Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as you’ve probably heard before. So when someone posted a picture of Clark’s Wallabees on Ivy Style’s Facebook group, wondering their place in the Ivy/prep pantheon, my bias against them immediately showed.
The shoe gave me childhood trauma in the late ’70s — not because I was forced to wear them, but merely that I was forced to look at them. I’d like to think I was born with a sensitivity “regarding love and art,” as the Tinman sings in “The Wizard Of Oz,” and even as a second-grader I knew the Wallabee was an eyesore.
But it’s not my place to shove my personal preferences down the reader’s throat — or on his feet. After all, there is healthy disagreement in Tradsville on just about everything. And so with a disinterest and a sense of duty I present this ode to the Wallabee, which graced the foot of more ’70s preps than you might expect, and which continues to find wearers today, including Southern frat boys.
Let this post stand as a balancing weight for a future post, as a contributor wants to write about Belgian Shoes, something wholly on the other end of the footwear spectrum.
Below, the blogger “OCBD” has posted about the Wallabee and is fond of the shoe:
This shot is from 1982:
What do you bet the caption translates “for the young and young at heart”?
The post-heyday campus look of the ’70s:
Director Wes Anderson apparently has quite a thing for the shoe, and somehow it makes perfect sense that an artist whose work is routinely referred to as “twee” would find comfort in these shoes:
Women will put anything on their feet in the name of fashion. Would you kick this lovely young lady out of bed for eating crackers? Or kick her out of camp for wearing Wallabees? Only you can make that call.
And yes, what one of our Facebook members said happened apparently happened. In the early 2000s Southern frat boys wore Wallabees with their go-to-hell pants, buttondowns and bow ties.
For those who feel like they need to cleans their palate — or perhaps even take a shower — head on over to the (in)famous “Ode To The Bit Loafer” thread over at Andy’s Trad Forum. — CC