The Ebb and Flow of Construction
Timberland boots and Hip-Hop go together like sundresses and warm weather. And, just like the ebb and flow of natural water tides, the cultural obsession with the Timberland 6" boot declines and revives every couple of years*. Widespread culture love in the 90s ("Timbs for my hooligans in Brooklyn" - Notorious B.I.G., Hypnotize, 1996) and early 2000s seemed to dwindle after 2003 (remember Jay-Z and Beyonce wore their he-and-she Timberlands & Manolo Blahnik Timbs in their '03 Bonnie & Clyde video?) as the "grown and sexy" look ushered in by Kanye West (and pushed through to the mainstream by Jay-Z in 'Change Clothes') seemed to take hold. Ironically, when Jay-Z rapped "Timbs.. we off that" in his song 'Off That" off September 2009's Blueprint 3, Kanye West had already begun bringing back the cultural staple by wearing them on the red carpet in June 2009 at the BET Awards. And, Jay-Z was already back to wearing the shoes he swore off by the time his album dropped.
And, it really was Jay-Z and Kanye West wearing wheat and black 6' Contrucs** in the mainstream for a few years until Rihanna and Teyana Taylor, lovers of menswear and probably taking styling cues from their bosses, popped up wearing them in early 2012 at clubs, award shows, events, and shopping expeditions.
And, soon enough everyone adopted to wearing Butters** again. Whether paired with camo pants or denim, fashionistas and fashionistos around the world seemed to embrace the rugged street look that Timbs provided. Tracee Ellis Ross got them gifted from her beau and fell in love, instagramming them to her hearts content (see here, here, and here).
Then Kanye started dating Kim Kardashian and Timberland boots expanded outside of our normative urban population/construction worker/outdoors men group and hit
hipster and mainstream fashion. Look at Kris Jenner and Scott Disick, separately, running about town in our favorite 6'' wheat Timberlands. Clearly, they too, are being touched by the Kanye Effect.
I wonder just how far this trend will infiltrate. Front row at the runway shows at the Lincoln Center or the Jardin des Tuileries? Will Miley Cyrus be sporting her own pair of Construcs as she strolls the streets of LA with Liam Hemsworth? Alexa Chung grabbing coffee from Starbucks in her pair? Christine Centenera being photographed by Tommy Oh at Milan Fashion Week pairing Timbs with Miu Miu and Prada?
A girl can only dream.
As for me, I'm a hip-hop loving brown girl raised in South Florida who got her first pair of Timberland 6" wheat boots from a Timberland outlet store at Sawgrass Mills Mall back in 1999 for $40 as an ode to the music I love and the state I was born in. No kind of functionality in that purchase being that I lived in the land of perpetual heat, humidity, and shivering 2 week winters filled with high winds and 50 degrees. Influence of hip-hop on my wardrobe at its purest form. And, as a result, I've kept a clean pair of 6" wheat Construcs** in my closet (and field boots) ever since. I'm glad I finally live in a place where I won't look crazy for donning them with my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans or cargo pants.
God bless this recent resurgence of some of the best shoes ever. My soul is on cloud nine.
*Urban New Yorkers love to stand proud and maintain that Timberland boots never "went out of style" in their area and, due to functionality, I can very well agree with this. But I believe the continuance of Timberland boots in Northern areas where more a result of nostalgia mixed with necessity, not fashion trends. Of course, this brings to argument the notion of "classics" in the fashion hemisphere. But, indulging this topic is a post for another day.
**6" Wheat Timberland boots have various names, including (but not limited to): Timbs, Construcs, Butters