Ugg boot trend stomps all over rules of fashion and taste

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Ah, the lexicon of contemporary fashion. There are ankle-length skirts, which stunt the growth of about half of all women who wear them. There are denim jackets, which make all but the most proportionate torsos appear boxy. There is even a comeback of skinny jeans, which expand the girth of 90 percent of women’s legs, while implicitly evoking a desire for the re-emergence of the words “rad” and “tubular.” (I, still, am a fan of all ’80s trends. Really.) But none of these awkward fashion trends, not even drawstring sweatpants with polyester patches across the knee, irk me like the non-conformity of Ugg boots.

And by non-conformity, I don’t mean in terms of style. I mean in terms of fit. As in calves, ankles, and feet. The human body is what clothes are supposed to cater to. The Carnegie Mellon student body, which suffers under unfortunate gray weather, chooses even more unfortunate footwear options for these perilous winter months.
First of all, camel brown: Really? Camel brown is almost the color of feet, but either too dark or too light or too faded to really match. And rough suede as a material choice? Hey, let’s make a non-supple fabric that feels like dry skin in the wintertime!

In addition to what Ugg® Australia calls their signature “Antique Light Chestnut” color (a.k.a. a last-minute excuse for a mix-up between camel and pure evil), these clunky boots are showing up all over campus in such colors as sea-foam green, fluorescent lavender, and dusty light blue. While they all are lovely hues (minus the fluorescent lavender), should sheepskin really be these colors? I would be absolutely terrified to visit that acid trip of a farm.

Even more important than the color or material of footwear, however, is its fit —its relationship to the human body. Boots emerged as a form of foot protection meant to seal the foot against wet rain and dirty snow, support and protect the ankle against the elements, and be suitable for long walks along crooked sidewalks and pot-holed city streets. Boots did not emerge as a footwear structure meant to be a burden: heavy, overly rigid in form, and louder than a fire-engine red slicker. Instead of drawing the material in and the eye toward the pivotal points of the foot — the toe area, the ankle area, and the calf area — Ugg boots start with a boxy shape around the toes and never really change. There is no tapering around the ankle or the calf, and the women wearing them appear to have stumpy half-camel-half-evil mutants for feet. Ugg® Australia by Brian Smith, women are curvy! Give us some shape!

Ugg boots are certainly not the only example of a mass-produced clothing trend that focuses more on marketing and popularity than the real purposes behind designing clothing and footwear. Diane von Furstenberg’s infamous 1970s wrap dress flatters only the tallest, thinnest of women, but continues to influence millions of other designs. And platform sandals are fabulous, yes, but absurd. That kind of height and lack of support around the ankle is nothing but a recipe for a trendy disaster. But boots are not strappy sandals or cocktail dresses. They should nurture and protect, not create pop culture conformists and extremely clunky walkers out of their wearers. Uggs also feature product names like “Venezia,” “Firenze,” “Milano,” and “Roma.” Is this Australia or Italy? Has suburbia’s style gone horribly wrong? Uggs scream ‘identity crisis.’

This identity crisis carries over to an issue of appropriateness in wearability. Far too often, I see women pairing an über-short denim mini skirt with Ugg boots. Who said this was a good idea? Are your thighs and your ankles in two entirely different climates?

Even better (or horribly, horribly worse) than the typical Ugg boots are the new furry monsters decorating shoe departments nationwide. The new Ugg boot is none other than the disturbing “Fluff Momma.” I kid you not. FLUFF MOMMA. What a ridiculously awful, overpriced joke.

The decadent “Fluff Momma” boot features three inches of stringy, fleecy fun. At mid-calf, its circumference is 13 inches – wide enough for at least seven more legs to fit inside its fluffy, hollowed-out monster-leg shape. The best part of this atrocity is that a single pair costs no less than $300, which is probably the same amount you spent on books this semester. To pass a class or to become a half-furry mutant? It’s really a toss-up.

The act of encountering people willing to wear such boots is not even what scares me the most. Not even close. What I’m truly scared of are the colorful amputee mega muppets hobbling around somewhere. Whoever stole the lower legs of those black, cornflower blue, natural, orchid, and pink monsters is going to seriously pay.

So please, consider this a grave warning. Stay warm, yes. Don’t slip on the half-inch layer of slush glossing every outdoor surface, of course. But even more important: Retain your individuality. Choose footwear that fits! Choose footwear you trust! Avoid the plague of Uggs and the amputee muppets that follow.

And never, ever wear chunky boots with a denim skirt. Seriously, just don’t.