For seven years Julie Longmore has been designing footwear for Journee while firmly believing that no woman in the twenty-first century should still have to make a choice between fashion and function. Julie says Journee ensures the customer’s comfort by testing footwear out on the staff. Make no mistake, they can be picky. If a boot is a little tight in the toe or a little too hard on the heel, Julie is fixing it. And while a devotion to both fashion and function is a core value at Journee, Julie also maintains that style should always be attainable rather than aspirational without compromising quality. That’s why Journee’s fashion-forward styles are still affordable for the average woman. Julie sat down to dish on what’s trending in boots and booties for winter 2018 and what’s especially exciting her this season.
What trends are we going to see everywhere this winter?
One of the biggest trends that I see and that I’m working on is wedges. Wedge boots, wedge booties, wedge shoes, wedges period. In addition to that, wedges with lug soles. A lot of our new boots have wedges, and that’s a huge trend that we’re tapping into and it will be big this year.
What trends from last season are not coming back?
We’re moving away from some of the lower heeled booties. We’re keeping a lot of booties but that’s where I see the trend shifting. The bootie count went down and the boot count went up.
Boots, booties, or both?
I would definitely say you need both. You need a good styling of boots and booties and the reason why is because they’re so different. You need them for different things. Last year, it was booties period. This year, it’s both.
What colors will we be seeing more of and what will we see less of?
It’s still neutrals. I’ve got a lot of shades of gray, a lot of shades of taupe, a lot of shades of brown, but I am seeing more brown. So I’ve added a camel color and a cognac color to round out the browns. What I’m seeing for pop colors are your normal fall colors. You’ve got the wines, you’ve got the navy-midnight blues, and the hunter greens, olive green, mustard. I’ve got quite a bit of mustard this year which has not been there, that’s a new one. Great fall colors but I’m also not afraid, in the fall, to do blushes and also prints.
How long has that neutral trend been going on?
I would say for about six years, where it’s been really important to have every neutral out.
Do you anticipate that slowing down or is this a new normal?
I think it’s a new normal. I think everyone wants the neutrals and then once in a while, they’ll buy the pop color. One thing I love that we do is that we can do five or six colors in one style.
What kind of materials are we going to see more of?
Last year was faux suede or suede. This year I’m seeing it even out a little bit more. I’m doing more of the leather, both PU leather and full leather. That’s a big change because it’s been faux suede for a while. Another trend I’m seeing is a lot of is texture. Even in the full leathers, I can find a lot of textures. I can find braiding and weaving. I can find an embossed animal print or laser printing. That’s the biggest difference this year from last year, a lot of textures.
Anything new in winter footwear that you’re really excited about?
Yeah, I think in general what they can do now with color and with textures is amazing. Basically any idea I give them, they can figure out a way to do it. Laser printing is probably the biggest and newest thing that’s going on. I can send them a print of whatever I need and they can emboss it, they can dye it. It’s unbelievable. The sky’s the limit really.
What trends are you tired of?
I’m so tired of block stacked wood heels. They’ve been around for a very long time and I’m actually working on a new heel. It’s a scraped wood, it’s amazing. It’s one of those things where I think we need something new besides the stacked wood heel.
Do you see any returns to popular styles from decades past?
I see a lot of 50’s inspired stuff. I love it. I think it’s great for the pin-up girl kind of style. I think any time we can go back in history and reuse and reshape and renew it, I’m willing to try it. 80’s a little bit, for sure. The zippers and the buckles, big hardware, and studding. That all comes from the 80’s.
What are your very favorite winter footwear styles?
I like things that are classic, tailored, look expensive, and are comfortable. I like something that makes a statement as well. Even though it’s classic, it has to be “wow, look at those.” I’m really excited for the booties with the weave. Hands down, I would say that’s my favorite right now. They fit amazing, they look amazing. They’re comfortable and it’s just a wow factor. For boots, I’m going to go with the new wedge with the lug sole. There are three or four of them and I just can’t get over them, they’re so good.
What are the ideal outfits to pair with those styles this winter?
I would pair the booties with some ripped jeans, roll it up a little bit or have the frayed ends so you can see the bootie, with a great big chunky sweater or a cable-knit with a nice scarf and, of course, a purse that looks fantastic with them. For knee-high boots, I love wearing rider boots with a tailored skirt and a cardigan that is longer than the skirt so all the balance is correct, and a great pop of color underneath the cardigan.
Is there anything else people need to know about winter footwear this year?
Something I’m really excited about is that people are worried about and want function more which is a great thing. So we’re doing waterproof boots this year which we’ve never done before and they’re awesome. They’re fashion but they’re function, the best of both worlds. We’ve also come to a really good spot with our Comfort line, with the memory foam. It is fashionable, but it’s comfortable. It’s awesome because it’s for everybody, not just people whose feet hurt. I do not settle. If it’s not quality, I’m not doing it. The process is intense until I get it there. I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to that stuff.