Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stan Smith: A Retrospective

I was going through bouts of anxiety in my lil old cubicle at work the other day, and you know when you circulate your list of worries through your head and each time a worry comes back around, it's more catastrophic than it was before? That was happening to me so I took a walk around my office to ya know, clear my head, a process that usually involves a stop in the kitchen to make tea and dip my hand into the gum jar, then a trip to the bathroom because when you're worrying or procrastinating, there's no place like the bathroom because time doesn't exist in the bathroom. (I came up with this theory in college when I was writing my thesis and looking for ways to procrastinate and started going to the bathroom to braid my hair.) Do you know what I mean? I don't really either but I'm currently 300 pages into Kafka on the Shore and there's a lot of metaphysical, three-dimensional time talk and what can I say, I'm a sponge when it comes to reading da lit-er-a-ture.

So I was in the bathroom, walking around my office, trying to get rid of my anxiety when I looked down at my feet and saw my shoes. Stan Smiths. My first thought was how lucky I am to work in a place where I can wear men's tennis shoes to work and still be taken seriously (I hope I'm being taken seriously, awkward if not). My second was that around this time last year, I thought these shoes were the batshit ugliest things I had ever seen and I wanted no part in the trend.

Ugly in a cute, black and white juxtapositional, way?
And so here it is, a retrospective on the Stan Smiths. I remember first seeing them dispersed throughout street style shots of New York Fashion Week in February. They looked so...white. And bulky. Boat-like, if you will. I was on board with the general Adidas sneaker trend but more partial to darker styles like the Campus (I just Googled them and now I need this ponytail iteration). The Stan Smiths hadn't been worn past the feet of fashion show attendees stateside, but then I went to Paris and blah blah blah Paris, am I right, and I saw them on the feet of both fashion industry folk and (well-dressed) plebs. Regular ladies in Monoprix toting around Vanessa Bruno bags, buying yaout, couscous and whatnot, were wearing Stan Smiths. And theirs weren't bright white but worn-in and clearly well-loved.

By the time I got back to New York and hauled my ass to the Adidas store in SoHo, they were sold out. A shame but never one to accept defeat in a shopping expedition, I found them online. I've been wearing and seeing them increasingly more on the street over the past year. They've been great conversation starters too, like the time a very flamboyant 50-year old man (the hip literary type I aspire to be friends with) complimented them in an elevator, or when a classmate at the acting class I took to find my inner voice told me she loved my shoes. There was also the time I wore them home from Crown Heights but that's an inside joke between me, two rompers, and my roommate.

Just when I thought I had found a favorite sneaker, a new one comes along to covet. Enter the Isabel Marant interpretation of the Stan Smith. They're strikingly similar and you could argue that they're a total copy, but they're branded with Isabel Marant and come in metallic hints and a leopard-print variety. Not going to critique them at all because I'd buy them if I could.

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