Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Love for fashion started at an early age

I was digging through my closet while I was home for Thanksgiving break and stumbled upon a small red suitcase filled with my very first writing samples.

Among the viola sheet music, a Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster and diaries covered in ballet shoes and Beatrix Potter characters, were two pieces of loose-leaf paper covered in my oversized, elementary-school handwriting.

What did the 8-year-old Sam have to say back then, you ask? Well, turns out my affinity for accessories started early.

The work was actually a short story: A king in India gets annoyed that after he takes a bath in the river, he steps onto the sand and his feet get dirty. So he gives his faithful servant, Gabu, three days to solve the problem or else he will be beheaded. Poor Gabu tries to sweep and wash all the sand away, but with no luck. He decides to cover the entire country with a big piece of leather, but someone complains that the flowers and grass can’t grow.

“‘So what am I supposed to do?’ asked the king. An old man took out some scissors and some leather straps. He cut around the king’s feet and then tied leather straps from the pieces under his feet to his ankles. ‘How do you like them?’ the old man asks. ‘I love them!’ the king says. Yes, the king was wearing the first pair of shoes.”

Not exactly the most stunning closing line, but the moral of the story is that in my elementary-school glory I realized shoes were pretty great.

Other than a marginal improvement in my grasp of punctuation, not a whole lot has changed since then.

My roommate and I were in New York a few weeks ago, and as we walked around the Upper East Side, we had a lengthy discussion about the transformative quality of shoes. Few other articles of fashion possess an equal ability to step-up your outfit. You can wear a Hanes T-shirt and jeans, but if you’re wearing a really fantastic pair of boots, it’ll look like you’re completely in the fashion know.

This is why I’m morally opposed to flip-flops and those icky brown clogs. They don’t do anything for any outfit you could possibly hope to pull off. I’ve seen many outfits ruined by the wrong footwear. I cringe when I see girls running around in otherwise great ensembles only to look down at their feet and spy a pair of decrepit shoes that look like they were shipped straight from the Ugly”R”Us catalog from two seasons ago.

Let’s not even get started on Crocs and those MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) sneakers that are supposed to improve your posture. You should know by now that these are simply unacceptable.

Also, wearing flip-flops to a formal is a mortal sin. This is not up for debate, OK? If you can’t stand spending the night in stilettos, get a dressy pair of flats.

Fashion novices, take note. You can fool everyone into thinking you know exactly what you’re doing if you get just one pair of nice shoes. I know — shoes are expensive. Which is why December is the perfect time to fill your footwear void if needed.

While the holidays are supposed to be about giving, I find there’s not better time of year to be completely self-indulgent. Take this opportunity to get exactly what you want. Now is the perfect time to ask for that Hermes leather bag you’ve been eying or a pair of Christian Louboutin heels.

Just kidding.

I’m all about charity and community service, especially in December. However, if you are writing a list for Santa, I encourage you to request a nice pair of boots or flats. By investing a little more in your footwear, you can get away with scrimping on the rest of your clothes. A $10 shirt and a $30 pair of jeans will look like a million bucks if you pair them with a great pair of shoes.
(Click my scribbles to enlarge)

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