Sunday, April 22, 2007

Five Men's Fashion First Impressions: It's a shoe. Made out of barkdust. What do you want me to say?

When I first saw this pair of Christian Louboutin slingbacks, I was...intrigued.

"Oh, that clever Christian!" I mused, "look how he has taken the cork heel trend to its delightfully ironic limit and made a whole shoe that looks like it's made of cork! What a brilliant meta commentary!"

But then I continued reading Saks Fifth Avenue's description, and discovered that doesn't just look like cork, it is cork. And some damn expensive cork too: $660 to be exact. I mean, theoretically, with a slab of cork, a pen knife, and a lot of time, I could craft myself a pair of these babies (in fact, maybe the designer should market a Make Your Own Louboutins! kit that contains instructions and the aforementioned items and price it some steal of a deal like $300).

Okay, yeah, so maybe whenever I see, like, a ceramic bowl or a painting, or a houseboat, I scoff, "Psh! Why would I buy that? I could make that!" and then I go home and don't make it because, turns out, I don't have the tools or the skill or the time or the motivation, and then I get kind of sad that I didn't buy it because I secretly really wanted it but I can't abandon my self righteous I-could-make-that kick now so I just resign myself to living a life without joy.

But let's pretend for a moment that my "I could make that!" attitude is not a sad truth but actually a deeper observation--so maybe I couldn't really make these shoes, but if it looks like I could make them, I'm not sure I want to pay triple digits for it. I think this was my problem when assymetrical hemlines were all the rage. As a completely incompetent seamstress, all my attempts at shortening skirts or dresses accidentally came out looking like very purposefully crafted handkerchief hems. Naturally, I was vehemently against the clothing that looked like this on purpose.

After roiling in my own shoe confusion for awhile, I thought, if I'm this painfully baffled, I wonder how the men would feel about these? So I asked them:

Brother, age 12: (Confused) They look like that kind of wood that's like a bunch of bark chips glued together. And they only have a little red on them. All shoes should have a lot of red on them, cuz red is my favorite color. People should acknowledge that I have a favorite color.
(Jesus, someone's got some issues.)

Brother, age 17: It's a shoe. Made out of barkdust. What do you want me to say?

Brother, age 20: Good luck matching an outfit to these! Also, I cannot recall any point in my entire life when I have even noticed that any other person was wearing shoes. Much less actually looked at them. So I really don't understand this female shoe thing.

(Okay, yeah, these seemed to bring up some issues for all of my brothers.)

Boyfriend: Hmm... Hmm... Love cork. Love the shoe style. But the two don't mix.
(I've dated the boy for three years and I had no idea he loved cork. I didn't even know a person could love cork. It seems kind of like loving drywall or something, although if you love cork, that's totally cool. I might even date you.)

The Father: Huh. (Studies them intently, stroking his chin) It looks like chip board...secondary wood waste or something. And while they look marginally functional, they don't look anywhere close to being worth $660. Cork. Pfffttt. Big deal.

I've gotta say amen, Dad, amen.


mary said...

i do that exact same "i could make that!" thing. naturally, i rarely do. recently a friend and i were in santa cruz and our whole weekend consisted of looking through all the over-expensive (admittedly cool) local crafts stores, proclaiming over and over, "we could make this! we just need wire and a couple slabs of wood and a few pounds of hemp!"
and so we ended up not buying ANYTHING because the whole time we were so indignant that we could do it ourselves.

RachelP said...

I think your brother may be thinking of particle board, and please, please don't ask me how much I know about particle board and/or wood products in general.

Rachelle said...

I am such a fan of these "ask the men" posts!

Unrelated, I have a quick request for advice. I have just bought a pale pink, ballerina-esque dress for a formal and I'm not sure how to style it. I never know what color accessories go with a colored dress (I'm a big fan of black dresses so almost any shoes match!) I'm a senior in college so I'm trying to get a sophisticated look rather than a matchy prom thing. I would appreciate the help!

Ooo and I hope another Mad Libs is in store because I have participated in both and they are hilarious!

maya said...

I do the whole 'i could totally make that at home' thing too. I think you could maybe ask your boyfriend how someone can love cork. I really don't get that. It's not that I have anything against cork. I just don't get what there is to love.

Fashionyou's Molly said...

=] I quite like them..!!
But i could equally go out with slabs of wood on my feet..
Ah well.
Love the blog

AppleDiva said...

We are in a DIY culture. Martha shows us how to make hats with feathers and twigs, if we only had our own glue guns, how to make stencils and other unnecessary stuff with glitter and tissue paper. TV Shows show weekend warriers doing their own renovations without any help from a contractor or interior designer. You were almost sucked into the DIY culture, but you have not caved in. So do not feel sad that you did not buy the cork shoe, but pity the women who fell for the DIY Look.

ThisNext Blog said...

I saw that cork mess too! No need for those to cost what they do.

Jamie said...

sooo i like them a lot hmmm

priya said...

Check the header pic here... Elle says those Nine West shoes are $135. Still spendy but not near as much as the CL. xoxo

Ana said...

I love cork....LETS DATE!

HAHAHA that part made me laugh so hard.I heart you Winona.

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