*Warning: This blog post has no substance whatsoever.
Last year I ordered a pair of boots online, got them, tried them on, felt they went with nothing I owned, and returned them. This year, I ordered a pair of boots online — not because I liked just the sale price but because I liked the style and trusted the company for quality and comfort — and worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off. Not literally, as they had side zippers, but stylistically. Could I make boots look fashionable? That was the question. And another: Would I have to revamp my wardrobe to do so?
The best thing I did about boots was discuss them with a friend at work who wore boots. To be honest, I thought she looked rather like she had ridden to work on a Harley Davidson the first time I saw her wearing boots — in summer — with an ordinary dress. This is Florida, the land of flip flops and sandals in summertime — even at work. (Although I personally limit my wearing of flip flops to the shower at the health club.) Boots have made their way into the fall/winter culture here in the past few years, at least in my limited experience, but certainly not as a summer choice. (But, then again, when I grew up, my mother taught me the societal rules such as no white sandals after Labor Day. Style rules were unbreakable — even when it was warm in October.)
But as I got to know Kathy, I found that the boots fit her personality, and as we walked the stairs together for one of our micro workouts, I told her I had purchased boots but that I wasn’t sure what to wear them with. (Bad grammar, ending with a preposition. Perhaps “…but that I wasn’t sure with what I should wear them”? Awkward, like me in boots.)
“Anything!” Kathy told me. She then confessed her insecurity when first wearing boots. She said she wanted to pull off the Harley look but didn’t think she could. (Obviously, she succeeded.) She finally chose to wear the boots whenever and with whatever she wished and felt comfortable with her own style. She encouraged me to do the same. I sent her the link to the boots I’d ordered; she applauded my choice. I felt braver.
When the boots arrived, I tried them on — perfection — but didn’t try them on with any outfits. Instead, I planned an outfit, packed my boots in my gym bag, and made myself a captive of my wardrobe choice. I would have no alternative pair of shoes at the ready. I was committed to wearing the boots.
As I got dressed after my workout, I got several exclamations of “I love the outfit” along with “I love the boots!”
(I love getting ready for work at the health club. My locker room friends are like sisters to me, and when they critique my day’s wardrobe positively, I leave feeling I look good.)
Now confident, I admitted my previous lack thereof, and one of my friends shared that she’d put on boots with an outfit the other day and then chickened out and wore the shoes she’d tucked in her bag instead.
I went to work still confident but feeling a bit conspicuous, as if I’d gotten a dramatically different hair style or just gotten my braces removed. Surely, everyone would take notice of me in my new boots. And they did. And they gave me rave reviews.
But instead of becoming more aware of myself, I became more aware of others — specifically, more aware of the number of women wearing boots and the variety of outfits that looked good with boots. The huge variety of both types of boots and the outfits that coordinate well with them made me realize I could wear boots and kick off my own style — I could “kick boot” in fashion. (Hey, it makes for a cute blog title, anyway. 🙂 “Kicking boot and taking aim” — with a camera. Rather like “kicking butt and taking names.” Play on words, that kind of thing. Right?)
It also made me think I should write a blog post, this one, to go with that title, which meant I would need at least one photo. And when I saw one of my fellows doing no work — she was off the clock and said so — I asked her if she would mind going around the building and photographing women’s legs and their boots for my blog post. She didn’t blink an eye, but simply took my offered smartphone, shot the photos of the ladies, and then returned to take one of me before proudly showing me the gallery she’d collected. (Thank you, Meghan Waltimire, for the fabulous photos above. Kicking boot and taking aim… )
Unfortunately, my friend Kathy wasn’t wearing boots that day.
“Oh, man!” she exclaimed when she saw the photographs that had been taken. “It’s Boots Picture Day and I forgot to wear my boots!”