Despite my red carpet fashion blogs, my regular costume design gigs, and my status as a seamstress, I’m not particularly “into” clothes. I mean, I like clothes, and I like nice clothes, but I’m not the kind of woman who has a closet full of fabulous clothes, or who relies on shopping therapy as stress relief. I consider clothes shopping a chore, not a reward.
I do, however, love shoes. I love shopping for them, I love wearing them, I love looking at them.
I don’t love designer shoes, though. Well, that’s not exactly true: I long for Steve Madden boots and Christian Louboutin pumps. But the shoes that I love to buy – and that I actually do buy – are multiple pairs of cheap but fun styles from Payless Shoes and Famous Footwear. I own a pair of leopardskin ballet flats, a pair of teal patent pumps, two pairs of red patent pumps, black booties, black high-heeled boots, tan suede high-heeled boots, tan riding boots, houndstooth pumps, silver rhinestone flip flops, brown oxfords, five different pairs of black flats (patent, with bows and rhinestones, with just bows, suede, and square toes), black strappy sandals with glitter, black strappy sandals without glitter, black patent slingbacks, white pumps, ivory pumps, bone sandals, two pairs of double-wide sneakers, sturdy walking shoes, and a pair of oversized pink Hello Kitty bedroom slippers. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
Now, you’d expect a collection like that to be carefully tucked into stacks of clear plastic boxes, each carefully labeled, and organized by category. But you’d be wrong. I own a circular shoe rack, and quite a few of the shoes that I wear less often (including several pairs of character and dance shoes that I only wear when I perform) are hanging on it. But the vast majority of my collection is carelessly tossed in the bottom of the closet.
There’s something very satisfying about that chaos, for me. You know how movies show people dreaming about being rich by imagining that they’re rolling in piles of cash, tossing it up in the air, rubbing it against their faces? That’s what this chaotic pile of shoes is for me: it’s the dream of reveling in something that I love, that I have managed to acquire a large amount of, without taking away from the more important things.
And not only that, but since I almost never throw out my shoes, this pile that I’m reveling in is also my history. I have the shoes I had on when my husband proposed, the ones I wore when I got married, the boots my husband teasingly refers to as my “Captain Kirk boots,” the shoes I wore at my mom’s funeral when I was pregnant with my daughter, the shoes I’m wearing in the first family photo with both my kids in it, and the shoes I wore on stage the first time I performed with my (now) husband. It’s like a whole closet full of family history.
And with my family, how could our history possibly be summed up in a neat, tidy series of organized boxes? Nope, my family is best described by chaos.