How to Wear Combat Boots

Three Methods:Give Your Girliest Look an EdgeKeep Things SimplePay Homage to the Early '90s

The combat boot look originated during the grunge era of the early to mid 1990s, but that doesn’t mean these boots are unfashionable today. Combat boots are rugged enough to create an intriguing contrast with soft, feminine clothes and simple enough to work with casual outfits while giving them a slight touch of visual interest. You can also use the boots to create an updated take on the grunge look that works by today’s fashion standards.

Method 1
Give Your Girliest Look an Edge

  1. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 1
    Throw on a frilly blouse. For this look, the softer and more feminine the top looks, the better. Avoid bold patterns and prints. Instead, choose something in a light hue, like a white or pastel pink. Look for girly details like lace, ruffles, or frills. A free-flowing top works a bit better than a structured top, but a structured top with plenty of feminine flair can still work.
  2. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 2
    Consider throwing on a cardigan. If you do have a more structured top, you can soften it up by shrugging on a dainty cardigan sweater. Other feminine over-shirts, like lace blazers, can also work well, but you should stay away from solid structured blazers if you are trying to accomplish this look.[1]
  3. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 3
    Wear a skirt. For free-flowing tops, a black, gray, or brown pencil skirt keeps the outfit looking balanced while hugging your curves in all the right places. If you have a more structured top, however, you might want to consider a frillier skirt. An A-line skirt with ruffles or pleats could work wonders, for example. Maximize your womanly charms by choosing a skirt that lands at or slightly above the knee.
  4. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 4
    Consider wearing tights or leggings. If the weather is still a little chilly, you can keep your legs warm by throwing on a pair of leggings beneath your skirt and tucked into the boots. Black or dark brown leggings will help your leg to look skinny and petite, maximizing the contrast you are trying to accomplish by wearing large, chunky combat boots. Tights that have a slight sparkle or lace pattern can also be worn as long as the rest of your outfit is fairly plain.
  5. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 5
    Tug on a pair of rugged combat boots. Choose boots in black or brown, depending on which color best matches the colors of your clothing. The boots can be in good condition, but in order to really take advantage of the contrast, it might help if the boots look a little worn.
  6. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 6
    Finish off with accessories and make-up. Doll yourself up using your standard dressy make-up routine. If you do not have one, consider adding a little eyeshadow or lipstick to your face for an extra pop of feminine flair. Keep your accessories light but girly. Think of dangling pearl earrings or a sparkly gold tennis bracelet.

Method 2
Keep Things Simple

  1. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 7
    Wear a pair of skinny jeans. Medium to dark washes tend to look best with the dark hue of combat boots. You could also wear black skinny jeans to create a slightly dressier look while elongating your leg, but for casual daytime wear, standard blue will work better. Skinny jeans work best so that you can tuck the jeans into your boots. Jeans with wider legs tend to bunch up, and this look works best if you can wear the boots on the outside of your jeans.
  2. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 8
    Throw on a simple t-shirt or blouse. A fitted t-shirt or tank top creates a very casual look that is suitable for an ordinary day around the town. If you want to go for something a little more special, you could opt for a fitted blouse or button-down shirt. A plain color works well, but a bold pattern in a vibrant color can also make a fashionable statement.
  3. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 9
    Top things off with casual outerwear, if any at all. You do not need to wear anything over your top, but if you do decide to, opt for something a little more casual instead of something dressy. A cardigan, for instance, is too formal for this look, but a poncho or casual capelet will work just fine.[2] Hooded sweatshirts, on the other hand, might be a little too casual.
  4. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 10
    Opt for combat boots in good condition. While worn combat boots are certainly casual, they might actually be a little too casual for this already simple outfit. The purpose here is not to create contrast, but to go for a cohesive look that is simply a little sturdier than one you might create with heels or sneakers. Worn boots will only make your attire look sloppy.
  5. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 11
    Stick with simple accessories and make-up. If you decide to wear make-up, keep it light and daytime appropriate. As far as accessories go, look for solid colors, clean lines, and simple shapes. Consider a solid bangle bracelet, a simple satchel-style over-the-shoulder purse, or large post earrings.

Method 3
Pay Homage to the Early '90s

  1. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 12
    Wear a fitted black shirt. The idea is to give a nod to the grunge style of the early 1990s, which is where combat boots first had a chance to shine, without getting too carried away. While fitted shirts were not necessarily the "in" thing during the grunge era, black is timeless and had its fair share of the spotlight. A simple black, fitted t-shirt makes a nice neutral base for the rest of your outfit.
  2. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 13
    Throw a plaid shirt over your shoulders. Shapeless, button-down plaid was a definite part of the grunge look. To give your tribute to grunge an update, choose a shirt that nips in slightly at the natural waist and leave it partially or fully unbuttoned to reveal the black shirt underneath. You can stick to the classic red-and-black color scheme, or you can go for something a little more modern like teal-and-black or blue-and-black.
  3. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 14
    Put on a pair of acid-wash cut-offs.[3] Nothing says grunge quite like acid wash jeans. Wearing cut-offs with frayed edges enhances the look, but if this is a little too bold or a little too early '90s for you, you can trade the cut-offs for distressed jeans with rips in the knee.
  4. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 15
    Slip on a pair of tights beneath your jeans. The tights are only optional, but they do add a modern, stylish twist to otherwise outdated clothing. Go with black tights to make your look a little sleeker and to match the fitted black shirt serving as the base of your outfit. It is best to go with full-length tights to contrast the shortness of your cut-offs or to make sure that they can be seen through the rips in your jeans.
  5. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 16
    Wear a pair of combat boots in fairly decent condition. You can pull off worn, rugged boots with this outfit to push it closer to '90s grunge, but if you want to keep your ensemble looking purposeful and stylish by today's standards, a pair of polished black combat boots will work better.
  6. Image titled Wear Combat Boots Step 17
    Keep any make-up and accessories to a minimum. Any cosmetics you wear should be used to even out your complexion, but do not go overboard with how girly or feminine you make your face look. One or two large, chunky accessories can be a chic touch, but anything too frilly, colorful, or dainty will look out of place. Consider a studded shoulder bag, black "hipster" glasses, or plaid-print button earrings.


  • You can't really wear combat boots with boot cut jeans. Try straight leg.
  • Try them with a layered blouse, short shorts, and if you want, tights.
  • Instead of pairing the boots with a girly top and skirt, you could also match them with a knee-length evening dress. The contrast between feminine clothes and masculine footwear is the same, except for the fact that you will be going for a more “womanly” look rather than a “girlish” look.

Things You’ll Need

  • Blouses, t-shirts, and other tops
  • Sweaters, blazers, and jackets
  • Skirt, jeans, or cut-offs
  • Leggings or tights
  • Cosmetics
  • Accessories

Article Info

Categories: Footwear