It didn't start with the JW Anderson chunky chain mules, but that's undoubtedly where things escalated. Like so many others, I spent March bulk-ordering sweatpants, April baking bread, and in September I couldn't stop thinking about flat mules, the fall shoe trend that promised to comfort and coddle my feet. I've spent years as a devoted wearer of Birkenstock's Arizona sandals, but having literally worn the soles off of my current pair this summer, I began to scheme on what the next iteration might be. While the brand's collab with Proenza Schouler piqued my interest, it was around this same time that JW Anderson's clunky slip ons entered the fashion limelight, endorsed by Dua Lipa and Marc Jacobs alike. Were they a loafer? A mule? A clog?
As a fashion editor in a family full of nurses (both my parents and my sister all happen to be RNs), I'm well-educated on the positives of traditional Dansko clogs. But, this 2020 iteration is something more aligned with a foot-hugging slipper. Birkenstock's closed-toe alternative to my beloved two-strap sandal is a particularly appealing option, as I happen to already know how unabashedly comfortable the molded footbed can be. Beyond comfort, there also happens to be a hypebeast sign-off on this humble footwear choice. Streetwear brand Stussy collaborated with Birkenstock on a corduroy iteration in August, and former and current Highsnobiety editors have even launched an Instagram entitled @muleboyz, devoted entirely to the ugly-chic offerings of slide-on footwear. Now, I'm decidedly more of a granola variety of mule-wearer than I am an in-the-know Supreme aficionado, but a trend that can back both ends of the style spectrum is one I'd say is worth leaning into.
Below, you'll find a few of my favorite ways to lean into this remarkably comfortable trend as showcased by both celebs and influencers. From fashion-forward options to stylish ways to wear *gasp* crocs, below I'm breaking down exactly how I plan on embracing this "ugly" shoe trend as I snuggle into my winter wardrobe. The only must-own addition to pull the whole thing off: a really plush pair of socks.
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Fall 2020's Mule Trend: The Influencer Way
Sweats aren't really meant to be worn with fancy shoes, but I love the fun contrast between these statement mules and a pair of colorful sweats. The addition of a luxe trench adds that last bit of dressiness that makes this combination simply work.
Fall 2020's Mule Trend: The Celeb Way
Like myself, Sienna Miller is a long-time Birkenstock wearer, but of late she's transitioned from the sandal to these fuzzy clogs instead. With this look, I'm inspired by both the coordination and clash. The coordinated wide-leg pants add a touch of polish while a contrasting bag offers a one-two accessory punch.
Fall 2020's Clog Trend: The Influencer Way
Ok so Crocs may not have the most fashionable reputation, but many insiders are turning to them as an ironically-cool choice that they swear by for ultimate comfort. To pull these shoes off, I'm convinced that the best styling choice is to lean into the casual vibe. Cool Cutoffs and an oversized sweatshirt or tee is the best way to make it work. I'd also add chunky jewelry and structured bag for a little extra oomph.
Fall 2020's Clog Trend: The Celeb Way
Sadly, I have yet to adopt a pet during quarantine, but I'm inspired by Dua Lipa's dog walking look complete with the same JW Anderson shoes. The combination of high-waisted jeans and a structured button-down makes for a cool off-duty look.