Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Ponchos, Fishnets, and Ugg Boots

This last month, as I perused my "Aerosoles" footwear catalogue, I noticed something odd on the front cover: the model was wearing a poncho, fishnet tights, and Ugg-like boots. (I realize that "Ugg" is the company that makes the boot, and that other people make boots like Ugg, but they couldn't rightfully be called Ugg. For the sake of smooth writing, I will refer to all Ugg-like boots as, simply, "Uggs.") Immediately, I grabbed my husband and asked him to look at the picture to be sure I wasn't dreaming.

"You know what we've got here," he said, furrowing his brow and drawing a long, thoughtful breath, "we've got ourselves a trend gone terribly wrong." Actually, Mike didn't say that, and I didn't immediately think of him as my fashion consultant (the guy's idea of fashion is a foam mesh John Deere hat with Carhartt coveralls), but I think that any lay person would agree that this is a bad combination. Furthermore, the poncho was, like, a purple fair isle print, the tights were green, and the model was in mid-twirl. Visions of Barabara Streisand in "What's Up, Doc?" kept dancing in my head, and it wasn't pretty, people.

Having said that, I must admit that, taken separately, I am a friend to the poncho, to fishnets, and to Ugg boots. Like most American consumers, I have succumbed to the incessant barrage of celebrity-influenced trends. Give it to me on a manequin in Nordstrom's, and I am all over the idea of a poncho. Show it to me delicately hanging off of Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Anniston in People Magazine, and I can be there for you. But put a poncho on an Aerosoles model, mixed with fishnets and oversized animal skin-and-fur Uggs, and somehow, the whole vision just crumbles. I guess the fact that these three odd trends have reached the fashionably conservative editors of Aerosoles tells me that some trends can go too far.

My sister Heidi believes that like/dislike of the poncho can be summed up in two words: generation gap. She sees a poncho--even a tasteful one--and thinks of a rather incriminating picture of herself as a child. I, thankfully, just missed the early days of the poncho, and think of it as a refreshing new look, a cool retro style gracefully combined with modern sensibilities. Heidi is shocked by the resurgence of the poncho, equating it with powder blue tuxedos and ruffled shirts.

I was a little surprised, too, when fishnets became popular with the masses. Afterall, the "Bombshell Manual of Style" (ocasionally refered to as "the bible") places fishnets under the category of "reckless attire" on page 12. Additionally, the last time I wore fishnets was during the painful, and most wretched "ice skating days," at which time ANYTHING was better than wearing NUDE pantyhose with your ice skating costume. I had to draw the line somewhere, and fishnets were my line. I am sorry, but I will not wear anything that is referred to as "nude." However, in a huge break from tradition, I recently purchased NUDE (I like to call them tan, or beige, better yet, camel), fishnet--get this--KNEE-HIGHS. (I won't even begin to explain my past issues with knee-highs. Just think "old lady support stockings" and you'll get enough of a mental image.) I blame the celebrity trends for this radical purchase, although I must say, they look stunning with my brown high heels.

As for Uggs: I love them. I love the ones at Old Navy with the pom poms hanging off the zipper. I love the ones in the Aerosoles catalogue. I love the ones at Target. Some people have taken Uggs too far--big, furry, rescue-hero-sized boots do not compliment any outfit, but they do make your legs look pencil-thin. My sister Erin owns a pair of pink Uggs that I covet. Uggs are cool because they are ugly. They really are "uggs" (if you talk in a cutesy, word-shortening way like I do: "those boots are totally UGGS!"). They are like the moon boots of the 00's. Hopefully, moonboots will NOT have a resurgence--I'm still smarting from the backlash I received from my bright red American flag moon boots, which I wore while all the other girls in Kindergarten wore pink-and-purple-My-Little-Pony moon boots--but Uggs help me heal from my past.

You see, I am from the "moon boot generation," and Heidi is from the "poncho generation." I guess that means that my neice, Maggie, is from the "poncho, fishnets, and Ugg boots generation." Hopefully, she won't wear them together.


  1. Glad to get the thumbs up on uggs--something I've wanted to pursue before heavy snowfall, perhaps in nude. I had gray moonboots with maroon corduroy as the "highlight" color. I feel ok about ponchos, but have heard that it is very hard to carry any sort of bag while wearing one. I don't think I've ever worn fishnets. And that is all.

  2. My moonboots had a rainbow down the side. I only wore them in Utah because you never need them in Arizona. Fishnets - never part of my wardrobe. Obviously ponchos were....sniff....I don't want to talk about it.

  3. There is this lady who works on my floor and she grunts wherever she goes...she is always grunting and exhaling out of her nose really hard as if she had been holding her breath for a long time. I've had many encounters with her and she always does this. The other day I was in the elevator with her and we were both leaning against the back wall. When we got to our floor I went to stop forward and she quickly came forward and held me back to walk ahead of me in a basketball "box out" style move. She wears a lot of ponchos, and was wearing one during the box out, which is why I think I have negative feelings about them.

  4. What's Up Doc was FABULOUS! Thanks for the rememories.

  5. I absolutely love this post. I have become a poncho fiend and am beginning to worry that I may need to cut back for fear that this particular fashion is becoming so last year, but this post is reassuring so I will continue with my purchases... And the fishnet knee highs... I can't say anything but good things. I actually shed a tear at the end of last week when my left nude tore a hole. I immediately replaced them, took an early lunch to do so. I have black also, don't fear the black. They look great with black pants suits which I have three off (because you can tell such a difference between them - I clearly have a shopping problem) but the nude are the most useful and therefore why they were the first to be replaced. And for the UUGS... I have to say UUG to this because it is never cold enough where I live to really pull them off, although people do continually, I just can't. And they hardly seem worth the purchase just to have to wear the few times I am in Utah during the winter months. What size do you wear? Maybe you could rent them out to me, but I can't do the pom pom, not because they aren't cute, but because I am too old. Thanks for letting me share.

  6. Well, glad to hear that someone out there agrees with the goodness of uggs, fishnets, and ponchos. I am a size 8. I imagine you have daintier feet than I do. But feel free to rent any Ugg boots I may have. I'll have to get me some black fishnets immediately so I can wear them with me three black skirts and two pairs of black pants (along with my nine pairs of black shoes). You think you have a shopping problem!

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