Ugly Chic: The Return of the Birk

88c2ce41e3fbf86077e1450097863a59The most comfortable sandal in the world has finally made a stylish comeback. Birkenstocks are no longer reserved only for your granola-crunching biology professor’s wardrobe.  The ‘ugly’ sandal features a cork footbed, roomy toe box and wide straps.

The 50-year-old company became famous in the 60’s, and the company prides itself on being vegan-friendly.  Each year, Birkenstock sales growth increases by 10-15 percent.

In the 1990’s, supermodel Kate Moss, who associated the Arizona sandals to the grunge movement, popularized the sandals.  Moss was photographed wearing the chunky sandals with a cropped top and cropped jeans, another trend that has reappeared from the 90’s-grunge vault.

In the early 2000’s, the Birkenstock trend resurfaced after celebrities such as Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow were often seen wearing the comfy footwear.

The key style this season has been the Arizona two-strap in black and white. Consumers seem to be wearing it with almost any outfit:  relaxed, casual or formal.  Celebrities like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Kourtney Kardashian have been spotted sporting the classic German orthopedic footwear.

Designers such as Givenchy, Lanvin, Celine and Marni have even created Birkenstock-inspired Summer 2014 footwear.

Celine popularized the trend first in spring of 2013, showcasing fur-lined  sandals similar to Birkenstocks.  Designers reason that a chunky shoe is more flattering to the wearer’s leg, making it appear slimmer.

Don’t want to put down $500-$600 for a designer pair of sandals?  Try the classic Birkenstock Arizona or the t-strap Larisa.  Both are priced from $90-$120.

Wear these fashion-forward sandals with a fresh pedicure, and consider opting for a patent leather or metallic pair of Birks to appease your fashion-forward self. Pair the sandals with anything from a fashion-forward summer dress to a tailored pant.  Even vintage cut-offs complement a more casual summer look.

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