CROCS may be the VW Beetle of footwear -- so ugly they’re cute -- but will the love affair with the cartoonish resin clogs transfer to apparel?

This month, Croc’s first apparel collection, for men and children, hits stores nationwide, including the Crocs store in Santa Monica. The kids’ clothes, designed to complement its line of children’s footwear, offer a Holly Hobbie sampling of ladybug and potted-flower motifs and adjustable waistbands and cuffs that allow the skirts and shorts to “grow” with the wearer.

The men’s collection includes a perfectly shlubby assortment of polos, cargo shorts, pants and light shell jackets that also coordinate with the fall ’07 footwear. The company has blended cotton with a version of its trademarked Croslite plastic resin to create shirts that have just a bit of slinkiness and a good deal of stretch. No adjustable waistbands on the men’s line, though given the shoes’ appeal to the Batali-esque, it might have been a good idea.


Among the men’s pieces are short- and long-sleeve knit T-shirts ($36 to $40) in slate blue, lime green and off-white with contrast stitching, collars and cuffs. Long- and short-sleeve, safari-vibed, woven-button fronts ($54 to $58) are offered in the same colors, as well as sage green and pumpkin orange with contrast stitched buttons, bar tacks and yoke lining. The left breast pocket flap has a hole through which a wearer can thread earphone wires.

It’s not the most stylish collection to hit the streets, but it’s a slight improvement on the fishhook-in-the-eye footwear the company is known for. And even if the company attracts only a fraction of the fans who’ve bought 50 million pairs of its shoes since the 2002 launch, it’ll do just fine.

Croc Inc. plans to expand the line for spring ’08 but is keeping mum on whether that means expanding into women’s. So, ladies, it looks like the coast is clear -- for now.