Confession: I Thought I Was Too Grown for Sneakers
When I was a kid, a teen and through my first two years of college, if I wasn’t at church or a formal function, I was wearing sneakers or tennis shoes– whatever you like to call them.
I lived in em. They were easy and comfortable. They were just, me.
Somewhere down the line during my matriculation at the prestigious and oh so fashion forward Howard University, where I watched girls teeter on 4-inch heels, with Louis Vuttion bags sitting in the crooks of their elbows, faces made up to perfection for 8 a.m. classes, their influence– no matter how vain I thought they were– was seeping into my psyche.
I slowly let go of my Old Navy baseball caps, sweatpants and my beloved athletic shoes.
I started to morph from the sporty tomboy of freshman year (to this day people know me as the chick with the baseball caps) to a young woman who wasn’t as extreme as the pseudo model co-eds, but was developing what I thought in my mind, a more mature look. To truly achieve this, to truly become my more feminine and mature self, it was clear, my all-purpose athletic shoes had to be the first to go.
It all was a gradual transformation. I left the sneakers for leather booties with a two inch heel, to go with form-fitting jeans and shirts to hug my curves. Eventually, I full out fell in love with heels, and wore them everywhere like the “pretty girls” I mocked. By the time I got into my latter 20s I realized, all I owned were heels.
I looked in my closet and I may have only had one pair of sensible flat shoes that didn’t hurt my feet. So, I turned my shoe obsession to kitten heels and cute flats and wedges. In my latter 20’s I still wanted to be cute, but I still needed to be able to walk, handle business and not take off my shoes at the end of the day and be mistaken for a ballet dancer from the ankles down (ankles up, I’m all about it).
When I joined the company softball team one spring, I realized the only pair of sneakers I owned were the faithful pair I wore in college, before my “metamorphosis to maturity.”
Even when I purchased a new pair for the team and to wear when working out, I never, ever wore them casually. It seemed young.
Since I recently bought a jazzy pair of Nikes for Zumba, and I decided one day to wear my Zumba shoes out with jeans, I had a revelation.
It was cute! And comfortable!
And I didn’t look crazy.
So, as I mentioned in a previous blog, there is a pair of casual Pastry brand sneakers I’ve been eying. I had to ask at least two friends if I’d be one of those pathetic women trying to pretend she’s a teenager when she’s well into her 40s, whose entire wardrobe consists of items from juniors departments, Forever 21 and Delia’s. I like Junior’s departments, Forever 21 and Delia’s, but these days, I purchase few and very specific items from those stores.
I was going to go ahead and buy the sneakers anyway, but this photo of one of my girl crushes and style mentors, actress Tracee Ellis Ross confirmed (so did a mail solicitation from the Scooter Store) for me that sneakers can be rocked right by grown women too outside of the gyms and running trails.
To all of the sneakers I passed up thinking I was too grown/good for you, I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry. I was wrong. Take me back, old friend. I didn’t realize how much I missed you.
As for the baseball caps… I never gave those up. I upgraded to a sprawling collection of Kangols that every man in my life, including my father, has tried to steal or trade.