Finding Myself in the Shoe Closet

A few years ago I added up the time and money I typically spent per year on personal appearance. Realizing the absurd drain it all was on my resources, especially the time spent in chasing down favorite aestheticians wherever they happened to be pitching their tents, I became home-groomed. No more Fritos on my fingers, and as for everything else, try Sally Hansen. I do have a little help. My husband has become so adept with wax and linen strips that it's tempting to pimp out his services for Christmas money.

As for clothing, historically I bought one wearable, high-end item in the spring, and one again in the fall. Those purchases, mostly shoes and bags, along with down-market supplements of what Isaac Mizrahi calls "cheater clothes," kept my closet fed. But when I took a job where it is perfectly acceptable to show up still in pajamas, sartorial slack soon followed. As usual, slack meant relief, since I hate to shop. To have shopped is, for me, the only reward.

Well, when my veteran Chuck Taylors recently gave up the ghost of all the good times, I didn't see it as a sign until it coincided with two other events. The first was an all-too-familiar summons from Real Life, this time reminding me of the good times that happen outside the city limits. The other was the fateful, crackling turn of one glossy page that revealed the panacea for my closet ennui: Ferragamo's Varina ballet flat.

The Varina is an homage to the ubiquitous Vara pump, the grosgrain icon seen on grandmothers everywhere since we were old enough to drool on that nice lady's shoe. Ferragamo, perhaps seeking a younger customer base as the present one shrinks by attrition, has produced a kickier version in the form of a ballet flat.

A deflating look at the price tag brought another reaction that I won't share here, but as the hives on my throat began to subside, I found resolve. The array of footwear in one's shoe closet, whether worn with frequency or not, should carry promise. It reassures us that there is something unexpected around the next bend, and that we must be well-shod when we arrive. Just as we defy death with wild fornication, we shall defy a bleak future by popping tags off some serious foot candy.

Who knows? At some point I'll probably have to go back to the salon. (You can be honest.) But as I wait with 24-hour UPS alert on the front walk for my new kicks, the anticipation itself tells me that the shoe closet is again, half-full.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Ferragamo Varina flat
Pack Up Your tokidoki
Pack Up Your tokidoki

Anne Harris, Feb. 21, 2008

More by Anne Harris
Making the Cut
Making the Cut
New season of Project Runway puts Austin designer Lindsey Creel in the spotlight

Aug. 7, 2015

Austin Dames Host Kitchen Sale Fundraiser
Austin Dames Host Kitchen Sale Fundraiser
Rummage for groovy kitchenware at Mueller Farmers' Market

June 12, 2015


Ferragamo Varina flat, Ferragamo, Fritos, Varina, Vara, Chuck Taylor, Sally Hansen

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle