In our biweekly series, editors share the item they “wear to death,” whether it be a basic white tee or a super-trendy jumpsuit. Prepare yourself (and your credit card) for some guilt-free shopping.
My motto for getting dressed every morning is usually “The more, the merrier.” I love piling it all on, and I am obsessed with color—to the point that I often find myself needing a basic white t-shirt or black pump, as I own everything but those items. So when I decided to invest in an everyday boot, I knew it had to be a neutral color. I also wanted it to look very different.
Let me preface this story by saying I have two shopping rules: thrift and invest! Fashion is one of the world’s biggest polluters, which is why I’ve stopped shopping at fast fashion retailers. I’d rather hit up the vintage store next door to me or spend a month’s rent on a pair of quality shoes that I won’t throw away in two months. Is this a fiscally sound decision? Probably not. But is it worth it in the long run? Absolutely.
My search for a pair of neutral-colored shoes lead me to the Maison Margiela “Tabi” boot. It’s a shoe you either love or you hate because of its unique shape and appearance. I, clearly, loved it.
A bit of background about my beloved boots: Martin Margiela presented the “Tabi” at his debut show in 1988. Margiela said he wanted “to create an invisible shoe, the illusion of a bare foot walking on a high, chunky heel.” Hence the split at the toe box. I think that concept is what makes the shoe so alluring, flattering, and sexy. Ironically, for a shoe that now costs about the same as a New Yorker’s monthly rent ($980), the “Tabi” was only brought back the following season out of sheer necessity. Margiela didn’t have the budget to create new shoe forms, so he repainted the same boots and sent them back down the runway. Fans started requesting them and the rest is history. The boots now come in every color you can think of, but my favorite is definitely the beige.
Strangers on the subway will approach me to ask how exactly the boot works, and I describe it as a flip-flop-meets-boot creation. (Your big toe goes on one side of the split, and the rest of your toes on the other.) I find it refreshing that this statement piece sparks people’s curiosity about fashion, especially in a place like New York City where everyone seems to be on-trend 24/7.
Surprisingly, they’re just as comfortable as they are cool. I’ve worn these boots everywhere, from festivals and vacations to doctors appointments and family functions (where I was the laughing stock for a good five minutes). Pair them with a cute little dress or skirt and they’re elegant; wear with leather pants and they’re edgy. If neither suit your fancy, you can wear the boots with a tracksuit for the ultimate athleisure look. The nude color goes well with everything, which is key to an everyday shoe. It also elongates my legs (an important factor when you’re only 5 feet tall).
If I’ve convinced you to join the “Tabi gang,” you can get your very own pair below. If not, they’re still worth trying on just for fun.