Sunday, April 6, 2014

I like Birkenstocks

Images by some of my faves: TOP & BOTTOM

I have been gearing up for this changing weather with thoughts about what few items I would like to purchase for the warmer months. After moving to Germany in August, I must say that my thoughts on my personal wardrobe have changed drastically. I left most of my closet in Ohio, and brought only the things I truly loved and a few that I didn't love, but knew I would wear nonetheless. To my surprise, my suddenly limited wardrobe gave me the extraordinary freedom to finally be creative with my wardrobe. I've never been more excited to open my closet and get dressed for the day.

If I lived in a land of eternal Winter or Autumn, I would be set.

I am still not even close to being bored with my tiny collection of sweaters and cardigans, button-downs, my 2 pairs of jeans, and a few basic tanks and tees for layering. I also have 3 scarves that I rotate, and most mornings I have a hard time deciding which to don, because I still love them all. I purchased one in Berlin a few years ago, one is from Italy and given to my by my dear friend Courtney, and the other I purchased this winter at the Reutlingen Christmas market. My wardrobe is not the center of my universe, but it means something to me. I get joy out of the few things I have, and I feel like they express who I am, as much as something like clothing can, of course. Basically, I feel comfortable in my clothes now. I wear the clothes, the clothes don't wear me.

The one thing I always want more of, however, is shoes. I am a shoe person. Are you a shoe person? It's great to be a shoe person. Except, I have discovered, when you want to buy a pair of Birkenstocks and you live in Germany. But, you say, Birkenstocks are a German-made shoe! What could be more perfect? Well, I'll tell you how it is. I have lived in Germany for 8 months and have only now just realized that I have yet to see one pair of Birkenstocks worn out of doors. One can buy them at nearly every shoe store, but they are considered to be practical orthopedic shoes that people wear as slippers, or Hausschuhe. I'm pretty sure every German owns a pair, but they don't leave the house.

And here I was literally about to hit "sofort-kaufen" on German Ebay for a pair of my own. I don't dare buy them with the intention of only wearing them indoors while in Germany, because I know myself too well. I'll wear them outside, I just know it. I'll wear them to the grocery store and I'll wear them to H&M, and I'll wear them to the park. Once those babies hit my feet ain't nobody going to peel them off.

And so, my Birkenstocks purchase will wait. It's not that I generally care about what other people think of my shoes, it's just that if you're living in the country that invented the Birkenstock and people in said country say that it is strictly a house shoe, then you adhere to their standards until you leave on a jet plane to the country wear even flip flops (gasp!) are acceptable.

Do you like ugly shoes? I know Bethany does, and I love her for it (yay ugly shoe club!?). It must be our mutual Germanness. Side note: I think all ugly shoes were invented in Germany.

What are your favorite summer shoes? Do you thrive on a limited wardrobe? What purchases do you have planned for the coming months?

Update: After talking with our German friends, they assured me that no one would look at me cross-eyed if I wore Birkenstocks out of the house, but also that they did think it was pretty hilarious how Americans view them as just another pair of sandals. I love discovering stuff like this.

P.S. Here is a post by Design Mom about Birkenstocks trending, and one by Say Yes.


  1. I did not even notice the indoor rule while I was there...pretty sure I wore flip flops everywhere, once it got nice enough.
    That said, I do like my birkenstocks...but I am a flip flop lover.

    1. i used to love flip flops, but then i felt like they stopped "going the distance" for me in my wardrobe. i LOVE shoes, and any clothing item really, that does a good job multi-tasking. my saltwaters are my new flip flops because they're easier to dress up, but every bit as comfy as flip flops! i love that. i think it's about finding what works for you and your lifestyle, etc.

  2. I suppose it'll be something to look forward to when you're back stateside. I'm not sure how much uglier shoes can get, but I'm excited to find out. Ugly shoes forever!

    Also, glad to see you're back!

    1. so glad to have an ugly shoe soul sister to support me when peer pressure is too much to bear alone. ; )