Magnificent Bastard

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

crocs

Ask the MB: Bootcut Jeans

Bootcut jeans. Going the way of Crocs?
Bootcut jeans. Going the way of Crocs?
Q: Bootcut jeans these days are nose-diving on the stylishness scale. Sources ranging from GQ to random style bloggers now treat bootcut jeans like they're the next shiny square-toed shoes. Why is this? When did this happen? It's frustrating because straight jeans are too tapered to fall properly around any shoe. Unless you get a size that's too short, they just bunch up at the ankle and look sloppy. As a result (and the only way to alleviate this sloppiness), we've got the fashion industry telling us that it's also a great look to roll up our pants legs, because, as we all know, men want to emulate the bastardly Huck Finn and the magnificent Opie Taylor. Please, enlighten us.
—James


James, we don't know what happened to bootcut denim but we haven't worn a pair of bootcut jeans in a very, very long time. In fact, we were wondering if one could even buy a pair anymore and did a quick inventory of well-known retailers and their bootcut denim stock.



Retailer # of Jeans # of Bootcut Jeans %
Barney's Co-Op 135 1 .7%
Bergdorf Goodman 24 2 8%
Bloomingdale's 178 31 17%
Neiman Marcus 151 19 13%
Nordstrom 260 41 16%
Saks Fifth Avenue 215 24 11%

Among these retailers, Barney's is the most forward-looking, so this data predicts that in a year or two wearing bootcut denim might exceed shiny square-toed shoes in unstylishness, and perhaps even become the equivalent of wearing Crocs.

As for your bunching dilemma, a proper straight jean is not tapered below the knee. Hence the name. If it is, then it loses it claim on the name and becomes a skinny or slim jean. We encourage you to avoid those as much (well, almost as much) as you avoid bootcut jeans.

If you're looking for a good straight leg jean, our all-time favorite fit is Adriano Goldschmeid's Protege. 17.5" at the knee, 17.5" at the leg opening. Perfect. Cut to the proper length, these won't bunch.

Ask the MB: Espadrilles

ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via asos.com, $17.24
ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via asos.com. $17.24.
Q: What is your take on espadrilles?
—Bill


A: In the June 2011 GQ creative director Jim Moore stops just short of endorsing them but recognizes their popularity saying they're "a big trend this summer," and that they're best "anytime you'd wear your flip-flops." [page 58]

Even though they were invented in the 14th century (principle of archaism), and are usually made of canvas and rope (principle of organic materials), for us they fall into the footwear no-mans land between a shoe and a sandal, currently occupied by MB bête noires Sanuks and Crocs.

However, if your preferred pedicurist is booked — June is Pedicure Awareness Month, BTW — we say go for it, as long as they're a. less than 20 bucks, and b. gingham.

Earlier: Brad Pitt wears Sanuks so they're OK. Right?

Earlier: 4 year-old Rory McDermott lost the nail on his big toe thanks to Crocs. Ow!

Ask the MB: Stylish Surgeon Shoes

Ask the MB: Stylish Surgeon Shoes
Q: Hey guys. Long-time reader, can't tell you how much I love the site. I wear scrubs (sky blue) most days of the week and am looking for dark-colored footwear that strikes a balance between professionalism, function and style. I don't want my patients doubting I know what I am talking about, but would also like something MB enough to score some points with the talented nursing staff (it would also be a plus if they were a bit blood-resistant for the operating room). Shoes are essentially the only clothing item I have any control over so I feel like I really need to nail it here. I'd appreciate any suggestions, I trust you won't steer me wrong.

Keep up the strong work,
—BB


A: Doc, you want a blood-resistant shoe that's professional, comfortable, stylish and goes with sky blue scrubs? That's a tough prescription to fill.

On the other hand, the last time we went under the knife everyone in the OR was wearing Crocs, so you do have the advantage of low expectations working in your favor. Indeed, it's hard to imagine footwear less resistant to blood than Crocs — all those holes must mean the country's surgeons possess a lot of DIY polka dot socks!

Given that scrubs are essentially sweats for medical personnel, we think you should go with something that's obviously sporty, like these navy nylon and black leather sneakers from Prada. They'll communicate professionalism to your patients and style to the talented nursing staff, while being comfortable during surgery and easy to clean in case that angioplasty patient has really high blood pressure. At $336 a pair, they're not cheap, but that's what Medicare's for, right?

Ask the MB: Sanuk Shoes

Ask the MB: Sanuk Shoes
Q: Sanuk. Bastardly, or not? I figure if it's good enough for Brad Pitt, it's good enough for me.
--CJ


A: Maybe because Brad Pitt wears them, maybe because of their frayed edges and unstructured construction, Sanuk sidewalk surfers have apparently fooled a lot of people into thinking they are something other than Crocs for homeless surfers. They aren't, and if you're thinking about getting a pair, only do so if you're extremely angry at your feet and want to play a practical joke on them.

Why don't we like Sanuks? It starts with the logo, which looks like some handless logo designer tried to draw one of our favorite 1970s designs -- the iconic smiley face logo -- with her mouth. Or maybe her ear.

Then there's the names of their shoes: the Vagabond, the Hobo, the Dylan, the Kerouac. We've never actually seen a vagabond, a hobo, or Bob Dylan wearing these things -- where is the model called The Sunburnt Project Manager Doing Jaeger Shots at a Bar in Boca Raton While His Wife Quietly Contemplates a Divorce?

Finally, there's the sandals themselves. That thick ungainly slab of foam they call a sole. The overly broad vamp. The weird, leaning-tower-of-Pisa tilt every model seems afflicted with. Put all this together, and what you've got is a shoe that looks like it was made by aborigine orthopedists for fellow tribesmen suffering from posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

But don't just take our word for it. Here what some of the Sanuk's biggest fans have to say about them at Zappos.com:

* My wife thinks they are hideous but I like the appearance as well as the comfort.

* Thought I could get away wearing these without socks at work and realized feet sweat too much and start to stink.

* Comfy but sweaty and VERY STINKY...The smell is intolerable at this point.

* Sanuk Rules the roost!!! I thought Crocs were the most comfortable things I have ever put on my feet until I met Sanuk's!!! These shoes are off the hook when it comes to comfort.

* They are also great for some hacky sackin.


If such vivid first-hand testimony fails to convince you that there's nothing bastardly about these things, nothing will.

Ask the MB: Shoes to Wear While Standing 10 Hours a Day

Ask the MB: Shoes to Wear While Standing 10 Hours a Day
Q: I am making a transition in my career to the position of a restaurant manager. I find myself wondering what my options are for shoes with rubber soles that look sharp, last a long time, and won't break my heart, or the bank, if they have food or drink spilled on them. Keeping in mind that I'll be on my feet for upwards of 10 hours a day, what do you recommend?
--Wasabi Chimp


A: WC, you are asking us to be really practical, and we hate being practical. However, if we ever find ourselves dining in the restaurant you manage, we don't want you spitting in our food. So here goes: Cole Haan Air Obori Oxfords. They're almost as sleek as a pair of Tods, we suspect they're just as comfortable as Crocs (though we'll never actually try on a pair of Crocs to test this theory), they have rubber soles per your request, and they're on sale at Amazon for only $99.

Ask the MB: Gardening

Ask the MB: Gardening
Q: Where does gardening fall on the scale of magnificent bastardom? Specifically, the desire to dig in dirt, tend, watch, and enjoy growing your own fruits and vegetables and the occasional flowering plant (and yes, even more butch plants like arbor vitae).
--Andy


A: Gardening has some theoretical virtues. The English love it, it involves primarily natural materials, it presupposes land ownership. But we have trouble getting past the clogs, which are basically Crocs for land-lubbers. And our manicurist, who is frankly a bit of an underachiever, hates it when we come in with dirt under our fingernails. Thus we prefer agriculture on a larger, noisier scale -- anything, in short, that gives us a chance to operate a chainsaw, threshing machine, or drag harrow.

It's Alive!

Crocband via crocs.com, $39.99
Crocband via crocs.com. $39.99.
We thoughts Crocs were dead. Deader than Michael Myers at the end of Halloween. Deader than Jason Vorhees at the end of Friday the 13th. (Or was it Jason's mom? It's been along time since we saw that one.) We were wrong. Horribly wrong. Not only do Crocs continue to haunt this mortal coil, they're even birthing new mutations. We believe these have possessed the soul (but not the soles) of a pair of Chuck Taylors. Out, demon shoe! Out, cursed footwear abomination! Let us walk in peace.

Contact the MB: Crocs

Dewar's ad from 1954
Dewar's ad from 1954
Dear MB, I am a woman who has had PF (Plantar Fasciitis) issues on and off for fifteen years and my darling MB husband developed symptoms several years ago when he began running seriously. Let me tell you now: the ONLY things that will help your PF are 1) podiatrist-prescribed orthotics (be warned, you will need to start buying shoes 1/2 size larger; 2) serious, daily calf stretching; and: 3) a night splint. Go to heelspurs.com for more info. Wearing Crocs, is, well, a croc, and flippin' butt-ugly and non-MB to boot. (By the way, the reason my symptoms have come and go over the years is because I am a runner, and because orthotics don't really fit into strappy heels. The MB HB hasn't had any problems since he started serious calf-stretches at the gym.)
--Dru


A: Blessed with absolutely perfect feet, we admit we were treading on unfamiliar ground with our recent foray into feet healing. In any case, we are relieved to hear Crocs are as medically worthless as they are aesthetically painful. Even recommending them in a half-hearted, ironic manner was giving us a headache not even a constant Dewar's IV drip could cure. Thanks for enlightening us.

Ask the MB: Plantar Fasciitis

Ask the MB: Plantar Fasciitis
Q: I am fully on board with your preference for vintage sneakers (Jack Purcells, etc.) for casual wear and would like to get on board. There's just one problem: I have plantar fasciitis, and my podiatrist says it won't get better if I wear unsupportive shoes. By supportive, he means shoes with a 3/4 length nylon shank built into the mid sole - i.e. a shoe that has a rigid arch. I can't seem to find any casual sneakers with this feature. There are plenty of running/athletic shoes out there, but they are only MB approved for their intended function. Are there any MB approved shoes that I can wear to the ballpark, rock concert, the beach, etc that will give me the support I need?
--Mark


A: What the hell do we look like? Dr. Scholl?

A few weeks ago when the Washington Post wrote about the demise of Crocs (and George Clooney being their only hope), several commenters were crushed by the news because Crocs were the only thing that relieved their plantar fasciitis. Some additional Googling and it seems to be true: Crocs help plantar fasciitis. So we say get a pair, wrap them in silver duct tape, and if anyone asks about what the heck is on your feet, tell them they came recommended by Dr. Scholl.

George Clooney: Crocs' Last Victim?

George Clooney: Crocs' Last Victim?
Crocs isn't dead. Yet. The company/product that created more fashion casualties than Zubaz and parachute pants combined is determined to take at least one more victim with it on the way down. The Washington Post reports that the company, which has been on the verge of bankruptcy for weeks, says it has gotten George Clooney to agree to "work with the company." But asking Clooney to save Crocs is like asking an ant to bang an elephant. It's not the elephant that's going to get crushed when the relationship doesn't work out.

Ask the MB: Is Obama Wearing Crocs?

Ask the MB: Is Obama Wearing Crocs?
Q: There is some toolbaggery going on here. Are those Crocs?
--Kevin


A: To our eye, it looks like an animal died to make the President's sandals. (Thanks to Reuters photographer Mike Theiler for sensing where the real story was.) So, no, they're not Crocs, which are made entirely from anti-fungal fossil fuels. They do have a very Crocs-like sole, however, and we imagined they looked great on the golf course he was headed toward, if that golf course had a styrofoam castle on the 18th hole.

See also: From Cool to Tool: Tracking Barack Obama's Descent Into Toolbaggery

Ask the MB: Keen Sandals

Ask the MB: Keen Sandals
Q: I'm an avid reader... and have to say... you're starting to read my mind. Last night, my wife and I were watching TV -- and saw the belt bug spray fan-thing. I said, I bet the MB would NOT approve of that. She agreed and said it looks like a flea collar. Now, less than 12 hours later, you post something on it. You da man.

Now here's a situation that you're sure to agree with me. I bought these shoes. They have the feel of Crocs (though, I must say I have NEVER owned a pair.) I plan to wear them to the pool, at the beach and when we go whitewater rafting. But the other day, I saw someone wear a pair to the movies. When will toolbags learn?
--John


A: John, we may need to graduate you to full-on Vulcan mind-meld. The fact that you mentioned Crocs in the same breath as a recent footwear purchase should set off alarm bells. Do you still have the receipt?

We're strongly opposed to this entire genre of footwear, whether it be Crocs, Keen, or Teva. These are for the fleece and granola set, where MBs are as rare as a dodo bird.

Incidentally, for the rafting we recommend an old pair of Jack Purcells. They work great and look amazing.

Ask the MB: Lugz

Ask the MB: Lugz
Q: How does the MB feel about Lugz?
--Frank


A: In our view, Lugz are the Crocs of hip-hop. They look exactly like they sound -- clunky, badly proportioned, and possibly reinforced with multiple layers of body armor-grade Kevlar. Unless you have an endorsement deal or people shoot at your feet a lot, avoid.

Ask the MB: Crocs as Gift?!

Kielh's 'Ultimate Man' Collection via Saks Fifth Avenue, $55.00
Kielh's 'Ultimate Man' Collection via Saks Fifth Avenue. $55.00.
Q: My boyfriend recently discovered your site and now it's his dogma. The problem: I was going to get him Crocs for his birthday next month, thinking he would like a comfortable, lazy-day alternative to real shoes like I do, but now he's all against them because of you. So what should I get a newly minted MB-wannabe for his b-day? It doesn't have to be shoes, but it has to be cheap. Like probably any clothing recommendations you would make would be too much for me.
--Breda


A: How about a pair of Uggs? Kidding!

Clothing or footwear is such a dicey proposition in the first place. In the Crocs price range we recommend the Kiehl's "Ultimate Man" Collection. It's 55 bucks and he'll smell nice, be clean, have soft hands, and kiss-worthy lips. In fact, this gift is more for you than it is him, and those are always the best kind.

Contact the MB -- Toolbag Weekend

Toolbag in the Wild
Toolbag in the Wild
You have an uphill battle, my beloved MB. I offer you My Toolbag Weekend. In San Luis Obispo, CA for the 4th:

1) Short-legged 50-year-old man in long cargo shorts, orange crocs and Tommy Bahama Independence Day aloha shirt.

2) Tall man at dinner, every electronic device known to mankind, clipped to his belt with.... an electric blue carabiner.

3) Father of three teenagers, who know he needed to remove his ballcap upon entering the restaurant, so he attached it to the specially-made BALLCAP HOOK hanging from his belt, and lastly...

4) Ubiquitous TV ads for the buy-one-get-one-free amazing cell phone belt/car/shower clip. Only $10 while supplies last.

Good luck to you guys.
--Dru

Pray for Little Rory McDermott ... and His Parents

Pray for Little Rory McDermott ... and His Parents
The horror!
Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding.
Two takeaways from Rory's torn toenail:

1. Don't wear crocs (on an escalator).
2. Avoid footwear popularized by people young enough to still enjoy playing with stuffed pandas.

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
You hopefully caught this bit on last night's Daily Show, where Jon Stewart and Rob Corddry were having fun attributing footwear to gay sex in men's bathrooms:

JS: So different taps mean different things?

RC: That's right Jon, it's a complex language. Wing tips mean you're a married man. Socks with sandals means this is your first time. Oh, and Jon, any one of those brightly colored plastic crocs, that means anything goes. We're talking hard-core ass-to-mouth stuff; scat play!

And Jon, that's not just in bathrooms, OK? Anytime you see anyone wearing crocs, be wary. Be wary.

JS: What does that mean Rob?

RC: If they are wearing crocs they are soliciting incredibly deprived gay sex. You can take that to the bank.

(The video in question is currently the main clip on the Daily Show site.)

Marlin Perkins Would Be Proud

Crocs. For real.
Crocs. For real.
Just like Marlin Perkins was out there, researching pygmy elephants for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, staffers at magnificentbastard.com are out looking for toolbags in the wild. They're out there. Be careful.

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