appropriate in youf office, go for it.

  7. I dont see anything wrong with it….y not????? Its you upto you if you want to wear it to work or not

  8. i don’t see why women can’t be women in the office. currently i am hesitating about buying a pair of over the knee high black boots. knee high boots, i’d even wear to the government house.

  9. One of my co-workers showed up, AFTER we were all issued a memo about dressing in more appropriate business casual attire…..in jean mini-skirt and knee hi, 3 inch healed boots. They had a cuff at the top that went slightly over the knee?????? She thinks herself so superior to everyone and yet is clueless when it comes to her attire. The guys in the warehouse have a “song” they sing in Spanish about her and it’s not very nice. There is another dilema, am I obligated to let her know they “sing” behind her back????

  10. It doesn’t matter, if the company has no problem with them the feel free to wear them. i do.

  11. Girl Watcher :

    I have no problem what so ever with women wearing boots at work. I think it says something that a woman spent a few more seconds to pull on and/or zip up a nice pair of fashion boots rather than quickly step into some slip-on shoes. Boots can really accentuate almost any outfit. It might be remembered that if others see boots as something other than professional, it may be them who have the problem.

  12. Well I wore my black over the knee boots with black leggings, a long plaid tunic and s business jacket. My 400 pound female boss said, “what are you wearing, haha! Hooked boots? Id that office appropriate?” I thought so..

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