Shoe styles have been getting out of control in the past few seasons with platforms inching up to the double digits in height and gladiator-style straps climbing straight past the knees. Some styles stopped resembling shoes and morphed into amphibian-looking creatures attached to the feet. They got so high and unwieldy that die-hard fashionistas took extreme measures to endure the trend. A few seasons ago some British fashion stylists confided to me that they take Advil or even Percocet to offset the pain inflicted by their painful platforms. (Did I mention they were British?)
Click the Image to View Our Gallery of Clogs, Summer's Worst Trend
With shoes, as with hemlines, what goes up must come down. And so when the First Lady began stepping out in her relatively tame kitten heels, I figured the fashion flock would follow. What I didn’t anticipate was the onset of clogs—summer’s ugliest trend. Suddenly, they are everywhere and in every incarnation including sandal-clogs, boot-clogs and what I like to call “clugs” which are a cross between clogs and Uggs. You can get Chanel’s “barnyard” version on the third floor of Barneys for $865 or go for the really freaky looking style from Celine. The latter version doesn’t even resemble a shoe so much as one of those old-fashioned wooden meat pounders—the kind of thing one would use to tenderize a juicy steak for the grill this weekend.
We’ve all had our clog moment, but I had hoped that it had passed long ago. Anyone who was around in New York City in the 1970s remembers the bright yellow Olaf Daughter’s shop on Lexington Avenue. You can still buy vintage Olaf Daughter’s at Etsy.com (a black patent pair will set you back $42). “They will massage your feet all day,” the site promises. You can also buy the original thing now being manufactured by the Swedish company, Olsson. Those Olsson folks really know how to spin clogs. On their site they even list the benefits of clogs, which include improving posture, aligning the spine and, expanding social interaction. Huh? According to the site, if you wear clogs “You will make new friends and meet total strangers because whenever you wear clogs people undoubtedly stop you and ask about them.”
“Doctors wear them!” “They breathe!” Yet they are still clinically proven to be ugly.
I was tempted to stop the trendy woman walking in front of me toward spinning class this morning and ask her why in God’s name she was wearing a hideous pair of “clugs” that reached awkwardly up to mid-calf and didn’t do much for her silhouette. Instead I asked my trendy friend Farnaz what had inspired her to wear clogs—the closed heel kind worn mostly by doctors in the OR. “I got them when I was in medical school but I never wore them,” she said, a little too defensively. “Doctors wear them!” “They breathe!”
Yet they are still clinically proven to be ugly.
Kate Betts is a contributing editor at Time magazine and until this year was also the editor of Time Style & Design, a special supplement to the magazine. Previously, Betts was the editor in chief of Harper's Bazaar and the fashion news director of Vogue. She is the author of the book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style , due out February 2011.