Finding Myself in the Shoe Closet
By Anne Harris,
1:04AM, Wed. Dec. 5, 2007
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.