Sunday, August 17, 2014

Taking the Birkenstock Plunge

No way, no how, I thought as I reminisced on the clog variety that permeated my middle school.  If I could resist at the height of tweenage insecurity, I can resist the full-fledged assault of today.
But maybe paired with boyfriend jeans or my black leather miniskirt...? Or with my whole closet!
Ew, wait no, my feet look humongous.
Why am I still thinking about these shoes?!
Fine, if they have the metallic copper pair in my size…

And that’s pretty much describes my thought process regarding the Birkenstock over the last 13 months.

Image via Vogue

The fashion community has waxed poetically about the revival of the Birkenstock: Man Repeller has four posts dedicated to the footwear du jour, Sincerely Jules wears hers like they’re going out of style and Vogue dedicated a post to the sandal last summer -leave it to Anna to be lightyears ahead of the game.  I guess it means me and my copper Birks are late to the party.  But I could have told you that, given I’ve been debating taking the plunge for over a year.  Unlike most trends, which appear like a flash in the pan (I’m talking to you, McDonalds meets Moschino) to soon become rendered to the depths of one’s closet or worse, the consignment pile, Birkenstocks appear in for the long haul. 

Deemed “Pretty Ugly” by Vogue and downright “fugly” by Stylecaster, the ugly-pretty sandal can be best embodied by its unflattering descriptors: chunky as opposed to slender, furry as opposed to bare and widening as opposed to slimming.  But interestingly enough, that’s the appeal.  Much the same way a leather jacket or combat boots toughen up an otherwise feminine outfit, Birkenstocks render a dressy look casual or a chic ensemble chic-er.  In the battle of trying-too-hard sky high stilettos and #iwokeuplikethis slides, the slides win every time.

Or perhaps we’re all just submitting to a classic case of cognitive dissonance.  For those in need of Psych 1 refresher course, cognitive dissonance refers to the state of having inconsistent, thoughts, beliefs or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.  In order to quell our unease, we justify the inconsistencies as being 100% rational. Oh you mean how the fashion set has collectively revised its position from categorizing Birkenstocks as the shoe of the granola-crunching tree-huggers to justifying Céline’s $900 fur-lined rendition or Givenchy’s $900 floral-print version?  But it’s not just the superluxe.  Zara and H&M were both quick to put their spin on the “ugly sandal” trend.

So maybe we're all crazy? What's your take: love 'em or leave 'em?
Image via Man Repeller

Image via The Frugality

Photo via yours truly


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