I’ve always loved shoes, don’t know why or how that came about, but shoes are important to me, as a matter of style.
My father wore shiny black oxfords, waiter shoes; I used to think of them as, even though he was a cook. In my dad’s day style was more important than comfort. My mom always wore slippers at home, I guess they were called “carpet slippers” or something, but comfortable for cooking, cleaning, and wrangling four sullen kids around town.
But for church on Sundays she always had on her classic black spike-heeled pumps.
We kids wore sneakers, but we all had our Sunday church shoes, hard, shiny, unforgiving shoes you couldn’t wait to get home and take off. We also had galoshes for the rain and snow. None of us liked galoshes for any reason at all.
One of my first after school jobs was as a shoe salesman at Bloom’s Shoe Gallery on 6th Ave. in the Village. I went on to sell shoes at Olaf Daughters of Sweden (also on 6th Ave.) for a while, and ended my shoe dog career at a place called Yorke Fashion Comfort Center which started out in Forrest Hills and ended up on East 55th Street, looking for the “Carriage Trade.”
If this didn’t influence my shoe-fetishism it at least gave me access to a lot of shoes. I even learned how to fix shoes at Yorke.
One of my regular readers (you can become one too, and get a mention!) Linda Lea Billings made a comment on one of my recent posts, which included a picture of a pair of my boots featured in another post. I really like those boots, John Varvatos side-strap ankle boots. Linda said: “After all, you are the president of the NYC cool shoe club.” See, Linda likes shoes too, and always notices what I wear.
As a kid, Chuck Taylor cons were the rage in the projects, but my mother said we were poor and couldn’t afford them, and we wore Chuck Taylor knock-offs. I would go to school and suffer to the taunts of kids pointing to my “immos”, short for imitations.
My John Varvatos low-top cons.
As a teenager, shoes called “Playboys” came into style; they were pebbled leather with a monk strap and a gummed-rubber sole. I wore these proudly (bought with my own money) and dyed them powder blue when I became a hippie and started listening to Rock and roll music. I also had a pair of work boots I spray-painted silver. In college I had a pair of perforated white Olaf Daughters clogs, just like the ones Alvin Lee of Ten Years After wore in Woodstock.
We are on vacation, the lovely Danusia and I, in Mattituck, Long Island. There was a lot of discussion on what to bring, mostly on her part- I already knew what I was going to bring. I brought two flip-flops, de rigueur for tooling around the island, and two John Varvatos Cons; my white-low tops with the side zippers, and my old Varvatos Bosey boots (no picture, sorry. Too cold to go out to the car), in case we encounter any mud, or rain. They remind me of my jungle boots from my army days.
Danusia brought her “nice” flip-flops, a pair of white Sanuks I bought for her in California last year, and her Dr. Scholl’s Dance Clogs, which I got her for her birthday in June. I bought her these as a replacement for her Dansko clogs, an unattractive shoe if there ever was one.
Danusia’s dance clogs.
Speaking of unattractive, a popular style here on the Island and in the city are Crocs, (our wonderful host Albert owns a pair) a date killer if there ever was one.
The dreaded Croc.
Someone posted on facebook a while back one of those poster things that listed pictures of birth control devices for women; there was a picture of a diaphragm, condoms, birth-control pills, and lastly, a picture of a pair of Crocs.
The flip-flops I brought along were my neon-green Havaianas, for town; of course, and my comfortable black Sanuks, for the beach.
I bought my first pair of Sanuks 13 years ago, when I was going through a really crazed period in my life; those had suede straps that stretched out until I couldn’t keep them on my feet any longer. This was a good thing because the straps had a really loud tiger-stripe pattern on them and drew a lot of comments (and stares), something I can do without now days. The green neon is going to have to do for craziness.