f I'm going to get a proper post put together from scratch, I'm going to have to start earlier than half past midnight of the day it's supposed to be online already! What can I say? It was that kind of Thursday. Just ask my fiancée. I tried to have a phone conversation while driving both to and from my Bruce Springsteen cover band rehearsal, and the vagaries of cellular technology conspired to make our connection drop out at least five different times. "Unh, unh, unhh!", I hear the universe scolding. "You're not supposed to be enjoying yourselves that easily!" Then I'd pick up the phone and dial again, and we'd laugh about it. Laughter is the best thing for it. When life gives you lemons, make limoncello bars. (I know it's a Betty Crocker recipe I linked you to, but the one with Emeril Lagasse's name on it over at foodnetwork.com only called for 2 Tbsp of limoncello. Those cooks in the Crocker kitchens are dumping a 1/4 cup of the stuff into their dessert. I think I'd rather try their recipe!) So here at the tail end of a not entirely satisfying day, I'm cutting a corner or two and getting myself to bed sooner rather than later. Since it is a Guy Day Friday, it crossed my mind to feature the very first GDF post ever. What a long way we've come since then, no? And what a lot of great shoes we've added to our wardrobes! I think I'll celebrate at the end of this day with a little toast to the community that has made this blog so much fun to be a part of. Where're my liqueur glasses? I'm suddenly in the mood for some limoncello!
Guy Day Friday: The (pardon the expression) Maiden Voyage
(originally published January 7, 2011)
No two ways about it, the recent posts on Every Clog Has Its Day about men's clogs (here and here) have inspired some lively discussion, lots of activity in the Comments, and quite a few personal e-mails. It only makes sense to devote an occasional post to the topic. And I think there might be just enough shoes (and interest) out there to have that occasional post show up on a weekly basis. So allow me to introduce a regular new feature on this blog. Together we'll see if I'm right (about the shoes and the interest). And hopefully we might just push back the frontiers of men's fashion a bit.
For this initial edition, allow me to share a few notable items that some of my male readers have sent my way.
Blogger Frederik Sisa (of The Fashionoclast) had quite a number of worthwhile insights to share on the topic of men and clogs. When I originally asked for his thoughts on whether men in general think of clogs as women's footwear, he offered the following:
I don't know if the issue is so much that men find clogs to be a little too femme as opposed to men reflecting broader cultural attitudes. Clogs in general tend to be the black sheep of the shoe family, even among women. Karl Lagerfeld's use of clogs in his Chanel Spring/Summer 2010 collection went a long away to changing how people view clogs, but it remains to be seen how long the love affair will last. Men, I suspect, won't generally be influenced by the ebb and flow of trends...which brings me to the more critical second attitude: as a whole, society "fetishizes" women's feet. It's not simply that there is a dizzying number of means with which women can adorn their feet (e. g., shoes, jewelry, nail polish) and men's options tend to stay close to the simple and practical with a few refined designs here and there—it's that women have more fashionable and socially acceptable opportunities to "show off" their feet (and what they put on them) than men do. Whether at the beach or on the red carpet, on the street or in the office, women can bare or conceal their feet as they see fit. Men, however, are limited by societal norms that associate [the exposed foot] with casual relaxation. A man exposing his feet simply doesn't fit into cultural notions of formal, even elegant menswear.
Additionally, Frederik observed,
I do feel that the barrier for men owning/wearing clogs is pretty high given that the choice starkly boils down to that traditional design in black or brown...or nothing at all. Since the traditional design only pairs well with certain kinds of clothes, it becomes limiting in trying to achieve a more interesting personal style. And for men who don't find the traditional design appealing or workable in their wardrobe, well, there aren't really many options.
As for his own taste in wooden footwear:
I've attached a photo of my new Audubons. I know you're very familiar with the Troentorp brand, but I thought you'd appreciate the pic, however grainy my cell phone camera is. Interestingly, they've received admiration from someone who doesn't typically like clogs.
Reader GL wrote in to mention that the long awaited men's line from Swedish Hasbeens is indeed on the horizon. Many men have apparently been clamoring for these inventive clog designers to make their jodhpur boots available in larger sizes and I can certainly see why. This style could definitely see on guys' feet. But even though the men's line has been hinted at for over a year, there's been nary a word on the Hasbeens website. But now GL tells me he's received a message from Stockholm stating
Yes we will introduce them in our new AW 2011 collection, they will be available in aug.
I think a baritone chorus of "hooray" would be in order about now. Though you'd better start saving your money, guys. The Hasbeens clogs are not cheap.
Meantime, reader Dave wanted to share a couple images of his current wardrobe faves. I have to agree with his assessment that men's shoes "have no style or fun to them at all." When it comes to that side of the shoe store, my own eyes usually glaze over as I walk by. Dave, I feel your pain. Happily this avid footwear fan has a strategy in place:
Yes, when going to a formal affair I wear my dress loafers with my coat and tie. But when going casual I wear my clogs and or boots with jeans; sometimes even tucking in my jeans to show off the footwear. Most of the women I hang around with love my style and actually encourage me to buy and wear the really cool boots nad clogs. (just need to find one who is available to date. lol)
While Matt, another male reader, is contemplating making his own journey across the footwear gender boundary. He spotted a couple of clog styles on the Payless website, both of them notable for being available up to a size 13. The faux fur cuff on the boot can be worn folded up, and in that style I can easily picture this style on a guy in a pair of long jeans.
UPDATE: Matt wrote to set my record straight:
I have been across the footwear gender boundary for quite a while, as all my footwear is women's, even if all of it is not feminine. The vast vast majority is not heeled, though, partly because I am a bit leery of being seen out and about in them (mostly by people I know and work with as this area of the country is not known for being tolerant) and partly because I have always preferred casual flats--I sit pretty much alone in that area it seems!
For men who prefer more traditional clogs and clog boots in particular, Zoltan wrote from Hungary to suggest the berlin-clogs.de webshop (which has its American counterpart as clogs-usa.com). They craft their styles in sizes from 35 to 47. I've been meaning to feature them for some time, but when Zoltan contacted me back in December I was inspired to include them on Clogs: The List as well as give them a mention here.
Then, Werner offered his observations from Denmark:
While I haven't counted them, I probably have more than 40 pairs of clogs with open or closed backs, clog boots and wooden sandals by now. Lately, I have been wearing clogs a lot in the cold and snowy conditions as they hold up much better and with significantly more comfort than other shoes. Occasionally, I switched to leather boots with socks, but usually returned to clogs on bare feet quickly as the wooden bottoms just keep my feet a lot warmer and drier. And you can't beat them in the office, because one can slip them on and off easily.
My sentiments exactly!
And shame on me if I don't highlight some of the supportive comments from my female readers. Laressa voiced her support for the two different crimson clogs that men in Illinois and Alaska styled for us on Christmas Eve.
Love the male readers who are rockin' the red clogs! May you continue to be trendsetters. Kudos.
While Melissa chimed in to note that
Lest we forget: Louis XIV of France ushered in the reign of the modern high heel, and royalty there and elsewhere wore RED heels—on otherwise other-colored shoes) so that lesser mortals instantly knew to whom they must show fealty.
I join with them to once again acknowledge our brethren in red for their exquisite taste in footwear! Dudes, you're in good company!
[On my feet as I blog: I need a photographer on staff. Armed with only an old school iPhone, it is nearly impossible to give my readers the well composed photographic experience I would like to provide. My new Romy boots from Kork-Ease have been paired with an all black outfit (with corduroy pants that look inexplicably blue in this image) and a copper pendant. Try squeezing all that into a frame plus a cat! It's not easy if you're taking the picture yourself.]