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Solo Looks Back

8 Remembering Doc Martens (and rejoicing at their return)

Let’s play a game of word association, where if I name an item of clothing, you name the music subculture or band it’s come to be identified with. So…

Tartan trousers – punk rock and Sex Pistols?
School uniform shorts – old school rock and AC/DC?
Bling jewellery – rap and 50 Cent?
Red bomber jacket – ’80s pop and Bros?
Corset with conical bra – ’80s pop (again) and Madonna?
Doc Martens – grunge and Nirvana?

Though I’ve never personally succumbed to wearing any of the first few, I used to live in my Doc Martens once upon a time and it seems they’re back, in a big way.
Launched in the UK in 1960, the 1460 boot (so-called after its launch date of April Fools Day, 1960), DMs have achieved iconic status in the past 50 years. Developed by Dr Klaus Maertens (after injuring his ankle in a skiing accident) as an alternative to the standard issue army boot of World War II, they came to be associated with postmen, policemen and the working class throughout the ’60s and ’70s. The ’90s saw a bridal version being introduced (gold with white laces – nice!) while in 2007 Japanese fashion designer, Yohji Yamamoto collaborated with Dr Martens. It has been reported that Johnny Depp ordered them as party favours for his little girl’s birthday last year and the boots have also appeared as cover art for the Madness singles collection, ‘The Business’.
For me, they will always go hand in hand with the grunge movement. However, musical sub-cultures aside, I was in a cafe South William Street recently, watching the world go by over a hot chocolate when I spotted Agness Deyn sporting gold Doc shoes! She was rocking them while wearing a gorgeous black trilby and as Tyra would say, she owned it.
Once Agness had disappeared from viewpoint, I wondered where my Docs had gotten to. I know from the age of 13 to 17 they were my wardrobe staple, teamed with everything from skinny, ripped, dyed purple Levi’s and flannel lumber jack shirts, even adding the finishing touches to my school uniform, giving an all important two fingers to the establishment. I’m not sure how the trademark yellow stitching fitted in with such ensembles but I remember having three pairs, all eight-hole and none of them black. I am ashamed to admit that they were of the forest green variety, purple and ox-blood.
In a further bid to be different, I remembering wearing one forest green boot and one purple boot as a pair until my mother yanked me off the phone one day (I was putting the world to rights with my boyfriend at the time), shrieking something about me having gone too far etc etc. The boyfriend has since come out and that’s a whole other story, but Jesus the mortification of him overhearing such a parental bollicking.
I never owned a black pair but am seriously contemplating such a purchase. Not because of Agness you see, but because of the recession-busting longevity of these boots. DM’s last forever and are super comfortable. I think it’s the air filled sole. I’m also thinking a patent pair with some Wolford satin tights, a nice floral dress and a long cardigan would look super cute. Chloe Sevigny and Daisy Lowe have been seen in them. Mind you, so has Pete Briquette (love that name!!) of the Boomtown Rats, but we might overlook him.
Retailing at about €90 and available in a multitude of styles, they are about to become a constant feature in the recessionista/fashionista’s wardrobe – so get yours now!


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