Friday, January 29, 2010

With Great Shoes Comes Great Responsibility

Welcome guest blogger Daisy James!

Daisy James is a Californian writer, biotech researcher and shoe enthusiast. Her blog, Half the Fun, is largely concerned with travel, shoes, odd food products, hairstyles and, occasionally, killer robot dinosaurs. Her most recent fiction publication, “The Ghost in the Death Trap” was Episode 224 of Escape Pod.

One time, she stopped shopping for four months and the entire economy collapsed. She still feels kind of bad about that.

I’ll just come right out and say it: I have a ridiculous number of shoes. No one who has seen my closet*, or my credit card statements, could possibly dispute that. I spent an entire month posting pictures of shoes on my blog (Shoetember!), and had enough left over to do the same for every Tuesday since (Shoesday!). And I will say, if I may be immodest for a moment**, that I have amassed a fairly impressive collection.

Why? That’s a good question. The easy answer is that they are fun, but you already knew that and anyway, that isn’t really an answer at all— it’s like saying you climb mountains because they’re there. (I mean, of course they’re there. Where else would they be?) The cynical answer is that it’s all feminine competition, an attempt to claim alpha female status by a show of wealth, and like most cynical answers that’s probably at least partly true. The real answer could probably form the basis of a graduate thesis in the sort of field where it’s impossible to get a job, so I’ll leave that for others to do, and go back to trying to explain the “fun” thing.

My first brush with the power of shoes came in high school, with a pair of green Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star high tops. It was the early nineties, the height of the grunge era, and the All-Star was the shoe of choice for anyone who didn’t have the nerve or the ready cash for Doc Martens. I was (prepare to be shocked) something of a dork and an outsider, but somehow, when I wore those green Converse, in defiance of the laws of physics and nature, I was cool***.

Years passed, and I packed away my plaid shirts and beat-up jeans to the land of teenage trends, but the lesson of the All-Stars endured. Shoes were a way to fit in and, done right, they could be a way to stand out too. The shoes you wear can transform you****, from how your legs look, to how (or if) your outfit works, to what other people think of you. And if they’re thinking bitter thoughts of jealousy because you so clearly have style, class, and a pair of four inch, crocodile skin de la Renta heels, well then, all the better.

Hey, the title just says you have great responsibility. Doesn’t mean you have to use it well.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I by no means am trying to say that you have to spend a third of your disposable income on footwear to be complete as a person. I happen to have a very good friend who owns exactly one pair of dress shoes, and despite that is still able to live a full and happy life. And I hardly need to say that just being expensive does not automatically make something fabulous. (Exhibit A) But if you do happen to enjoy a fine pair of heels, or own sneakers that make your heart sing, or know that you are never hotter than when you’ve got your boots on, well, come sit over by me. And then tell the class about them in the comments, won’t you?

*We recently moved, to a place that is infinitely better in almost every way than our old apartment, but the one thing I really miss is the shoe closet. A whole closet, just for my shoes! (This may not have been its original intended purpose.)

**No? Whoops. Oh well, too late.

***At least in my own mind. Which, as I would come to learn later in life, was actually what mattered.

****For example, if you wear Crocs, they transform you into an escaped mental patient— not the exciting, dangerous kind, the kind that shuffles around and asks people if they’ve seen Jerry.



Sophie Littlefield said...

Daisy, I always always look forward to your shoe commentary! I have one pair of shockingly high heels that is also undisputably comfortable, and I count this among my most stunning accomplishments of the decades.

Daisy said...

Sophie: Fantastic! Who made them? What do they look like?

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

This whole week has made me so sad. I *would* be a shoe person, but 10.5 EE options are so very few and far between. Internet has improved that, but only slightly. After all the psi on a pair of stilettos increased exponentially with weight...sigh.

Thanks to you for letting me live la vida zapatos at least vicariously ;)

Martha Flynn said...

My standard black leather frye boots - those are just me and I'll wear them with ANYTHING - I don't care if they match. I'm envious you get a WHOLE CLOSET just to shoes!

Sophie Littlefield said...

hey Daisy, they are black patent, Sofft brand (stupid, stupid name but lovely shoes!)

Daisy said...

Mysti: I am so vicariously bummed for you. Have you tried Stuart Weitzman? I've heard good things about their larger sizes, and these come in 10.5 wide:

Martha: Love Frye! Been trying to work up the nerve to get a pair of their Engineer 8R boots, but I just don't know if I'm badass enough to wear them.

Sophie: So with you on the Sofft name. But I love that the comfort lines are making shoes now that you would actually want to be seen in public in. (I have a pair of Aerosoles croc-embossed peep-toes that are my go-to fancy professional shoes, and I adore them.)

Martha Flynn said...

Ha! We have an upcoming topic of Badassery - we should have you back IF you get those awesome boots!

Gigi Pandian said...

Fluevogs are my weakness. Thank goodness for eBay so I don't go completely broke!

Rachael said...

Goodness, I love the Aerosoles. Even though I'm not a shoe gal, I'll cave for Aerosoles sometimes, because they're cute AND comfy. And they last, strangely enough.

Daisy said...

Martha: You know, that just might be the excuse I need to put me over the top. . .

Gigi: Fluevogs! I don't actually own any, I just like saying that. Of course, now I had to go to ebay to have a look.

I would totally buy these if I was a size 6. Good thing I'm not; I already bought a pair of boots today. (No, really. I'm disturbed.)

Rachael: No kidding about the staying power of Aerosoles. I have some pairs that have been in heavy rotation for seven or eight years now, and except for the odd heel replacement they're still going strong.

Lisa Hughey said...

Thanks for visiting!! I have a pair of Donald J. Pliner mules that cost a ridiculous amount of money, are absolutely gorgeous, and used to be the most comfortable shoes I owned (until they stretched out and now they make my feet cramp. :( )

Camille Minichino said...

Such fun, Daisy. My only regret is that whenever I see you around the mystery events I'm always so fascinated by what you're saying, I never look down!
No more -- my eyes will be cast down as you speak.
But don't look at my shoes; they're all rubber.

Daisy said...

Lisa: It's the tragedy of great shoes, isn't it? The better they are, the more sure you are to wear them to death. (Theirs, not yours. I hope.)

Camille: Aw, thanks. :) I do try to wear something fun to those; I so rarely get let out of the house. And honestly, I think you've earned the right to wear shoes made out of whatever you damn well please.

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

Thanks to Daisy for shoe hints!