Experimentation: Birkenstocks

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Birkenstocks have been a huge trend in men’s fashion as of late.  Normally, sandals aren’t my typical faire, but since receiving them as a recent gift from my mom, I decided to try and incorporate them into my style!

If you don’t know what Birkenstocks are, they’re sandals from a German company with the same name. Birkenstock creates footwear that incorporates cork and rubber footbeds that are supposed to conform to the wearer’s feat.  The resultant shoe is probably one of the most comfortable things I have ever worn.  I have flat feet, and wearing flip flops are a pain.

While there are a lot of options available from Birkenstock, the ones I was received were the “Arizona model”.  The Arizona (along with the clog) is the most famous models that the company makes. The distinctive Arizona model has two adjustable straps,  which can come in leather or suede.  Perhaps I was drawn to them because they represent a deconstructed double monkstrap shoe.  Take that as you will.

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Thanks to their clunky and thick nature (compared to tevas or flip flops), these work really well when cropped, slim pants.  Whether you have jeans rolled up or flowing trousers, these are a great alternative to loafers or sneakers, depending on the weather. It’s pretty easy to pair these pretty casual outfits, so I used this challenge to create two different looks and experiment with my new birkenstocks!

Look 1:  The Usual Suspects

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This is a look that just screams “Ethan”.  It involves the typical, Amoury inspired pieces (window pane jacket, spread polo, and chinos) but with birkenstocks instead of loafers. Think of it as a mix of a classic ivy-trad outfit with “millennial footwear”.   This move is a bit edgy and goes against what traditionalists, but it’s a pretty comfortable outfit.  Loafers are great, but they’ve got nothing on these Birkenstocks.  It’s great for the hot weather and extremely comfortable!

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Panama hats are the best choice for summer sartorial headgear.

A blue blazer in cotton or linen would have been an expected choice, but this windowpane blazer adds a bit more “fun” in the outfit thanks to its pattern.  Since the pants and polo are muted, solid colors, the windowpane jacket is definitely a welcome edition.

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Jacket and Polo from Uniqlo, Chinos from Uniqlo, Birkenstock Arizonas,  Optimo Panama hat 

Look 2: That’s So 70s

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This outfit is a complete turn around from my usual style.  I was first introduced to Birkenstocks from Tobias Fünke, a character from Arrested Development  known for his garish 70’s shirts and wearing these shoes.  You could say that this outfit is directly inspired by his style.  With a true 70s Arrow Shirt, burgundy linen pants, and a denim jacket, this is a great homage to the funky era.  Think of this as 2016 does 1975.

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I really love this print. Don’t you?

The main reason I love 1970’s shirts is due to the size of their collars and the print.  The quality isn’t the best, as many are cotton-poly blends, but I’m more of an aesthetic guy than a fabric guy.  I rather thrift these shirts instead of wear a shirt with a tiny collar!

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These trousers are high rise! With no breaks, they’re fantastically tailored.

These pants from Banana Republic are rapidly becoming one of my favourite trousers.   As a combination of linen and cotton, these are lightweight and yet have enough structure to not wrinkle as much as pure linen pants.  These pants are like wearing air.

I have begun to add cuffs to all my pants (note that my chinos in the above outfit have turn-ups as well), in order to give them a more “formal” vibe.  When worn casually with just the shirt or with a jacket, it adds a small detail that sets it apart from other pants! The addition of the birkenstocks is also a great touch.  I honestly couldn’t see this outfit with any other type of shoe.

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Thrifted 70s shirt, denim jacket from Gap, Burgundy Cotton-Linen trousers from Banana Republic

As you can probably tell, I’m really loving these new shoes.  Yes, they probably would’ve gone better with jeans and a henley (since sandals are an inherently casual piece) but I wanted the challenge of incorporating them into more complicated outfits.  I’m definitely going to be wearing these a lot more as we move into the warmer months.

It’s probably important to note that these sandals are not for everyone .  I’m not the most experimental guy, but something about these Birks called out to me.  If you’re not a sandal guy or you don’t even like going sockless, this isn’t the look for you!

So what did you think?  Do you think the Birkstocks work well with these outfits? Or did I miss the mark? Let me know by commenting below!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W. 

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Francez U. and Vince H. 

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