What a croc

Lezlie Lowe says Crocs have worn out their public welcome.

illustration Jesse

Crocs weigh less than a toasted bagel. They’re cheap like borsch, don’t grow mould, come in delicious colours and—here’s a little secret—they’re machine washable (no tumble drying, please—I shrunk my first pair two sizes when I accidentally tossed them in with the dark load last Christmas).

These bulky, foamy kinda-clogs aren’t just our current summertime footwear must-have. Crocs are the perfect shoe. But for god’s sake, people, will you have a little self-respect and stop wearing them in public?

I’m guilty here too, Jesus yes. I wear them to meetings downtown and shopping at the mall. (It’s temporary; I need a new pair of sandals—comfortable but not too lesbo, durable but not too Teva, easy to wear but not too hippie.) Crocs are my in-the-meantime, out-in-the-world shoes. But when I wear them, I feel like I’ve accidentally left the house in only my underwear. Like something’s amiss.

And it is. Crocs are for the beach, the pool, lawn mowing and doing laundry. They are dog-walking shoes. Clam-digging shoes. They aren’t for downtown sidewalks. This is simply not on.

My beef? (Lida Baday and the preloved ladies, please stop reading.) I fear Canada’s historical contribution to the fashion tableau will consist of three things: maple leaf ass tattoos, Habs jerseys and navy sweatpants with “DAL” bum decals. If that doesn’t bother you, pull down your pants, bend over and look between your knees into the mirror. Ah ha. See? I knew it. A maple leaf.

The Crocs craze—not to mention a not-too-long-ago Globe and Mail Style section endorsement—is just making people feel more comfortable wearing slippers. I mean, really, Crocs are no more than slippers fashioned from the Styrofoam Big Mac containers used to be made out of in the ’80s  —in public.

One caveat: all you nurses, massage therapists, lab technicians and factory workers— you’re off the hook. You need comfort and your work clothes are forcibly horrible anyway. The rest of you may go back to your shame (because I know half of you are reading this over lunch in a cafe wearing, well, you know what).

These aren’t the rants of a fashion mucky-muck. I’m all for comfort. I’m all for casual. I’m all for second-hand and the genius of performance artist Alex Martin and her Little Brown Dress project, which ends July 7 (“365 days. One brown dress. A one-woman show against fashion.”—littlebrowndress.com).

I routinely write this column at my home desk, braless in pajama bottoms. But I don’t subject the world to my fresh-from-under-the-duvet style. Why? It’s like peeing in the shower. It’s mixing two things that just don’t go together. When private wear and public wear mix, we end up with women in thongs and low-ride pants and fecal bacteria on movie theatre seats. And when leisurewear and street clothes get muddled up, we end up with a world where prom dresses get paired with sequin-encrusted flip-flops and where university students don’t just sleep in class, they do it in pajamas and slippers. Or, more likely now, pajamas and Crocs. Because everyone’s got ’em. Unfortunately, we’re just seeing too damn much of them.

Need further style advice? email: lezliel@thecoast.ca

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