When I think back to my most triumphant years as a teenager (granted, I only just turned 20 last week but it already feels like I'm over the hill), I think Dr Martens. They're the shoe that reflects that inevitable feeling of being invincible you get as a teenager, when your most awkward moments are behind you and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel i.e. the future version of yourself you had always hoped you would grow up to be. Or maybe that's just a reflection of how safe and impenetrable the shoes make me feel. Whether you're in bad weather, on a construction site, or on a factory floor wearing their work boots, DM's are both wildly popular, stylish and safe. If that's not a slogan you can regurgitate onto your parents when out shopping, I don't know what is.
When you first try on a great pair of Dr Martens, there's this giddy bolt of electricity that strikes you, much like other experiences that occur during teenage years, like getting your driver's license, that first kiss feeling and prom dress fairy tale moment. The memories most prone to become fuzzy and exaggerated when remembered through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia feel dreamily closer when you first walk around in these shoes. But like being a teenager in which sneak attack menstrual cycles, bad acne days and hair dye experiments-gone-wrong can mare the experience, you can be similarly struck down by confidence-deflating blisters and scuff marks to your new shoes. Don't worry, it's fine. You're part of the human race and I think the imperfections of wearing boots are like little badges of honor to relish in. Maybe you'll associate them with that time you sneaked out of your house, or broke curfew of went to your first rock concert.
Whether you're a teen or a crusty adult, everyone remembers (or lusts after) their first pair of Dr Martens. For me it was a pair of black leather boots with embossed flowers I begged my mother to buy for me at Myer Department Store in Melbourne one fateful day. And guess what guys, I still have them! Over several years of wear, visits to the zoo and running around the flower pattern has gradually faded into nothing, but it would make me sadder if they were pristine, if the leather had hardened and no one got to see me wear them. I'm even bringing them with me when I go on Field Geology camp next week; although I should have really bought proper hiking boots. It would seem the industrial reputation of Dr Martens and their place in urban folklore, worn by generations of English postmen has even won the respect of my cynical Scottish geology lecturer. Dr Martens is a name known around the world, instantly recognizable and even just passing someone on the street wearing Dr Martens feels like a secret handshake. Join the revolution, get blisters, have fun.
1a- Sassy Magazine, b & c- unknowns. 3b, c- unknown. 4- unknown.
5a- unknown, b- StyleLikeU X Tavi Gevinson. 6, 7, 8a, c- all unknowns. 9. 3a, 5c, 8b- Dr Martens ‘How to Wear’ campaign X Salford University.