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What exactly are: Men's Chelsea boots?

What exactly are: Men's Chelsea boots?

In a nutshell

Always ankle-height, with elastic panels on either side, the most classic Chelsea boots are narrow in shape, with thin soles and almond-shaped toes. They're sharp enough to wear with suits but go just as well with jeans.

Backstory

The first Chelsea boots were made for Queen Victoria herself, and her shoemaker patented the elastic-sided design in 1851. They were mostly for walking and horseback riding until their heyday in the 1950s and '60s, when Chelsea boots were a staple of the Swinging London set: the Rolling Stones and the Beatles made the boots constant best-sellers.

How to wear them well

"Chelsea boots are as versatile as brogues, but less ubiquitous," says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. "They're easy to slip on for a clean, simple look, so minimalist guys love them. Go for the most classic shape (described above) and you can wear them casually with straight or slim jeans and jumpers, or formally with your sharpest navy or grey suit."