The time was fourth grade. The place, well, also fourth grade. Technically, it was the girl’s bathroom of Mercy Academy in Wauwatosa. But first, a little background.
My friend Michelle had just bequeathed to me her iridescent silver platform sneakers. Let me tell you- I had coveted these sneakers. I had been with her when her mom bought them for her, and I would have given anything also to get a pair of those four-inch-high babies. But I knew I didn’t particularly need a new pair of sneakers at the moment, and I knew it would be nigh on impossible to convince my mother I needed those particular sneakers, even if all of my other shoes had suddenly disintegrated. So, I swallowed my jealousy and gazed at their shininess every chance I got during the church picnic she wore them to that evening. These were the sneakers that magically landed in my lap one evening because Michelle had already outgrown them.
“Wow, really?? Omigosh, thanks!!!” Michelle disappeared into the night back to her house two doors down as quickly as she had come, like a phantom angel of sneaker delivery.
All night I was dreaming about how glorious the morrow would be. I imagined myself over and over again, striding into class, and all the kids gazing in wonder at my feet, just as I had gazed at Michelle’s. Dawn came, and no child ever leapt out of bed faster on a school day. I got dressed quickly, and felt as if some mysterious power were radiating from my feet upwards. I wondered if this was what it felt like to be cool. My mother raised her eyebrows when she caught a look at them, but hey, that’s what mothers do, isn’t it?
We arrived at school and I strolled into class proudly, thinking I finally looked the way I wanted to look: interesting, impressive, beautiful. My science teacher, a young, cool lady herself, remarked in admiration that my shoes were higher than her heels. Success! I paid very little attention to the rest of that lesson, as my mind was filled with silver and chunky white rubber. A break came, and I eagerly tripped off to the restroom.
As I was washing my hands, a girl from class came up to me. She was one of the “cool”, cute, popular girls, and I had wished at times that I were just like her. She walked up to me and said, in a confidential, yet business-like tone,
“We’ve decided we don’t like your shoes.”
I turned red as a radish, and probably mumbled something incoherent. I was stunned. Glancing behind this girl’s shoulder, I could see that the other half of the committee for shoe announcements was probably the second coolest girl in class.
“Uhh…oh” I said, trying to show I was unaffected by their judgments, and that I, too, was “cool”- that it didn’t matter to me if they liked my taste or not.
But I was crushed. I wanted to rip them off and leave them in the bathroom trashcan. What had formerly been a badge of honor and glory and style was suddenly a giant, self-illuminating, scarlet “A” strapped to my feet. God, why had I been so stupid? What was wrong with me? Of course giant silver shoes were ugly!
Eventually I crept back to class ashen-faced and heavy-hearted, certain that every student was secretly mocking my style indiscretion. That night the shoes found their way into the farthest reaches of my closet, never again to be worn.
Clearly, my style was stifled at a tender age. So why, you may ask, am I venturing to blog about style? I think clothing is an art form – a very personal one. After all, being clothed is one of Aristotle’s categories of being. It’s a part of the way we are – and it has the ability to express who we are. I think that as we grow, our style can and should grow along with us. I’m chronicling my style journey here so that anyone who wants to can join me in celebrating and perfecting their own personal style. On this blog I will try styles I’ve never thought I would wear, mostly due to my own and others’ preconceived notions about what styles are dumb, and what would never look good. This blog will be a space for freedom, fun, and creativity. I hope you enjoy it! I promise that the next post will actually contain pictures of clothes (the banner is a hint!), but this was already way too long. As a parting note I would like to add that platforms are back, in a big way….