How to Wear Birkenstocks Without Regretting It

by Tori Telfer
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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.

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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.

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7. With anything that shows off your delicate ankles.

8. With an extra-short black dress and equally non-conformist hair.

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9. With any sort of bright, cropped, summery combo.

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10. With surfwear.

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11. Every time you dress like a girl assassin.

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12. With all things baggy.

13. With your swimsuit, because you love weird foot tan lines.

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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.

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16. With a truly ethereal dress, to make sure you don't float away.

17. As a way to offset overly trendy clothes.

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18. With socks, because you've got that whole androgynous ugly-pretty thing nailed down.

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19. With exaggerated menswear.

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20. With neutrals, neutrals, and only neutrals.

21. With sheer fabrics, because some part of your outfit's gotta stay sane.

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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.

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