And I gained a shoe shopping buddy that I can now show the Way of the Shoe.
If it's true that every picture tells a story, then it must be equally true that every pair of shoes that you own say something about what was going on in your life when either when you bought them, or if you are anything like me, when you eventually wore them. If I were going to tell the story of my life in pictures, I would probably start with shoes. My feet take the most beating of all of my body parts, and as such I've tried to treat them with utmost care. As I got older, that eventually meant that I could no longer wear the absolute cheapest shoes as they tended to fall apart faster than shoes I had paid a little extra for, and the effect on my feet (blisters, corns, etc) was often disastrous. I'm not one to complain about being in pain; I can suck up the pain and soldier on with the best of them. Except when it comes to my feet. I walk a lot, even when I do have a car, and love going on hikes, so hurting feet are not an option for me. Although you may question that when you see some of my favorite shoes.
My Hush Puppies, and several other pairs of low-heeled, super comfortable loafers, are my everyday work shoes. I purchased these when I changed departments at work, and could no longer wear sneakers or tennis shoes to work. This shoe talks about a change in my professional image: from comfortable techie, to semi-serious Systems personnel. Because I never know what I'll end up doing from day to day, my job dictates that I should wear pants or slacks and a nice blouse that I don't mind getting dirty, and that can stand up to a lot of washing. While still maintaining a professional image, of course. Which, according to an older woman I consider a bit of a mentor, I needed to do anyway in order to be taken more seriously on the job. I'll admit that it is nice to look a little better at work, right up until I have to crawl under a desk to check cabling, or move a pc that hasn't been moved since we came into this building and has a five year accumulation of dirt and dust under it, or have to change the toner in one of the large copiers, which only happens on days I decide to wear a white shirt. Of course.
Black pumps are my favorite standard fall back when I need to dress up in a hurry. They go with EVERYTHING, and the right pair can last forever. They are outrageously easy to find in a pinch. Like the pair above. I purchased these in a hurry after a five alarm wardrobe malfunction at work, having busted both the button and the zipper on a pair of pants, and not wearing a shirt long enough to cover it up until later. They had just opened a Target down the street from my job, and I rushed down there at lunch only to find that any pants that fit my, ahem, width, were way too long. (I have a genetic condition called Biggus Buttus. Any pants big enough to contain my entire bottom half, invariably need to be shortened to fit my leg length. Go figure.) Target just happened to have some beautiful knit dresses on sale, in my size, and it was clear that I couldn't wear the tennis shoes I had worn to work with the knit dress, so I zoomed over to the shoe department, where this pair were sitting right at the end, as if they knew I was coming and decided to make themselves known. My feet kept sliding out of the back of the shoes, but along with the grey knit dress, I slightly resembled the professional secretary I was earlier in life. I felt feminine and a little girly, odd for an IT person, but it was rather nice to get a different sort of attention from my co-workers, who at that time had rarely seem me in anything other than jeans and sneakers. Those shoes made for a pretty interesting day.
This pair of shoes were part of my annual Easter purchase. There are two times per year when I am almost guaranteed to buy a new outfit and/or a new pair of shoes: Christmas and Easter. I freely admit to being both corny and a tad bit goofy. At Christmas and Easter I buy my daughter and I something in the same color family to wear to church. I try not to be matchy-matchy, but I generally keep it kind of close. This was the year I bought my daughter a white dress with blue flowers on it, then bought a dress that was described on a website as blue, but turned out to be light turquoise. Not a mess exactly, just not what I had in mind. About a week later I was flipping through an Avon catalog, and I came across an outfit that was cute, functional and machine washable, and in true Avon style they had a pair of shoes that matched it. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful tri-colored shoes, because not only did they match the outfit in the catalog, it matched the dress I had just bought as well as another dress I already had. These shoes conform to a rule my mother instilled in us growing up: Whatever you buy, make sure you can wear it with more than one thing. Make every purchase count. These shoes also made me learn to walk in a skinnier heel than I usually do. I've mentioned before that I am a bit of a klutz. Strapping these on ( I was DETERMINED to make them work!) forced me to re-learn the sort of balance you don't get wearing sneakers and flip flops (my usual shoes) all of the time. The fact that I think I look cute in them is a great motivator as well.
These sparklers were purchased for one event, worn for another (and never used for the event they were actually purchased for) and now reside in their box underneath my bed. With these shoes I learned that five hours in them is never a good idea. If you are going to do a lot of standing and walking, it's best to keep your shoes at a walk-able height. For me that generally means no more than two to two and 1/2 inches. Special event shoes are something everyone has to purchase from time to time, but women are more likely to get stuck with a pair of shoes they will only wear once, and that will stare back at them as a reminder of money spent on something they will never wear again. Although my niece's debutante ball was a great memory, and there are fantastic shots of my family dressed up in ball gowns and tuxedos, I couldn't help but notice that you could hardly see my feet in any of the shots. What a waste! This was the only good picture I got out of them.
This is my favorite pair of shoes. Perfect heel height and type for a pair of boots. This was a pair that I bought to replace a pair I had lost years ago when the heel on the pair detached, and the shoe repair shop couldn't fix them. The pair I had before were suede, hit me just above mid calf, and were unbelievably classy. I can wear these with skirts, dresses or pants, and they always look good. I looked for this pair of boots for five years because I wanted EXACTLY the same type of boots I had lost. I did not want boots with a skinny heel, or that had too high a heel, or were flat. I did not want a pull on boot, and finding the right size was a challenge. These boots were, to me, all about persistence, and sticking with a goal until you find the precise thing you are looking for. Not a bad lesson, methinks, when applied to career and some personal goals. In the end I found them right where most of my searches start, my neighborhood Payless, but when they didn't have my correct size in stock, I found I could just order them from the website and have them shipped to my home. The internet is a wonderful device for searching for the very thing you need. Or in my case, just finding the specific pair of boots you want.
My daughter is following me in the love of shoes. Even at her young age, her shoes have stories to tell about her own adventures in this world: The pair of sneakers she wore on her first hike, or the pair of hot pink heels she got for Easter one year that she not only had to walk in, but dance in. Those are her sneakers in the first picture, passed on to her from a friend that had outgrown them too quickly to get any real use out of them. She especially loves her sandals and other cute Sunday Go To Meeting shoes. Because we only wear them once a week, she is also, in her own 9 year old way, slowly following me into the heels. Which I don't condone over a certain height obviously, as her feet are still developing. But I think it's ultimately harmless, and she could be fascinated with far worse things than exactly which shoes go with which outfit. Specifically. And only wanting to wear certain shoes with certain outfits. It just comes with the territory, and at least it's territory I know well.
And I gained a shoe shopping buddy that I can now show the Way of the Shoe.
A dedicated stream of consciousness that sometimes runs off course...