Boots for the Marquise de Merteuil and Other Literature Characters

July 14, 2012 • By Karla Mae

We tend to forget that boots were also the shoes of bygone eras. Then, we encounter film gems like Vanity Fair and Wuthering Heights, and suddenly it all becomes clear that our boots merely take after fashion back then. They always do. So, this weekend, we look back on five of our favorite female characters from period films/literature, with boots that could very well suit them then as well as now.

1. Becky Sharp of Vanity Fair

Becky Sharp is the cynical, social-climbing anti-heroine of William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. For the tragically unsympathetic and selfish woman, we chose Victorian-style lace-up boots that feature color blocks of classic neutrals. We hope that this simple yet sophisticated pair teaches Becky a thing or two about quality investments.

Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp in Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair

Victorian Lace-Up Boots, $1,430, Fendi

2. Marquis de Merteuil of Dangerous Liaisons

The amoral Marquis de Merteuil is a privileged woman who challenges the constricting station of women of her time by playing twisted schemes on men. A woman like her is into details, so we appropriately bequeath suede booties that feature cross-stitched roses and tiny golden rose buttons.

Glenn Close as the Marquise de Merteuil, with Uma Thurman as Cécile de Volanges in Stephen Frears’ film adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons

Tapestry Suede Booties, $1,225, Dolce & Gabbana

3. Mina Harker of Dracula

The sweet and beautiful Mina Harker becomes the target of the vampire, Count Dracula, being caught in the middle of a battle between him and the Professor Abraham Van Helsing. The steely gray suede-paneled booties below are the perfect shoes for Mina, as she and the hunting party travel from England to the Carpathian mountains. Plus that horn heel can definitely double as a stake.

Winona Ryder as Mina Harker in Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Buckle Boots, $1,365, Alexander McQueen

4. Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights

It may have been doomed from the start, but the love story between Catherine and Heathcliff is one of the most enduring stories ever written. Set in the Yorkshire moors, among its privileged few, we figured that this pair of wing-tipped booties with distinctive wood heels should at least bring Catherine some class- and country-appropriate reprieve.

Kaya Scodelario as Catherine Earnshaw in the 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights Wood Heel Booties, $895, Fendi

5. Marie Antoinette

Okay, so the Dauphine of France is not exactly a literature character, but her controversial life certainly inspired a lot of writings, even films like Sofia Coppola’s beautiful Marie Antoinette. Life at Versailles was incredibly indulgent, if but tragic, and we dedicate this Baroque-height satin salon shoes with powder blue reptile-print heels for the tragic queen.

Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Satin Platform Booties, $895, Miu Miu

All featured shoes are available in Nordstrom.