Stan Smith Peacocks 30 Years Post Retirement

And it is fashion’s fault


There is something distinctly phony about wearing a pair of shoes named after a man whose name you have heretofore never heard. And frankly, if it weren’t for my mother, who has been unapologetically wearing her Stan Smiths since I have been old enough to advise that she take them off, I may have found myself subject to fall into this contemptible category of spurious asshole.

But that is not the case. Like I said, my mom spent the greater portion of the 90s not playing tennis but wearing the tennis sneakers, named after the famed tennis player, with effectively everything. Jeans, Dolce suits, Moschino mini skirts — there was nothing she wouldn’t obliterate with the unironic, outdated white rubber soles. To this day she keeps them in a closet on the ground floor of her home and I am certain that when she sees this post, she’ll call to remind me, in a particularly cruel inflection, that “Mom knows best.”

So to save myself the trouble of doing this later, let me publicly apologize now, mom, for verbally shitting on your favorite sneakers when here I am, dubbing them my favorite, too. At some point in the last three months, in either a bout of nostalgia or my really liking how this girl looks, I developed an urgency to obtain the sneakers. I just don’t get why.

Don’t I reap the benefits of a white tennis sneaker from the Golden Goose pair I seldom take off?

Cathy Horyn touched upon an interesting point in a recent story she wrote for The New York Times called “That Positive Feeling and Why it’s Shared.” Citing a New Yorker piece by Maria Konnikova on what makes a story go viral, she questioned what makes a fashion trend go viral drawing examples from the mens shows in Milan and Paris.

She surmised that the magic potion is in collections that are devoid of complex references and that lay out ideas for easy ingestion — kind of like a top-ten list. But it got me thinking about rehashes that go viral because last week, seemingly over night, every fashion show-goer in New York had Stan Smith fastened to their feet.

Elle‘s Danielle Prescod wrote about the shoes earlier this week. In her story, she explained the process of a trend’s genesis (and purportedly too, its ability to go viral) as runway to retailer to real girl. Phoebe Philo wore the sneakers in 2011 when she came out from backstage at the end of her show for Céline. Then they were placed on the sales floor at J. Crew. Simultaneous with that, a white sneaker movement befell the denizens of fashion and though most participators may not have realized that their accessory choice was one manipulated by Philo, such is the power of invisibility.

So now I stand in my Stans, contemplating virality while emulating one little rogue dancer who’s proven she defines it.

hCJo6Y on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

But what do you think?

Photographed Sneakers by Adidas, sweater and shirt by Uniqlo, bow tie by Saint Laurent, jeans by Blk Dnm and lunchbox-cum-handbag by Mark Cross.

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  • Liz

    As someone who is always trying to reduce the size of my closet not increase it, I wonder what difference or use value you see in these Stan Smiths compared to your white Golden Gooses?

    • I think it might be the Old Skool factor. Always workin’ towards the Old Skool Factor, which is really something to strive for.

    • Leandra Medine

      Good question! I address this point mid article when I ask: Don’t I reap the benefits of a white tennis sneaker from the Golden Goose pair I seldom take off? — But what I’ve been able to come up with right now is the following: They are: a. starker white, b. without hidden wedge, c. a healthy alternative to a pair of shoes I wear nearly every single day (wearing the same shoes everyday is apparently really bad for the heels of a woman’s foot — affects the knees), d. considerably less expensive and therefore more comfortable from a state of mind POV

  • alliekat

    Requesting a “How to Dance in a Variety of Shoes” post please. After that gif at the end, I think I’ve been doing it wrong….

  • Love them, Leandra! I might need to get a pair even though I already own the “Dragon” and the “superstar” by Adidas. My sneaker collection grows nearly every month and now my mother is worried about my health. I’m suffering from what she calls Impulsive Consumption and she’s questioning whether or not I replace real, meaningful relationships with sneakers that’ll enhance my Scandinavian heritage in the physical sense.

  • Savannah

    Honestly, I really wish you would’ve shown your entire body doing that dance at the end in the gif. Something tells me that you have quite the dance moves.

  • Luciana Bueno


  • therealdp

    guess who is wearing stan smiths TODAY #trending. love this. where is a pic of your mom and hers? expand gallery of stan-fans please

    • Leandra Medine

      You are the realest DP.

  • delta

    Im probably as old as your mother…I wore them then….and Im wearing then now….and so are a few others around Paris…. (fashion week next week)

  • I’m absolutely crazy about the Stan Smith sneakers! I think they’re so cool, and now that I have a white and blue pair, I would love a white and green one!!!


  • Shawna McComber

    As someone who wore white high tops bedecked with black lace during the eighties, I am not sure I want to revisit the white sneakers with everything look.

  • Hey @leandramedine:disqus

    Do you think you could provide a pic of Mama Medine rocking her Stan Smiths? Would love to see that in action.

  • Jean

    This is a really funny article on Stan Smith’s hip hop influence (and it gives you a shout out!)

  • Tracy Wingrove

    Baaaa Baaaa Baaaa Baaaa

  • Just not for me… I love the idea of wearing trainers outside of the gym and would like to get myself some jazzy Nikes or New Balances, but there’s something about Stan Smiths that just doesn’t sit well with me. I think it might be memories of secondary school P.E. lessons, during which I had some of the most unpleasant experiences of my teenage life with a pair of Stan Smiths on my feet… yikes.

  • Poulette

    These have been on the feet of just about every gay man in Europe for the past 10 years…. I wonder if that’s where Phoebe got her influence? I certainly got mine off of my friends in Paris & Milan….

  • Maciel

    $585 for a bow??? Going to the fabric store and making one for myself. I have been looking for a white dress shirt for a while now, thanks for the macy’s link – and the idea of shopping in the men’s section. Love your androgynous style.

  • White Girl Tara


  • Max

    I have a crush on you!

  • Jackie @ Kleiden drew

    But let somebody step on those mofos…there has to be a new social contract about inevitable scuffs from others…And please dance in every post. thank you.

  • Manuela

    amazing look !
    i love the Stan Smith sneaker <3 i bought them too.

    xoxo manu

  • Jamie Lawenda

    I love stan smith sneakers and have worn them since the 70’s- its grat to see young women with great taste finding the things we loved before

  • Dark-Outfit
  • Y

    Is no one old enough to remember how Europeans would make fun of tacky American tourist who wore white sneakers with EVERYTHING?? Can’t do it!!

  • I’ve been dying to get a pair of the navy blue ones!! I’ve fallen victim! 😛

  • ginny

    Where did you end up finding your size? I’m not having any luck finding a small size.