I’m excited to introduce this blog series. We all have items of clothing or accessories that we’re particularly fond of and there’s almost always a story associated. This series aims to get at those stories and the people who tell them.
I’m going to kick this thing off. So here goes!
I’m having a serious shoe moment in my life. I recently turned forty-eight, but my mind still thinks I’m twenty-five. When I see photos of myself I’m shocked at the changes. The sight of actual twenty-five-year-olds causes an even greater sense of disorientation. Apparently, most people experience this perceptual lag between their younger and older selves as they age.
It’s popular to suggest that we can wear anything we want no matter how old we are, but the notion of dressing the way I did in my twenties is horrifying. There are parts of me that have different needs now. My thighs, for instance. When I was young, they enjoyed being out and about, seeing and being seen. Now they prefer a life of quiet contemplation, inside the comfort and security of pant legs or a skirt.
The new modesty isn’t about self-hatred– at least I don’t think so. It’s about self-presentation. Our clothes tell the world a bit about who we were, as well as who we are, and who we want to be. It’s impossible to overstate how much I want to be comfortable. I’m forty-eight, with too much work to do: I can’t be slowed down in any way. Which brings me to these shoes.
They are called Worishofers, and I got them at a store in Brooklyn called The Shoe Market. I have two cousins, both highly evolved stylistically, and each has several pairs of Worishofers. From what I’ve read, Worishofers are almost like orthopedic shoes in their native Germany, but became popular with younger women in New York some years ago. They are sometimes described as “granny chic”. That’s where I’m heading. I’m still young enough to wear them with a touch of irony, but the irony is fading fast.
I bought these shoes during a trip I took by myself last year to see the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The show featured haute couture and ultra-high tech pieces. Taking that trip was the most self-indulgent thing I’ve ever done, and totally out of character. When I saw the first gown, a magnificent wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld, I felt ecstatic and then weepy. I cried all the way through my first pass through the exhibit. The ingenuity and artistry reminded me that humans can be wonderful.
In the past, I would have stayed home, because spending all that money would have seemed frivolous. No more. People in their late forties should take trips to New York to see mind-bending fashion exhibits. And the second best part of the trip was going to Williamsburg and buying myself a pair of red Worishofers. They feel like wearing two hugs around on your feet. The colour makes me glad. They remind me that in my late forties I’m the kind of person who blows a ton of money going to NYC to weep over beautiful dresses.