Yes or no: Do you like Lea Michele‘s black, embellished sandals?
It’s an easy question, right? But when it came to answering it, we were at a lost. Sure, the actress looks adorable wearing them out and about around New York City. The Jonak Black Leather Sandals ($ 95) match well with her pleated skirt, knotted gray tee and Celine crossbody, but there are design details and shoe associations that are just throwing us off.
We’re conflicted, to say the least, especially as shopping for seasonal kicks ramp up. Before you chime in with your opinions, please consider these pros and cons, collected from E! News staffers.
Pros: The ugly shoe trend has been going strong since the 2010s—we’re talking about Uggs, Tevas, Birkenstocks or other bulky shoes that the fashion elite industry once abhorred but now cash in on. Remember Isabel Marant’s wedge sneakers or Stella McCartney’s Platform Elyse Derbys with the serrated-looking soles? The latter trend has evolved into the flatform, a style you’ll surely see all season long. Unexpected and bulky designs are trendy, and with the popularity of slide sandals at its peak, a few staffers agreed that Lea’s shoes fit into the “cayoot” category.
After all, wasn’t Commes des Garcon designer Rei Kawakubo just honored at the 2017 Met Gala for her accomplishments in creating unusual, wearable art. It’s cool to wear things that aren’t traditionally pretty. If something is fashionably ugly, it is basically beautiful.
Cons: If something is ugly, sometimes it’s just ugly. “Super hipster: super hip = ugly = cool,” noted a staffer. “Fashion is dead.” Some might liken this shoe to their grandma’s house sandals picked up during a swap-meet sale. Not only is the bottom of the shoe thick but the straps are wide as well, giving it a less refined, beach hippie kind of appearance.
Then there are those cabochons, or embellishments, on the straps: Do they look cheap or are they a nice, glam contrast to the leather. This juxtaposition could be very Alexander Wang…or a remnant of a horrible early aughts trend. Kristin Cavallari‘s favorite shoes are back, after all.
On Occasion: Of course, sometimes, we need shoes for specific purposes. This might be the perfect option for getting a mani and pedi. “I like them,” said another staffer. “For like a glamorous spa day.”
You’ve heard the pros and cons, now tell us: Are these sandals ugly or fashionably ugly, thereby making them cute?