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The interesting history of wellies by Fabiola Groshan

The interesting history of wellies by
Article Posted: 12/21/2012
Article Views: 73
Articles Written: 9448
Word Count: 552
Article Votes: 0
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The interesting history of wellies

The cold season has settled in, making us replace light summer clothing with warm and comfortable items meant to protect us from the cold and yet make us keep up with the latest trends. Apart from woolen sweaters, military jackets and leggings, footwear plays an important part in a woman's wardrobe, being the key item in completing an outfit. What is in style this year? Any fashion enthusiast who regularly checks magazines and boutiques knows that gumboots are here to stay. With lovely designs and colours, they can enliven any item and make cold, gloomy days more cheerful. But little do we know about how these fresh boots were created and you would be surprised to hear that even though they are in the spotlights in 2012, their history dates back to the 18th century.

The ancestor of today's gumboots, the Hessian boot, originates in the 1700s, when the military used it in the daily routine for protection against rough weather conditions. Having low heels, they were almost knee high and civilians gradually started to wear them as well, because they were useful when mounting and walking through water and mud. But the one who popularized gumboots and also gave them his name, wellies, was Arthur Wellesley, more commonly known as the Duke of Ellington. In the early 19th century, he asked his shoemaker to redesign Hessian boots by removing the trim and making them fit better on the leg. He also changed the material to calfskin leather and the modification was met with considerable success, given that the entire British aristocracy started wearing the newly reinvented type of footwear, which could conveniently be used both on the battlefield and in elegant soirees.

In 1852, an international discovery determined a major change and brought gumboots closer to what they are today: Charles Goodyear learned how to vulcanize natural rubber and this material became the first choice for wellies. Known under various names – Wellington boots, rainboots, gummies, billy-boots, wellies became a worldwide “trend”, being worn for both chores and formal events. Besides, they started to be used in all industrial sectors, due to their resistance and impermeability.

Nowadays, Wellington boots are much more than they were in the past. Spotted by prestigious fashion designers thanks to their ability to provide warmth, comfort and protection from mud or water, they were the subject of a drastic style change. New, colourful and trendy patterns came to complement their resistance and gum boots became an essential fashionable item for gloomy days, when it would be unpractical to wear anything else. They are vivid, funky and unique and, most importantly, very creative, so anyone can choose a fun pair to match any outfit, from classy to casual. Even though rainy days used to be the appropriate time to wear rubber boots, now designers advise you to use them on sunny weather as well, as long as their colours and prints match your outfit. Yet another proof of how fashion can reinvent the oldest trends and adapt them to contemporary times, gum boots look very promising and fashionistas are always very enthusiastic to see what new patterns and styles will be launched on the market in the upcoming months.

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