When I was in fifth grade, I went to a private school that required students to wear uniforms: the boys wore slacks and collared shirts, and the girls wore little belted pale-blue jumpers. The popular girls wore the jumpers beltless, layering them over white or navy turtlenecks that were bunched at the neck (never rolled). I went for button-down blouses with enormous, frilly collars and tied that belt on exactly where it was supposed to go.
I was not cool.
I took a strange sort of pride in my non-coolness, actually. I remember at one point all the girls deciding to wear their scrunchies around their ankles, and making a conscious decision to keep my scrunchie in my hair where it belonged (despite my best friend’s urgings) because it seemed pointless and weird to stick the thing on my foot. My choice to buck that particular trend made me feel pretty good, actually…in a small way it felt like a sign that I was doing my own thing, and that “my own thing” might be a kind of awesome thing to do.
And then, in the spring of that year, everyone (by which I mean Sarah and Nell and Katie and the other girls I wanted very badly to be just like) started wearing saddle shoes. I loved them. I wanted a pair of my own. But I felt silly about the fact that I wanted them; it seemed embarrassing to even desire the pair of shoes that was so clearly what the cool kids were into. I worried that it would seem like I was wearing them just to fit in, or that “fitting in” was actually what I did want.
And maybe it was.
But either way: I really liked them.
A month or so went by, and I finally caved: I went to my mother and asked for a pair. She said no at first – they were way too expensive – but a bit more begging finally did her in. I wore my saddle shoes to school the very next Monday, on the exact day that every single other girl in school decided that saddle shoes weren’t just no longer “in”…they were supremely dorky and would only be worn by total nerds.
I wish I could say that I wore them anyway, but I didn’t. My mom was mad, but the saddle shoes stayed in my closet all summer long, and by the next fall they were too small and that was that.
It’s funny, but despite the fact that I really do deep-down believe that you should wear what you want to wear and to hell with what anyone has to say about it…I still think of those saddle shoes from time to time, when some crazy trend or another arises: orange lipstick, chalk-dyed hair, peplum. Sometimes I want to try that trend out myself just because it seems fun, or because I actually do like it despite the fact that it might make me look ridiculous, but a tiny voice from way, way back pipes up in my head, worrying about things like turning tides and laughing girls.
When wedge sneakers started popping up in celebrity magazines, I immediately slotted them into the “not me, never never never” box.
And then I saw them again. And again.
And suddenly I really, really liked them.
I’m not in fifth grade anymore. I don’t have to wear a belt if I don’t feel like it, and if I want to wear the shoes that everyone else is wearing?
That’s exactly what I’m going to do.
I love them.
These things took me all over the Natural History Museum with nary a blister, and they make me feel both tall and something nicely akin to “sporty”. I think we’re going to be very good friends this summer, my wedge sneakers and me.
Either way, though: it’s my call.
On Me: LOFT Sunwashed Tee; DIY-ed denim cutoffs; Sputnik sneakers c/o Skechers; Sophia Forero ruby ring; sunglasses via T.J.Maxx; Etc. vintage watchband cuff bracelet; Day Into Night convertible bag c/o Alexandra Satine.