Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Five Cs of keeping your look fresh: Compromise

Hi there! If you've come over here from Jennsylvania, greetings! Just so you know, I've just spent a month blogging about things you can do to look younger. Feel free to look around and check them out. And I'm not being pushy. Really, I'm not. I just thought you should know that I don't always blog about my weird taste in shoes. (And if you have a blog you'd like me to check out, please leave a comment. I promise to click back and check you out.) Thanks--and make yourselves at home!

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.

Clogs as seen on the Chanel runway for the Spring, 2010 collection. Photo courtesy of

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 clogs

How 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 public

First 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 Barc suede from Zappos $139

Steven by Steve Madden Brisi clog at for $139

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?


  1. I have a much-loved pair of Soft Walk clogs from Zappos. They are the most incredibly comfortable shoes I have ever worn. My favorite look is a pair of crisp, dark, flare-leg jeans with my clogs. Love, love, love.

  2. I love the high clogs but not on me. I do have Catwomen legs (well, if truth be known, Minnie Mouse legs) and these huge things on the end of them just don't seem to work. My dd wears some very interesting fabric clogs that look great with jeans, Middle Aged Woman. Perhaps I should give them another try.

  3. pictures of my recently acquired Danskos - I am hard core where clogs are concerned - are scheduled for Saturday over at
    I won't wear anything else but I am worried that they will get too trendy.

  4. I adore clogs. They make me feel cool and sexy. The Steven Barc clogs are gorgeous!

    I have been lusting over the Bronwyn clogs by Sofft for months...haven't come up with the disposable cash for them and now it's beginning to look like I missed my opportunity.

    Ah, well, a new pair of shoes will catch my eye soon enough.

  5. I have worn clogs since the late 70's. A stylish black pair have saved my feet and legs many a day in court. My daughters (25 & 18) wouldn't be caught dead in them. I love most of the Cole Hahn versions, esp patent leather, for work. What I am wrestling with right now is if I can stand to buy the platform sandals that are back in vogue but that I wore to my husband's college grad in the paleolithic era.

  6. I didn't wear them the first time around. Apparently my arches are so high that clogs and the unbendability thereof hurt me? So I won't be doing them this time around either. Oh well. I will have to find another trend. How about that Alexander Wang bag with the metal studs on the underside????

  7. For you they'll have to pry the lipstick out of your cold, dead hand. For me, they'll have to pry my Danskos off my cold, dead feet.

  8. I LOVE clogs. I even wore them in the 80s, when no one else was wearing them (and they were DAMN hard to find).


    Remember when I sprained the everliving $%&# out of my ankle a couple of years ago? I did that while wearing clogs.

    Haven't worn them since.

    I miss them.

  9. Those wooden soled clogs are far too noisy for me.
    Love the Mephistos. Naot's "dream" style is great, even comes in leopard!

  10. well... I fall off them. Maybe the pair that you bought. I had a pair just like them when I went down to Key West. Almost exactly 30 years ago. Wonder if it'd feel like time travel.

  11. The new clogs do Not look comfy at all! But i would totally wear them with jeans... a bit more stylish than my margharita flip flops!

  12. Poppy you are a RIOT. I have gardening clogs!

  13. My sister just passed your blog along to me - I'm loving it. And I love clogs. There has been one pair or another in my closet since the 70s. Right now I have a blue leather that looks great with a khaki skirt or jeans or....


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xxx, Poppy.