As we ease ourselves out of lockdown and start going back to our normal lives, you might need to update a few areas of your wardrobe. Your office dress code may have got a little more relaxed (now you've seen your boss in his rugby shirt on Zoom meetings there's no going back) and no one's ready to return to their suit wearing days.
If your footwear could also do with a revamp, then a pair of chukka boots are a great all rounder. You've most likely seen them, but if you're not sure what I'm talking about, they're usually defined as being a pair of ankle high boots that have 2 or 3 sets of eyelets, with open lacing and unlined with a leather or rubber sole .....the desert boot is similar but has a crepe sole.
These boots were brought to the West by the British Raj, but it's slightly unclear as to exactly how they came to be called "chukka" boots. It seems there's an association with the game of polo in which a chukka is a 7 minute period of play in the game, and it's possible that they were called this as they were similar to the jodphur boots polo players wore. Or the other school of thought is that "chukkar" means circle or turn in Hindi, and perhaps the polo players swapped their riding boots for these, to stroll around (or take a turn) after the game.
Chukka boots can be in suede or leather but I decided to choose all suede ones for this post as they can be worn in summer without looking too heavy.
A classic style chukka made a fraction more casual by the lighter coloured top-stitiching. These would look great with some classic beige chinos, a pale blue button down shirt and unstructured navy blazer for a smart casual look.
Unlined snuff suede 1493 chukka boots - Alden at Trunk Clothiers - £595
If you want to get your Bond on, then go for this Drake's pair - the exact same ones that Daniel Craig wears in No Time To Die.
The difference between chukka boots and desert boots is usually the crepe sole which desert boots have, but chukkas don't. So strictly these would be classed as desert boots and I'm not sure why they're not but what's good enough for Bond is good enough for me. And if you're anything like some of my 'James Bond style' worshipping clients........probably you too.
Crosby moc-toe dark brown suede chukka boots - Drakes - £295
Bored of brown? Or just have plenty of tan, chocolate and chestnut shoes already? A deep khaki green like this rings the changes and still goes with everything but would make a nice addition to your Spring wardrobe. Great with mid wash jeans (maybe put a small turn up on them), a cream sweater and a field jacket for one of your first outdoor social events at the pub perhaps?
'Chiltern' earth green suede chukka boots - Crockett & Jones - £385
So when's a chukka boot not a chukka boot? When it's a chukka trainer. Mr P have cleverly tapped into the comfort that we've all got so used to over the past year, and reinvented the chukka boot with a soft sole to turn it into a sneaker. Wear these casually with some off white cord jeans and a navy overshirt or dress them up with navy chinos, a fine knit sweater and bomber jacket for a great dating outfit.
Brown split toe chukka sneakers - Mr P at Mr Porter - £265
Back to the smarter classics with this pair. You could wear these with a casual cotton suit if the occasion called for it, but they'd go equally well with a pair of grey flannel trousers, a white shirt and navy blazer for a chic understated feel for work or for a smart dinner, when we get back to doing that!
'Wendell' chocolate brown suede chukka boots - Grenson - £290
Would you like to have a hand to find not only some new chukka boots but lots of new smart casual outfits to go with them? I'd be delighted to help - just click the button below to find out about my Personal Shopping trips for men or get in touch if you have questions.
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