These shoes look like ordinary high tops, in the Converse style that a lot of people are wearing these days. Actually, they’re much more, and not because they’re this incredible, burnished bronze, reminiscent of something Renaissance, or because they’re so comfortable (unlike most of the hard, flat, archless versions of this style), or because they have a jazzy zipper along the top and in the back, and funky doodad things at the end of the laces, or because they’re Coach (the lettering on the side is barely visible in real life), or because they look kind of old and will probably go with anything.
No, these high tops that I found for half price, just sitting there on the bottom shelf, quiet and unassuming, but calling out to me, represent risk. Quite possibly they were marked down because no one else wanted them. I have strange taste, (which you may have already concluded when you saw these). This is nothing new.
In high school I had an olive, army surplus jacket I found on Canal Street, back in the day when they sold that type of stuff in large boxes on the sidewalk. I accessorized it with a red and beaded feather earring that was long enough to graze my shoulder. My best friend and partner in style, Stella, would wear the other earring of the pair on the same day.
Stella cut up her old rabbit coat and made us matching shoulder bags. We wore suspenders and jeans, Parisian berets, and neck ties we borrowed from our dads. (I don’t know about Stella, but my dad tied mine the night before, and I just slipped it over my head before school). I’m not sure what our teachers thought, but we thought ourselves rather chic. In any event, these fashion shows kept us entertained.
In college, I lived in Ithaca, the land of long winters where I traversed miles of ice, snow, and slush. Most of us owned some sort of insulated hiking boot. Mine were pale violet nubuck with fuschia laces. I also had a pair of Sasquatch, knee high boots covered with white fake fur and a deep purple sweater that could have had another life as a bath mat.
When you’re in high school and college you can get away with these things, even if you’re not an art major. But by now it seems I should have gotten all that experimentation out of my system and settled into some sort of style appropriate for a mom with a teenager. I try, but when I go shopping, it’s always those slightly quirky, offbeat pieces that call out to me, things I probably should’ve outgrown.
Like fringe. I love fringey bags and fringey boots. But I’m intimidated by all the moms my age who live in my head. I can’t imagine them with fringe. Or with a head wrap, especially not one they made by trimming a piece of lingerie.
I picked up this cute, Betsey Johnson chemise on sale. It was a little longer than I liked, so I cut it. The piece I cut off looked exactly like the kind of stretchy headwrap I needed to wear under my motorcycle helmet.
I took the headwrap to Punta Cana with me on the off chance that I’d be brave enough to wear it out (i.e., not just under my helmet). Maybe it was because I was out of the country, or maybe I just kept hearing my friend Julia say, “Oh, why not?” But I managed to escape all those moms in my head on that vacation. Read about my bravery here.
I’m looking a little doubtful here, but I made it through dinner and late night partying with friends at the resort, and no one was the wiser regarding the origins of my headwrap.
I’m looking forward to wearing my high tops with skinny jeans this fall. Sometimes you just have to do it.