the wings of the morning

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

my shoes

shoes 001

Here they all are. The collection sprawled out in its considerable entirety looks somehow less obscene than I anticipated it might, but as this observation reignites a faint spark of longing, I'm not sure that's a good thing. (If I bought less footwear, maybe I'd have the money to replace that godawful wallpaper.)

I actually only own one pair of shoes that aren't boots, sandals, clogs or some other funky girly-type thing like mules or mary-janes--you know, shoes, with laces, that aren't sneakers. And I forgot to put them in the picture.

Here's a happy shoe story for you:

black boots
Menacing, aren't they? (If by menacing I mean FABULOUS...)

The first time I did The Artist's Way (well, some of it, anyway), when I completed the excercise of listing ten specific items I really wanted to own, I included big black bad-ass boots, sort of like cowboy boots, but not. I didn't know what these were called, and I hadn't even seen enough of them to formulate a clearer description. Nonetheless, a week or so later I found a pair that fit perfectly for fifteen dollars at a yard sale. None more bad-ass. I loved the harness, the thick gleaming leather, the square toe. That pair had wedge-shaped dips in the front and back of the top of the shaft, like cowboy boots. They needed new heel plates, so I had nice thick ones put on, and while they were in the shop I decided to have straight pieces of leather stiched in to fill those gaps. Then they were perfect. Heavy, chunky and black, the perfect counterpoise to my straight skirts and spaghetti-strap dresses. They seemed to bond themselves to my feet and calves under some metaphysical principle; the deepening creases only made them more and more perfect. I reheeled them again when the time came. Resoled, too.

Still, the tough, angular toes eventually started to round out, and my beloved friends began to lose their edge. I'd take them out for comfort, but my clothes were becoming a little embarrassed by them and began demanding something new. The time came to buy a new pair. The replacements were spanky and trim - decidedly unshabby - and they were eagerly trying to please me, but they just could never be my real daddy. I consoled myself by buying a pair in chestnut brown as well. These helped a little.

One night while I was rocking the brown ones, a friend of mine, to compliment my footwear choices in his own quirky way, said to me, "Hey, Eliza, can I have all your old boots?" As he is a special friend, one whose fashion sense coincides nicely with mine, and because one of the many benefits of being an amazon is the ability to share shoes with boys, the next time I saw him I presented him with my treasured old friends. And, lo. They actually woke up and took on a whole new life on him. It was like seeing an older dog getting adopted at the shelter, bounding gleefully into his new person's car. That was probably six years ago. I believe my friend is now on his second replacement pair.

The ones pictured above are my original replacements for the special boots. As you can see, with a little love, time and patience, they got good, too.

Here are a few more of my favorites:

Platform soles? Faux patened leather? Lined throughout with fake fur? I got these for eleven dollars several years ago, and they were so dreamily weird I bought a second pair for when the strap breaks on this one. I get a compliment just about every time I wear them, the most frequent being "those are beautiful." This makes me smile, since the reason I like them so much (apart from the fur - COME ON) is their eccentricity. There's just no accounting for taste!

The Cruel Shoes. I guess most women have at least one pair of shoes they blindly adore despite the physically abusive nature of the relationship. These are mine. Guaranteed lacerations. But aren't they hot? You should see them on. When will some enterprising woman inventor get on the stick and market invisible, padded, virtually un-dislodge-able bandaids?

I ordered these on clearance from a catalogue aimed at teenagers. When they arrived I was dismayed to note that the platform heel was at least five inches tall - a bit much. I drew a line around the soles at the height they'd be if teenagers were reasonable, and asked my then landlord (the sawmill owner) for a little bandsaw-related favor. And it worked!

Being cheap, I have a long and happy association with Sharpies. Chip a red ceramic bowl? Nothing a red Sharpie can't handily camoflage. Sick of the contrast stiching on that brown belt? You know who to call. These sneakers are of good quality and are very comfortable. Unfortunately the only color on the clearance rack was pink. No problem!

Speaking of how cheap I am, I found these lovelies on sale at a tacky discount department store seven or eight years ago (when clogs such as these had recently been trendy and were now available on sale at tacky discount department stores). I have tried and failed many times to put them in the giveaway pile during closet purges. The substantial sole just feels so... substantial under me on the ground; they weigh about three pounds each. They fit me perfectly. Plus, you gotta love the jacquard. Someday I will find a cool way to wear them again, I just know it.

It's a strategy that worked for these:
These comfortable retro darlings were purchased seventeen years ago and kept optimistically on hand but rarely worn - UNTIL I got my fabulous favorite new jeans a month or so ago. The jeans are long enough for heels (a rare and beautiful treat for me); their slouchy bootcut leg loves the seventies, and the wash of the denim craves brown. It's a perfect combo. I've worn these seventeen year-old glogs more often in the last month than in the preceeding sixteen years and eleven months.

Sharing my shoes is making me giddy. I took many more photos and could go on longer, but why don't I leave it at these:
Do you have a pair of shoes that you don't wear as often as you could because you're saving them? These are mine. At least, that's what I tell myself. As you can see, I have several pairs of platform boots, most of which are less interesting and far less sexy than these. The others do make me happy to wear - the drama of three- or four-inch heels on a six-foot-one-inch woman is always lots of fun - and I usually have my reasons for wearing the others instead: chunkier heels are a bit less death-defying (not to mention less overtly, well, sexy), plus of course there are the other colors to consider. And I don't want to wear out my best.

But every time I do wear these boots, I feel deliciously indulgent - to the the point of a sort of shame -, like I'm granting myself a pleasure I've been denying. I don't think the photo captures it (because it's not just the boots but the way they fit me), but they're cut in a way that makes me understand why in the days of floor-length women's clothing, men used to get excited about a well-turned ankle. They're also of better quality than most of the others. I see now that the main reason I don't wear these boots more often is that on some level I think they're too good for me. Well, balderdash! My new jeans are long enough to wear with them. And though doing so will make me want to spend money I don't have at the moment on some smashing new top, I will wear them out as soon as it's feasible. Modesty may have its place, but there are times when a girl has got to screw self-deprecation. Right in its ear.

More Sunday Scribblings here!


Blogger Teri said...

Whoa Nelly! That is a collection! I love it!

You in high-heeled boots...that's extra hot.

5/07/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Now THAT is a collection! Great post!

5/07/2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger ESB said...

that photograph of all your shoes made my day...this is hilarious!

5/07/2006 12:22 PM  
Blogger Lexi said...

holy cow. i feel less of a woman now that i saw your shoe collection ;)

5/07/2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger boliyou said...

I *love* the kickass black boots! Great collection, great post.

5/07/2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Great collection! Love the boots and the story.

5/07/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

THat was such a fun read!!! I marveled at all your sh oes. I know most everyone I know loves shoes so much I start wondering, "hey! What am I missing out on?" but that first photo of your boots made me yearn for a pair for myself!

5/07/2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger Pixels4 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/07/2006 10:35 PM  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

WOW! Fabulous pictures - and yes, you do have some kick-ass boots! I salivated over one pair of wedge boots. Wonderful post and story of your shoe loves.

5/09/2006 1:41 PM  
Blogger Jana B said...

Wow!!! You have a lot of shoes!

As your opposite, I'm amazed at all the shoes you have that could make me taller!

It's really wierd to see how a pair of shoes you have take on a whole new identity when someone else wears them... But I'm glad the boots got a second shot at life :)

5/10/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Holy cow! My shoe collection is decidely black and boring next to these beauties. This was fun to read and much needed...thanks for sharing!

5/17/2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger maverick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/19/2006 4:05 AM  
Blogger Simple? Isn't it... said...

love your shoes, and your post, I also love shoes, and by coincidence I recently posted on a pair of shoes:)

5/23/2006 9:40 AM  
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