Dress it up or dress it down with these stylish booties

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Super dressy, left: Summit, $149, nordstrom.com. Dressy: Latigo, $139,www.latigoshoes.com.

Painful pumps aren't the only go-to for sheaths and skirt suits anymore.

The trendlet

Booties - both open- and closed-toe - are a comfortable (and warm) way to give your classic pieces a modern touch.

Where do they come from?

Ankle-length boots for women date to the early 1900s, when they were paired with long skirts, and, later, flapper-length frocks, to protect their feet from dusty streets. More functional than chic, the rugged and reliable bootie became fashionable in the 1980s, thanks to punk rock, grunge, Dr. Martens, and Timberland.

It wasn't until 2010, however, that booties could be considered dressy. That was when Phoebe Philo introduced an open-toe version of the shoe at the Paris debut of her luxury collection, Céline.

A sexy resurgence of black booties followed. Caged stilettos became popular with leather leggings and Herve Legerlike banded dresses. Some of the booties were perforated. In later seasons, sportier versions of the bootie came with thicker heels. Eventually, there were sneaker details.

As we continue to celebrate '70s styles in women's wear, booties in colorful leathers and suedes are giving both our dressy and cazh looks a comfortable and stylish lift.

Who is wearing them?

Every A-lister fashionista from Ariana Grande to Meryl Streep, and the everyday woman who walks a lot but doesn't want to stop and change her shoes when she arrives at her destination. (Hobbling around on cold concrete is so over.)

Would Elizabeth wear them?

I bought three pairs of booties - black, olive green suede, and brown - from Payless in November. I like pairing mine with contrasting tights and black skirts. Not to mention I'm happy to report: They still are in good shape.

Should you wear them?

Only if you can appreciate eliminating the age-old dilemma: What shoes go with this outfit?

ewellington@phillynews.com215-854-2704@ewellingtonphl