The swirling discourse about post-pandemic dressing is made up of two camps. There are the people who plan to dress decadently, and those, like me, who are wondering why we ever willingly wore uncomfortable clothes and shoes in the first place. I will be sticking to clothes that look good enough for the meals I’m starting to have with friends — but feel good enough to wear to bed. But what about shoes? I spent the last year rotating between sneakers, an old pair of UGGs I found in my parents’ basement, flip-flops, and bare feet (my favorite). None of those feel appropriate to wear for social engagements.
While I have no desire to return to prancing around in stilettos like some sort of clumsy giraffe, I haven’t lost the ability to appreciate the way a good heel makes me feel — and stand up — taller. The right clogs, I thought, might bridge the comfort-height gap. But it turns out my ankles look rather odd in clogs.
Once I started casually looking at shoes, Facebook flooded my feed with ads for some bright, structured platform sandals from United Nude, the footwear brand founded by Rem D. Koolhaas (nephew and namesake of the architect Rem Koolhaas). Over-the-top in the best way, they looked a little bit Marni, a little bit Suzanne Rae for Teva, and a lot like the post-pandemic shoe I had been searching for. But I’ve never been one to pay nearly $300 for a pair of shoes, let alone summer sandals. Facebook clearly figured this out as well, because it soon fed me another ad claiming a similar-looking pair of “in-demand” Sorel platform sandals were “back in stock.” When I think of Sorel, I think of hiking. I certainly don’t think of fashion. But I couldn’t resist the clunky, colorful sandals, and I immediately ordered a pair in Dioxide Gold (there are eight colors available).
I’ve since worn them to brunch, to my kids’ soccer practice, while riding my bike, to cry in the car, and to Target. They look as good with dresses as they do with jumpsuits, shorts, and even the beloved old sweatpants I’m not yet ready to put away, which look a lot less shabby when paired with these sandals. At dinner the other night, the very stylish wife of a fancy doctor praised them. “Sorel,” I said. “Sorel?” she said. But perhaps the greatest compliment came from my husband, who never notices shoes and owns exactly one pair himself. “I like those odd shoes,” he said. True to Sorel’s reputation, they’re remarkably comfortable. I’m loath to give up the bliss of bare feet, but these feel like the next best thing.
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