Flip Flops Are High Fashion And We Don’t Know How To Feel

Original reporting and images by CLEO SG | Cheryl Chan

The next sentence that I type is some words that I never thought I would ever have to string together, let alone be featured in a listicle on some of the world’s leading fashion publications.

Slippers. Are. Back. In. Fashion.

So upon some heavy research (and by research I mean frantically type in the words “slippers” and “trending again” into google), it seems like the birthplace of this trend started where all the other weird trends start: the Balenciaga runway the street style scene surrounding fashion week.


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Fashion influencers wearing slippers at Copenhagen Fashion Week

As a child who came of age in the 2000s, this is how I feel about trends in general: if you were old enough to work them the first time, you should probably sit them out the second time around. Unlike the ‘60s that gave us the mini skirt or the ‘70s with their high-waisted wide-leg flares (both timeless and flattering articles of clothing that we continue to wear today), the 2000s were a wild and weird time for fashion.

For the first time ever, celebrity fashion was at an all-time high, with tabloids and blogs democratising fame and fashion with reality TV starlets like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and the cast of MTV’s Laguna Beach dominating the red carpets and magazine covers.


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If this wasn’t peak Y2K fashion I don’t know what is

There were ultra-low rise jeans (bought a pair from Topshop), oversized sunglasses (had a heavy rotation of five that made me look like an insect), the homeless chic look Mary-Kate Olsen favoured (I cut holes in my jeans and bought all my knitwear in an XL), and slippers worn with everything (Havaianas was basically my favourite brand of footwear).

Thanks to shows like The OC and Blue Crush, the Californian beachside town aesthetic was in and the trend-obsessed 14-year-old me was going to copy everything my teen idols wore in order to be cool.

I rocked a black headband, gold hoops, peasant blouse, skinny tapered jeans and black rubber slippers like no tomorrow just because Nicole Richie did it. Paired together with a fake Chloé Paddington handbag carried in the crook of my elbow, of course. I was no amateur dresser during the early aughts.


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Kim Kardashian in a ‘2000s favourite—the wedge heel slipper hybrid

And when heeled slippers came into fashion, I managed to pick up a white pair with kitten heels early on from Aussie label Jay Jays when I was in Perth for a family holiday (they look EXACTLY like these). I was so psyched to be ahead of the curve and amongst the first of my friend group to rock a pair.

I would wear them specifically with a cropped baby tee and a pair of wide cuffed jeans. I wish I still had photo evidence of it to relive this second-hand embarrassment for your amusement but your loss is my gain. You can use this as a reference instead.


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The Olsen twins famously wore theirs in their WSJ Magazine profile

So when I started to see them trickle onto the streets of fashion week, I chuckled and reminisced about those times before filing it under “never again”. I knew if I were to wear them to the office in Singapore, the only reaction I would receive is “Eh, you sprain your ankle ah?”.

And then 2019 happened, and the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan started wearing heeled slippers everywhere. Leather slippers were even beginning to appear at Paris Fashion Week. “Not to the Chanel show?!” I exclaimed to no one in particular as I looked on in horror. A quick search on Net-a-porter gave me 63 results with the cheapest starting at US$30 and the most expensive at US$812.

It wasn’t all bad though. Current iterations in the market were mostly made of leather and in neutral tones, giving them an elevated look from its rubber predecessors.

What do you think of the trend — shabby or chic?