o matter how much you might love your job, it's not all play. Work still involves having to do some actual work from time to time. You know, participate in activities that given your druthers during your own time you probably wouldn't even consider. We've all evolved our own coping mechanisms to carry us through such moments. Bright spots we build into our day. Often taking inspiration from the adage "living well is the best revenge." Fashion and footwear do it for me. We all know people who crawl out of bed and seem to pull on whatever's dangling in their closet on the first hanger they stumble across. Not me. When I get ready to face my day, I brace myself with a visit to the Wall of Infinite Pleasure to pick out something awe-inspiring to put on my feet. Then I build an outfit from the ankles up to make those shoes make sense. Could be something with a heel. Could be a platform. Could be a tall boot. Or a bootie. Or even just a pair of slip-on clogs. But whatever I choose from my hand curated collection, I know it will take me where I need to go to get through the day.
This past week I found myself inspired to channel Pablo Picasso and put together top, sweater, jeans, and boots to celebrate his Blue Period. This is significant because I had long avoided that color in my wardrobe. Call me fussy, but I tend to favor a look in which the colors coordinate. Love my maroon Marlos from Kork-Ease with my maroon and black snake print jeans. Got a red and black marled sweater that looks so fine with black cords and my black Gabby heeled boots from Hunter with red and black laces. I put on a yellow sweater the week before last with black pants and pair of Messeca beauties named Juliana that feature bright blond wood soles. For me, it's a means of bringing harmony to a chaotic world. Or at least a bit of color and style to a workspace that is literally grey and down at the heels. I think my penchant for matching is why I steered clear of denim in my own clothing choices for the longest time. Jeans are blue. And with the tops and knits I'd stocked up on in rust and olive and sand and burgundy and emerald and more, I just didn't have much to wear that would truly pick up the blue in denim. Some of you, I know, would beg to differ. Call me quirky, but I could never embrace blue as a neutral color the way I can black. That's why I chose to keep it at a distance for as long as I can remember.
Until one day….
Well, of course, you're wise enough to know that anything you try to suppress is just going to build up pressure in its containment 'til it bursts forth to express itself forcefully. And it was sometime in the spring of last year that I suddenly found myself inspired to make up for lost time and raid a few closet castoffs on eBay to stock up on all sorts of things in blue denim: jeans, shirts, jackets, skirts, and more. In almost no time, I had an assortment of items to mix and match in all sorts of fun ways. My partner in life's great adventure, Melissa, describes herself as intoxicated by color. And I have to say, her vibrant approach to the world has rubbed off. No longer do I build my wardrobe around my party color, black. Instead, any hue is fair game now. And that's how I happened to find myself head to toe in blue this past week.
The morning's musing on what to wear had led me to my Francis booties from Madison Harding, a high heeled pair in dark blue that I customized by staining the wooden soles dark blue to match. Long stovepipe jeans, a dark teal long-sleeved top, and a sapphire sweater rounded out the look. Blue, blue, blue, blue, blue. I was ready to face the day.
Another way that Melissa has heavily influenced my journey through the world is that she has introduced me to the pleasures of Starbucks. There's one in the basement of my office building, and when I find myself slammed from morning 'til night, it's a definite pick me up to run downstairs and find refreshment. I go there so often, I get a regular chorus of "Hi, Lindsey!" whenever I step up to the register. It's more than just a coffee mill, it's a place where everybody knows my name.
On one particular day last week I found myself standing in line in my indigo regalia waiting to order a Vente Iced Chai (four pumps) to perk up my afternoon. And my bracelets are jangling and my hair is flowing and my earrings are dangling and my nail polish is still quite presentable and I'm breathing sigh of relief that against all odds the day is actually winding down.
When all of a sudden I hear a puzzled woman's voice behind me say to her friend, "Must be a rock star."
Then she added, "It's the only thing I can think of. A rock star."
Ha! I should have turned around and said, "Honey, if you only knew!"
Aldered States of Consciousness
A couple weekends back I interviewed Morten Andreasen, the founder of Scandic Footwear, for Every Clog Has Its Day. If you're a clog wearer worth his or her sawdust, you know that the wood soles of our favorite shoes are often made from alder, a deciduous tree in the birch family that grows in the temperate areas of both North America and Europe. Morten mentions on the Scandic Footwear website that his designs benefit from the medicinal and the magical properties of alder wood. So I had to ask him to tell me more. He sent a PowerPoint presentation in reply, and from it I've excerpted a few highlights.
Alder has always been the timber of choice for clog production because of its homogeneous structure which makes it easy to carve combined with its light weight and low tendency to absorb water. Red Alder is preferred.
In 1781 six farmers in the village of Ry got together and purchased a piece of forest, in order to secure Alder timber for their local clog production. Many local farmers had taken up the art of clog making in the area because it was not uncommon for clog makers to make twice as much money in a day, compared to a day laborer working on a farm. Wherever clog makers were found there were always money and happy days.
In Norse legends March was known as the ‘lengthening month of the waking alder.'
The first woman, Embla, was fashioned from Alder wood, then life was breathed into her by the god Odin .
Alder’s burning properties have always been prized amongst metal workers and smiths. It was known for its hot charcoal.
Alder was anciently renowned as the best wood to use for whistles and pipes. Such was the reputed harmony of the music played on alder pipes that the topmost branch of the alder tree became known as the ‘oracular singing head’ of Bran.
Alder timber is protected against the corruptive power of water: its slightly gummy leaves resist the winter rains longer than those of any other deciduous trees and its timber resists decay indefinitely when used for water-conduits or piles.
The Rialto at Venice is founded on alder piles, and so are several medieval cathedrals. The Roman architect Vitruvius mentions that alders were used as causeway piles in the Ravenna marshes.
Alder bark treated inflammations, rheumatism, and diarrhea.
Bags filled with heated alder leaves helped with chronic skin diseases and burns.
A gargle made from leaves and bark cured mouth ulcers and soothed tonsillitis.
Alder oil and essence resonate with the Muscular System and can relieve stiffness and damp diseases, enabling us to move forward with flexibility and comfort.
Alder helps you face up to the things you've been avoiding.
It also was believed that Alder allowed access into the fiery realms.
Alder tree essence is invigorating, and it also reduces nervousness and anxiety.
Spells to aid success in your business and academic ventures work well at this time of year.
Sow the seeds of your success now.
Alder roots enrich the soil, and its timber resists decay.
When immersed in water it hardens to the toughness of stone.
Well, what more encouragement do you need to spend some time in the company of this wondrous wood? Slip on a pair of clogs today!
A Comfortable Makeover? Really???
Who writes this stuff? Clearly not someone who has actually ever worn a pair of well-made clogs. I suppose if one spends one's life in flats and Vans, the idea of strapping a stiff bit of wood to one's feet may sound like agony. But you and I both know that the feel of wood worn smooth with regular wear is a sweet and pleasurable experience. The concept of the Foam-lined cLOG over at Flogg sounds like it was intended to dress up the flip-flop, not make wood-soled shoes more comfortable. Pardon my pontificating, but I think the advertising copy in this ad from Ideeli entirely misses the point. Hmmph!
Deena & Ozzy Platform Sandal
Our Every Clog Has Its Day correspondent in Australia wrote last week with news about a shoe that had me sitting up and taking notice. It's a chunky number from Deena & Ozzy that appeared in the sale pages of the Urban Outfitters website. And I stress the past tense of that verb "appeared." I went digging via Google so I could send you a link, but the style seems to be gone. At least our fellow footwear fanatic down under scored a pair to enjoy.
A Question from a Fan
Tom H. wrote in to say this blog "rocks." Bless you, Mr. H. I appreciate the compliment.
A lifelong clog fan who has never stopped wearing his favorite footwear, he went on to ask whether I wore clogs in the '70s myself. I'm happy to hold my head up proudly and say yes. Though I've documented my own journey elsewhere on this blog, I'll provide a short synopsis. My first brush with wooden goodness was a pair of blue Olaf Daughters clogs that I bought while in high school. Oddly, I didn't really take to them preferring instead a chunky wood-wedge sandal that I wore almost constantly as an upperclassman. Somewhere in college I came into a black leather open back clog with a black painted sole, and that became my Go To shoe for years. And along the way I also acquired a closed back Båstad design that I paired with skinny cords. And oh, yeah, there was a dressier clog style from Thom McAn that entered my rotation for a time. But most memorably I had a troubled love affair with a quirky style from Bare Traps. The upper and the sole were both a reddish rust color with the wood cut at unusually slanting angles both fore and aft. Up front was an unusual detail: a metal toe cap. It was such an offbeat design that I had a hard time working the shoe into my wardrobe even though I really loved it. Looking back I'm guessing I just purged it.
[Editor's note: photo is of a Zodiac style dating from the '70s.]
Since then I've gotten a more fearless in my fashion, but hey, we all have to start somewhere. But let me turn the question to you my fellow readers. Pop into the Comments and let us all know when you first flirted with clogs. And then when you started going steady.
A Sighting on Etsy
Writes Etsy vendor StatedStyle,
Great vintage platform boots by Sbicca, made from brown leather with solid wood soles. The real deal, these are as authentic as it comes.
To which I can only add, "Yum!"
Remember Madison Harding?
A couple years back I interviewed the principal designers of Madison Harding for a feature here on Every Clog Has Its Day. Though they've never truly been in the clog making business, their fashionable line has included quite a few styles with solid wood soles. Wooden enough to entice me to make a purchase on several occasions. I think my tally earlier today came to three pairs. Quite surprising to me in these more frugal since Madison Harding's designs also come with a hefty price tag. (As in upwards of $200.00 to $300.00.)
But then just the other day, it occurred to me to type their name into the Search field on eBay. And lo and behold, I found a ton of their shoes in my size and plenty of others at significant discounts. I am sorely tempted, I gotta tell you. Beware clicking on the link below if you lack the will power to protect yourself and your bank account.
eBay search for "Madison Harding" in Women's Shoes
Madison Harding Val Womens Size 10 Gray Suede Fashion Ankle Boots
Starting bid: $8.99
Madison Harding Terrapin Wedge Sandal Size 6
Starting bid: $19.99
Madison Harding Womens Brown Platform ZZ 7 M US
Starting bid: $50.40
Madison Harding Coco Womens Suede Platforms Heels Shoes (sizes 6 through 10)
Buy It Now as low as: $17.99
Madison Harding Dione Womens Leather Casual Boots (sizes 5-1/2 through 11)
Buy It Now as low as: $29.99