Please Stop Trying To Make Fashionable Wellies Happen

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As you may have heard, it recently snowed a fair amount in DC. Enough, in fact, to warrant the wearing of snow-appropriate footwear. The wearing of Wellington boots as a fashion statement is one of my bete-noires, of which I have many. In case you’re wondering, another bete-noire is my inability to find the fucking French keyboard so I can use the proper accents on words such as BETE-NOIRE.

Right. Now where were we?

I grew up in England and moved to the US when I was 28. Shortly after my in DC, I noticed something strange: the Wellington boot had followed me across the pond. Now, people in the US have worn wellies (you may know them as rain boots or galoshes) for donkeys’ years, but sometime in the early 2000’s, they actually became a fashion statement. Fashionable Wellies??! *shudder*

 

fashionable wellies boots

I’m still trying to figure out why one would need to wear Wellington boots in what appears to be a dry, hot desert.

Some dull background on Wellington boots:
Wellies are inherently an English invention. The Duke of Wellington reworked his Hessian cavalry boots into leather affairs with a different shape to make them more efficient for his cavalrymen to wear on the battlefield, i.e. at Waterloo (the war, not the train station). The fashionable boys at the time – known as the dandies – introduced them into the city as day wear in the late 19th century, calling them Wellington boots. Those Wellington boots were leather, beautifully made… and the equivalent of someone today wearing polo boots having never even seen a polo match. For the dandies wearing them, it was a fashion thing.

Soon thereafter, Mr. Goodyear (of tires fame) and Mr. Hutchinson (an American rubber magnate) collaborated on the invention of galvanized rubber. Goodyear used it in tires, and Hutchinson took the technology into footwear – in France, with a company called A l’Aigle (to the Eagle, in a nod to his US roots, apparently). Today, the company, now named Aigle makes lovely wellies with a hint of French chic, bien sur.

Eventually, Wellies became the workman’s shoe of choice – in fields, factories and farms. Waterproof and efficient. Usually green or black. And the dandies rolled over in their graves.

dandies

Fahbulous dandies

 

As a child, I wore Wellington boots when it snowed or for traipsing across a field. I grew up in town, even though the countryside began just one mile from my front door. My best friends lived in the proper countryside. They had horses, lots of dogs and lived in places with immense amounts of mud and poo. They also wore Wellies, but for practical reasons such as mucking out stables and other gross stuff that made us city girls gag.

Needless to say, I was confused when Timberland brought out that heinous high heeled/stilettoed monstrosity in the 2000’s (thanks JLo), but since it was an American company, I assumed I simply wasn’t in the know. Perhaps I didn’t “get it” as I grew up elsewhere, and maybe people really could do construction work in 3 inch heels.

fashionable wellies boots funny

Nope… it’s still not raining. You wore those Wellies for nothing!

However, when the traditional Wellington boot worn by British hunters became fashionable in the US, I sort of screamed. Some things just should not be made fashionable. It was akin to picking up the British countryside and all those glorious things such as The Cotswolds, Miss Marple and cream teas and making them mainstream. Mainstream usually hits tacky at some point on its journey. It infringed on childhood memories of gagging at mounds of horse shit, frolicking with chocolate Labrador puppies, cheering on your best friend at a horse race in some freezing cold field in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Today I saw a young woman walking in the snow wearing Wellies. Who cares, right? Right… except her Wellies were heeled. As in 2 inch heeled. Like a high heeled shoe, but a Welly. A fucking rubber high heeled WELLINGTON BOOT.

Oh god, I could cry just typing that.

Ladies: Please don’t wear fashionable Wellies, I beg of you. A bit of rain never hurt anyone walking on a paved city street. Really.

 


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An ex spy from the UK, Elaine currently lives in Washington DC with her husband and toddler. Having to verbally hold in her British snark, she finds an outlet through writing. You can find her on Twitter @damesparkula and Instagram @delcerroyau and @twosisterstwocountries.

  • XYZrock

    Seriously? How can this be a problem? Let people wear what they want. I think those wellies look fantastic on girls.

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