They say what goes around comes around, and nowhere is that more true than in the fashion world. Trends from decades past are regularly recycled and injected with new life, updated for contemporary style with a nostalgic nod to years gone by. As well as a great way to reference your favorite eras in music and the arts, this is super handy for your wallet. Not only can you raid your parents’ wardrobes for valuable vintage finds, you can get thrifty and find an ageing rocker’s or retired disco queen’s cast offs in the charity shops. And as the high street and high designers catch on, there are only more options to style your way to a golden age.
When it comes to statement shoes, the history and heritage behind the styles are what make them so meaningful. Doc Martens conjure up grunge and skinhead styles, and the iconic military boots are now an institution in rebellion and youth culture. When it comes to brothel creepers, their past might be a little less clear because their history stretches back even further. Perhaps your grandparents even wore them! If this is an off-putting image, consider the context (and remember that grannies are cool, ok). The Teddy boys and girls of the 1950s were pure rock and roll. With their slicked back hair, Edwardian velvet jackets, drainpipe trousers and creepers paired with white socks, their style was all about mixing up conventional styles and creating something new and exciting.
This was a style influenced by the Dandies, mixed with impeccable tailoring and Elvis-inspired bolo ties. The first widely recognised youth subculture, the teddy boys raged and rioted. This lead to the concept of the teenager, only cemented after the second World War. Teddy girls in their pencil skirts, rolled up jeans, cameo brooches and circle skirts, symbolically rejected the imposed austerity of the previous generation, fighting for their right to style, a sense of identity, and a fun night out dancing. Creepers, which add height without the pain of heels, were the perfect footwear for being out and about, as the new generation of youths became intent on shaking up the establishment.
Even in their revivals, creepers have retained their rebellious role; in 1970s punk they clod the stomps of anarchists, adopted by Vivienne Westwood’s crowd and subsequently the cultures of ska, rockabilly, goth and many more. Underground England have collaborated with contemporary street fashion brands Ashish, Cassette Playa, and Lazy Oaf, introducing a whole new generation to the clompy soles.
Creepers make a strong style statement but also hint that the wearer is not afraid to have fun with fashion. Paired with skinny jeans, and a t-shirt or sweater, they’re perfect for a casual look, or worn with a dipped hem skirt and chiffon top, they provide the perfect foil for a girly get-up. Don’t be shy to wear them on a night out if you fancy platforms without the need to take them off a few dances in – with an eye-catching dress they can make even more of an impact than skyscraper stilettos would.
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