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Crocs: Fashion Kryptonite or Potentially Stylish?
02.21.17

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.

Silver Spoon Attire x Hello Kitty beret, Bally jacket, Dorothy Perkins trousers, Baum und Pferdgarten socks, Lautem bag and Chrisopher Kane Crocs

Silver Spoon Attire x Hello Kitty beret, Bally jacket, Dorothy Perkins trousers, Baum und Pferdgarten socks, Lautem bag and Chrisopher Kane Crocs

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.

Blaze Milano jacket from MATCHESFASHION.COM, A.P.C. hoodie from MATCHESFASHION.COM, Bally trousers, FCUK sport socks and Chrisopher Kane Crocs

Blazé Milano jacket from MATCHESFASHION.COM, A.P.C. hoodie from MATCHESFASHION.COM, Bally trousers, FCUK sport socks and Christopher Kane Crocs

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.

Crocs Styled Pandora Sykes Man Repeller 6628 copy

Rejina Pyo jacket, By Malene Birger sequin turtleneck, Balenciaga earrings from MATCHESFASHION.COM, J.W.Anderson skirt and Chrisopher Kane Crocs

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.

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  • MrsA

    Where are those beautiful silver tights from??

    • bad penguin

      Probably Oroblu. You can probably find them at Nordstrom. (I used to work in Nordstrom’s hosiery department, but left about six months ago so I’m not certain.)

  • Jamie

    The Crocs Kadee shoe is pretty much the only shoe I wear. Never looking back. My feet won’t have any other shoes now. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b8205fea19a883787a36a05959fad95dc3133fd59b37a0b93b8ea44e784876db.jpg

    • pamb

      This is the ‘grown up’ Croc I bought my daughter once she wanted something more feminine that the traditional style. She still has them, but mostly wears them to the beach/pool.

  • Wow. That last looks is quite the outfit. My family of four immediately got crocs as soon as they were available. I honestly don’t remember why. It was definitely influenced by my dad’s penchant for weird shoes. My pair, a bright yellow, stay in my closet at their house. Every time I visit I immediately put them on along with my cross country/track sweat suit (because I like looking like the Michelin Man with duck feet). They are the most comfortable and most hideous shoes on the planet. I’ll never get rid of them. I just hope you did not buy yours at their sale price… nobody should spend that much money on those shoes.

    You DO make a good case for outfitting them. The first outfit is amazing and, I think, more interesting with the crocs.

  • tmm16

    May need those Bally pants for St. Patrick’s Day. Those are fab.

  • Polly

    Nope, just can’t get on board. This feels like an April Fools joke. Looking from head downwards it’s like ‘yes, love… ooh very nice.. err, what the F-‘

    • Miss J

      I find them vulgar. They’re so visually offensive that it’s ALMOST okay to wear them, in an ironic kind of way. I prefer Dr. Scholl and Birkenstock.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I have been wearing Crocs for years, and they have lots of styles that are not the clogs they made in the beginning. Yes, I do have a pair of the clogs which my daughter gave me for Christmas. They are the penguin clogs, because she knows I love penguins. It’s a winter themed design, not all Christmas-y. I have the Crocs short rain boots, ballet flats, mary jane clogs, and sandals. The comfort can’t be beat.

    • Jamie

      The boots are amazing! I have the tall rainboots from a couple years back, and they are soooooo light.

  • Camilla Ackley

    I had bright pink Holey Soles (another brand of them) when I was a kiddo and to be honest, they’re bloody comfortable. I wear them around the house all the time/ in the garden. I just could not bring myself to wear them in public though, and to be honest I’ve seen them SO MUCH I’m not even sure I can objectively look at them anymore as ugly, or as just kind of neutral.

    I never caved on Birks though, so I don’t think I’ll be wearing crocs anytime soon. Fab styling as ever though Pandora, if anyone could make them work, I’d place my bets on you! Wear what makes you(r feet) happy.

    x C

    • Pandora Sykes

      OH HEY GIRL! Thanks.

  • Ellie

    I’m all about maintaining our arches but are crocs really the way forward? (Love the outfits sans crocs tho xox)

    • Bring back the Famolare Earth Shoes from the 70s. I have seen shoes with the wavy sole and Walmart had some Earth Spirit brand shoes with it but I don’t think anyone is doing the heel lower than the rest of the sole right now.

  • I can’t. I can admire the styling but. . . no. Natalie Joos wore Crocs a few years ago (the original post is gone so I can’t remember if it was a dare or what) and looked kind of cute too. If it actually becomes a “thing” again I’ll just admire from afar.

    Edit: I found a photo of Natalie in hers
    http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/photo-gallery/34494310/image/34494327/Natalie-Joos

  • Stephanie Orudiakumo

    Ugh, these Crocs are trying really hard to be chic but yikes. Maybe part with the original design and style with some of their other styles. @disqus_BAMuNRRzm1:disqus

  • bicoast

    Hell-to-the-NO!

  • Jessica

    I live in Boulder, Colorado, the ground zero of the Croc universe. They were invented and manufactured here and my neighbors are those millionaires and my gf invented those emojis that you can bling them out in. Here is my issue with them…they are unconscious polluters. Can you imagine how much landfill space they take up and how many are floating around our oceans! They can not biodegrade nor be recycled. So for me the environment trumps fashion every time. (another whole other story about how fashion is the second most polluting industry on earth next to the gas and oil industry) To all of you beautiful, creative, industrious and potentially conscious fashionistas please put your money where you mouth is and seek to support and invent your’s and your children’s future with environmentally conscious fashion choices. Croc’s suck b/c they are literally polluters. I shamefully own a pair (they are 12 years old) and I still have them b/c once I put two and two together I realized that I need to keep them forever and use them judicially but only in the garden. I must practice the the second R in Reduce Reuse and Recycle. Live and learn. Birkenstocks are a far more conscious and truely stylish choice as they are timeless and will at least one day totally transmorgrify. http://www.designlife-cycle.com/birkenstock/

    • Suzan

      Thank you for bringing up this point! I hadn’t thought about that aspect yet and it’s such an important one.

      Crocs ain’t my thing regardless, especially not in public/as a fashion statement. That being said, Pandora… that green trousered look works incredibly surprisingly well! And with that radiant smile in the first photo, people won’t be looking at your feet, so that’s a good strategy too 🙂

    • Pandora Sykes

      That’s a really interesting piece of info. Thank you!

    • Voovoo

      Nothing, not even an apple core, will biodegrade quickly once it gets into a landfill (the layers of garbage are so compacted that no air gets in).. And any shoes with leather will be pretty toxic; leather tanning is so bad that most of the leather is now processed overseas; and animal agriculture accounts for half of greenhouse gases a huge % of rainforest destruction. AND Crocs often last for years! I’m not saying they’re perfect; I’m just saying the environmental impact is not as b/w as you make it out. Consumption of any sort will have its drawbacks; but, we are humans who like clothes, so we have to accept that our vices have an impact, and that’s that. No amount of buying from the ‘right’ companies exempts us. Also, I know this article is about the classic Crocs, but I just want to say that I have a pair of Crocs ‘Really Sexy’ sandals that are amazing and I’m asked constantly (by non-frumpy folk) where they’re from..

  • S

    Ill suck it.

  • BuffyAnneSummers97

    First it was MR, then they appeared in an issue of Grazia, then it was Christopher Kane and now it’s MR again. How much are they paying you??

    • Pandora Sykes

      No-one is paying me – or MR – to write this piece. When Christopher Kane makes something, it is interesting, regardless of whether or not you find them hideous (which is understandable).

      • BuffyAnneSummers97

        I disagree on the point that everything he does is interesting, but I accept this was not paid- apologies.

  • yk

    In other words “fashion people” will wear literally anything as long as there is a designer label attached to it. Good to know.

  • Being a past Crocs disliker, you may have converted me. I LOVE the first two looks. 😀

  • Hannah Cole

    Even thought the Crocs are at times are incongruous with the beauty of the rest of the outfit, you pull it off girl. But maybe, all in all, Crocs just rely on an attitude as opposed to the perfect outfit. Maybe the air of confidence and self-assuredness are the qualities needed to make the Croc thrive, bling and all.

    • Maybe it also helps if the Crocs cost nine times what the originals do?

  • I would def wear the crocs with the last outfit. Probably to the meeting or everyday. but only because they colour coordinate.

  • If you want comfortable shoes, get the Skechers memory foam sole sneakers. It’s like walking on a cloud and some of the sneakers are pretty cute. And they’re not crocs!

    • Jeanie

      Reebok skyscape walking shoes are also way more comfortable than croc and way cuter too!

  • Paul White

    You can get crocs with heels. Some of them look very different from the run-of-the-mill variety.

    http://www.crocs.com/c/women/footwear/wedges-and-heels

    PS. I really like the color on yours.

  • Never. I’m a mom of three, live in the suburbs and am mocked daily for wearing heels. Don’t care, mon frère. Next it will be chacos. Shudder.

  • Ellery

    Fashion and style should be fun too.

    Nothing is off the table as far as I am concerned.

  • I read somewhere that wearing crocs all day multiple times a week they’re supposed to actually damage your feet due to the lack of heel support and unnatural shape of the shoe. So added up with the ridiculous look, I’ll pass.

    • pamb

      My son wore Crocs all summer for about 10 years as a child. No foot problems.

  • I LOVE the first two looks.

  • pamb

    No. No. A thousand times, no. I’m a mom who keeps a pair of knock off pink Crocs in the garage to wear around the garage or to go in the backyard (they are 14 years old. I bought the knock offs because I wasn’t sure the trend would ‘last’).

    My most shameful day was the day I went to Target in a cute outfit… and the Crocs I had forgotten to take off from my time rearranging the garage. Luckily, no one saw me.

    The only people who can pull off Crocs are kids under the age of 12. They are meant to wear to the beach, the pool, around the neighborhood, on a plane to a warm vacation spot. I will cut slack to nurses, chefs, and people who wear them to work because they are on their feet all day. But they are extremely unattractive in adult sizes. And those ridiculous rock Jibbets (that’s what they’re called) do not ‘dress it up’.

  • Samara

    I would wear them to a croctail party.

  • archesh

    Unashamed lover of both fashion and crocs. I plead my own cause: as I can neither tolerate heels nor find them appealing on others (that wobbly kneed stiletto limp), and don’t like leather or alternative leather, I came to crocs almost by default. But styling is everything. All these looks were brilliant, but the first was my favorite.