No, I wouldn't say that either Ugg Boots nor Hunter Wellies have ever been appropriate office footwear. Rather their common ground has been as ambassadors of leisure and 'the outdoors'..days off, chuck on, off we go! The former allegedly originally warmed up the feet of oh-so-wet-and-cold surfers after a good dive in the Australian sea; the latter have protected the landed gentry's feet during a good dive in the English mud since 1856. Still, the more striking distinction lies less within their function but more in terms of their wearer. Meanwhile both have of course become fashion items. Whereas Uggs have evolved as celebrity off-duty footwear ( as in 'popping down to the shops', frequently seen in 'Shock-Horror: Stars without make-up'- features), a 'look' readily adopted by Chavs and Scullies around the country, Hunters on the other hand were made more commercial through the likes of Kate Moss wearing them at Glastonbury and other summer festivals in the unpredictable English weather.
But up until recently they were still silently crying out the words 'middle class'..they were HUNTERS, not just any Wellies (those have been consigned to fashion's backwoods about 6 seasons ago, particularly the ones with nasty flowery patterns and worn on a sunny day).
So, I am unsure as to what exactly has happened, whether it was the change in Hunters' ownership (now an importer of Chinese boots) or Jimmy Choo's questionable snakeskin imprint Hunters edition that produced a more obvious deviation from its conservative path, but yesterday, for the first time I have indeed witnessed the shift with my own eyes: Liverpool Scully Girls have officially adopted the Hunter boot: Faux sheepskin waistcoat along with the usual other faux-ness (hair, tan, nails, eyelashes), miniskirt and Hunter boots! The two young girls even got the 'to the knee' socks, with only about an inch and a half of woolly material pocking out over the rim of the rubber absolutely spot on! It was magical, I should have really stopped them for a photograph.
Meanwhile on the Ugg-front... I used to think they were incredibly ugly and I could never understand why people end up walking on the inside of their boots rather than the actual sole. But somehow this season, with the notion of 'Ugg' having spread to just about any (flat) boot with a bit of sheepskin featured somewhere, I may as well admit to having caught myself eying up one or the other model. Worse even, I am, in all likelihood going to purchase a pair.