Let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to late 2008. “Gossip Girl” is having a total moment, Lady Gaga’s “Love Game” is playing loudly in the background and it’s the height of Ugg season.
Everywhere you turn, girls are donning the unmistakable sheepskin footwear, embracing the off-duty-cool look of the time and not thinking twice about it.
This was before the haters, before the "basic bitch" revolution, before they became relegated to the ranks of Britney Spears in the supermarket. Believe it or not, there was an era in which Uggs were not only trendy, they were the shoe of choice.
The fur-lined boot first gained popularity among the laid-back SoCal surfer crowd. As all things “Laguna Beach," “The Hills” and Juicy Couture sweatsuits reigned supreme, it only followed that the casual-cool California boot rose to the same status.
Eventually the Ugg brand expanded to the colder regions for its comfort and practicality, and then on to the celebrity fashion world, effectively securing its spot in the peak of American leisurewear.
(Eva Longoria actually left the house...with her boyfriend...wearing that.)
Despite early objectors, the Ugg boot was the coveted item of many seasons, repeatedly appearing on Christmas lists and A-lists alike.
As the Great Recession hit us hard, we were more interested in feeling good than showing off our goods. Uggs provided comfort; they reminded us of a relaxed, active lifestyle while we struggled in a harsh, sluggish economy.
Even the most glamorous of celebrities were not above Uggs. Everyone, from Nicky Hilton to Jennifer Aniston to J.Lo to Sarah Jessica Parker, was spotted in the sheepskin shoes.
They signified a particular kind of down-to-earth luxury: on the inside you were cushioned by thick layers of fur and wealth, but on the outside you kept it plain and ordinary.
Uggs-as-a-status-symbol was only reinforced when the many imposters arose. Those who couldn’t get their hands on the name-brand wore exact replicas of the iconic design. (Remember EMUs?) There were so many fake Uggs on the market, the imitation shoes were christened with a name: FUGGS. With a moniker so close to "fugly," we should have recognized the onset of the boot’s demise.
The Ugg boot craze was a real thing. Shoe stores offered specialty Ugg cleaning services, the brand rolled out new colors and designs and protective shearling sprays -- it was like buying Barbie and then purchasing all the accessories. The market became saturated with Uggs, their spin-offs and endless imitations.
Somewhere between $300 and Jessica Simpson’s downfall, Uggs became less cool. Men who watched in horror as their girlfriends, wives and daughters downgraded their appearance to leggings and slippers became more vocal about how unattractive the shoes were.
People started catching on to the true hideousness of these now unfashionable boots. Uggs, FUGGS, and otherwise were mocked as just plain fugly.
Furthermore, as the economy slowly showed small signs of progress, appearance once again trumped comfortability. It was OK to be ostentatious again, and that meant leaving your pajama-like wardrobe at home (arguably where it belonged in the first place). Uggs were now deemed for errands-only.
In 2014, we’re all about attainable glamor: dressing up, Rent-the-Runway, blowdry bars, makeover apps, ornate nail decor. Uggs are what you wear en route to getting glam, not while being glam, and this has become a fundamental difference.
Once you plant the unsexy image of galumphing bulky brown behemoth feet into fashionistas’ and consumers’ minds, it’s hard to erase it. No matter how many rhinestones and embellishments you put on them, you can’t mask the ugliness of Uggs.
It’s not cool to be photographed in them anymore. Wearing them in public always comes with an excuse as to why. The once indemand shoe of yore is now the bane of all footwear.
And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, we will probably still see (and -- heaven forbid -- maybe even wear!) Ugg boots this winter season. Because what’s practical is not always what's in fashion.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It