Look, I know it’s cold out. I know you want to shake your fist at the sky and say “fuck you, cold!” You want to make choices! You want to make statements! Which is why you don’t wear Uggs. Because when you buy Uggs and wear them outside – as it would appear women are still doing – the major statement you are making is “I paid $200 for my feet to look puffy because I have no orginality whatsoever.”
Let’s not pretend that anyone is buying them because Uggs are a really flattering design on you, personally. There’s nothing to this design that would accentuate your legs, or show off your dainty feet. There’s nothing to the design that would make you stand up straighter or accentuate your bottom (high heels do this). There’s in fact nothing to indicate that you don’t have square, hideous shoeboxes in place of human feet.
But then, people have a right to wear things that are ugly. Helena Bonham Carter has made a red carpet career out of that, and her doing so seems engaging, and like something that really works for her, despite landing her on Worst Dressed lists contstantly. It’s almost admirable. Because she’s original. Carter seems like she prioritizes what’s unusual or eye catching over what is traditionally considered flattering, or beautiful, or obviously appealing. Traits that we might infer about her from the fact that she does this all the time are that:
She thinks outside the box!
She likes things that are odd!
She’s not invested in traditional ideals about what makes a woman sexy!
Since that is absolutely in keeping with the persona she portrays on screen, that works really well for her. You know what Helena Bonham Carter doesn’t do? Wear things that are obviously ugly because Jessica Simpson wore them with denim miniskirts in 2000.
Because in the mid-2000s, the thing Uggs had going for them was that they were ugly, but original. It was very odd – almost exciting – to puzzle over how women would be hiking through the Alaskan wilderness while wearing a 4 inch long skirt and a tank top. And it was also interesting that in a Carrie Bradshaw influenced age, when Manolo Blahniks was suddenly a household name, women would opt instead to wear deliberately unflattering footwear. It was kind of a “fuck you” to the societal ideals that were cropping up at that time, and that gave Uggs, awful though their design might have been, at least a frisson of novelty. [tagbox tag="uggs"]
Admittedly, in the same way it would be novel if you started walking around with dead water moles on your feet.
Is that a thing people do? Awful people? I don’t know.
But the women you see wearing Uggs today are not wearing them because they want to take an outre stand against popular notions of beauty. They are wearing them because Lindsay Lohan used to wear them 5 years ago, and they are unfamiliar with Lindsay Lohan’s career trajectory.
And don’t pretend that the girls buying them are doing so because they’re “so warm!” All boots are “so warm.” This is the very purpose of boots. And for that matter, socks. The fact that one of Uggs selling point is that is can be worn without socks only seems to reinforce their core disgustingness. Think about how grimy your socks look after you’ve worn them and walked around in them all day. Think about that grime building up over years. That is the inside of an Ugg boot. A goddamn petri dish of foot grime.
And it’s not as though they’re built to withstand the elements. Uggs seem to hold up to the slush and snow of winter worse than anything, given that every time you look at them you can see discolored patches that look as though someone recently urinated on them. This does not happen with most boots, because most boots are not made out of soft, fuzzy fabric. And, of course, they’re not waterproof, so your feet will get soaked, which really won’t help the foot grime situation. Perhaps the idea of wearing them with tank tops isn’t as ridiculous as it initially appears.
Ultimately, though, every time I see a woman wearing a pair of Uggs, I imagine her turning to me and saying “I dropped this money on unflattering boots because I once saw a celebrity wear them and I cannot think for myself. The fact that a celebrity wore them once means they must be good, right?” If you press your ear close enough to Ugg sheepskin, you can hear the desperate bleating of the sartorially insecure. Man up. Be original. Be creative. Be bold. Buy a pair of non-awful boots.