There is not one single fashion trend from the '90s that isn’t back with a vengeance. Flannels, crop tops, overalls, clear purses, brown lipstick, chokers and Dr. Martens are EVERYWHERE. The only trend of that beloved decade that hasn't had its moment in the sun again is the classic Rocket Dog platform flip-flop, and I think it's a damn shame.
That sound you hear is laptops being slammed shut all over the world.
It’s cool, I can take it. But before you click away, I just want you to know that I’ve gotten more than a few tentative “Ummm, can I still wear platform flip-flops???” emails from your fellow xoJane readers. THE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW. They are always a little sheepishly ashamed to be asking me this question. I myself was at once revolted and intrigued by these inquires, but had no idea how to answer them.
I do love anything that the fashion crowd is horrified by, so I decided to do a little research and see if there was any way this trend could be revived. I thought I'd have to thrift a pair somewhere, but I was able to call in a favor with the Rocket Dogs rep we buy shoes from for shows.
Two days later the O.G. 1994-era “Big Top” classic arrived on my doorstep. (Retail Price: $39.95.) I was pretty stunned that they were still available -- and even more surprised when the Rocket Dogs rep told me they actually never stopped making them! I opened the box and the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” practically started playing in the background.
The idea of rocking this look again is not as crazy as you may think -- platform sneakers, another beloved child of the '90s, are already everywhere you look. Chanel even recently made a pair of shiny gold Creeper-esque platforms!
So why couldn’t the foam platform flip-flop rise again?
If you didn’t have a pair of these in the late '90s, you weren’t doing something right. They were featured in practically every single catalog that '90s authority dELiA’s delivered to my house religiously.
I was on my way to dinner when the shoes arrived, so I of course instantly threw them on with what I was wearing before I headed out. I think I happened to actually be wearing kind of the exact right thing to pair with them -- a simple yet interesting t-shirt dress I recently got from ASOS (yes, maker of radioactive clothing) that has an almost Rick Owens androgynous vibe. I think anything too young, cutesy or bright may make the Rocket Dogs you are wearing look like a total '90s costume. When paired with something totally simple, they sort of "went away" to my eye. (That's wardrobe-speak for when an accessory is doing its job and not overpowering the outfit as a whole.) Or maybe I’m just delusional?
Some reactions from my dinner companions:
“It makes your foot look like a pig hoof perched on a slice of cake.”
“They’re very New Jersey.”
"Wait, do they double as a flotation device?"
“Those are like open-air KISS boots, right?”
"Is this some sort of dare?"
And on and on and on.
I have to tell you, I loved wearing them. Comments be damned! They made me super nostalgic and I felt sort of smugly superior for wearing something so outré to such a fancy spot. Everyone in the restaurant was so proper in flat pastel summer sandals and delicate gold jewelry, while I was this big weird horse clomping all over the place in my Baby Spice shoes.
When I was wearing platform flip-flops the first time around, I got VERY into sewing fake flowers and all sorts of ridiculous trinkets onto them. The pair I just got have soft fabric webbing straps, making them still totally perfect for this same sort of craft.
I guess the embellished platform flip-flop in white is really big with beach brides?
I'm quitting my day job immediately. Sometimes the Internet makes me feel like I might actually be living The Truman Show.
A platform flip-flop is pretty useful for keeping your feet up off of a dirty street, out of the rain, and above the sand when you are at the beach. I didn't ever feel like I was going to fall down or snap an ankle -- which are common complaints that the anti-platform crew likes to bellyache about. If you are a shortie, the other advantage the platform provides is very obvious! You can thank 5 solid inches of foam for that.
I'm totally going to wear them out again this summer, maybe to a dive bar or a house party. As I said before, I think they are the perfect foil to an outfit that is kind of uptight, prim, or taking itself super seriously. (I carried my thrifted Chanel bag with the Rocket Dogs and people were so confused.) But I like my fashion with a heaping dose of comedy, so maybe don't listen to me if you care what the world thinks of you. As with every trend revival, it always takes a few brave trailblazers to lead the way for the rest of the world to glom onto.
Come on, you know you want to...
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.