The 90’s: Decade of The Shoe

Shoes … they protect our feet by keeping them warm and providing a cushion between our soles and the hard floor. They also defend our skin from glass, rocks and other debris that would otherwise injure it, possibly causing nasty infections and pain. That being said, shoes are also a way of making a statement – “Oh Yes!” or a sad, “Oh, No…” – and like all other articles of clothing, they can be a fashion.

For the last couple of years, shoes have taken center stage in the world of fashion.

The 2000s could very well be called the decade of the shoe. It all started with the victorious return of the stiletto. A sexy classic, they were shunned for most of the ’90s, deemed dated artifacts that belonged in a previous era. Well, the ’80s turned out to be not so bad, returning as the fashion inspiration for every hipster worth his name.

On the contrary, the ’90s were a decade that better be forgotten, with its chunky rubber Steve Madden platforms, high-rise jeans, black lip liner with cream-colored lipstick and bubblegum pop.

Back to the shoes. So stilettos are back, and not only mark the return of the pointed shoe, but also the beginning of a nationwide obsession with footwear. Ugg-mania was at its grandest display during the winter of 2003. If The Beatles started the British Invasion, then Uggs landed (with the help of Steve Irwin) the Australian Invasion. All of the sudden, out-back was back-in. As much as I don’t condone Uggs (sheep are literally tortured in the making of these) I can’t deny their influence. They were followed by the lovable Mukluks, made popular by Ms. Moss herself in 2004 (Again, I opted for the faux-fur incarnation).

That same winter, moccasin, pirate and slouchy boots were all the rage.

Spring came, and the dawn of the cowboy boot was upon us. I really need to clarify that just like many other trends (gaucho pants, ballet flats, Indian headscarves), this one reached this side of the Atlantic a little behind other countries.

While the Brits and South Americans already counted with legions of western boot clad ladies, headed by Sienna Miller, it took a Texas singer-turned-actress in short shorts to really start a mania in this neighborhood. Ironically enough, the homecoming of a quintessential American icon was belated in its own country of creation. This winter, cowboy boots are still a formidable option to keep your feet warm without sacrificing comfort.

Round toe stiletto shoes and boots are the newest addition to the season. They are sexy and sleek. However, do not confuse them with chunky round-toes. The new styles are much more narrow, not clumsy or oversized. These are a perfect choice for those ladies out there who cannot bear to be seen without a couple of inches of heel under them.

Because I’d rather talk about the positive than the negative, I made the deliberate decision to relegate the dark side of footwear to a small paragraph almost at the end of this page.

However, it is my duty to advise you to keep away from certain forms of footwear at all costs.

First and foremost, flip flops should be in storage by now. It just makes no sense to wear them after mid-September or in temperatures under 65 degrees.

They are beachwear, and your feet are better off wearing closed shoes once the temperature starts to drop. No one can truly claim that they would rather keep their feet in the open when they are wearing sweaters.

Flip-flops and coats really don’t make sense. It is utterly absurd to wear winter wear on the top and beachwear on the bottom. It is the clothing equivalent of the mullet.

Also, keep away from chunky shoes, anything that looks like it belongs in a ’90s sitcom rerun should be burned, burned, burned. Keep athletic shoes for the gym, and opt for sleeker, less busy options like Pumas or Converse.

I hope that this piece helps all readers out there on the choices they make when choosing how they will adorn they feet this year. Remember: your shoes can make or break a whole outfit!