Gross. Ugly. Fugly: All ways I’ve described Ugg boots, the winter wardrobe staple of many women everywhere. Throughout my years in high school and college, when trucker hats, denim mini-skirts, and Uggs were at their prime, I was the woman who refused to step foot anyway near the store. “Everyone has a pair,” I’d complain. “They aren’t really that cute,” I’d judge. “Your style doesn’t have to fall apart just because it’s 30 degrees outside,” I’d advise with a hint of contempt. I was being a bit of an ass, but Ugg boots were simply a no-go.
My best friend at University of Virginia, a Chicago-native who’d clearly experienced real, bitterly-cold winters, would laugh and shake her head: “Yeah, they’re ugly, but honestly, I don’t really care what anyone thinks. They’re the only shoes that will keep your feet warm.”
Well I admire Paula for adopting that attitude in 2003, but back then, I did care. You see, my summer internships in New York taught me a lot of RULES about fashion (or what I perceived to be rules), the number one being that you never know who you’ll run into so you should always try to look your best. You can’t exactly build a fiery lewk around Uggs, so they weren’t an option. I’d continue looking down on anyone who’d dare to wear that bulbous boot. After I moved to New York, my sentiments remained unwavering. I was a fashion assistant at a major magazine—you would never catch me in Uggs.
One day, I was on set at a photo shoot featuring the original Supermodels (Naomi, Linda, Christy, and Claudia were all in the building), and an editor who also on the shoot was wearing Uggs. “What the hell?” I thought. “I know, I know,” she said preemptively “But it’s always super cold in this studio.” She refused to freeze. There it was again—that insouciant attitude. A confidence in being practical, even. I’m not the silly one for wearing Uggs, she was essentially saying; YOU are because you’re willing to freeze to “look good.”
I still wasn’t quite on board, but I loved the DGAF vibes she was giving off. Her confidence was inspiring. But it wasn’t until my older sister was pregnant that it all clicked.
“I have to be able to move and get about,” she’d tell me. A day of errands to prep for her impending arrival required comfortable and practical footwear. She’d complement her not-so-cute shoes, with a really sick outfit. This, coming from Lola, the woman who TAUGHT me many of the “fashion rules” I now swore by was kind of mind-blowing. “You can’t do that in a nice sneaker?” I’d ask. “Nope,” she’d succinctly reply. Fabulous capes, skinny jeans or leggings, and black Ugg boots became her pregnancy uniform. Watching Lola prove that you can still look chic while wearing Uggs (not to mention the fact that the last two New York winters have been absolute bears) was enough to convince me.
Ankle boots, over-the-knee boots, and even thigh-highs, will always have a place in my heart, but when it’s really cold outside and it feels like a crime to even have to leave my apartment, I’m calling upon the DGAF attitude I’ve seen these women channel before me, and I’m wearing my Uggs. Good friends, sisters, and women I admire in fashion have all helped remove the stigma attached to Uggs, allowing me to enter into a zen state of mind I like to call SO WHAT, WHO CARES.
Because really, wearing a pair of Uggs doesn’t have to be about being lazy, or not being stylish, or giving up on life. It’s about being so at ease in my own skin that I don’t care what judgmental people have to say about it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you hate them or if you think they make me a basic bitch. No one can look that cute when it’s REALLY cold outside, so eff it. I’m pulling on my Uggs and walking with my head held high and feet feeling really warm.