We Asked 5 Brave Stylists to Make Crocs Cool Again
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If the fashion industry were a dodgeball team, I think most would agree that Crocs wouldn’t even be picked last. Since their 2002 debut — at a Floridian boat show, no less — they have fallen far from public grace. At the height of their infamy, you could find a strange array of famous people, from Leighton Meester and Uma Thurman to George Bush and Iggy Pop, wearing the nautical shoe in tabloids. Designers, including Christopher Kane last year at London Fashion Week, have attempted to revive them at the luxury level but, the idea just hasn’t translated to the general public.
While many shoes aren’t recyclable, Crocs pose an interesting environmental problem. They’re made from Croslite™, a proprietary material made from closed cell resin — meaning they are neither biodegradable nor recyclable with other plastics. You could go the route of corporate donation, but these unloved shoes will just be dumped onto people in the developing world. It seems that the best option really is for humanity to suck it up and wear secondhand Crocs.
Yes. We are proposing environmental fashion martyrdom. Wear aquatic clogs, save the planet. Knowing that this is a hard sell, we asked five stylists that we love and trust the big question: How do we make Crocs cool again?
Describe your own personal style. I'd describe my style as leisure chic with a 90s spin. I'm always on the go, so comfort is my biggest concern, but I love to layer and accessorize — even in this Texas humidity.
Did you have to overcome anything? I think the biggest challenge with styling these Crocs is making sure the outfit didn’t look like I just had a long night out and couldn't last in my heels any longer.
How did you style it? I decided to stay in the same color palette as the shoe and take more of a 90s route. I focused on an all-denim look with pops of red and vintage accessories. I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this look — I might have to apologize to my college roommate for making fun of her purple Crocs!
Describe your own personal style. I would say my personal style is a combination of comfort and the illusion of a chick who is effortlessly cool. ;P My favorite looks are comprised of vintage Levi’s, whether they be perfectly tailored or slouchy bf jeans, super soft, thrashed tees, with a comfortable pair of shoes and some sort of accessory to pull the look together (i.e. a cute vest, statement earrings, a scarf, or — if I’m feeling saucy — all of these!). My wardrobe is 90% thrift (no joke!), with the other 10% generally being newly bought shoes or accessories and clothing from independent designers — fuck mass retailers! Am I right?!
What's the biggest challenge with this pair? Aside from the obvious challenge of styling a pair of Crocs in a cool-ish fashion, I would say the vibrant color. I love the bright orange though! [It’s] such a fall color and I even think it will carry on into the springtime too. So if done right, this pair would be the perfect statement piece.
How would you style it? Honestly, if you would have asked me a year ago if I would ever rock a pair of Crocs, I would have LOL’d. Now I can’t take em off and all my friends non-stop tag me in Croc related memes — it’s a lifestyle for sure and I’m committed!
How I typically wear them / how I think these orange Crocs would kill:
Outfit 1 — I’m all about the white-on-white outfit combo, so I think a really rad look would be a big, thrashed white vintage t-shirt (for me it would be my 90’s Looney Tunes tee I scored in Portland) tucked in or loose and paired with white or even cream flared, high-waisted pant with a slight crop. I think Crocs look best with pants when they are cropped right above the ankle.
Outfit 2 — For a dressier look, I would pair them with a tailored trouser (also with a cropped fit) in navy with a light blue button-up blouse tucked in — added bonus if the button-up has pleated puff sleeves since, ya know, that’s also a hot trend right now! Light blue and orange contrast really nicely, so I think any top in that color would be perfect. Then throw a pair of edgy statement earrings in the mix, and you’re all set!
Describe your own personal style. Very loud, very colorful and very out there. I feel like everyday is like your birthday — you should dress up and have fun with what you’re wearing.
How did you style these Crocs? I kind of looked at the textures, and the colors, and how it made me feel. Like the baby pink, it made me feel very cute, very kawaii. Especially the fur inner sole — it looked really comfortable and kind of made me feel sleepy at the same time — like those big, fluffy slippers that you wear at Christmastime. That is kind of the style I wanted to portray in the look — a sleepy, pastel princess.
Did you have to overcome anything? The only thing that I had to overcome was just that stigma of, you know, Crocs. When you think of Crocs, when you think of Uggs, you’re like, that’s kind of basic. But then you think of the possibilities. The thing I like about Crocs is that you can customize them — that’s the reason they made those little holes. There’s even this designer that added a platform sole to the Croc with light-up thingies on the sides, and it was so cool. The thing about me with clothes is that I don’t really care about the label. I’ve never been after the latest like Gucci bag or whatever. If I see something and it’s cool, I’ll get it. Who cares if it’s Crocs — it’s cute so you just buy it.
Describe your own personal style. I would describe my personal style as minimal with quirky details. I like to stay comfortable in breathable, natural fabrics, but I love the opportunity to spice up my look with a trendy accessory or funky vintage piece.
What's the biggest challenge with this pair? My biggest style challenge with this pair of Crocs is that they are Crocs. Haha. [However,] I do endorse making use of what you have instead of always buying new. If you happen to own a pair of Crocs or run across them in a second-hand shop, then certainly give them a go.
How would you style it? These shoes are bulky by design, and the pattern makes them an attention grabber. Because of this I would go super minimal with the rest of your outfit. Definitely keep your bottoms tapered. I would recommend tights or cropped tailored trousers. This would be a fun item to try with a monochrome look. Wear shades of one color head to toe and then break it up with unexpected footwear like Crocs! All black would be an obvious choice, but I'm envisioning a navy blue or red outfit with this particular pair.
Describe your own personal style. I recently started describing my style as “Colorful, Comfortable, Chic.” I have always incorporated a lot of vintage into my closet, but my style has shifted to focus on more casual outfits since starting to work from home. Some of my favorite pieces include floral culottes, denim smock dresses, and colorful striped shirts.
What's the biggest challenge with this pair? My initial turn-off to these Crocs was the particular leopard print used. It isn't exactly a chic take on the animal print, as the circles are all small and close in proximity. However, I used to treat leopard as a neutral in my closet, so I warmed up to them pretty quickly!
How would you style it? If you squint, the shape of these Crocs isn't all that different from a pair of clogs — an item I wear constantly. Relating the shoe to something else I already wear made styling them quite a bit easier! My go-to outfit with these leopard print babes would be a pair of high-waisted mom jeans with a t-shirt loosely tucked in. I'm usually pro-pattern mixing, but with this leopard print I'm digging the idea of bold solid colors instead of a second pattern. I have a white and red ringer tee that I think would be fun! To top it off, I'd add a bright yellow backpack for some cheerful power clashing.
This piece was originally posted on January 3, 2018. Photography by Mika Locklear.
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