Having opened my closet and divulged my shoe secrets, let me take it one step further. Although it’s fairly straightforward to find practical shoes that will aid me in my daily commute and my dog chaperoning duties, finding cute or sexy shoes is an entirely different concern.
I’ve never been a terribly girly girl, but I do on occasion like to put on a dress and look passingly feminine. Cute or sexy, however, is a tall order when you translate them into a size 11 or 12. The vast majority of shoes simply stop being cute or feminine in my size. The sales floor model is invariably a 6 or 7, and nearly every pair of sandals, pumps, peep-toes, slingbacks, and stilettos look good in a 6 or 7. Those very same shoes in an 11 or 12 … I’m often wearing shoes that would not be out of place on a cross-dressing man. In fact, I am sometimes wearing shoes intended for a cross-dressing man.
With that taken into consideration, I present my year in shoes, the impractical edition:
- These shoes are a time-travel contingency plan. If I wake up tomorrow as a 75-year-old woman, I am going to book a cruise, and take salsa lessons with a punishingly younger man, while wearing these shoes. They are unbelievably comfortable, obviously glittery, and they straddle that wonderful line of coquettish and old ladyish.
- Hard and fast rule: when you find a pair of Jeffrey Campbell platforms with 5 chrome buckles in your size on sale, you buy them. No questions. No hesitation. You buy them. Worry about where you’ll wear them later. At some point you will need to feel like an Amazonian dominatrix, and when that moment strikes, you’ll have the shoes.
- You have probably gone off the Halloween costume deep end, when the shoes you’ll wear with it one time cost as much as a pair of shoes you’ll wear a hundred times. These are those shoes. Cute, but not particularly suited to anything by my Autumn costume.
Today, these shoes feel more important than they did when I wrote the practical version of my year in shoes. With David Bowie’s death, I’m reminded that clothes and shoes are more than just the coverings we wear to keep out the cold. They are also what we use to create ourselves, in the way Bowie re-created himself over and over during his career.
Our clothes and shoes can be armor against the world, or a billboard or a cry for help or a protest or a celebration. I knew this better when I was sixteen and nearly every outfit I owned was a “costume,” according to my mother. Somewhere along the way, I forgot just how much what I wear affects how I feel. I’m going to try to remember this more in 2016. Preferably while wearing those Jeffrey Campbells.