When I was a little girl, there were few things I enjoyed more than the clippty-clop of my mother's black patent leather peep toe pumps on the linoleum floor. I would put them on (along with my Strawberry Shortcake outfit, naturally) and prance around the kitchen pretending to be a lady. Accompanying my shoes might be a large vintage leather handbag that was undoubtedly picked up at the thrift store, or a string of plastic beads that I treasured like gems.
I would spend day after day adorned in such garb, playing make-believe with my sister on cold winter days. We were exotic ladies, or princesses, or abandoned orphans who had stumbled upon hidden fortune.
And yet somewhere between those dress-up days and my adulthood, I lost those girlish ways. I started playing sports and wearing denim and focusing on my studies and my more "modern" and "practical" hobbies.
And then at some point coinciding with my coming of age, dress-up became an exercise in being sexy and seductive rather than being a lady. On a cultural level, "princess" morphed into "kitten" or "temptress" or "diva." And although I was never too comfy in skimpy attire, the message was quite clear: dressing up is primarily for luring the opposite sex--a necessity of modern courtship.
And thus it stood to reason that once the man is caught, there is no more need for dressing up at all. Women, after all, don't browse the grocery aisles in dresses and pearls and heels anymore. We have long since thrown off the burden of those expectations, replacing them with the carefree convenience of fleece and clogs. Apart from the occasional dinner party, our "dress up" clothes are resigned to the back of the closet behind stacks of weekend casual wear and business professional attire.
But truth be told, I miss those dress up days. There was something magical about my mother's patent leather heels, and the way my plastic beads caught the light. I felt...special...wearing them. Unburdened by the constraints of practicality and the pressure of seduction, I was free to just be girly. And it was fun.
And so it is probably fair to say that I am shamelessly trying to recapture a bit of that innocence with my current pursuit of ladyness. And if wearing peep toe pumps just to hear their sound on the kitchen floor can make me feel special, well count me in. I could use a little more dress up in my life.
Glossary of shoes, all from Etsy sellers:
1. taupe silk heel hand painted by the painted sole
2. Giuseppe Zanotti tortoise heel by modern antoinette
3. pink shoes for supergirls by ringla shoes
4. circus b’zerkus handmade platform pumps by zerkahloostrah handmade shoes
5. rainy day doodles hand painted heels by crafttastrophe