A woman and her shoes

“Good shoes take you good places.” -Unknown

Shoes. There’s an oft-used joke that women like their shoes. 

Some folks seem boggled by why, not realizing that shoes are the one things you’re not as likely to grow out of, compared to that favorite dress or top.

We’ve been in our house for a year and a half now. We still have some boxes to go through — time is not my friend, it seems. The other day, I was cleaning out one of the rooms that had defaulted to storage when I found one pair of heels and one pair of wedges.

They were shoes I once loved and hadn’t worn in several years. In fact, my dear husband had never seen me wear these shoes and we’ve been together more than five years. He’s never seen me wear any heels — I wore nice sandals to our wedding and then I went barefoot.
I love these wedges.
I started to shove the shoes in the giveaway bag. You know the mantra: if you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it.

But I stopped. I couldn’t bring myself to part with these silly shoes I never wear.

It’s not that I can’t wear them — I can. I even put them on and walked around our house to see if I could still balance in them. I just never have an occasion to. And when I do, I opt for comfort over style these days.

My beloved strappy heels.
But, there’s memories involved. I looked hard for the strappy brown heels. They went perfectly with this favorite dress I once had, which was polka-dot, flowy, and reminded me of Donna Reed. Just add pearls.

And, in fact, I wore the dress and the heels for the first time (but no pearls!) to the rehearsal dinner honoring one of my dearest friend’s and her soon-to-be husband. I loved that outfit.

Isn't the dress so cute?!
I had kept the dress for several years, even though I could no longer wear it. Last year, I finally parted with it. It was like losing an old friend, but I gave it a good new home with another dear friend. I guess I’ll have to see if she wants the matching shoes.

I think it’s more than just the memories attached to those strappy heels and that favorite pair of wedges — it’s the reminder of a former version of me. A me who dressed in cute shoes and flowy dresses and skirts.

There’s something about an outfit that can make you feel like a whole new person — they do say that the clothes can make the man. Or, in this case, the woman.

That dress and those heels made me feel cute and confident, like I could accomplish anything.

I was just a young lady, finding her way in the world. I was young and free. There weren’t the responsibilities of work, bills, a house payment.

And I was a much smaller size than I am now.

It was a whole different world back then. I sometimes miss that version of me.

Not that I don’t like the current version of me. But there’s something about dressing up, washing off the normalcy and taking a little effort every once in a while.

Not that I could last long in those shoes, let’s be honest.

What about you? Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, a favorite dress or outfit that you can’t part with?

What is it about those outfits that we hold on to?

And, how is it, that we become such vastly different versions of ourselves? Sometimes, it’s for the better, but not always.

What do we do when the person in the mirror, the person wearing our clothes, is not the person we remember being?

It’s like running into an old friend or classmate. My class has been out of school for 11 years now, and I occasionally run into people I once knew. But who they are now is far removed from who they were then. They have families, spouses. Some are in the workforce, some are still in school, and some are in jail. We have lawyers, nurses, insurance salesmen, police officers, preachers, veterans, mothers, fathers, and more. 

Thinking on ourselves from back then, while not that long ago, we are like a faint memory, a shadow of the person we’ve become.

Life, time, they march on. Our lives change, we change, our waistlines change. We can’t remain those youthful teenagers, dancing the night away at our prom, throwing our caps at graduation or having fun at our project graduation.

Eventually, we grow up. We become new versions of ourselves. We buy new shoes, new clothes, and leave those youthful garments behind.

Even Cinderella had to take her shoes off eventually. I wonder if she kept them as a tribute to her meeting with Prince Charming, or if she gave them to someone else, another young lady looking for her shot.

There’s a book called Just Ella, which tells a different version of the Cinderella story. In it, Cinderella finds that Prince Charming is really just a handsome but dull man, only looking to continue the family lineage of beautiful Charmings. It’s not the life she thought she wanted.

So she strikes out. She makes her own life. She leaves the past behind.

I highly doubt she took her ballgown with her when she left. Well, fled, if I recall correctly — the Charmings did not want to let her go. It would have simply weighed her down. And those shoes — they’re not sensible for a woman on the run.

As for my shoes — maybe it’s time to give them a new home and a new life. Shoes aren’t meant for closets and memory-keeping, they’re meant for feet. They’re meant for wearing, walking, dancing.

Maybe it’s time for my shoes to give someone else that joy, that confidence, to celebrate the woman they are becoming.

I might have to think on this a little longer.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes or a favorite outfit that you can’t or don’t wear anymore?


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