Tag Archiv: style

Shoes

picture compliments of morguefile.com

picture compliments of morguefile.com

I have been pondering shoes. I got into a conversation with someone a little while ago about photographing shoes instead of faces. Now I keep seeing shoes.

My feet are familiar with four sets.

  1. Sneakers. Black with pink Nike check. They impressed me on my sister-in-law’s feet a few years ago. She said it was okay to buy the same pair.
  2. Black shoes. I wear these anytime it is cold and can’t wear sneakers. They have a sturdy rubber sole and could have been worn by my grandmother, ergo, their style is timeless.
  3. Brown fancy sandals (by fancy I mean not a birkentock):  1/4 flat sole. Three strands of leather. Worn when it is too hot for the black shoes
  4. Rubber boots (also black). The gold standard of farm footwear.

 

I checked and found the following buried in my closet. Writing about them may push their expiry date.

  1. Brown loafers (Too big. Fall off if I don’t walk carefully.)
  2. Blue sneakers (Too big. Kept for sentimental reasons)
  3. High tops (Too small. Kept because I don’t like the idea of not owning good basketball shoes.)
  4. Old black shoes (recently revived by shoe polish they strongly resemble current black shoes.)
  5. Ugliest pair of brown sandals ever (worn only when I can think of no other ways to punish myself.)
  6. Blue heavy duty sandals (quite ripped and discolored. worn if there is water within a mile and I can pretend they are just my water shoes)

 

I probably don’t have to spell out the fact that my life has not involved a great deal of interest in shoes. Now that I am noticing them, shoes everywhere are catching me off guard.

Take B’s shoes, for instance. Each pair I have noticed are woefully unprepared for fight or flight and surprisingly not the least bit concerned about it. They look smart – as in intelligent. Can a shoe do this or am I projecting? I would not describe B as someone who sashays across a room. Her shoes, on the other hand, well, B’s shoes are unapologetically having a good time. My shoes look at each other sideways. Are they supposed to be having fun?

RA would no more wear a shoe devoid of style than one would chop off a toe. It isn’t done. But style, I learned, is not enough. There is a running shoe for actually jogging and a different one entirely for hiking in the park. From this I infer there to be shoes made for church but not for weddings and vice versa. Could there be shoes for dinner dates and movies? Concerts and parties? My black shoes pretend not to be curious.

J’s shoes are stylish but understated. Always sharp and classy, one can imagine them being gracious, even compassionate towards the serviceable shoe. All my shoes appreciate the vote of confidence.

C loves the cute shoe. C sees particular shoes in relation to specific situations, but unlike RA (whose primary concern is the correct choice) C’s shoes are about celebration. If they could sing or dance, C’s shoes would do the cha cha.   Celebrate with me, they say. Life is good . . .  and even when it’s not, you’ll feel better looking at me!   None of my shoes know how to respond to this. What self respecting shoe would want to be looked at?

One day the sun comes up and moves across the sky just like the day before. The next day, I unwittingly discover an alternate world about five feet below my line of vision. Unbeknownst to me, it has co-existed all around me for years. My feet are asking questions. My shoes are not sure what to expect.

 

Style and me

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Style is not my thing. I’ve got it, obviously. But I hide it. I think it’s my mother’s fault. Once upon a time, cheered on by friends convinced that fabric shapes brought one closer to God, she required me to wear skirts to school daily. This, from age 11 on. When it started, it was like shock therapy. It hurt. I hated it. I had to do it anyway. Her concession was gradual implementation. I started off one skirt per week in grade six (up from previous zero per year) and worked up to every day in time for grade eight. Surely without this, a more visible approach to style would have found me. My mother would roll her eyes at this, but I’ve got the floor.

The proof is in the pudding so to speak, and the pudding in question is my daughter and my younger self. My daughter was born knowing what she wanted to wear. By age two, if she didn’t like what I picked, she tore it off when I left and played naked.

Until recently, she begged for skirts and dresses for almost everything. I felt as mystified as my mother did when I came out standard equipped with distaste for hair combing and frills. I liked denim, corduroy, and navy blue. I deemed underwear an excess that extended getting dressed a few seconds too many. My mother was fit to be tied when she discovered I’d been to grade one many times without them. I was a bit relieved to see her in so much distress. It gave me a chance to back down for compassionate reasons – not just because the seams on those pants were so extremely uncomfortable. Anyway, if that kind of independent notion is not a start towards style, I don’t know what it is.

Meanwhile, I’m stunted. When we’re late to school every day, we pass a lady getting her kids on the bus. Last week she was wearing a short flowered skirt with black pants underneath. She looked odd, but that didn’t separate her from most things I’m told are fashionable. Her combo being new to me only meant that it hadn’t been the style for longer than three or four years. The rest of the drive, I tried picturing myself in the outfit. I don’t wear short skirts normally on account of my vice presidency in the Covered Skin Sisterhood (I’m one of only three non-Muslim members so there’s pressure to do  my part). . . but she was covered!  Maybe this was my chance to look like everyone else?

Before I could decide, she pattered out in 3/4 length camouflage pants and a frilly blouse. I can’t describe how terrible it was because I never know the words that describe clothes. I wouldn’t have cared what she was wearing except for her almost making me wear something terrible. I am resolved again now to be me, my style nicely tucked in my pocket.