I figured my sartorial standards took a nosedive the moment I started considering Birkenstocks as an alternative to what used to be my most comfortable sandals. After walking for miles throughout Brussels, my feet were tired, sore and swollen. We passed a surprising number of orthopedic stores on our daily outings and Birkenstocks shone in the windows like footwear’s version of an oasis.
My desire to own a pair was quickly quieted by a fear that I’d come off as a Woodstock refugee, but everywhere I looked, the most stylish women were wearing Birkenstocks. It wasn’t the double-strapped Arizona, mind you. It was its chic, feminine alternative: the Madrid.
Think of these as the upscale (ha!) version of the Adidas shower slide. (Which, by the way, J.Crew is now carrying. A sure sign the trend has gone far enough.) It’s a single-strap slide that looks surprisingly good with dresses, draped shorts, cropped pants and cuffed boyfriend jeans. Really, the more feminine or sophisticated an outfit is, the better the Madrid looks.
I continued obsessing over them while we were in Belgium, admiring the women’s footwear choice with the voracity of a fetishist. It wasn’t until I woke up early and perused Birkenstock outfits on Pinterest that I knew I was going down a dangerous path. I mean, really, can anyone can deny how chic the sandals look here and here? No.
Maybe I’m yearning for our days back in Brussels or maybe I’m embracing the normcore trend more heartily than I’d ever care to admit. Either way, I caved. I ordered a pair of black Madrids with the tonal buckle, in the name of fashun, of course.
And you know what? I freaking love them. Let’s just hope I’m not one step away from a road paved in marled camp socks and patchouli.
- A fresh pedicure and well-moisturized heels are a must.
- It looks best with tailored clothes. I had envisioned wearing them with breezy dresses, but it looked frumpy on my body type. Maybe it’s better on skinny gals? In any case, I like how they look with slim ankle-length pants, shorts and rompers—all in classic silhouettes and basic colors.
- Go a little smaller than you think you should. Even though I wear a size 7, I still went with a size 37. According to their size chart, that’s technically the correct size for those who wear a 6 or 6.5.
- I get the impression that narrow is suited for widths A and B and regular is for C and D. The black Madrids were only available in a 37 narrow on Zappos and I’m glad I took the risk because they fit my regular width foot perfectly. I would have hated a wider pair.
Banana Republic top (similar) | J.Crew shorts | Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Banana Republic bag (similar) | Hermes bracelet | Daniel Wellington watch c/o | Vrai & Oro ring c/o| Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Birkenstock sandals | YSL polish