It’s back-to-school time, so of course I found myself in the mall the other day, shopping for shoes for me. What? Moms need new back-to-school looks too, even if they are not actually going to school.
Truthfully, I needed some new shoulder season shoes, because mine were worn down and in bad shape, and I needed something to bridge that month between strappy sandals and full-on boots. So, I found myself attracted to a large Sale sign on the window of Steve Madden. Now, I had never shopped there before, mostly because Steve Madden reminds me of The Wolf of Wall Street, which was the most disgusting book I have ever read in my life, and which I regret reading and therefore contributing to the wealth of one of the worst people on earth.
My disgust about The Wolf of Wall Street notwithstanding, I wandered into the shop, thinking that a nice pair of ankle boots would be just the ticket for me. Since I walk a lot, I need boots that are very comfortable, with a good rubber sole, but I also like to be at least a little on-trend. After picking up and trying on a few pairs, the very young salesgirl brought me the latest trendy ankle boot.
Dear Readers, it was an army boot.
Despite my misgivings about them being exactly like a pair I wore almost daily from 1990-91, I tried them on. They were comfortable. They had a good rubber sole. They were – if the cute young salesgirl was to be believed – very on-trend.
Dear Reader, I bought them.
Before buying them the salesgirl reassured me that I was totally not too old to wear them and I was way younger than her mom! With that somewhat unsettling reassurance, I carried the box to the car and went home.
I fretted the entire way home. What’s next, I thought to myself, am I going to start wearing them with babydoll dresses? Am I going to wear them with tights, ripped denim shorts, and oversized sweaters? What am I trying to prove? Am I going to be a living monument to Mutton Dressed As Lamb?
It’s not that I didn’t love the look of army boots, back in 1990-91. It’s not that I didn’t rock them out with my floral and black babydoll dresses, with my tights and ripped denim shorts that had peace symbols embroidered on them. But it’s not 1990-91, and I am no longer in high school.
I got them home and tried them on again. My husband, who has likely never noticed my footwear before, and likely never will again, looked askance at them. My kids, running through the kitchen, stopped and looked at me quizzically. I looked at myself in my full-length mirror, wearing my regular clothes that did not go with army boots in any way. The bottom half of me was 16-year-old punk rock. The top half was 40-year-old mom.
The next day I took them back to the store, something I have actually never done before, and vowed to stick to the fashion rule that if you wore it the first time around, think really hard about the second time.
Of course, if babydoll dresses come back in style, I’m going to be very tempted.