Conservative navy blue shoes – my mission was to find them on my lunch hour. I left my job and drove to the mall on a dismal, rainy afternoon on a quest for classic low-heeled pumps. In and out of stores I went, scanning the sale shelves and the new arrivals. Navy blue shoes, in my size and desired style, were not to be found.
I’ll admit it – I’m more than 50 years old, so I’m limited in what I may wear. Gone are my days of owning and wearing 3-inch stiletto heels in every color of the rainbow. Imelda Marcos had me outnumbered by only a dozen or so shoes. In the 1980s I thoroughly believed in the motto, “dress for success.” I still have two pairs of shoes from that period of time. Both were made in Italy, where the best genuine leather shoes are made. My mustard-colored Salvatore Ferragamo loafers, a gift from my mom, are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.
I also have four-color pumps (with red pointed toes, yellow trim around the ankles, blue sides and lime green heels) with 2-inch heels that are so unique, I still receive compliments when I wear them. My husband recently bought me bronze-colored SAS loafers, which I would normally equate with acknowledging my age (being orthopedic), but they make my feet look tiny and I adore them.
Back to my quest. I was about to admit defeat when a pair of shoes sang out to me – not “Blue Suede Shoes,” but “Lady in Red.” Bright, shiny red (faux patent-leather – they can’t all be Italian) sling-backed shoes with 1.5-inch heels and a bow on the front. There was the perfect combination of sweetness and sophistication calling my name. After trying them on, no further convincing was necessary; I had to have them. The clerk looked at my shoes and surprised me by asking if I would consider delaying my purchase for one week. I wanted to wear the shoes back to work and show them off. But she told me they were scheduled to be discounted another 25 percent. Style, comfort and a sale price – this was a triple enticement. Of course I could wait the week!
Red shoes are second only to a little red dress. Black or brown shoes are all-purpose. White shoes are for spring/summer and weddings. Blue shoes are for business (for women). But red shoes say, “positive outlook, bright future and invincible” to me. Consider Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She was told by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, that as long as she wore those “ruby slippers,” the Wicked Witch of the West could not harm her.
The June/July edition of AARP The Magazine offered women over 50 plenty of encouragement with an article written by Simon Doonan, creative ambassador for Barneys New York. In “Dress Your Age? No Way!” he states that, “Sophisticate style is about looking turned out and glamorous,” and “A Sophisticate … is unapologetically addicted to shoes.”
So now I’m wearing my newfound red shoes to church and work several times a week. When I come home from work, I walk through the back door and gently kick off my heels. I am greeted by my husband and throw my arms around his neck, kiss him three times and state, very seriously, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
As for my mission to find navy blue pumps, in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”