5.05.2008

Mid-Life (Shoe) Crisis

OMG! I really never thought I'd blog about this, and I feel like SUCH a girl, but I've been drooling over the website of a shoe company I discovered over the weekend for the past hour.

I was in Nordstrom on Sunday, trying in vain to buy myself a pair of cool, funky, just for fun heels, because why not?, dammit! I have been on a slippery slope toward more and more responsible shoes for the past decade or so, limiting myself to that which is necessary, comfortable, a good deal, matches multiple outfits, etc.

I walked around and looked at EVERY solitary pair of shoes in the giant women's shoe dept at Nordstrom and could not find a single pair that turned me on. I left shoeless and with a gift card I've been needing to use still burning a hole in my pocket.

Earlier that day, I had driven 30 min away to check out a vintage clothing store that I read an article about. I poked around and wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped based on the journalistic exaggerations of the article and felt badly for emitting so much CO2 to drive to the place as I headed for the exit. Then I saw them.


The T.U.K. "tattoo" heels.

And a bunch more
cool shoes lined up next to them. Something inside me stirred. A deeply buried memory of days gone by, platforms, Doc Martens, fishnets, Mary Jane's. Neurons fired, epinephrine oozed. I remembered coveting and enjoying cool shoes.

My high school best friend, sister, and I used to drive from San Antonio to Austin to visit an old house-cum-retail-shop called Atomic City. It was a pilgrimage for
cool shoes. Anticipation ran high opening the door to find out which funky rebel shoes had come in, shipped from the UK! (extra cool factor) for our wearing pleasure.

I'll never forget the purple 10-hole Docs I wore to death in high school. 


Or my sister's banana yellow patent leather ones that became her trademark.


We were the few, the proud, the punks. We had to take road trips to freaky dive shops to find our shoes.

A few years later, they started importing Docs to Journeys at the mall and it was downhill from there. Eventually, even the department stores picked them up and they had officially become mainstream. Boring people starting wearing them. Parents didn't mind them. Yawn.


I moved on to skater shoes (yes, that's me, in a former life), chunky platforms, Vans, then adulthood came and slowly turned my collection brown and black and navy instead of purple, patent leather, and skull covered. Sensible low rubber heels instead of 4" platforms. The only mary jane's I have now are made by Keen and are a hippie-pleasing earthy tan suede.


Don't get me wrong. I appreciate all manner of shoes. And I'm partial to
Simple Shoes in particular for their eco-ethics, Keen, Teva, and all those other REI-ish, granola shoes and the lifestyle they represent.

But, come on. They aren't wild crazy different out there sexy subculture shoes. They aren't shoes your parents don't want you to wear.

If I order a pair of shoes from
T.U.K., what will I wear them with? My wardrobe matches my current blah shoes. Where will I wear them to? I go from work to grocery store to park playdate to home. My nightlife is sitting in pajamas drinking tea checking email before bed by 10 pm.

F*&# it! If I have to wear them to the playground, I will! 

I HAVE to have cool shoes again!

8 comments:

Casey said...

I remember those purple Docs!

Get the shoes and everything else will follow. Trust me.
After Hurricanehead turned two and I could finally think straight again I started de-mommifying my wardrobe. Once you have cool shoes, interesting clothes and places to wear them will naturally present themselves.

Atomic City, btw, is still around. You should come shoe-shopping sometime.

Chelsea said...

You have no idea how heartened I am by your comment! Turtle just turned two and I am feeling an urge to be myself again and climb out of the hole of motherhood that swallowed my identity.

It's fun to know that Atomic City is still going strong and hasn't sold out or been closed. I would love to come shoe shopping there sometime soon!

Yup. I think I have to buy the shoes and see where it leads me...

Anonymous said...

Hey--those are my banana docs! Wow, what memories all of these photos bring back. Yes, I am stuck in a practical mommy shoe rutt too. Definitely buy a pair of the cool shoes and wear them whenever you want to feel funky: Girls Day Out, Date with hubby, etc... Or be crazy and wear them to work one day or out shopping. They'd be great with jeans!

GO FOR IT :)

Anonymous said...

I just checked out the website for TUK Shoes. They have baby/kids shoes too...

NO, NO, never mind... this is all about you! :)

Nichia H. said...

Ok, did you see the kid shoes T.U.K. has? I think Tymbri and I need matching shoes, and those kitty ones were pretty damn cute.

Tonya said...

The mommyhood hole must swallow us all. My son is almost 2.5 and I too am trying to dig myself out of the hole! I've seriously started my job search and thus my return to the person I've been missing for so long.

Chelsea said...

Nichia, you should definitely get matching kitty shoes. And since she will keep outgrowing her shoes, I guess you'll have an excuse every 6 months to buy a new matching pair for yourself!

Chelsea said...

Tonya, I know exactly how you feel. I totally miss my old self. I have to look at old pics or talk to old friends to even remember who I was sometimes. Good luck with the job search-it will be great to have a different project to focus on!