So I did. And I called it Every Clog Has Its Day.
August 9, 2009
You Gotta Start Somewhere!
I've been a fan of clogs and other wooden soled shoes for as long as I can remember. Thank goodness for the internet. It's so convenient to have so many cool and creative styles just a mouse click away. It wasn't long before it dawned on me that I could be saving some of those images to my computer to dream over and covet whenever I wanted. And it costs so much less than buying every pair that catches my eye! Just over a month ago, a good friend saw my photo collection and got me thinking seriously about creating a "clog blog" of my own. This web site is the result of that conversation.
Needless to say I have no shortage of images to share. What I don't have is permission to use most of the shoe pics I've been drooling over. But fortunately, there's a good number of photos that I took myself. And a fair number of other shoe fans and eBay sellers who've been graciously willing to allow me to publish their shots here. A big thank you to all the supporters I've run across in my start up phase. I'll be linking to your auctions as your pics get put to use.
Which brings me to the very first image: a fabulous pair of shearling lined Miu Miu clogs. Miuccia Prada created her side brand to cater to those with younger, less expensive tastes. Of course, expense is relative. In this case, “less expensive” means only $300.00 instead of the usual $450.00 range of the Prada line. Thank God for eBay...where I snagged this pair for around half the original price.
August 12, 2009
High-Heeled Clogs 101
I have some friends who blanch at the sight of clogs like these. Just a glimpse of a heel that high brings a spasm of pain to their knees and a dull ache to the small of their backs. (I can hear my friend Moira telling me a "been there, done that" tale.) Which is truly a shame. The sensation of rocking through the day on a pair of well made clogs is one my life's most enduring pleasures. I hate to think of anyone missing out on all the fun. And when that pair of clogs comes with a killer heel and a sensuous leather upper, the day doesn't get much better.
Suffice it to say, fit, feel, and fashion are paramount. In the fit department, I learned my lesson years ago when I tried to will my way through a workday in boots that were a size too small. The blisters I brought home took a month to heal. And even though clogs are much more forgiving when it comes to how much foot you can stuff into a finite amount of leather, I know now not to press my luck.
Feel is an essential part of the clog wearing experience, too. The sensation of having a chunk of sturdy birch or alder attached to your sole is best accompanied by the supple caress of fine leather over your instep and around your toes. It's a feeling akin to slipping on a well-made glove or a shrunk-to-fit pair of jeans. The shoe is no longer something you wear--it's become a part of you.
And as for fashion, well, the benefits of that don't need to be discussed here, do they?
I saw these Antonio Melani high-heeled clogs online the other day and found myself thinking about the way certain shoes bring the three ideals of footwear together for me. I'm sure this pair would have provided sore temptation had I run across it in a store. The maker has dubbed this model Pacific (which I can certainly relate to my own peaceful experiences poised in a comparable pair). The color they have described as Faience which is a French word for earthenware pottery (I'm loving the vessel imagery that conjures up). And the heel is but a trifling 4". Well, one can't spend all one's time peering down from 5" above the earth.
These images are courtesy of eBay seller monkeysuitvintage who I think did a wonderful job capturing the inviting suppleness of the soft leather upper.
September 11, 2009
These Shoes Scream “FUN!”
Believe it or not, I actually recall seeing this oversized Famolare style on one of my local shoe store's shelves when it first came on the market years ago. How long ago was that? Well, it's been awhile, but as I recall women had the vote and TV sets were in color. We're talking my college days, and that's the only hint I feel comfortable giving. This pair was just so out of the box, over the top different I couldn't take my eyes off them. I wish I'd asked if they had them in my size. But I recognized with the wisdom of a young adult with limited funds that I would probably never wear them. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered these Famolare clogs were still in circulation thanks to eBay. I nabbed a bright red pair that wasn't even in my size just so I could put them on display in my kitchen to add some color. Happily, a friend will occasionally pick them up and put them on so they don't feel they've reached the end of their useful life. But you have to admit, they are indeed the Cyndi Lauper of the clog world: they're so unusual.
I have to agree. It certainly would take a woman with a distinctive sense of style to pull them off. According to eBay seller ghandi who's offering this denim covered pair, there was at least one such woman on the planet. She was a classy lady, a world traveler, and someone who was "always ahead of the fashion curve". Though I think the greatest praise is ghandi's reference to her as a "cool auntie.” We should all be so lucky to have one!
God bless her for her adventurous spirit. You go, girl. And thanks for making this trip down memory lane possible.
November 12, 2009
Clog Boots: Clogs Designed with Winter in Mind
As much as I love clog boots, I know this will be the first in a series. Yesterday I posted about a pair of Kenneth Cole clogs. That got me reading a bit about the man behind the brand which in turn led me to want to post about another pair of his shoes today. In an era when big business and corporations are tarred with the brushes of greed and short sightedness, I have to take a moment to celebrate Kenneth Cole's unique vision. Check out some of the ways according to Wikipedia he's marched to a different drum:
• Since 1985, Kenneth Cole has been openly involved in publicly supporting AIDS awareness and research. He is considered the first in the fashion industry to do so.
• He uses fashion as a medium to promote socially conscious ads to help fight various causes from AIDS to homelessness.
• He has donated proceeds to such organizations as Mentoring USA, amFAR, and Rock the Vote.
Then there's this brave stand that he took:
Kenneth Cole's socially conscious advertising for the causes that he champions can be somewhat controversial but are always meant to stir positive change. One such example was his campaign for World AIDS Day in 2005. He designed T-Shirts for the campaign which were sold at such stores as Barneys New York, Scoop, and Louis Boston. The messages on the shirts stated either, "We All Have AIDS" or "I Have AIDS." Cole created the shirts in hopes that those with or without AIDS would wear the shirts, to help diminish the stigma attached to the disease. Cole stated, "There is a legend of the Danish king, Christian X, who, during World War II, when Hitler insisted all Jews publicly wear a yellow Star of David, would wear the star himself, hence making it difficult to differentiate who was Jewish. This is kind of like that, hopefully."
I love it. Makes me really wish this pair of Kenneth Cole Furnow boots were available in my size. I'd wear them twice as proudly!
(Photos courtesy of eBay seller neo.retro.)
June 22, 2010
This Week, The Day After Monday Is Fluesday!
If you've ever glanced at the feet of passersby to check out what styles they're rockin', you've probably on more than one occasion been dazzled by the madly inventive designs that have been flying under the radar out of the Pacific Northwest for close to 25 years. Canadian by birth, John Fluevog (yes, there really is a John Fluevog) has made his name supplying subversive shoes to creative types and other adventurous individuals from his world headquarters in Seattle, Washington. I've been a fan as long as I can remember, and was sorely tempted when Madonna sported his Munster pumps in her movie Truth or Dare.
But the style that inspired me to take the plunge was the totally left of center Grand National...which has apparently been voted "Shoe Most Likely to Need Hosing Off." Available in oxford, mid-calf, and knee-high, this icon for shoe fetishists sports a totally confounding cloven heel.
Talk about inspiring double takes. Wearing is believing, and I strutted my stuff on many occasion in a pair of these (in black leather, natch). As they so eloquently put it in the unofficial Fluevog worshipper's blog, Flueblog,
The classic black knee-high was the way to go. This is the boot for family reunions, church socials and work functions. This is the boot that warns “No, you don’t want to ask me about my personal life, my answers would break your mind.
I have to confess mine were always a bit snug for me, and they remain the lone shoe I've ever owned that I could never wear more than two hours without being forced to gnaw my feet off at the ankles. Now I've bequeathed them to my daughter (and her one size smaller feet) with the strict injunction that she never loan them to anyone! I've read too many stories online of shoes that were borrowed never being returned. And since this style is currently posted on eBay for $600+ (and that's just the black satin version), I'd definitely like to keep these heirlooms in the family.
But I'm not just rambling on about the amazing John Fluevog to see myself write. All this is merely introduction on the way to highlighting a beautiful intersection I've discovered of John's "Mad Cobbler" mentality with the world of wooden wonder that you and I inhabit. Regular reader Melissa had my jaw dropping at the beginning of June with news of some "faboo" (as she described them) new shoe styles from the retailer who purveys "Unique Soles for Unique Souls." Unfortunately her choice of adjective didn't go far enough! Feast your eyes if you think your pocketbooks can bear the temptation.
Thank you, St. John, for providing us mere mortals with so many ecstatic experiences over the years. Hallelujah! World without end! Amen!
As my regular reader put it so aptly, "As soon as I saw them, they said, 'Orange you glad to see me?' and I just sighed."
January 13, 2011
This Must Be the Place
It's always good to look back and see how far you've come in life. I spent my "Wonder Years" in a medium sized midwestern town firmly situated within the Bible Belt. My mother often insisted I should get out and see the world, rightly suspecting that if I went to college in state, I'd never leave. (And she's probably right. Most of my friends who stayed there after high school are still there.) So at the instigation of my parents I came to Chicago for college, and lo and behold, I ended up making a career here. Looking back I can still picture the sweet men and women I knew as a child. Though from my vantage point as a decidedly urban individual, I'm frequently surprised at how "rural" those adults I knew seem to be. And what else should I expect. It was a town of big hair and cowboy boots and folks who often said, "Y'all."
Just the other day I was poking around on Google Maps to take a look at the town I knew so well from 3rd grade through senior high. Don't you love that Street View feature? It's a chance to see places you might never have the time or money or inclination to visit. But I didn't expect the experience to deliver such a "you can never go home again" moment. Typing in the address of our family's home during my grade school days, I recognized the house the moment it came up on the screen. What I wasn't prepared for was the current owners. Someone had built a high wooden fence on the west side that ran some way into the front lawn. I'm guessing good fences make good neighbors. On the east side, this modest three bedroom ranch-style now boasts an enormous deck...in the front yard. Meanwhile the two car garage has three vehicles parked in its driveway: an older sedan with at least one visible flat tire and two pickup trucks. In the street in front of the house, a third pickup truck (also with a flat tire) can be seen. The curbside mailbox is adorned on top with what appears to be a silver painted carburetor or other automotive part. But the crowning glory is the rather tattered sofa situated on the front lawn.
And people wonder why I'm reluctant to tell them where I'm from.
But I can't disparage my roots. That, after all, was the place where I discovered clogs for the first time. And rock music. And my creative potential. And a number of other things that give me a lot of pleasure each day. And though we can always entertain ourselves with endless permutations of "what if", the bottom line is to do the best with the hand you are dealt. And in my case, I have to say, I'm definitely doing all right. The tires on my Toyota seem to hold air. My sofa can be found in my living room. And on Google Maps, my current address reveals a sweet building on a sunny, leafy suburban street in northern Illinois. What's more, although it's not evident in the photo, I know there's a closet up on the top floor that houses a ton of fun shoes to wear. It's a good place to find myself these days...and absolutely wonderful to be able to call it home.
[On the feet here as I blog: I put my Francis boots from Madison Harding into action earlier in the week. Even though I stained the wooden sole the same color blue as the leather upper, I never got around to wearing them much. But then I got a new blue sweater, and that called for a footwear wardrobe rotation rethink.
Also making an appearance, a couple of styles that are not in the clog camp by any stretch. I took the plunge and tried the Miista platform bootie in a 41, and thanks to my trick with the heel lifts, I got them to just fit. So I borrowed a pair of legwarmers to break up the grey of the jeans and the grey of the booties. Meanwhile, my partner on the love seat is sporting a comment inspiring pair of Ai for an Ai patent, leather, and suede lace ups from Matiko. Life is too short for ordinary shoes, you know?]