Crocs were once considered heinous. It’s hard to impart onto a young person just how universally accepted that opinion was until recently. They were the “shoes”, if we agree to use that signifier at all, that your hippy aunt would wear on a caravan holiday and all the kids would snigger about together. You’d see whole families wearing them at the beach – that’s often how the disease would spread, you’d get the Crocs families – and just think “child abuse”. The big celebrity sign-off (he was a socks and Crocs fan) was literally George W. Bush.
They looked like orthopaedic shoes. They had no laces because they were for mouth-breathers; the shoe equivalent of an inhaler. The repellant amount of material involved in each shoe prompted the question: What is hiding underneath all that plastic? Furthermore, why do you need the holes and so many of them – just how stinky are those feet?
Now we all know that Crocs have undergone a total cultural rebrand and are the shoe du jour. (If the Crocs PR team is reading this, I am very interested in some free shoes – importantly, I’m saying you are now trendy and good.) Juicy tracksuits, classic Uggs and Birkenstock sandals are three similar, though slightly less maligned items from brands that made an aggressive come back with the 00s style revival. Crocs pose a more interesting question – people never thought they were cool. If that could happen, what could come next in this crazy new post-truth post-subcultural, post-sensical, revival world?
Here’s a run down of my other predictions. While none of these 90s to early 2010s garments were as hated as Crocs, I think they do exist in this ambiguous area in which we had them but either knew they were filler trends or would age badly.
Swish, swish, remember me! I was hot property in the 80s and then in the 00s, so by the logic of the 20 year cycle it’s probably time for me to make a grand return this summer.
Layered tank tops
Speaking of “excessively layered clothing”, how about three or more tank tops over each other. Pretty funky, guys. Could this be a thing?
Shakira suede belts (disc belts, hoop belts, fringe belts)
Wearing one of these as a kid, particularly if they were a combination of all three of the variants named above, gave you the same feeling as getting a multicoloured wrap braid on holiday: seriously continental and like a sassy little bitch. I would be surprised if these were the next Crocs, but stranger things have happened.
Three-quarter length denim fitted shorts
It is inconceivable to me now that A-Listers just walked around in these getting papped, from the local Costco to the red carpet. Doing the absolute bare minimum just to get by, both celeb and garment.
Wearing New Look ballet flats to school aged 11-18 destroyed my feet for life. All those teachers worried about us girls presenting as “tarty” should’ve focused on the real risks, like the threat to the structural integrity of our feet. I give it a few months until Lana Del Rey brings these back.
Long plastic bead necklaces
Another one to file under We All Did This But That Doesn’t Mean We Thought It Was Objectively Good. Plastic bead necklaces just “were”. In all honesty, I could see these on Depop by the end of the summer.
You might be thinking “oh, but these have already come back”. But both me and comedian Monica Heisey are explicitly talking about the shrug cropped cardigans with an “open front”. The ones that say “I’m a boho mom from the Midwest and have a pair of modestly sized naturals that need framing”.
Skirt over jeans
The jeans, practical: for warmth. The skirt was to show you’re not afraid to layer. Together, this ensemble screamed you had a lil’ tomboy side but ultimately were a girl’s girl.
Flared denim maxi skirts
Bulky, unflattering and with the added bonus of being able to put out a fire, these skirts brought less than nothing to the table. Possibly the worst historical denim item. A Gen Z popstar will pair one of these with a bralette soon enough.
Fedoras and trilbys
M’lady, time to revive the most powerful hats ever designed?