‘The surprise and delight of shoes’
I love shoes. There’s something about looking down and spotting a snappy pair that makes me smile.
My Mom is the same way. I look forward to my Kid of the Month Club visits not just because I get to see my super-fun Mom, but also because I get to see her super-fun footwear.
What is it about shoes that so delights? Well, compared to clothes, which can mysteriously “shrink” — or even lengthen — in your closet, shoes that fit well when you buy them pretty much stay that way. (As for clothes that get longer, see ‘Skirting the Issue’ for a tale of trailing taffeta.)
Shoes also seem to be an immune to “mutton dressed as lamb” syndrome. (In case you’re not familiar with that particular phrase, it refers to an older woman wearing clothes designed for younger people. It’s not flattering — either the phrase or the wearing.) I’ve written a post about this called “Just Because It Fits Doesn’t Mean You Should Wear It.” But with shoes, as long as you have good legs — and, even more important, good balance — even heels are okay when you’re, um (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) over 70.
As for the surprising aspect of shoes, it’s fun to top off (or underline?) a conservative outfit with a jolt of the unexpected. Just yesterday I attended a big fancy meeting wearing black and white — plus these babies:
A quick note about when and where to wear cool shoes. Don’t waste your time if you’re going out to dinner. You’ll be seated at a table and no one will see your feet, much less your kicks. Concentrate instead on fun up top: necklaces, scarves, fun frames. A tiara.
Shoes get a better chance to shine when worn to places people can actually see them. Think cocktail party or art opening. Someplace you’ll be standing. Or, if sitting’s more your style, think lectures. Recitals. Especially boring ones where people’s attention — and eyes — tend to wander. Trust me, your fellow coop board members will appreciate a fancy upper.
You can even surprise yourself with shoes. If you buy them off-season when there are deep discounts (like I do) then put them away, you’ll get a big kick out of “discovering” them months later. “Gosh,” you’ll say to yourself as you open a Tory Birch box stored with your summer clothes, “I forgot all about these! What fun!”
New York City. May 2023