Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should Doc Marten Stay or Should he Go?


Spotted shift - $2 op-shop
Le Specs reissues - ebay
Doc Martens brogue maryjanes - $3 op-shop

I've got to tell you straight up, I really rather hate Doc Martens - although that wasn't always the case.

As a poverty stricken first year university student in 1990 I wore a pair of plain low lace up Docs (or "DMs" as we used to call them) every single day for a whole year - such was the depth of my desperate yearning for credibility and the shallowness of my shoe collection (three pairs).



I aspired to be like the coolest, sexiest girl at uni who wore her Docs with fifties cotton sundresses, cats eye sunglasses, bare legs and a birds nest of peroxided hair piled on her head (with about three inches of black roots). She had messy (and probably dirty) love affairs, a throaty chuckle (which with hindsight I'm sure she practised at home in front of a mirror) and seemed like she wasn't trying at all. I gave the vintage frocks a shot, but in the end my natural tendencies asserted themselves and I wore my DMs with velveteen hotpants, crocheted catsuits and psychedelic mini skirts. My dalliances were never more than a bit untidy, my laugh was (and still is) an exuberant cackle and I spent my time bouncing around and dancing like a fool and trying awfully hard to work out just what the hell I was all about.



I did always hated the cherry Docs though, and those ones with the yellow stitching, and by the time my mother had a knock-off pair of six hole boots (with horrible little padlocks on them, no doubt some youth has salvaged them from an op-shop now in triumph and joy) I had grown to loathe the very sight of those chunky soles. Eventually the trend waned and Doc Martens went from being ubiquitous back to being worn by glum grunge teenagers, earnest people handing out Socialist Left Weekly outside of train stations, and skinheads. In other words, people who are very determinedly not sexy.



Of course in more recent-ish times lots of gorgeous young things have been clomping around in Doc Martens, but I have been utterly resistant to the revival. Partly due to my ingrained loathing (you try wearing the same pair of shoes for a year and NOT hating them) and partly due to the fact that I know I look kind of dumpy in them. With black opaques and the insouciance (and legs) of an eighteen year old I could get away with the bovver boot look, but I think that particular ship has sailed. So how is it that I come to be wearing this pair of cornish pasty shaped chunksters?



I blame this photo from Jak & Jil, which ignited little flickers of nostalgia somewhere deep inside (those are just like the ones I wore so long ago), and the fact that about two hours after seeing that picture I ran across these shoes and they cost a mere three bucks. Back in the day I had to save for about six months to afford a pair of Docs - and make a three hour train trip to Sydney to buy them. So a heady cocktail (well, more like a college bar happy hour shandy) of fond memories and cheap price tag prompted the purchase, but now I want your humble and not so humble opinions about whether they stay or go.



Points for Staying:

- they are undeniably comfortable, always a plus when there is little dude wrangling to be done;
- $3 is still a bargain;
- if I am suddenly gripped by the desire/need to wear the same pair of shoes for a whole year then these would be hard wearing enough for the job;
- the brogue/maryjane combo is kind of cute and girly, no?
- maybe with a skirt and black tights they'd look ok for a puddle jumping winter's day.



Points for Going:

- I have short stumpy feet, so no matter what, Doc Martens are going to look wide and sort of abbreviated on me (ie. the cornish pasty effect);

- I am not generally a comfort footwear proponent - having been blessed with sturdy flipper feet I have been able to ignore Crocs, Birks, Masseur Sandals and all their orthopedic cousins. Why change now?
- there might just be a kind of minimalist elegance to a pair of plain low lace ups, but hole punched t-bar double strap maryjanes? Not minimalist, not elegant and maybe just way too much going on for an alleged classic shoe.
- I know I always say this in these posts, but there is a very real danger for a person of my vintage wearing a literal interpretation of a trend from my youth - the danger of looking like I haven't ever moved on, that I'm stuck in the early nineties and won't ever leave. Or like I should be standing outside the railway station with a pile of unwanted Socialist Left Weeklies...



Anyhow, what you say - Should they stay or should they go?

xx
Skye
PS. Happy fourth wedding anniversary to me and my husband today - hence the blue spotted frock which is his favourite. I love you baby!

39 comments:

Lavender said...

Oh please stay... and if not send those bad boys north.

E(ileen) said...

I'm appalled mostly because I have a pair very similar, and I got them in 1996 as a birthday present from my father -- and I still wear them -- does that mean I'm stuck in the nineties and won't leave?

Speaking of the nineties my husband's teenaged niece just attended a 90s party and asked me what to wear to it. I was completely baffled -- seeing as I dress like it's the 60s...

ginchyworld said...

Happy anniversary.

I love the dress.

Shoes stay, but then I am a bit of a mary jane and boots afficionado, and these tick both boxes. Hmm, probably not going to do it for you. I love them all the same though.

enc said...

I'll always have a soft spot for that particular shoe. It stirs up many memories for me. So I'll always vote to let it "stay," regardless of shifting trends or changing times.

I love that dress, it's absolutely perfect on you.

WendyB said...

I say stay. They aren't the standard DM look. I wouldn't have known if you didn't tell me. Also, this: "seemed like she wasn't trying at all"...SEEMED is the key word.

Sarah said...

I just found a pair of docs two days ago at salvos. they're the classic, high ankle "daria" pair and i love them - although they are doing treacherous, painful things to my feet.

keep them! where else would they go?

Sal said...

Gotta vote those out. I just can't see them getting much use for you, Skye.

And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-Keep, keep, keep!! They were an ultra cheap bargain, comfy and you always will make them look cute!! Happy Anniversary too!

Anonymous said...

stay stay stay!
they are really cute and don't, in my opinion, carry any of the negative associations of the lace-ups.
also, I happen to think that they make you look all limbs, so there. and didn't you know small feet are a good thing (width doesn't count, only length). please keep them!

K.Line said...

Happy Anniversary!

I'm voting with Sal that they aren't a keep. Of course, you make everything chic, but this look just doesn't do it for me (I too was there the first time). Of course they are practical.

katiecrackernuts said...

Oh frig, where's Claerwen when you need her. I say GO!

Missa said...

I say keep 'em and wear them with a little floral frock and your new denim jacket, which sounds awesome btw, can't wait to see it!

Happy Anniversary!

Thrifted Treasure said...

STAY!!! I had SO many pairs of docs in the early 90s as I was a big fan of "The Cure" and Docs were an essential accessory to my moody, black, pissed off look :-)

kittyscreations said...

Since they were so cheap, I think it doesn't hurt to hang on to them. They may not be the most elegant pair of shoes ever, but I think everyone needs at least one pair of chunky, comfy shoes for those days when they can't bear the thought of heels.

emma said...

You should keep them, I really think a style like them will always be in fashion. I cant believe how dam cheap they were, I can totally relate to saving for months as a teenager then travelling to the city just to buy them. I had the same pair in highschool and I wore them to the death.

Anonymous said...

I say GO. They look kind of old and worn out. It's bad.

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Hammie said...

stay. I think they are lovely and you have the look just right (no dungarees)
I owned a pair in the 90s too. Kind of maroon tan which I wore at country road with my regulation wool gaberdine mini, opaque tights and fitted microknit pullover.
They remind me also of my Bata ponytail school shoes from the late 80's.
Xx

LightStealer said...

Definitely stay!
But I love DMs anyway, despite not having worn them a lot (probably twice!) in the past 5 years or so...

Btw, you're wearing what looks pretty much like the pair of RayBan Clubmaster I was about to get yesterday..! (see post on my blog :P )

Oh, and happy anniversary too :)

L.
http://lightstealerwear.blogspot.com/

red.door.read said...

i say go. from the way you write about them i don't feel you have much love for them.

that dress looks very sweet. happy anniversary.

Home Girl said...

oh dear i'm in the NO NO NO - GO camp. too clumpy. the cornish pastie had me in hysterics. your legs still look fabulous but i rekkon you have about a billion other pairs of much HOTTER shoes. i know docs r so fash right now but i'm pritty sure i'm gunna leave this trend to the 18 yr olds - probably should put a lot more of my questionable wardrobe into this category! the dress however is one of my favs supa sexy. happy anniversary xx

Anonymous said...

Please let it go. They look terrible. I hate them. They kind of make you clunky; seemingly from some army camp where they make you trudge in those with mud and snow. Don't keep it, take it as if I'm begging you. You can keep it but just never, ever wear it. Some things are meant as keepsakes instead.

Eric Jasso said...

Keep 'em. A couple people say they look clunky, but they look adorable!

Anonymous said...

Please, go.

Too young to know the DM craze, but those are just ugly (and a woman with your taste doesn't deserve shoes like those)

Bird Bath said...

Well I can relate to the the DM hype from uni days. But these days I find them kind of 'matronly'. You know how to work a shoe - but this one should go.
Love the dress - hope you had a wonderful anniversary.

katiecrackernuts said...

So, what was the decision? Did they stay, or go?

Skye said...

Thank you for asking Katie!

Well, it seems that, despite a certain amount of controversy, there was a clear majority for "Stay" so I'm going to give the shoes a go. After all, who knows when I might need to march through the snow and mud!

PS. To all the Anonymouses (Anonymice?) out there - please feel free to post "Go" comments under your own name without fear - it's the whole point of the post.

Lady Melbourne said...

This is hard, I saved up for my first pair of DM's when I was 12, and wore them right through my adolescence. I loved them, no, I cherished them. Would I wear a pair today? I think it's like sequined caps, crop tops, bike pants and acid wash- best left in my youth.
LM
x

Make Do Style said...

Oh I've been so busy with my essays I missed the post.
Love love love the dress and sunnies but take the advice of the despot they have to GO!

And a very happy anniversary!
xx

Kt said...

I too saved all my cash for my first pair of DM's. I got my 2nd pair from DH (it was the first thing he brought me for my 17th birthday) I have 3 pairs. My fourth are dead from over use in my teens and I only just threw them last year! Im glad your keeping them skye!

Anastasia said...

please please please let them go...! they look so strange but not in a "wow, shes creative with her outfits" kind of way (instead a "well, the dress is cool but she still has some way to go if shes wearing those shoes" kinda way - not at all attractive. everything else bought cheap = very cute

Sister Wolf said...

YAY for Docs! And you have never looked sexier.

Anonymous said...

Aww, I think (non-racist) skinheads are very very sexy :(

Anonymous said...

You are extremely sexy, in a Merri-anne on Giligans Island sorta way, I say keep the shoes but show the feet next time :)

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Phil said...

If I was your husband, I'd request a few fashion shows before we did the wild thing. As a casual observer, seeing you in some of these outfits is very exciting, especially ones that show your excellent legs!!

azuria said...

I say it depends on whether you own any practical shoes for muddy hikes, and chasing after toddlers in. If not, then keep them!

But if you have another pair of practical shoes- such as sneakers- that you can use for situations that do not lend themselves to prettier footwear, then these should go because they don't do much for you.
They don't look bad, but they also don't look good - in my opinion. They are just sorta 'there'.

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Diceman said...

You are one sexy woman.