|My beloved black boots; from Sundance Catalog (on amazing sale)|
This fall I took the plunge: I bought a pair of brown Franco Sarto boots for $12.95 at my favorite thrift store. I bought them on a whim, and days later, I wore them on a whim.
What followed in the course of the next few months neither I, nor anyone who has ever heard me talk about clothing, could have predicted. Leggings entered my life on the same day as a pair of skinny jeans (thanks, Target!); snakeskin (totally fake; no worries) booties followed. Next came another pair of skinny jeans and the amazing (and oh-so-flattering) black boots pictured above.
For many women in 2011, owning any or all of the abovementioned items is no biggie. And, since I love clothes and really really love shoes, shouldn't it be the same for me? Well, no. Because for years (I mean, like 5 or 6) I railed against boots; "they're ugly," "they're clunky," etc. etc. I teased not a few of my female students who stomped into class in pair after hideous pair of Uggs. And don't get me started on the leggings. In fact, if you had access to the transcript of but a single conversation in which I bemoaned the reign of leggings - and, working on a number of college campuses, there have been a lot of these conversations - you would likely never forgive my purchasing not one, but two pairs of those not-quite-pants-not-quite-tights.
So, as I write this, having just worn my favorite Christmas present to Red Lobster with my hubby last night (the black boots, of course), I wonder, How in the world did I turn into such a shameless sell-out?
Let me start by explaining what I so hate about "fashion": the very fact that it's so darn fashionable. That is, women so often wear these things - whether we're talking boots and leggings or capes and clogs - because someone says they need to if they want to be stylish, not because they necessarily look nice in them.
Now, I bought my cool-girl clothes long after the height of their coolness. (No, I'm not one of those people who only likes things that other people don't like. I swear.) Sure, they're still in style, but I missed the super-fashionista boat by at least a few years. Truth is, those leggings had piqued my interest months before I ever tried a pair on. What stopped me for so long? Stubbornness. A sense of superiority over what I deemed fashion's slave-minions. And, if we're being honest, having announced very loudly and very forcefully to anyone within hearing distance that (fill in clothing/shoe item here) were an abomination, I was too proud to admit that maybe I'd been just a wee bit harsh.
Perhaps it's funny that when I finally "gave in," no one had a negative word to say. Except me. I guess it's not for nothing that my good buddy Butcher (that's his last name, of course - and oh yes, there's a good last name story for another post) says I'm way harsher on myself than anyone he knows. (And also that it must be exhausting to be me. Which it often is.) But is there a chance that it's not selling out? Maybe I just realized I was wrong and could finally admit it. As an almost grown-up (does the real thing happen at 30?), admitting when I'm wrong is an ongoing project for me. It's taken a lot of years, but I can confidently say that the old stubbornness is easing up a bit.
The boots lengthen the look of my legs; and skinny jeans, it turns out, are pretty flattering on skinny girls. Like anyone, it makes me feel good to look nice. It makes me feel young. I'd be a fool to pick the bitter satisfaction of stalwarts over that.
Don't worry, though: I continue to abstain from make-up wearing, Tweeting, and potato/macaroni salad-eating. I've still got some standards.