One of the pleasures of having traveled down the fashion road a good long time is being able to rejoice (whole-heartedly and to the accompaniment of cash registers ringing) when a favorite style is revived.
Confession: clogs are one of my favorites.I wore them when they were first in style (early adopters were wearing them as early as the late 1960s, but for most of us, clogs didn't go mainstream until the 1970s.) The eighties were a clog-free decade, and the nineties my cravings for clunky shoes were pretty much satisfied by a single pair of Doc Martens. But in the 2000s, as soon as I tried on my first Mephisto Satty clog,I fell, and fell hard. They had all the comfort of the traditional clog, but with a cork bottom encased in some kind of miracle man-made material for a soft, cat-like tread. I think I went through three or four of this style in black, and two more pairs in a darling chocolate brown suede. For knocking around the house, tidying up, doing laundry, cooking, and doing dishes, nothing beat my uniform of jeans, t-shirt, and clogs.
I was in good company. Chefs, surgeons, nurses, and anyone who stands for hours and hours wear clogs. Women with wide feet swear by them. But they've always had a practical reason to wear clogs. No one was wearing them because they were in style.
Well, they're back in style. Chanel showed clogs for this spring, complete with big interlocking Cs on them. So if you want to spend $790 for a pair, feel free.
Fashionista early re-adopters Ashley Olsen, Shenae Grimes, and Mary-Kate Olsen wearing clogs. Photo courtesy of CollegeFashion
Naturally, the news that clogs were actually considered stylish made my heart leap with joy. But then I discovered that there is a very loud anti-clog backlash, particularly amongst young fashion bloggers. Only the very, very avant-garde express any interest whatsoever in wearing clogs.
This is because women in their twenties equate clogs with middle school. Or with moms. For these younger women, clogs have really negative connotations. And that's a lot of baggage for an already heavy shoe to have to carry.
But for me ... the connotations are positive. I wore clogs when I was in my teens, so to me, clogs are cute. In an ugly-is-beautiful way. And young. And they're comfortable. And they make my feet look tiny.
And anyway, big clunky shoes have been in style for a few years now. After all, you can take only so many years of wearing thin-soled pointy-toed stilettos before everyone needs a break. You've noticed all the platforms, wedges, and clogs in the stores, right? That break is occurring now.
How to wear clogsHow does a woman of a certain age wear clogs without looking insanely frumpy or insanely trendy?
You have to compromise.
Compromise is the secret to style success
And this goes for almost everyone. A very young, very thin art student in New York City can wear pretty much anything. To the likes of us, a vintage slip, wellies, and a Mr. Rogers cardigan looks like laundry day at Goodwill, but if she has second thoughts, our slim New York art student can say it's performance art. But she represents about .0001 percent of the population.
The rest of us, who are a bit older and (dare I say it?) a bit more chubby, have to try a bit harder to make things work.
How I plan to wear clogs out in publicFirst of all, I'm ignoring the designer versions. They're incredibly expensive and are even clunkier than the Mephisto clogs pictured above. The good news is that the non-designer clogs are more refined and elegant-looking than the ones by Chanel, Prada, and Miu-Miu. Even the $300 clogs at Anthropologie are insanely clunky-looking in comparison to some far less expensive ones I've seen.
Once in a normal price range (and I really think you could stay well below $150 even for a pair of superbly well made clogs) I looked for something with a heel and a low-cut vamp to lengthen the leg. High-cut shoe vamps are very trendy right now, but you'd need legs like Catwoman to get away with a high cut vamp added to the general clunkiness of a clog.
Then I looked for studs, laser cutting, or some other some kind of detailing to refine the look even more.
Here are my semi-finalists:
Biviel laser cut taupe Nubuck clogs from Zappos
Steven by Steve Madden Brisi clog at Shoes.com for $139
And the pair I actually paid good money for?
And the pair I actually paid good money for?
TopShop's $80 Ollie clog
Please don't mock me!
Now, how am I going to make them look modern, and not like something I've kept in my closet for 30 years?
If I were slim, I'd wear them with with cropped pants, or with my pants rolled up. But I'm sure they'll be fine with straight-legged pants.
I might rock a 70s revival and wear them with flared white jeans.
Or, for a combination military/70s boho look, with a knee-length olive green pencil skirt, a long-sleeved jersey, one of my new long fluffy scarves, and a luggage colored cross-body bag.
I might even try them with tights.
Where would I wear these? Lunch with a girlfriend, a museum outing, BlogHer's annual conference in New York.
So Internet, have I gone mental? If you ever wore clogs, would you wear them again?