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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Trending: Grunge Chic Detailing

Recently in our secret-but-awesome and enticingly lit marketing lair, our ticker-tape machines started chattering, klaxons rang and our RSS feeds went atomic. "My," we wondered aloud to ourselves from the recesses of our expensive-but-tasteful designer couches, "has Guitar Hero: Metallica finally been released?"

Unfortunately not (your best Enter Sandman will have to wait until '09). It was word of new fall trends: grunge chic has arrived. Don't get your flannel out just yet; it's more tasteful than it sounds. Think subtle details picked up from the Seattle Scene of the early '90s who pilfered them from the Punks before that, and the Rockers before that and the skinheads (the good kind) before that.

While the shape of grunge footwear revolves around so-called blue collar detailing like lug soles, steeltoes, eyelets, bulky oxford shoes and workboots, the chic additions include luxe materials in contemporary colors with fashion-forward detailing.

A common feature we're loving is the outspoken utilitarian look. We see this a lot in the boot shaft cinch. This comes straight out of performance motorcycle-wear and workwear like logging boots. This fall it gets dressed up with luxury suedes and supple leathers finished with stylish buckles as in Matisse's Mike (left).

These straps are mostly for looks - there's a zipper on the other side - but we like how this boot makes gracious an ungainly concept. While they can be used to perfect the fit through your calves, they also lend the impression of a form-fitting cavalry boot that means business. Contrast with a girly skirt or dirndl.


The Zamagni 10347 (left) takes the concept into future-grunge chic with a seamless leather vamp and stretchy Nylon back strapped in with two leather straps. A rubber wedge sole makes these perfect for a lounging on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

The Nylon shaft ensures a tight fit and the straps will draw in material around the ankle, keeping your silhouette clean and lean. Try wearing an outfit that resonates with the sleek, straight lines of this boot. An above-the-knee skirt - not as full as a dirndl, not as lean as a pencil - would look great here.


Jeffrey Campbell's Pledge takes the long way around: their vertical buckle connects a leather footing with a wide leather cuff at the leg opening. The shaft is made of soft, scrunched black suede. Adjust the buckle to raise or lower the boot's height.

Go long with these: layered mid-calf to ankle-length skirts are Fall's look. Let the scrunchy folds of these boots get caught up in the folds of fabric. Choose a same-color long skirt and let the play of materials as you move make the outfit sing.

And if its arias you're after, JC's Buck in black is the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement filtered through Marilyn Manson's cover of Tainted Love: a romantic rider dipped in Goth funk.

Again, take it long: full-length layers in voiles or lightweight flannels will offer tantalizing views of these knee-highs with a slight dom edge to them.


And finally (OK, can you believe it?), Doc Martens are back. This is the sine qua non of the grunge chic look. And while the 8 Eye Boot we're getting hasn't arrived yet (and doesn't have any shaft straps), we needed to share it with you.

What surprised us was ourselves: we thought the ol' Docs looked pretty good. Fifteen years ago we were gagging in the streets; the boots had a brand recognition equivalent to oxygen. They were everywhere. Expect the Classic boots this fall as well as new patent treatments in bold colors.

We'll let you know when they are in. In the meantime, we have to continue petitioning for the release of Guitar Hero: Mudhoney.


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