The sort-of-clunky sheepskin boots have been declared "in" and they've been called "out" -- many times over. They've been knocked off even more. But their loyal fans keep buying them.
"Have you ever tried one on? If you did, you'd know," said Tacey Powers, national merchandise manager for Nordstrom. "They are part of the everyday wardrobe. You own a sneaker, you own a flip-flop, you own an Ugg."
The original boot style is still the most popular, but Ugg has branched out to include more fashion-y silhouettes and loungewear.
Home products such as blankets and decorative pillows will be offered this holiday season. Almost every item is touched, even if it's hidden at the base of the heel, by the signature sheepskin lining.
The peak of Ugg's pop-culture trendiness was in the early 2000s, when Hollywood starlets made them part of their uniform with short denim miniskirts. Never mind that they were cruising the sunny beaches of Malibu.
Now it's evolved into a "Goldie-Hawn-in-Aspen look," said Adam Glassman, creative director at O, The Oprah Magazine, and that's how you should wear them: with leggings and a long sweater, or jeans and a fur-trimmed parka. Or like you just don't care.
"Ignore the rest of your outfit. It's nearly impossible to build an outfit around them," he said.
Don't, however, wear them with socks. Not because they'll look bad, but you'll be missing out on the sheepskin sensation that makes them special.
Powers says part of Ugg's staying power comes from consumers who replace worn-out products with new ones. Since the line isn't dictated by "trends," shoppers come back for the same thing over and over again. She compares it to a favorite running shoe.
Also, notes Powers, people always refer to the brand name -- it's never the fuzzy moonboot or shearling slipper. The products are pricey, she allows, but she has no complaint about quality or cut corners. (Nordstrom.com lists a pair of women's classic short boots at $154.95.)
Put Ugg boots in the category of Wellington rain boots or the all-purpose cardigan "cozy" that DKNY has offered year after year, Oprah's Glassman said.
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