Crocs: Fashion Kryptonite or Potentially Stylish?
Disclaimer: I loathe Crocs. That has been my position historic. Whenever I see an entire family in a rainbow of porous clogs – as broad as a platypus bill – I feel nauseous. (And not just because entire families wearing the same thing is a creepy trend that should have died in the ‘80s.) The dysfunctional foam loafer may have made its three founders into multi-millionaires, but it holds no sway with me. And those little creatures you could pin into the Crocs’ frontal lobe? As the saying goes, you can’t polish a turd.
My mother has several pairs of Crocs at home, mostly for gardening. Naturally, I revert to fashion snob and refuse to ever try them on when I visit. So imagine my surprise when I donned my very first pair — a pair exactly nine times the price of a regular pair — and found myself doing an about-turn. This wasn’t meant to happen, I marveled. I’d approached the Crocs merely as comical Insta-bait. A witty little mis-en-scene to titillate social media with.
But they are so light! The almost abrasively pimpled orthopedic sole is addictively comfortable; a bit like when you go the hairdresser and they turn the massage chair on while you have your hair washed. It is low-level physical therapy and it feels guuuuuuuud. They are a freelancer’s dream, fitting expertly over my thick cashmere socks as I type away like a cut-rate Carrie Bradshaw in my spare-room home office. Last week, I went to the doctor wearing my new Crocs and an Olivia von Halle cashmere tracksuit. Chav luxe doesn’t come cheap, my friends.
As the clever Chris Kane preempted when Crocs clomped down the runway back in September, his SS17 shoe collaboration was a major talking point (they’ve since been lined in mink for FW17). And what is the point of fashion, but to provoke? Commercially, it’s a coup — Crocs have muchos $$$ and it makes sense for a luxury fashion house to partner with a global everyday brand — albeit of foam podiatry. Under Kane’s creative, the Croc has gone fully fashion: marbled, with sparkly rocks to make your plodding toes twinkle. Less utilitarian; more unicorn.
I have to be honest: love them as I do, I had not thought of them in the real world. I’m adventurous with my style, but I wouldn’t call myself a fashion victim *eyes sparkly, velvet pink dress in the corner of room*. You’re not going to see me in an off-shoulder puffa jacket and stirrup leggings any time soon. No, I didn’t intend to write this story, as such. But then I waxed lyrical about my love for my Crocs to the good people at MR and heck, they said — well prove it big guy. Show us three looks where the Crocs work streetside. And I rose to the challenge, because questioning the idea of ‘repellant’ fashion, after all, is the very premise of this site.
First up, throwing myself in at the deep end with the ‘important meeting’ outfit. The irony of course is that in the fashion industry, where I predominantly work, this is important meeting apparel. The most interesting thing I noticed is that as soon as I stepped out of my front door, I felt my gait change. Typically, a fitted blazer and black trousers would make me walk in a certain way. With refinement, of sorts. But with the Crocs, I felt flat-footed and short, stocky but also quite literally grounded. The solidity was comforting and I am unsure why. The photographer, Frances, said that she thinks that gigantathon shoes are more flattering on the legs, a theory I agree with in reference to the ankles but disagree with when it comes to the elongation of the thighs. There is a reason I wear a heel, even if it’s a 1.5 inch one, almost every day.
The Crocs throw any outfit immediately off. This outfit would have looked perfectly normal, or at least My Normal, with my black Proenza shoes. The diamanté socks pulled it together a bit more (without socks I genuinely looked like I had foot swapped with a granny at the local YMCA) but it took a lot of rummaging through my sock drawer to find ones that worked. Basically, it took fucking ages to get dressed. I don’t need to tell you that there are a lot of outfits the Crocs don’t go with. I’m sure most of you may say that the Crocs don’t go with this outfit *either*. But the beret makes everything okay. Unlike Leandra, I consider a beret my secret weapon.
The next outfit is an easier sell. The ‘casual doing chores’ look. It’s probably the only get up I could honestly say that I would recreate. Crocs + sport socks are improbably comfortable. Granted, with a cashmere blazer this nice, anything’s going to look okay, but I actually quite like the clogs with the sparkly slacks. I’m comfy and I’m getting less weird looks. Only slightly less, mind.
Third time’s a charm or if you’re me, third outfit’s the real challenge. I’ve gone Full Party. Like, all-out disco to the risco. As you can see, I’ve committed heavily to the glitter rocks spewed across my toes and worn head-to-toe metallics. We’ve got gold; we’ve got silver; we’ve got bronze. The whole squad’s here! I hope you appreciate my silver tights and the re-emergence of the sequin polo neck. It’s time to start wearing sequin polo necks again. They were GOOD. Thank you, Crocs, for reminding me to dig out this little gem. I like this outfit, but it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I would actually wear this outfit to a party. I would wear heels, always, to a party — even just a low-heel boot. Part of me wishes I could lose the vanity; part of me just can’t imagine anything worse than trying to take these shoes into a pub while I am looked up and down like some kind of insane fashion mutant.
The conclusion is: I love my Crocs, without shame. I’m GOING to wear them this summer and Instagram, you can suck it if you don’t like that. But while we had a lot of fun, my dino feet and I, gallivanting around town, our relationship works best as a private one. The cat doesn’t bitch about them. And while I’m working away, my rocks sparkle gently at me. And as J.Lo once sung, I’m just Jenny in her Crocs….
Formerly the Fashion Features Editor and Wardrobe Mistress columnist at London’s The Sunday Times, Pandora is a freelance journalist, brand consultant, stylist and co-host of pop-culture show The Pandolly podcast. Read Pandora’s work at pandorasykes.com or follow her on Instagram @pandorasykes and Twitter @pinsykes. Shot by Frances Davison. Follow her on Instagram @tilfrances.