When I was eleven or so, I was super into a few ska bands. Namely, Save Ferris. I used to listen to them constantly with my friends, who would then take me to ska shows I could actually go to locally (since SF resided in Orange County which I moved to some years later, long after my ska phase was over, sadly). They were super fun and my parents actually let me go to them because they’d heard that ska music involved brass instruments — therefore, those shows must be drug-free and will have seats and probably hors d’oeuvres — but I never really understood the whole checkerboard print obsession. Nevertheless, being the obviously original person that I was, I decided to get a pair of checkerboard shoes anyway.
They were checkerboard oxfords, which in retrospect definitely sounds weird (and they were). At first I liked them, but then I started realizing how wide they made my feet appear and how my eyes would start crossing if I looked at them for longer than a few seconds. I wound up trading them with a friend for platform sneakers and never looked back. But now, it seems, I must.
Why? Because suddenly, checkerboard print is a trend again. Because of stupid Louis Vuitton and several other designers, checkers are now “a thing” that celebrities are loving. To be fair, I think that the print looks pretty cool on the runway, but let’s be honest: many, many garments that come down runways do not look good on people outside of that environment. But stars like Kerry Washington, Jessica Alba, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and Gwen Stefani (actually, that one makes sense) have all been spotted lately with checkerboard print dresses, coats and rompers. The only one I’ve liked so far, though, is Dunst’s which I think is primarily because of its excellent construction and the minimal accessorizing that accompanies it.
For the most part, though I find that while all these celebrities look gorgeous, the print itself just about always falls rather flat. This is a bit strange when you consider how much movement a pattern like this has when stared at. And even more unfortunate is that these are usually not in particularly flattering cuts and seem to often be made using stiff material, making the design somehow both severe and childish at the same time.
I mean, if you’re going to wear a silly trend, at least make sure you commit, amirite?
But, it seems that this trend is going to be here for a little while (hopefully it won’t outstay its initial welcome quite as grotesquely as peplums and neon have lately), so I suppose I have to break out some Save Ferris and pretend everybody wearing checkerboard is just secretly really, really devoted to ska. Or I’ll just deal with it. Either way.
Photos: Winston Burris/WENN.com, FayesVision/WENN.com, Guzer.