January blusters in with, depending on where you live, snow, rain, sleet, ice ““ all reasons to skip the strappy heels and strap on some cute boots. But what is a wide-calved girl to do? It doesn’t take a master’s degree to see that it can be difficult to find a boot that fits your body, but nothing worth doing is easy. Right?

Understanding proportion and fit will make the quest for the perfect boot a pleasant one. If you are not planning on wearing short skirts all winter, skip the knee-high boot. Rather than the tall boot on a stiletto heel, try a shorter boot to wear with pants. Also look for a chunkier heel that will not only give you more stability, but will also balance out a wider calf. By choosing the right heel height and width, you will avoid looking like you are balancing on toothpicks, and give your legs a solid, sexy line. Proportion is key to getting the winter boot look right.

Once you’ve settled on a style, know thyself! Before you shop be sure to measure your calf at its widest point to get a good fit on the circumference of the boot. Many product descriptions will provide this information (one of the joys of online shopping) so that you can determine whether the boot is a good possibility for your body without having to try to suck in your shinbone just to get it on.

If you have found the boots you love but their zippers are no match for your muscles, you could take them to a cobbler and have an extra strip sewn in along the back to widen the calves. You could try a cute hound’s-tooth print or a bright color to contrast with the leather rather than trying to match it, which will add visual interest as well as a vertical line to lengthen your leg. Another option is to have the cobbler stretch your boots. These two possibilities might be pricier and less perfect than you were intending, but luckily many online retailers offer wide calf boots in styles ranging from cute to utilitarian.

When shopping online look for free shipping, the possibility of ordering a few sizes at once to get a good fit, and free returns. Online retailers like Zappos.com offer an entire section of wide-calf boots, and the free shipping both ways lets you try on for size without risking your wallet on failed attempts. Check out Silhouettes, specialists in wide-calf boots, for good prices and interesting pops of refreshing color.  Avenue is another great store for wide-calf boots, and their offerings run the gamut from suede to furry, lace-up to pull-on riding boots.

If your calves are wider than the mainstream boot maker would have them, don’t let it stop you from stepping out in style this winter. By knowing where to look and what to look for, you can find the boots you’ve been dreaming of. And while you’re at it””why not get two pairs?