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call the doc

Patsington has bought a pair of Docs. Docs! I'm totally jealous. Even the sight of them (those translucent soles!) made me all nostalgic for an age (the very early '90s) when literally every single person I know would not have worn any other shoe (unless they were wearing runners, in which case only Converse All Stars would do), and everyone bought their Docs from a woman called Peggy who ran a shoe stall at the back of the Ilac Centre. Maybe it's just seeing lots of people wearing leggings under frocks (another look popular with my pals in the late '80s/early '90s) but I must confess to having been craving the fashions of that era recently. A few things recently have made me wonder if any of my old pairs of Docs are knocking about my parents' house (not least seeing James McAvoy on the poster for the '80s-set Starter for Ten, clad in a suitably authentic pair). They were rock! They were comfy! They were actually more flattering to the shorter lady than many modern-day flat boots! I always hated biker boots because they looked like wellies, but a good pair of tightly laced Docs and a pair of black tights and a little frock were perfect for creating the indie-rock-Victorian-urchin look which I greatly prized at the time.

Actually, Patsington and I are both rocking the look of our early-to-mid teens today. Not only is Patsington decked out in Doctor Marten's finest, but I am wearing a large claret-coloured men's lambswool jumper. I love this jumper, which someone gave to Patsington a few years ago and which, being a M&S men's size medium, was too small for him, although as it is large and baggy I never wear it in public (although I did wear it out for a delightfully bracing walk in the park this afternoon). Back in 1990, however, I would not only have worn it in public, I would have worn it with leggings and a pair of Docs. In fact, I was seldom seen in the winter months without a large old-man's lambswool jumper or cardigan.

The thing is, though, is that baggy clothes are not very flattering. Take t-shirts. The only reason I wore a lot of large band t-shirts back then was because you actually couldn't get band t-shirts in smaller sizes until the mid-90s when, to my joy, the skinny ringer t-shirt became available (I still have my Elastica 'Vaseline' t-shirt, bought at a gig in the Tivoli in '95). If you are 5'2" and a UK/Ireland size 8-10, you are apt to look preposterously swamped by larger garments. Back then I was nearer a size 6, which simply weren't available in high street shops, so lots of my clothes were slightly too big anyway. I may look back fondly at my teenage wardrobe, but I looked pretty ridiculous quite a lot of the time.

And yet...I can't help feeling, for the first time in nearly 15 years, that there's something kind of cool about a pair of scuffed, battered 10 hole Docs. Someone stop me...


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 10th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
I found Docs to be the perfect boot for Vancouver. They're waterproof and good to walk in. I've been wearing them since I moved here and am still in love with them.
Dec. 10th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
The problem with Docs is that even if you find the perfectly fitting pair, they will demand a blood sacrifice. If you try to cheat them with blister plasters, etc, for the first couple of weeks, they will bide their time and wait until you feel completely safe and then rip your heels to shreds at some point.

The other problem with Docs, for me at least, is that they've stopped doing half sizes. And since they size UK and I am a perfect size 40 (European), which translates as UK 6.5, I cannot buy Docs anymore.

And those of us who are older than you, young lady, remember the green and blue velvet DMs with great nostalgia, for no other reason than, had we been able to afford them, they were the perfect footwear for the Trinity Ball.

Also, early 1990s, I wore mine with long floral dresses. My mother desparied, my father thought the look immensely practical, even when I pinched his golf jumpers. (For big baggy cardies, I raided my-uncle-the-priest - and last winter, my mother-in-law knitted me a giant cardie because I was pining so much for one.)
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
the green and blue velvet DMs with great nostalgia, for no other reason than, had we been able to afford them, they were the perfect footwear for the Trinity Ball.

Oh, so jealous! I would have loved a pair myself. Though I affected to scorn Docs all through my teens and twenties, because everyone had them. I wore biker boots and army boots. But I was still so very jealous of radegund's collection of magnificent purple Docs, nonetheless.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
I would have loved a pair too, but sadly, had to stick with my regular Docs (which were struggle enough to buy). Even my deeply trendy sister, who could persuade my mother to buy her stuff that mum wouldn't buy for anyone else, didn't have a pair.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, I remember the velvet ones all right! I'm not that much younger than you, surely? I must confess I never liked any of the coloured or patterned Docs - they seemed a bit gimmicky. I was a plain black Docs wearer! And I had forgotten the extent of the foot pain...

And I too used to wear my Docs with long florals. I recently unearthed a set of very amusing photographs of my friends and me on our leaving-secondary-school Mass day in 1993 - every single one of us is wearing a skinny rib top, a long floral skirt, and Docs. Every one! We look like a cult.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
I think you're probably three years younger than me - bearing in mind that most of my Dublin contemporaries at uni were actually a year older than me, I reckon you're a 1975 baby?

Ah, begorrah, down in the bog we had to get the education we could snatch and sure, they threw us out into the world at an earlier age (translation: they had a shortage of kids my age and the head nun of my primary school basically phoned my mum and demanded me on my fourth birthday).

Skinny rib tops were definitely later on - initially it was giant wooly tops with the big dresses, since you couldn't tear some of us away from that particular comfort zone with a big stick and besides, while it wasn't flattering, at least it hid the bulges.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
Heh, I am indeed a child of '75 - September 75, to be exact, which meant that my birthday always matched the school year perfectly. And yes, the skinny rib suddenly appeared in about '92 (I remember wearing them to McGonagles when I was 16). But I was still wearing the vast jumpers as well during that era - one of my favourite ensembles in the early '90s was a large sort of charcoal grey-brown jumper over a plum coloured Laura Ashley frock and, of course, Docs. And then there were the vast cardigans - I had a red M&S men's cardigan of which I was particularly fond...
Dec. 11th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)
I had the same cardigan in bottle green! I think I had a grey one as well. Frequently worn over a daisy-print dress, leggings, and docs.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. Docs bought from a stall round the back of the Ilac Centre. You just threw me right back to my late teens/early twenties.

I do now have a pair of 14-hole Docs, which I love dearly (and paid horrible amounts of money for from China Blue), but nothing will ever compare to my first, 8-hole, Docs, upon the laces of which I strung little wooden beads.

It also occurred to me today that perhaps one's taste in clothing is formed during one's teenage years, which is why I still crave skin-tight jeans and batwing sleeves and stiletto heels, among other 80s fashions.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
I've never got over Docs. They're the perfect shoe for my weird triangular feet. I still have red ones and green ones. And believe me, as soon as Gnome's big enough for them I'm getting her some too.
Dec. 10th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
I demand pictures of the be-Doced Gnome as soon as she gets her first pair! The cuteness.

But do you suffer from the foot ravaging mentioned by other commenters which apparently I have blocked out of my memory? I don't remember them being harder to break in than any other shoe...
Dec. 10th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
Oh oh oh look! How small is a size 23? I think that's almost small enough.

*fans self*

Actually, I have acute, painful breaking-in pain with pretty much all shoes but my lovely fair trade faux-converse (see under: trangular feet), and Docs are probably better than most.
Dec. 10th, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
Painful pain is really ouchy, by the way.
Dec. 10th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
I got my first pair when I spent Christmas with relatives in England in 1989 (from Carnaby Street - I felt terribly cool), and I haven't stopped wearing them since. Not the same pair, though, since Canadian winters can be very hard on them.

I remember feeling very ahead of the times, wearing them in grade 11, because the boots didn't become the complete phenomenon over here for at least another year. But yes, I wore them with leggings or long johns, and baby doll dresses. Just last night I was wanting to go back to that look!
Dec. 11th, 2006 09:38 am (UTC)
I bought a pair of blue Mary Jane docs a few years ago and they are to this day my favourite pair of shoes.
Dec. 11th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
I have purple docs now - I bought them last year. I don't actually wear them all that often - I'm not as found of the docs and skirt look as I was. I wore them on Saturday and now have a lovely blister.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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