I overheard a couple of women today discussing the fall weather and fashion, specifically, their love of boots. One was wearing a pair of black suede boots with spiky heels, and the other was admiring them.
Now I liked the boots too, and was also quite enjoying my clandestine eavesdropping until one said:
My grandma always said “Don’t get caught wearing open-toed shoes in the fall. You just don’t do it…”
Now maybe it was my imagination, but I felt a quick glance at my favorite pair of navy blue open-toed shoes. I had a brief moment of shame. Had I committed a fashion faux pas? Should I sit on my feet to hide them? Do I give them…the look? Would I be in an upcoming edition of Glamour with a black rectangle over my face with the words that say “Don’t” across the image? In 78-degree weather, is there something wrong with the fact that I’m going to let my toes breathe for as long as I can stand it?
So I got a little defensive and stomped away in my shoes o’ shame, all the while wondering who writes these fashion rules we’re supposed to abide by unquestioningly. Who says my purse must match my shoes which must match my belt? Who says my fingernails must be painted the same color as my erroneously on-display toes? That the bra must match the panties? And my least favorite…that we can’t wear white in winter?
For the record, I’ve always faithfully abided by the “don’t wear white after Labor Day” rule. On the Friday before Labor Day, I was decked out like I was going to one of P. Diddy’s white parties. And then I stored it all away like a good Southern girl was always told to do.
The rule stood as I was bringing up my girls too. When one was 3, she had an absolute temper tantrum one wintry Sunday morning over why she couldn’t wear her white shoes with her Christmas dress. I relented (of course) and she wore them. I will always be grateful to the fellow churchgoer who informed me that day that the rule only applies to ages 4 and above. I breathed a sigh of relief as my mothering was still intact. I pondered over who made up THAT rule for about a minute, then quickly decided it was a mother of a very dramatic toddler, much like myself.
So this mere bit of eavesdropping, coupled with the leniency of motherhood, has provided me with a moment of clarity. I will no longer feel inadequate when my purse is grey and my shoes are black. I will no longer be concerned that my nails are french-manicured and my toes are pumpkin orange. I will cast aside all doubt when my hair shows blonde “highlights” during the holidays when everyone else is going dark brown or bronze. I may even pull those white pants out of storage and pair them with my bulkiest winter sweater. And as long as my toes aren’t in danger of frostbite, I will continue to wear my open-toed shoes with it all.