The Ugg-ly Truth
When it comes to people’s opinions on Uggs, there’s not much middle ground. There are basically two camps: Haters and Fanatics. For the better part of the past decade I have been a staunch member of the first group, however, I recently had a change of heart. So it’s time for me to ‘fess up: I no longer consider them the Britney Spears of footwear.
Years ago when Uggs first started becoming “a thing,” I was living in New York City. So of course I gradually began to see them here and there. I mean, it wasn’t hate-at-first-sight or anything that dramatic. In fact my initial reaction was “Those… might… be… cute? Maybe? I dunno.” But then, as any good trend is prone to do, Uggs became more than just “a thing.” They became an unstoppable force of nature and an aggressive invasive species. It became impossible to stand on a Manhattan street corner in the colder months without seeing at least 10 women wearing them. Chicks roved around the city looking like little packs of Conan the Barbarian foot soldiers. Don’t get me wrong—under different circumstances I would be all about roving packs of female Conan the Barbarian foot soldiers… but this was overkill.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Girls started wearing them in the summer. In July and August. In New York. Ninety-five-EFFING degrees, people! What.The.Fuck. Uggs with sundresses and Juicy Couture booty shorts… it was too much to bear. I started guzzling potent doses of Ugg Haterade. I made snotty comments, pointed, smirked, laughed in derision. I hated on them with the fury of Mel Gibson in Braveheart just after he witnesses the murder of his one true love, Murron. I trash-talked Uggs like it was my job (which I kind of wish it had been, because as I recall, I was in dire need of one at the time). My disdain for Uggs continued for the remainder of my years in New York and came with me when I moved to Washington D.C. in 2005. In Fairfax, Virginia, affluent teens would stampede Tysons Corner mall wearing their Uggs, tiny Abercrombie & Fitch cotton shorts and Hollister tank tops. It was, in my eyes, totally gagtastic.
When I moved to Chicago in January 2008 I wasn’t surprised to discover that Uggs are even more popular in the Windy City than they are in New York. But given that it’s actually cold as all get-out in Chicago, I could at least concede that the need for authentic sheepskin products is somewhat legit. I still wasn’t sold though… well, at least not until the release of Ugg’s Fall 2009 collection and accompanying Classic Cardy knit boot. It’s basically a sweater-boot (a win-win combo if there ever was one) that folds down and has three cute little buttons on the side. I tried to resist. I averted my eyes, made some jokes about slippers posing as shoes, following the sheep herd… all the standard jabs. It was futile.
The final nail got hammered into my anti-Ugg crusade coffin the day my boyfriend noticed a girl on the street wearing a pair of Ugg knit Cardy’s. He turned to me and said, “I actually think those Uggs are really hot—especially in grey.” This little endorsement was all it took. I crumbled like a sad, stale, pathetic excuse for a cookie. “Oh my god! I like the grey ones, too!” I shrieked a little too quickly, and a little too enthusiastically right in his ear. Shit. Did I just say that out loud? But even if it wasn’t obvious then, my squeals of delight the next time we saw the Cardy’s in a store window were the final dead giveaway. Game over. Uggs: 1, Aranya: 0.
And of course my boyfriend, being the thoughtful guy that he is, purchased a pair of grey Cardy boots and gave them to me for Christmas. Weeeeee! I mean, “Ew!” No, wait. I definitely meant “Weeeeeeeee!”
Since their arrival earlier this month, I have gone from wearing my knit Uggs once a week to wearing them almost non-stop. They are SO comfortable, SO warm and—in my personal opinion—SO goddang cute with jeans, that the thought of donning any other pair of shoes is beginning to seem preposterous. Every morning I wake up and tell myself, “I’m going to mix things up and wear sneakers today, or maybe even heels!” But then I look at my rows of shoes. I gaze at my sneakers and my dress boots and my eyes dart back and forth from the cloud-like lining of my Uggs to the cold, hard soles of everything else. I look out the window at the bleak winter sky and the choice is made. I want my feet swathed-in-heavenly-sheepskin-goodness-all-day-long-dammit! And it’s there for the taking… just waiting for my feet to bask in all of that cushy, toasty glory. So why should I be denied? I shouldn’t. So, I’m not. I mean, c’mon! I might as well be deciding between a spa pedicure and a hot bed of coals.
At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before these habit-forming puppies permanently fuse themselves to my feet. The worst part is I probably wouldn’t even notice. I now understand why women anxiously await “Ugg season,” and why they rush out to buy a new pair every year, stockpiling them like little treasures, wearing them day after day as if they have NO other footwear options in their closets. I understand because I’ve become one of them… an obsessed addict just waiting for my next foot fix. There. I said it. It’s the frightning truth that no one talks about: Uggs are crack-cocaine for your feet. Once you start, you can’t stop. Then you want them on your feet all the time, and you want more of them. Your fashion sense goes out the window and all you think about is comfort, warmth, comfort, warmth, comfort, warmth… more warmth… more softness… more comfort, more warmth, more, more, MORE!! Next thing you know, you’re just another brainwashed Australian sheepskin-aholic. A freakish warm-comfort junkie roaming the city streets wearing sweats and Uggs in a pack of Conan the Barbarian foot soldiers. Ugg. Pun intended, of course.
I’m so ashamed.
Luckily, my warm and cozy feet make it easy to cope with that shame, so it’s really not that bad.