I've owned two pairs of Birkenstocks in my life. Pair #1 was the slip-on clog kind, in taupe suede, which I bought as a teenager during a family ski trip. Something about the cozy, idyllic town and the softly falling snow made me crazy to own a pair of shoes that screamed I'M NOT YOUR AVERAGE SUBURBAN KID, MA! They were also incredibly comfortable and I just generally thought they were cool. It was my inner old man talking to my inner antiestablishment activist kid.
Pair #2 was purchased just last week, and if I thought I felt cool as a teenager in suede clogs, GUESS HOW COOL I FEEL NOW? This new pair is the classic Arizona shape; wearing them is like walking on sturdy clouds; and they make my feet look ten feet wide. And crazily enough, I just don't care. I don't care that my Birkenstocks make all the men in a five-mile radius scatter like ants. I don't care that they make me feel like I should be wearing a sack dress and buying bulgur in bulk. I just want to wear them forever — if I can figure out how to style them.
My go-to look these days is cuffed boyfriend jeans, a just-barely-cropped white t-shirt, and my already-infamous Birkenstocks, but I can't go dressing like an extra-normcore version of Stanley Kowalski forever, can I? Eventually, I'll have to pair these bad boys with something else. Here are 23 ideas for you, me, and every Birkenstock-wearer we know.
1. With a flowy robe, because it shows everyone that you acknowledge and embrace the shoe's hippie past.
2. With side cut-outs, because if your feet are embracing their masculinity, your top can afford to be a little sexy.
3. With a neck scarf, like you're drifting around Paris with a baguette and sufficient arch support.
4. With baggy, cuffed jeans. Always.
5. With sweatpants, but I'm-wearing-sweatpants-on-purpose sweatpants.
6. With deconstructed office-wear because you're always about to quit, anyway.
7. With anything that shows off your delicate ankles.
8. With an extra-short black dress and equally non-conformist hair.
9. With any sort of bright, cropped, summery combo.
10. With surfwear.
11. Every time you dress like a girl assassin.
12. With all things baggy.
13. With your swimsuit, because you love weird foot tan lines.
14. With a stealthy all-black outfit, like a real New Yorker.
15. With all white, because you're so summery you're basically a vanilla ice cream cone.
16. With a truly ethereal dress, to make sure you don't float away.
17. As a way to offset overly trendy clothes.
18. With socks, because you've got that whole androgynous ugly-pretty thing nailed down.
19. With exaggerated menswear.
20. With neutrals, neutrals, and only neutrals.
21. With sheer fabrics, because some part of your outfit's gotta stay sane.
22. With glamorous basics, for I-woke-up-like-this meets you-never-could.
23. With a really fancy dress, because you're wild like that.
Images: Getty Images; @sarajvadala, @lissykit, @mkoyen, @ellahedley, @projectilefashion, @LeCotonCroix, @julesdenby,@beautyfashionlifestyle____, @seaofshoes, @bellasalamode, @visavisalom/Instagram