It is no secret that I am a big fan of the Bass Weejun. Even when I try to step up my footwear game I end up coming right back to the it (All About that Bass). That is why when I read Arnie’s comment about the myth of the Weejun over at Ivy Style (See the article here) I thought that it deserved to be highlighted.
In this comment Arnie explains how the Weejun that we all think of as a very casual shoe was derived from the shoe that Norwegians would wear to formal events. When I was re-reading this comment it reminded me of the ‘Plausible History of the 3/2 Roll‘ post and how the true origin of things are often altered by time…and marketing. I am not sure if this version of the Weejun story is true, but it is certainly
worth thinking about.
Arnie | October 23, 2015 at 2:30 am |
The myth around the Norwegian origin of weejuns deserves a comment. Here in Norway similar looking shoes called “Aurland sko” have never been used by so called poor peasants. On the contrary – the Aurland shoe is used by Norwegians when we wear our national costume “bunad” (a very formal dress that can replace white tie ensemble e.g. at royal banquets and other events that call for formal wear). But when Americans discovered the shoe in Norway back in the early midst of last century they modified it by removing the silver buckle and created what is known as the loafer or penny loafer. As in so many cases we should be thankful for American modification and invention. But in Norway, the traditional loafer with a silver or metal buckle, was an expensive shoe back in the old days. And it is not suitable for wear in a tough, cold and harsh climate. Most people wore boots or sturdy shoes year round in the late 1800’s and early twentieth century. Only the ones with money (and remember that Norway was, together with Ireland, the poorest country in Europe) could afford an Aurland shoe. I had to get this of my chest, or off my foot… That said – the American penny loafer is popular in modern Norway. We owe a grateful thought to the Americans who made them affordable and available in modern, wealthy Norway. CC, keep up the great work on Ivy Style. Greetings from the far northern corner of Europe where we only wear the original weejun at formal occasions, but the penny loafer all other days when we aren’t snowed down!