Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Meditation on Shoes That is Probably Not About Shoes At All

Even though Manolo's Shoe Blog is one of my daily reads (The Manolo amuses The Kathleen), I've never been much of a shoe person. I bought a pair of black Ecco closed-toe clogs for an HGTV thing I did in '02, and I've worn them happily, and exclusively, ever since (6 years of steady 3-season wear, and they still look great). In the summer, I usually buy a pair of cheap sandals, and several sets of even cheaper (we're talking Dollar Store) flip-flops. Oh, and I've had a pair of black cotton Mary Jane flats for dress, for about 10 years, and a pair of -15 degree rated Sorrell snow boots that I've worn for going on 20 years. And a pair or two of tennis shoes for mowing the lawn. That was my entire shoe wardrobe. My foot decorating money was spent on sock yarn.

And then I started losing weight. This is A Good Thing- it's something that I worked hard to do (though truly, the weight loss was the reward, not the reason), but it also wreaks havoc in the wardrobe. Off to the side in my closet right now are 8 pairs of jeans, all worn less than a dozen times each, in sizes 20, 18, 16, and 14. Not a one of them fit long enough for the *new* to wear off. I've gone through several full sets of tops- going from 3X, down to just plain Lg(which a size 14! What idiot decreed that a 14 is Large????).

I'm a creature of habit, I prefer to wear clothes until they fall apart- all this change is unsettling, and the waste of money on stuff I could only wear a couple of times was depressing. And then I discovered a universe of shoe sales on eBay and I started snapping up bargains. Great Ecco dress Mary Janes in black, and also in brown (retail $110, my price $37, including shipping). Fantastic cowboy-looking clogs with pointy toes. Born loafers in black and brown. Sandals in black and brown. There is a pair of olive green Ecco Mary Jane flats with a braided strap that are calling me even as I type. And I got a pair of wonderful white/choc brown Colter Creek saddles in the mail this morning (check out the texture- pebbled on the white, crocodile on the brown) that I love love love.

It took me awhile to figure out why, after being indifferent to outer foot coverings for most of my adult life, I was suddenly buying shoes like feet are going out of style. I finally realized that shoes that fit me when I weighed 221, still fit me at 162. And they'll continue to fit when I weigh 150 (which is the current goal). And 5 years from now, when I weigh whatever I am going to weigh in 5 years, the shoes will still fit.

Sometimes, if I'm just walking by and glance quickly, I don't even recognize myself in the mirror, so I think I'm searching for permanence and familiarity- something that changes slowly, if at all. Who knows what the wardrobe (or my body) will be like in 6 months, much less 5 years? It gives me a measure of comfort to know that no matter what else I am, or what I am wearing, my clogs and saddles will still be in the closet- well loved and well worn, and ready to go.

1 comment:

knitster said...

YOur picture of theshoes leaves with me with childhood scars. We called them sandal oxfords which were cheap, ugly and never wore out, trust me I tried everything imaginable. I had to wear them from 1st-6th grade in shame. Oh how I hated those shoes and still do. I do however read your blog daily after the yarn harlot and just got your I love felt book, i love it as well. I love Michael Johns, we dont always agree on Idol people as I cant stand Brooke but I am glad Ramiele went home.