Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Defunct sissy Apparel - Boot Loot: modular boot accessories

Several years ago when the forced sissification aspects of my life were getting more intense, Mistress' plan was to start accumulating some boots for me that would make me look whorish.  As I'm guessing is often the case with many who have been in my shoes (literally) either by choice or by force, wide feet and muscular calves just don't mix with tall boots.  There were boots out there manufactured with TV's, CD's, etc. in mind but most of these were trying to be too sexy and they just weren't "sissy" enough for what Mistress wanted.  The task of tracking down said items was often placed in my hands.  I would be ordered to find something that I knew would meet her approval.

In around 2005 it was during one of these searches that I stumbled across "Boot Loot."  The website has been down for years but much of it still remains intact on web archive search engines.  The original product from Boot Loot was fur cuffs on a foot-less nylon stocking that were meant to be worn to add fur trim/cuffs to plain boots rather than having to buy a new pair of boots just for the trim.  The idea was very practical and creative, considering you could mix and match and accessorize different color combinations on different items.

Basically, every pair of boots for me could be made more humiliating.  We got a few pairs for Mistress as well in varying colors that would match her furs and fur accessories.  All in all, the products only remained around for two years and it was disappointing that we weren't able to get more of their products, especially to match all of Mistress' coats.  Their other products included fur-accented leg warmers and boot chains.

The original story behind Boot Loot is here:
It's amazing how far a person can get on a sore toe - all the way to a major fashion hit, in the case of Charlene Bry of Ladue.

Three years ago, Bry had an aching toe from dropping her tennis racket on it. She needed a pair of glam boots with frou-frou tops to wear to a social event, but her sore toe couldn't take the squeeze of a new pair. The only boots that felt comfortable were her plain old untrendy ones.

"There ought to be a way to attach different types of cuffs to your own comfy boots," Bry mused to herself as she limped off to a party.

Well, girlfriend, take a look at what's flying off the shelves at Famous-Barr, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom! Fox, rabbit and faux fur cuffs attached to pairs of footless stockings so they can be worn interchangeably, according to whim, with whatever's in a woman's shoe collection. They were manufactured in China by a factory with business ties to Bry's company, Boot Loot. The company also has a warehouse here and a patent pending.

John Bailey, a spokesman for Nordstrom, said the company sold out of the boot cuffs at stores here and in Chicago over Christmas. He called Bry's boot accessories "unique, one of a kind."

Bry herself sounds pleased but not particularly surprised at the success of her creation.

"I know women want these," she said. "It's like thee and thou - we understand each other."

Either because she once worked as a fashion model or because she has lived in Ladue for two decades, Charlene Bry has a deep understanding of the joys of dressing up and going out on the town.

She has a knack for inventing saleable notions that market to a woman's craving for glamour and the sense of self-assurance it imparts. Her first venture was the Ladue News, a party and fashion rag that she and her son, Richie Bry Jr., founded in 1984. A cozy, affectionate look at the doings of Ladue's social sets, it became a local must-read.

Bry sold the paper in 1999 and started working on a history of Ladue, a place that is a natural home to her, although she grew up in Clayton and University City as Charlene Sherman.

She earned a degree from Washington University, modeling to pay some of her expenses. She married Richie Bry, moved to Iowa with him for a time and then, as Bry's career as a sports agent took hold, the couple returned to the St. Louis area and settled in Ladue. They subsequently divorced.

But Bry had found a personal and commercial niche. The tastes and stylistic imperatives of the Ladue crowd have shaped her thinking the way the Bill of Rights underlays a constitutional lawyer's.

Her current creation got into production about six months ago when she paid local designer Jan Brodsky to develop a few prototypes.

Bry got fur bits from the Fur and Leather Centre on Lindbergh Boulevard, developed some faux fur options, and took her samples to the head buyer for the May Companies to ask her opinion.

"And - boom - I had my first customer," Bry reports.

Finding someone to link her to a Chinese factory was the next hurdle. Then she set up a distribution system and a Web site ( She has done most of her own advertising and modeling.

Now she waits to see whether her toehold on the world of fashion will last.

"I think the demand will keep on," she said. "A woman puts on a pair and it's like a complete makeover. It's transforming. Women want that."

Somehow I doubt the intent was to provide a humiliating add-on for sissy apparel but it did a terrific job.  Mistress ended up with a pair of black ones, grey ones, dark red, dark purple, and leopard print.  I ended up with white and some pink.  Near the end of their run they ended up getting clearanced out at a few major department stores for like $3 a pair.

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