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Photography by Mr Chris Brooks

The good thing about menswear is that it's often about function as much as form, and the Chelsea boot is one of those beauties that ticks both boxes: they look great, protect you from the elements and appear just as smart dressed up with a slim-fitting suit as they do teamed with a good pair of jeans. The only question mark we have over the Chelsea boot is why the name? So here comes the science, as the nice lady in the L'Oreal ad, says:

In 1837 Queen Victoria's bootmaker, Mr J Sparkes-Hall, created a pair of ankle-height boots with elastic inserts on each side and no other fastenings, making them easy to pull on and take off. Mr Sparkes-Hall patented his invention in 1951, stating that, "She [Queen Victoria] walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention." The boots subsequently became popular for horse riding, but it was not until the 1960s that they became a part of the male wardrobe, popularised initially by The Beatles and the vibrant London youth scene. The boots, which had previously been known as jodhpur or paddock boots, likely became known as Chelsea boots after the fashionable area of London frequented by the suited and newly-booted mods. Today, Chelsea boots are a dependable men's footwear staple, and sometimes have zips in place of the elasticated sides. So there you have it.


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