OP-EDS

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January 11, 2004

Fashion experts debate Ugg boots craze

As sort of a "welcome back" surprise for the whopping 1 per cent of Chicago students interested in fashion and gratuitous name-dropping, I have set up a point-counterpoint between Prudence Plain, the editor of Misguidedly Self-Confident Woman, a therapeutic and reassuring publication for the less-than-elegant, and Elle Superior, the style director of So Very Now, a magazine whose models make those in Vogue look like the people you see in airports and pity for their slovenliness.

P.M.: The subject of today's debate is the Ugg boot, an accessory that has sparked more controversy than Britney's recent Las Vegas marriage/annulment activities. Let's start with you, Ms. Plain. What's your feeling about these boots seen on everyone from

P.P.: I love them! So practical, understated, nothing you'd be afraid to get a little mud on, and that's what today's woman is all about mud.

P.M.: Ms. Superior, do you agree?

E.S.: Nonsense. A woman must wear the least shoe possible, with the highest heel, or else she will die a virgin. Many highly reputable scientific studies back this up. These…these marshmallows are going to go out like acid-washed jeans once girls start to notice potential suitors fleeing in horror.

P.P: Abstinence is a perfectly respectable life choice made by many strong and beautiful women.

E.S.: The same strong and beautiful women who wear Ugg boots? We at So Very Now encourage our readers to own as many pairs of Manolos as possible at one time; for our readers who are quadrupeds, this may be easier, but nevertheless stilettos are cool and now and wonderful and should be worn at work, in bed, at the gym, on the toilet, in the shower, you name it.

P.M.: So, ladies, back to these boots. They are made well, at least, right?

P.P.: Oh, I'd imagine so. As for me personally … I'm an L.L. Bean kind of a gal myself; their value is unbeatable. But for high fashion, for those of us who want to look "hip," who want to look like Paris Hilton while still being 30-300 pounds overweight and wearing comfortable shoes, I'd say Uggs are just the ticket.

E.S.: And for those who want to trip charmingly in impractical shoes, like the lovely Chloe Sevigny, these boots are badly-made, a disaster. Imagine you find yourself at a lavish dinner party hosted by, say, Nan Kempner or Carolina Herrera, and a charming, if dubious, cousin of Princess Caroline of Monaco looks your way. How are you supposed to "accidentally" trip and fall into his arms if you're wearing boots sturdier than Rosie O'Donnell? Feminism is about looking your best no matter how many toes you lose in the process.

P.P.: I lost a few toes once.

P.M. and E.S.: Sorry.

P.P.: It's OK, they grew back eventually.

P.M.: What a relief! Now, if I were to tell you that I had one pair—just one pair—of these stylish yet substantial shoes, to give to the winner of this debate, regardless of opinion re: the boots, what on earth would you do?

P.P: I'm a size 6.

E.S.: I'm an 11.

P.M.: Err, hadn't thought of that, but I do have some mildewy flip-flops in my dorm room. Any takers?