In case you’ve been living under a rock, this summer marks the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, when hippie chic in all its long-haired splendor came to the foreground of American culture. Well, that and acid. Forty years ago, my parents were likely dazed, confused, and wishing they were at the Monterey Pop Festival instead of working the inevitable summer job. To celebrate this momentous anniversary, and to take a little step in the wandering shoes of my parents’ youth, I did the next best thing: I went to Bonnaroo.
Let me first say that my boyfriend already describes me as dressing “like a hippie.” Granted, he has three categories of dressing: “Normal” (ranging from ‘sporty’ to ‘corporate casual’), “English” (lots of stripes, a bit more metrosexual — periodically he may refer to this as “European”), and “Hippie,” a category which at this point exists solely to describe how I dress. So it was with much enthusiasm and a certain “I told you so” look from the boy that I set about packing for the hippie fest that is Bonnaroo. Truth be told, I really wanted to look exactly like Kate Moss at Glastonbury, in some fabulous mini-dress, long wavy hair and muddy Wellies, but I could settle for American Apparel and Wellies, so off I went in search of generic rain boots. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. They pretty much don’t exist in Manhattan outside of a size 10-11. What I did find, however, in almost every freaking shoe store in the city, were Crocs.
Like a mutant hybrid of clogs and jellies, smacked with a giant ugly stick, Crocs have risen from the depths of some style inferno and taken over city sidewalks like wildfire, while they should have been confined to gardens and boating. This explosion has happened so quickly, with such ferocity, that people seem to have forgotten (or chosen not to notice) how unbelievably hideous they are. I know they’re supposed to be mind-alteringly comfortable, but come on. I’ve resolved never to try them, because apparently it’s like crack. Literally. You’re too high to notice how demented you look.
So, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when Crocs ruled the land of all things high, Bonnaroo. The racks of multi-colored clunkers I’d seen spinning in a dozen shoe stores were replaced by a kaleidescope of ‘croslite’ material at the festival. Hippie chic really has evolved, apparently, and Crocs are the new Birkenstocks. All of which led me to believe that maybe I wasn’t into hippie chic after all.