As if thigh-tights wasn't enough trend to tackle this fall, there's another one streaming down the style pipeline and boy is a doozy: socks with sandals.
Yes you read that right. One of fashion's carnal sins is rearing its Herculean head and begging for attention.
The fashion writers who gently 'push' these trends down our ever-parched throats do kindly note that it's not an easy one to swallow, but if the best of them (bloggers, editors, celebutants) are doing—why shouldn't we?
Sandals and socks is what I call a 'pro trend'—a trick meant to separate the girls from the women, the wheat from a chaffe; donning the latest pro trends is a true testament to one's fashion savvy and endurance. In general, my last trip to NYFW taught me that what makes a real, die-hard 'fashionista' is how uncomfortable she's willing to go. Sky-high heels and heavy, next-season jackets in sweltering New York summer? Huge tulle skits and stiff pants you can't sit in? It's all a yes, plus a collective disregard of concepts such as "flattering" or, God forbid, "sexy".
Socks with sandals fall into both requirements—they are far from being comfortable and they're decidedly the un-sexiest combination on the planet. Therefore, they're highly fashionable.
For me, however, watching this trend get tried and tested—sometimes with painfully ugly results—is even more horrifying than it should be. See, as a child of Communism, born in grey, urban Moscow, socks and sandals were a tasteless staple of my youth. My dad and uncle wore them—white tennis socks with brown leather sandals. I wore them—frilly, lacy socks with lacquered, stiff little-girl sandals. Everyone around me wore them, unaware of personal aesthetic or self expression, and to this day you'll still see the occasional pretty hot young woman taking the subway in sandals and nylon socks. You'll cringe, but you won't be able to look away.
Socks with sandals—I can only guess—were the Russians' answer to the fickle summer weather: sunny one second, rainy the next. When my family immigrated to the always sunny, always humid Israel, my attempts to recreate my homeland's sock 'n' sandaled look—even at the age of 8—were largely met with contempt and ridicule, as were my starched button-up shirts and neatly ironed, dark-blue 'American' jeans.
Children lucky enough to be born in a laid-back, Mediterranean environment consistently wore sweats to school and couldn’t be bothered with being tidy and 'put-together'. Slowly but surely, immigrant teens and adults in my parents' friends circle shed that shameful attribute of mother Russia and moved to flip-flops and sneakers. But never for a second did I think socks and sandals will come back to chase me.
And yet, here we are—trying hard to style and wear something we all know in our heart, is utterly ridiculous and unattractive, only to Instagram it to demonstrate our fashion chops. Equipped with childhood trauma and having witnessed how silly and decidedly un-fashionable this combo could look, I truly pity those who can't give up on it just yet.
By no means am I against the 'don't become a do' way trends often go about— I love getting out there and making questionable fashion experiments as much as the next girl. Just not this one. It's not "normcore," nor is it ironic, cool or funny. Sadly the only thing this look conjures for me is a 50-year-old uncle in ill-fitting khaki shorts and a wife beater.