we’re not in kansas anymore

We’ve all met them.

The well-intentioned and impressive people who say, “I don’t really think about what I wear,” or, “I’m too busy to think about how I look,” or, “Fashion is shallow”–the people who make your story of your new-shoe-find die on your lips, because you suddenly feel like a vacuous and empty-headed freak show.

Can fashion be shallow? Sure. Definitely.

But I’d like to suggest that fashion can be formative. It can unlock the creativity and whimsy within us in a touching–dare I say profound?–way.

So for my first “from the archives” post, I wanted to share an old pair of shoes that were a beloved part of my journey.

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Jessica Simpson ballet flats, circa 2007. I remember feeling so bold and cool when I first started sporting them. I wore them everywhere with just about anything. It amuses me now because realllllly, they aren’t edgy shoes. But to my 16 year old self—whoa. I thought they were game-changers.

You probably notice that they look a little dusty in their photo-op. That’s because though they’re too tired to be worn anymore, I can’t bear to throw them away. A few years back, I tucked them into a corner of my bookshelf with some fake flowers, as a reminder of one of the earliest times fashion brought a spark to my eye. Because that’s the crazy thing about fashion: it can make a 16 year old girl fresh out of braces feel a little prettier.

But these shoes weren’t just formative for me that year–at the risk of exposing myself as the cheeseball that I really am, I will say with shameless sentimentality that they had a lasting effect on me.

They launched me on a path of unusual footwear. They made me feel that if I could wear bright red shoes, even as a small-town girl, maybe I could wear shoes of ever-increasing weirdness.

So I wore strange shoes. And I wear strange shoes. And I will wear strange shoes.

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