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You're So Wooden

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Dazed & Confused Magazine’s Fashion Features Director Emma Davidson has a complicated relationship with clogs - from conflicted memories of her mother wearing them to being a fully fledged fan. Here, she charts her history with the classic Danish shoe.

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Allison Brown Patent Clogs

Where my friends’ parents wore sportswear and sneakers to collect them from school, my mum would show up in a pair of suede, cow print clogs.

If you’d asked me at ten what I thought of clogs, you’d have likely gotten a screwed-up nose, an eye roll, and an exclamation of “gross” in return. Back then, my mum worked in a kitchen and would throw on a pair at any given opportunity. Sure, they made sense as a practical accoutrement to her uniform whites, as she dashed backwards and forwards between bubbling pan and blistering oven, and my sister and I sat drawing at one of the café’s tables waiting for her to finish. But when she slipped them on for a walk to the park, a trip to the shops, or worse, a day out – well, that was a different story.


Where my friends’ parents wore sportswear and sneakers to collect them from school, my mum would show up in ripped Levi’s, huge, wafting silk shirts, and a retina-obliterating neon yellow Versace Jeans jacket, topped off with the pièce de résistance: a pair of suede, cow print clogs – and every time she did, a small, horrified part of me would shrivel up and die. “Your mum dresses crazy,” the other kids would laugh, as I rolled my eyes, raised my eyebrows, and responded, like the pre-teen traitor I was, “Yeah, I know.”

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A little over twenty years on, and it’s safe to say I’ve done a full 360. Having forced me to sit through an hour of 90s pre-reality fashion TV The Clothes Show each week and taught me, at length, about her favourite designers (namely Westwood, Helmut Lang, and Gianni himself), not only is my mum largely responsible for my love of fashion, and therefore in part my job, I’ve also joined her as a fully committed, signed-up member of the ugly shoe appreciation society (or would have, were that actually a thing). 

From cloven-toed boots, to snakeskin loafers, truly, I cannot get enough – the more aesthetically challenging a shoe, the better. And where once my mum coming down the stairs in a pair of clogs would result in a series of dramatic moans and abject mortification, I’d kill to get my hands on those high street-procured, long-since-disintegrated cow print babies right now. That old adage about eventually becoming your mother? The absolute truth, footwear propensities and all. 

The good news is that clogs are having a moment right now. Slowly but surely, as a quick scroll through Instagram or a flick through Vogue Runway will attest, clogs are making a comeback. Originally popular as a casual shoe in the mid-1970s in their current minimalist guise, the clog’s popularity has waxed and waned. But in recent seasons, the chunky wooden-soled style has been clomping down catwalks around the world. And while there are plenty of classic leather versions to keep the purists among us happy, there are plenty of designers putting their own unique spin on the style (a crystal-embellished pair, anyone?)

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Allison Cream Patent Clogs

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From cloven-toed boots, to snakeskin loafers, truly, I cannot get enough – the more aesthetically challenging a shoe, the better.

So why now? With comfy shoes having reached saturation point, it’s time for something new, and the clog is the ideal shoe to lead us back into society. As we move closer to the light at the end of the tunnel and a return to something akin to normality for summer this year, many of us are turning our attention to what we’re going to wear when we’re finally afforded our freedom. And while I’m certainly ready to shed the sweatpants I’ve been languishing in for the best part of a year, when it comes to the level of comfort I’ve become accustomed to when shuffling from fridge to sofa and back again… well, I’m not quite ready to slip back into a pair of stilettos just yet, put it that way.


Always good with worn-in jeans, a classic white tee, and a boxy, oversized blazer, Chloë Sevigny-cool when matched with a summer dress and a pair of chunky socks, or otherwise great when it comes to giving a dressed up look an insouciant touch, there’s no question about it – the summer of 2021 belongs to the clog. I take it all back mum: you were onto something all along.

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