I’m not usually a super sentimental person, but shoes are something special to me. I inherited my mother’s love of shoes and, over the years, developed quite a collection—not fancy, expensive shoes from swanky boutiques, but a stylish pair for every outfit: green peep-toe slingbacks with a kitten heel, gray suede ankle boots, black leather mary janes with a stacked heel and gathering at the toe. I LOVE SHOES.
Since having kids, I’ve become more practical in my shoe selections though, opting for comfort and functionality—shoes that get tossed in the bottom of our coat closet and not neatly placed on display beneath my freshly pressed work attire. When I was a teacher, my students actually told me they knew I was pregnant before I announced it because I had stopped wearing heels every single day!
Last Sunday, as I scanned my almost forgotten shoe rack for a pair of pumps to wear to church, I realized how many pairs of shoes I never, EVER wear anymore. When we got home, I vowed to weed through them and toss the ones that don’t have a place in my life anymore, but it was harder than I thought.
With each pair I picked up and dusted off (literally!), a flood of memories came over me. Each party I had attended wearing these shoes; how confident I felt walking into a room with them on; how sore my feet were after dancing for hours in shoes with four-inch heels… It was like reminiscing with old friends.
Before dumping any of my memories in the trash, I had to take one last walk down memory lane (yes, pun intended, of course!):
First, my brown leather pumps with a stacked heel
Years ago, if we were going out to a bar, club, or party, these shoes were on my feet. No worries that they were horribly worn down, because whatever the night had in store, no one was going to be studying my shoes. What mattered was that they had a 3.5” stiletto heel to make my legs look super-duper long, and they matched with everything. I look at these shoes and immediately Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” starts playing in my head!
Next up: the red patent leather slingbacks with a peep toe
Oh my god, I loved these shoes when I bought them! They were calling to me from a display in the Macy’s shoe department, and my husband patiently waited as I tried them on and fell in love with the vivacious color and retro details. How could you not feel sexy wearing bright red shoes like these? Dorothy’s all grown up, girls.
My most vivid memory of wearing these is going to pick up my husband from the airport after a business trip, wearing bright red lipstick and bright red shoes. I felt so glamorous!
Then, the silver sandals with a rosette and ankle strap
When my sister-in-law got married, she picked these adorable bridesmaids dresses in this key lime green that had us wondering about coordinating shoes. Silver was the obvious choice, and this pair with the rosette was so sweet. As much as I loved these shoes at the beginning of the day, by the end of the night, many hours of dancing later, I was so ready to take them off! Why do the cutest shoes always hurt so much?? I’ve worn them again on a couple of occasions, but only when I knew I’d be on my feet for a couple of hours or less.
And last but not least, the black leather scrunch boots with buckle detail
When I really wanted to make a statement in the fall and winter months, these boots were the way to go. Between the slight platform, 4.5” heel, and my well above-average height, they would literally make me the tallest woman in the room! But pairing these with a black pencil skirt and my favorite fitted cowl neck sweater always made me feel confident enough to pull it off.
One year, for Christmas, I asked my husband for tickets to see the Mariinsky Ballet’s performance of Don Quixote. I wore these boots for our big night out at the Kennedy Center in DC and dinner at the Watergate Hotel. I remember freezing my a** off and wishing I could walk faster to get back to the Metro, but it was so worth it.
At the end of my closet clean-out, I decided to toss a few pairs of shoes because they were just too worn down or too impractical. But there were others that, no matter how unreasonable when caring for two little kids as a stay-at-home mom, I just couldn’t part with. Maybe because they’re a symbol of another time in my life when I had occasion to sport these looks and was confident enough to pull them off. I wonder, can you guess which pairs still live on my shoe rack?