Chicks In Chucks

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne wearing black high tops.

Aching arches all over town are in for a welcome change. Thanks to the post-pop-tart-punk revival, a much foot-friendlier fashion option has emerged — Converse’s Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

The athletic shoes first debuted in 1917 (and got their name after being endorsed by the basketball great in 1923). But it wasn’t till the mid-1970s, when icons like late punk legend Joey Ramone were rarely seen in public without a pair of ratty black chucks, that they truly became the shoe of choice for the outsider.

But today, everyone from wholesome Reese Witherspoon to faux-punk Avril Lavigne is stepping out in Chuck Taylors. In New York, the trend continues to percolate among fashion insiders like longtime fan Marc Jacobs and supermodel Stella Tennant.

“I started noticing models wearing Chuck Taylors about a year ago, and I just keep seeing more and more chucks backstage at fashion shows,” says Maryellen Gordon, deputy style editor at Glamour Magazine. “They’re a great way to mix high and low fashion.”

Freelance writer Christine Muhlke, 31, agrees — she’s long been a proponent of wearing chucks “to balance what would otherwise be a semi-pretentious outfit.”

“Chuck Taylors lighten up your whole look and give you a bit of rock-and-roll credibility,” she says. “The only downside is that by the time you get them worn in just right, you’ll start getting holes in the sole.”

The upside: Chucks usually run under $20 at stores like Modell’s, Champs or various 14th Street discount emporiums - though if you pick them up there, you’ll have to settle for standard-issue colors like navy blue, black, khaki or natural canvas.

But Glamour’s Gordon adds one note of caution: “If you have any issues with how your legs look, avoid the hi-tops and stick to the low-tops. Because the hi-tops hit right at the thinnest part of the ankle, they have this unfortunate tendency to make toothpick legs look even skinnier, while making generous calves look wider.”

Converse has actually taken some steps to rectify this problem. Coming in February is the all new XHI, a 12-eyelet model in denim, canvas and leather that hits mid-calf.

Who knows - they could be the hot new thing to pair with the inevitable micro-mini trend this spring.

By Alexandra Marshall
New York Post
November 17, 2002

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