For fashion insiders, Blake Lively’s footwear choices are always a topic of discussion. At the Free Guy premiere in early August, she paired her Prabal Gurung gown with a pair of Converse sneakers, a relative anomaly as far as red carpet styling goes. Fast forward one month later, and Lively joined the likes of Cardi B in endorsing fall’s Chelsea boot trend with her stark white pair by Christian Louboutin. And now, Lively’s combat boots have entered the style discourse. On Oct. 13, the actor went on a stroll in New York City while wearing a pair of lace-up, burgundy-colored Chanel boots.
Her outfit consisted of a white, long-sleeve henley top, high-waisted pinstripe trousers, and a Christian Dior Diorama Vertical Clutch in its crossbody configuration. And now for the meat of Lively’s look — her footwear. Lively’s boots fall into the combat category (they tick off all the defining qualities of the shoe — like laces, a heavy sole, and a signature rugged essence), but not in the edgy, cool-girl sense that often comes to mind. Instead, hers boasted a more utilitarian, hiking-inspired design aka gorpcore (yes, that’s a real word — or, at least in terms of the fashion’s niche vernacular, is recognized as legitimate).
First coined by writer Jason Chen in a 2017 article for The Cut, the term centers around the colloquial descriptor for trail mix, “good ol’ raisins and peanuts,” and describes outdoors-inspired garb. (Think of thermal outerwear, cargo pants, and hiking boots with heavy-duty laces.) Gorp-inspired items also tap into a type of earthy minimalism that’s uniquely fascinating.
For instance, when you’re in the outdoors, you don’t need excessive jewelry or a piece of clothing purely for art’s sake. In these circumstances, function is prioritized over fashion. And ironically enough, that nonchalant essence of gorpcore — the one that prioritizes utility — has eventually led to the aesthetic becoming such a powerful subset of fashion for fall 2021.
Lively’s shoes demonstrated a crucial component of gorpcore, which is that it is a transportive aesthetic. The actor may have been walking down the streets of NYC, but her sturdy lace-up boots conjure up the sight of camping grounds and the smell of outdoors. In essence, her boots transport you to a place that’s far, far away from the concrete jungle’s hustle and bustle.
The transcendent aspect of the gorpcore trend was also visible in Jaquemus’ Fall 2021 collection, which centered around the concept of how the Jacquemus woman would fare hiking mountainside. The collection — aptly called “La Montagne” — consisted of Patagonia-inspired outerwear, carabiner-like clasps, and trousers that fold over the waist to resemble a rolled-up sleeping bag. Miu Miu’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection also offered its own luxury interpretation of the rugged aesthetic with its many quilted puffer jackets and all-terrain boots. Of course, it helped too that the show took place on a snowy mountain top where viewers could witness the outdoorsy apparel in motion.
Lace-up boots like Lively’s provide you with an easy way to step into the gorpcore world. And while her merlot-colored, heavy-duty boots are sadly nowhere to be found online, there are plenty of similar styles that channel the earthy-crunch look. You’ll find a few of TZR’s top picks below.
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