See Why This Vogue Story About Timbs is a Big Problem

They might be on trend for spring but they have been for decades.

Vogue says break out your Timbs this Spring. I knew that thirty years ago.

When I was in 8th grade, back in 1987, (get off my lawn!), there was this girl named Nicole who was always on trend. Even though it was a Catholic school and we all had to wear the same horrid yellow and green plaid jumpers, Nicole always found a way to add a personal twist. That winter, she came to school one day wearing tan colored construction boots.

We didn’t quite know what to make of it. Construction boots on a frilly feminine 13-year-old? Eventually we all said: hell yeah! It was actually super cute. All winter long I coveted her look and wanted to copy. My mom said I had a perfectly fine pair of winter boots (that looked like they belonged on an astronaut) and that was that.

That spring, Nicole took it to the next level. She came to school wearing pink construction boots to set it off for warm weather. She showed us how a work-boot could work for any style.

That was thirty years ago and of course I’ve seen fashionable women rock Timbs 365 days of the year ever since.

This week, Vogue magazine posted a photo of model Karlie Kloss hitting the streets in ankle-length Timberlands with a plain white tee and denim jeans. Somehow, they’re claiming this look is fashion-forward and destined to be a new classic look.

**Insert record scratch sound here.**

At this point, it seems outright ridiculous to even have to discuss this. But clearly it must be done.

Now, to be fair, Vogue is not saying that Timberlands are new. The idea is that because Karlie Kloss is pairing the boots with a simple white tee for Spring, it will take off as a warm-weather look.

But even that isn’t new.

Women celebs have been wearing Timberland boots as a fashion statement for as long as men have. Back in the early ‘90s, just as Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur put the look on the map, singer Aaliyah often paired the work boots with warm-weather outfits. Fast forward and you have Rita Ora pairing the boots with a bright pink mini-dress. Rihanna, Teyana Taylor and Jourdan Dunn have all put a feminine spin on the footwear staple.  

So why is this being touted as the Next Big Thing?

Unfortunately, we all know that the coopting of Black culture isn’t new. Last year, cornrows mysteriously became “boxer braids.” And on Black women, full lips are degraded while Kylie Jenner makes millions from young women who want to copy her imitation plumped-lipped style. Tanned skin? Big booties? We all know how this works.

There’s an expression: imitation is the highest form of flattery. That may be true. But it doesn’t mean that respect can’t be given to the originators. If Vogue had given a hat-tip to Rita Ora or Rihanna, the photo caption would have made a lot more sense. Fashion runs in cycles so re-introducing Timbs as a Spring collection needs to be put in perspective. When Zendaya rocks crop tops and low-slung jeans with her hair covering one eye—it’s a clear homage to Aaliyah. Not a supposed introduction to a new style.

And when you have even toddlers like Blue Ivy and North West rocking Timbs in warm weather years ago—then clearly Karlie Kloss is not a trendsetter for wearing a white t-shirt and jeans.

And besides, Nicole was rocking this look five years before Karlie was born.   

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