Holy Mule-y, and other ugly shoes taking over the world



(Image: Adriana Gastelum via Lookbook)

In my eyes, mules were the call cry of a woman stuck in the 90’s, or otherwise seen filling the racks at op-shops. They were opened-toe, backless, chunky but surprisingly low heeled monstrosities donned by the most fashionable icons of the time. And now, in keeping with the ‘what goes around, comes around’ idea of fashion, they are back with a vengeance.

Like everything in the fashion world, a recycled trend gets a bit of re-vamp before hitting the runway. The mules of the season are slimmer, higher and sleeker, and paired with a cigarette pant rather than bell-bottoms. While they share some resemblance with their older cousins, a geometric heel or a modern print has them re-invented for the season.

Mules have been added to the growing list of ugly shoes being stomped down streets by the fashion elite, with men and middle-aged women gawking in their wake. If your boyfriend or mother (a child of the 80’s) has ever looked at your feet with eyes that scream WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, you’re on the money. Typified by their anomalies to everything considered beautiful and fashionable by ordinary people, the fashion crowd have taken to the chunky, high tread, plastic fantastic shoes with gusto, resulting in copies filling our high street shelves.

This sudden bout of fashion amnesia is thanks to the trend insidiously creeping its way from the streets of the big apple. They call it “norm-core”, but it is easily mistaken for daggy. Essentially the trend is categorized by how “anti-fashion” it is – the key is to break every fashion rule made in the last twenty years. While it was once fashion suicide to wear jeans and runners, tracksuit pants outside the home, bumbags around your waist, now it is the epitome of cool.

The question that arises then, is what is next for fashion? In a time where even the fashionable is considered unfashionable, where fast fashion is making and breaking trends in a matter of months, where will the runway lead next season? In the never-ending race to design the next-big-thing, buy the next-big-thing, and then discredit the next-big-thing for ever being cool in the first place, there is one thing that is certain – there will be years and years to cringe over photos of yourself in the future.


Printed in City Journal 2014 Edition (May 2014)

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