J.L. Coombs, Portland

Posted on November 13, 2012
By Mara Higgins

The best thing about stylish Mainers is their ability to stay fashionable while braving the elements. There’s nothing better than spotting a gal bundled up from head to toe while still managing to hold onto some style, all the way down to her boots. Because we all know you can’t throw fashion out the window just because of a few snowflakes.

That’s where J.L. Coombs comes in. Walking into the store is like entering boot heaven—and a stylish one to boot, no pun intended.

The head buyer for the company, who does the buying for all six J.L. Coombs stores, happened to be in while I was visiting recently. I found out she goes to Las Vegas for the biggest shoe show of the year, and handpicks merchandise to suit each store’s style. As a former footwear buyer myself, we chatted about buying for Portlanders, who she said are more fashion-forward, a little funky, definitely chic, and not looking for just the traditional shoe.

The very back of the store called my name first—I could spot the array of wellies lining the wall. I found a fun selection of Hunter boots in classic colors like forest green, dark navy, and pops of brights like poppy orange and cherry red. A little tip if you love your Hunter’s: simply add a fleece liner (which J.L. Coombs conveniently stocks right below the boots) and your rainy-day wellies turn into snow boots.

Below the Hunters I saw perhaps one of the most well known brands of snow boots in the fashion world—Sorel. Whether you’re headed to the lodge or glamming it up, these boots will take you there in functional style.

J.L. Coombs doesn’t only carry cold weather boots. A brand called Kingo caught my eye. They’re made in Guatemala and inspired by the wool blanket prints made famous by Pendleton and Woolrich. I can just picture them with skinny colored cords and a chunky cable-knit sweater. I also spotted adorable perforated gray flats, gold metallic bow flats, and very on-trend Bussola suede wedge booties—the “it” boot this season.

If you’re covered on shoes, don’t worry—J.L. Coombs carries bags as well. Two of my favorites were a woven cross-body bag with an Anthropologie feel and a maroon nylon bag with silver lock hardware reminiscent of Marc Jacobs.

Some may think the higher the heel, the higher the style, but I beg to differ. After shopping at J.L. Coombs, it’s clear that shoes can be practical, warm, waterproof, rugged, and of course, stylish.

22 Exchange St. | Portland | 207.253.5633 | jlcoombs.com

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