Smile Politely

Uggly, Seriously Uggly

I am no fashion guru, but I do like to think that I have some fashion sense. I can thank my brother for this. When we were younger and not living 2,000 miles from each other, he consulted with me on my outfits before I went to school. He explained to me how wearing a brown belt with black shoes can be a sign of incompetence, or possibly a sign of colorblindness. He wouldn’t let me wear pastels after Labor Day (much to my chagrin, since I was huge fan of Miami Vice, and Don Johnson had a proclivity to select pastel shirts). He also advised against braided, leather belts and deck shoes. For such advice, I have so much gratitude for him, and I always will. The last time I saw him, he forced me to tuck my shirt in so that it didn’t inch over my belt. He explained to me that this is how an outfit works: shirt, belt and pants; not shirt, hidden belt and then pants.

Even though he has given me some good advice, I still make mistakes, but not as many as I used to. When I think back about some of the crap I wore, I get so embarrassed. Here is a list of some of my fashion faux pas:

  1. Tight-rolled jeans
  2. Reebok Pump high-tops
  3. Umbros worn over sweatpants
  4. Pleated pants
  5. Stone-washed jeans
  6. Hypercolor shirts (these helped people notice my heat sources)
  7. Cable-knit sweater vests (my friends called me Paul Reiser)
  8. Pleated, stone-washed jeans
  9. Aqua Socks (damn!)

I know that I made more mistakes than these, but unless I can find my old photo albums, I can only imagine. I feel lucky to have survived my adolescence. When I think back about the fashion mistakes that we have made as a society, I can’t seem to figure out why we keep making similar mistakes. Our latest mistake is Ugg boots.

The first time I saw a girl wearing Uggs, I nearly vomited. It was about five years ago in San Diego, and she was walking down the street in seventy-degree weather. She had on aviator sunglasses, a worn t-shirt, a denim skirt and then Ugg boots. They were brown, massive, woolly and most likely sweaty. With each step I imagined her feet farting. “What the hell are those?” I asked my brother. “Those are Uggs and they’re the latest fashion trend out here,” he responded. “No effing way those are fashionable. It looks like she jammed her feet up a pair of groundhogs.” I nearly left my brother’s side to ask the Ugg-wearing girl what she had to kill to manufacture those, but I instead just stared at her with my mouth agape. I told my brother, “Ten years from now, that girl is going to look back on those boots and she will most likely cut her wrists.” I couldn’t recall my brother’s exact stance on Uggs, so I recently asked him his opinion in an email and this is what he responded with:

I think there are things in this world that are so tacky and/or ugly that they become good. Like Janice Dickinson. So, Ugg boots are an excessively mannered type of footwear. They make what are small feet appear larger than life. Such a freaky statement must be monitored. First, they must be clean. Dirty Uggs are the hallmark of slothful people. Second, they must be worn with jeans, preferably tucked into them. If tucked in, they must be a skinny jean. No extra fabric around the knee. Third, to balance the “bottom heavy” appearance these shoes cause, one must balance the weight with an equally dramatic handbag statement. An oversized Louis Vuitton bag is best — classic monogram paired with a brown pair of Uggs. The handbag must not cost less than the shoes. The key is balance; an even better tactic is overpowering the shoes by carrying a $900 Marc Jacobs bag. Fourth, NO SWEAT PANTS, no matter the brand. To wear sweatpants with Uggs is to tell the world that comfort is priority one in your life. And comfort and fashion should not coincide on such a base level. One might as well wear track pants and Crocs or plaid pajama pants and Birkenstocks. These pairings, including the Uggs/sweatpants look, tell the world that you are on the cusp of giving up on life. (Borrowed from Seinfeld, the episode when George wears sweatpants in public,) I am a fan of the ridiculous colored Uggs, esp. lavender. So tacky, yet so great. You lose credibility, but you are already probably at Whole Foods. No one at Whole Foods has credibility. In a decade we will look back on this boot phase as a mistake. Pictures of us in them will be deleted from photo files. But fashion is about risk taking and mistake making. Theatricality is always in style. Just make sure it’s clean and not counterfeit. When in doubt, avoid cameras.

Even though it has been a few years since I first saw Uggs, they are still popular and I can’t figure out why. I honestly think that there is nothing as unattractive as Ugg boots. When a girl or a woman wears Ugg boots, they scream, “Look at me, it’s the summer and I want my feet to sweat.” They also shout, “Look at me, I am lazy.” The insurgence of Ugg boots in and around Green Street makes it hard for me to drive through Campustown. If I do drive down there, I become incensed with rage, because one in ten female students have on Uggs. The Ugg brand has cast a plague over the campus. Seriously, go down to campus and try to keep track of the Uggs and Ugg look-a-likes that you see. I bet you can’t do it. I bet if you go there in the morning, you will see the hungover Ugg wearers; those comprised of the girls wearing Uggs with baggy sweatpants and ratty t-shirts. I would expect Rosanne Barr to wear an outfit like that; not a young woman from Hinsdale or Downer’s Grove.

It would be completely different if there was snow on the ground right now. When you have to walk through inches of snow, then fine, wear Uggs or snow boots, but when there isn’t snow on the ground, what is the point?

I recently looked into the history of the Ugg brand, just to see if they were at all biblical. It turns out that God didn’t cast Uggs on our society. Instead, Uggs were invented in 1978 by a surfer named Brian Smith, from Australia, who wanted to keep his feet warm between riding waves. He moved to California and introduced his product to fellow surfers. Eventually, his idea caught on and now I’m paying for it. I wish that big wave would have crushed him before he came up with the idea, but Mother Nature probably was asleep when he was making them.

I know that my opinion on Uggs isn’t shared by everyone, but a lot of my friends agree with me. Uggs are tacky, unless worn appropriately with tucked-in, designer jeans and a large handbag, as my brother pointed out; however, I don’t even think that is acceptable. I don’t like Uggs and I will not accept them as fashionable. I realize that they technically must be “in style”, because they sell them like crazy, but that doesn’t mean that they will still be in style five years from now.

I tell you what — five years from now, if Uggs are still as popular as they are today, then I will buy a pair. However, I will only wear them in the summer and I will only wear them with cut off jean shorts and a tank top with BLOW ME written on the front of it. That would be hot.

Related Articles