Not at all the granola type, I never even considered Birkenstocks. Even during ’90s grunge, which I wholeheartedly embraced (after all, as a fashion editor in New York, I was at those runway shows), Birkenstocks were not on my style radar. They were shoes worn by people in Oregon. To me, Birkenstocks were the shoes of guys with long hair and thick wooly socks. No thank you.
I’ve stuck to that for the last twenty years, even as the social currency for hikers, makers, and locavores has risen. But now . . . Well, looking at these street style shots of indisputably elegant, chic, and just plain cool women, I’m re-thinking the Birkenstock. Maybe.
Birkenstock sandals hail from Germany, though to me they have a Dutch aesthetic. I must admit its minimalist vibe with these equally streamlined outfits. Should I?
Kate Moss wearing Birkenstocks with white jeans Photographed by Corinne Day for Vogue, 1993
C E L E BS T Y L E
Ashley Olsen in black Birkenstock thongs The Osen twins in Birkenstocks + socks (don’t do it)
R U N W A Y R E V I E W
Céine Spring 2013 | Marc Jacobs Spring 2014
H I S T O R YL E S S O N
The Birkenstock sandal of today was developed in 1964 by Karl Birkenstock, whose grandfather registered the brand in 1774 in Germany, where they are still made. They’re designed with contoured cork and rubber footbeds that conform somewhat to the shape of one’s feet. It became popular in the U.S. among 1960s hippies. In the early 199s the look was revived. (Wikipedia likens that trend, popular among high-school and college-aged Gen Xers, as comparable to the popularity of flip-flops today.) Birks showed up on European runways for Spring 2013. The Birkenstock sandal has now made its way to street style around the globe.
For about a year now I’ve been putting together roundups for the Sunday Boston Globe spread called “The Enthusiast.” I alternate every other week between fashion and home decor items. This season has been particularly fun. While I’m not a huge fan of spring fashions for myself (much prefer to wear gray and black styles topped off with a beanie, but when it comes to pulling together stories, florals and brights are much more fun.
This week I’ve been working on sourcing digital prints. (It’s not always that easy to find the more interesting looks around here; everything I use must be available in and around Boston.) Getting into the spirit, I pulled a bunch of street style images of digital prints, from landscapes to florals to psychedelic blurriness. If you love them, make sure to check back tomorrow for an online shopping guide for digital print dresses.
For a few years now, bloggers have been writing about how fashion editors don’t exactly wear their coats; rather, these slaves to fashion drape said coat over their shoulders. This may well be the influence of Jenna Lyons (see last Friday’s post: “Jenna Lyons’ Signature Over the Shoulders Look“). I wonder if these ladies find it annoying (though at least not painful like heels). Can one make decent progress on a city street wearing a coat as a cape? Or is the coat constantly sliding off? I may just try it out, but not until (if) the weather gets warmer. I’m thinking a full-length Patagonia puffer isn’t exactly the look we’re trying to achieve.
For a few years now, bloggers have been writing about how fashion editors don’t exactly wear their coats; rather, these slaves to fashion eschew sleeves, draping said coat over their shoulders. Jenna Lyons, style muse, creative director of J.Crew, she of the most blogged brownstone, has certainly embraced the look of late. Wearing her coat over her shoulders is almost as much a signature style as her nerdy black glasses. Let’s see how Lyons does it, 15 times.
Do you remember when it was suddenly stylish to wear sneakers with real clothes? (Obviously I’m not referring to the tacky commuter look.) It was back around Spring ’98. I distinctly remember wearing my new silver metallic and navy Nike Airs with my maxi tube skirt for work. It was a thing. I think I was working at Teen People then. I remember walking to work on Fifth, along Central Park.
The girls on Pinterest (that is, models, fashion bloggers, NYC, Parisian, and London chicks) have no problem pairing Nike running shoes with their maxi skirts, minis, overcoats, and leather leggings, and looking a hundred percent fabulous. Not sure I can pull that look off anymore (actually, quite certain I cannot), but they wear their Nike sneakers well.
Here are 15 street style photos of ladies in Nikes. I’ve also got New Balance, Adidas, and Converse street style examples, if anyone’s interested.
When I was in high school, I had to, had to, have a Kelly green overcoat. I went to multiple stores to find the perfect one. I think someone once told me I looked like an old lady. Yes, that was the style. It was the 1980s. That’s all I need to say, right? I’m sure I must have spotted jewel tone overcoats in Vogue. While my friends were being all sporty Connecticut, I was wishing I lived in New York. If you spend the time scrolling through these overcoats in hues that range from cotton candy to robin’s egg blue, you will be treated with a photo I plucked out of a box last night.
These days, I don’t even wear an overcoat. Sure, I have the luscious camel one I purchased in Florence years ago, still pristine, and a black Max Mara oversize cocoon from, hell, I don’t remember. As a work-from-home writer who lives in Boston, I’m way more partial to my ankle length gray Patagonia. But if I did have reason to dress well again, and I lived somewhere a tad less chilly, I might be tempted to dip back into a pastel, neon, or candy colored overcoat. These women wear them well. Here are 22 colorful coats, street style.
Blake Lively, who goes bare under hers.
And, for comedic value, this is me in high school, doing street style, or rather, backyard style, before it was a thing. I loved that green overcoat. Yikes. Let’s not discuss the Angora beret. It was the mid ’80s. That’s all I can say.
Last week we looked at 25 Plaid Shirts street style. Although I’m not the biggest fan of plaid (and especially not tartan), I think most of these women put plaid looks together superbly. I kind of have a soft spot for the Stella McCartney plaid intarsia sweater—it totally reminds me of a baby blanket I had. Which of these plaid looks work for you?
Who are these chic women carrying clutches all day? The same ones subjecting themselves to high heels, I’m guessing. I love a clutch in the evening, if I’m going out to dinner, and will be, um, sitting down. Tucking a clutch, no matter how oversize—and I do adore these slouchy, oversize clutches—is just NOT PRACTICAL. Then again, fashion rarely is. So let’s just admire their looks, and make a pact not to attempt this in real life.