Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sneakers and Coats

I got these in Vegas - hottest sneakers ever!
I was thinking today about how much time I used to spend shopping for sneakers and a winter coat each year when I was younger. My sneakers always had to be really bright and colorful and shiny and sparkly, which is hard once you get to a certain age. The styles of sneakers I liked the best only came in sizes for really young kids. At a certain age, everything that came in my size was white with colored stripes, sporty rather than sparkly. I went from store to store and would never settle for sneakers that didn't stand out from the crowd and show off my style. When I really couldn't find anything I liked, I added bright-colored shoelaces and hooked safety pins with beads onto the laces. Winter coat shopping  was the same way. When I was younger, I had a really shiny, sparkly blue coat. It was warm and toasty on the inside, but the material on the outside looked like it came from a princess dress. But at a certain point, they stopped selling pretty winter coats in my size and the only choices were plain solid colors with more of an athletic look.

It's been a long time since I've shopped for the perfect winter coat or sneakers like I did when I was younger. Aside from these awesome sneakers I found in Vegas (in the picture) back in 2008, I haven't been wearing shoes that flaunt my style. I have a classic black winter coat that's really warm and goes with everything, and I like it just fine even though I never wear black otherwise. I started wondering at what point I stopped caring so much about sneakers and coats. When did I get over the idea that these things had to flaunt my style so perfectly?

The answer to that is simple: I never "got over" these things because I grew up and matured and decided that it didn't matter. The reason I cared so much about sneakers and coats when I was younger was because I had to wear a uniform to school. We wore plaid jumpers or skirts four days a week with school shoes, which you could pick out yourself but they had to be black or navy blue. One day a week we wore our gym uniform with sneakers. Sneakers were the one part of our uniform that we could choose for ourselves with no regulations. And outdoor clothing like coats, hats, gloves, and boots were also entirely our choice. The reason it was so important for me to find the perfect sneakers and the perfect winter coat was that these were the only pieces of clothing I got to choose for school and my only opportunity to show off my style. My outdoor winter outfit of ski pants, boots, a winter coat, a hat, and gloves or mittens had to be bright-colored and make me stand out in the crowd because it was the only school outfit that I ever got to choose.

My first few years of high school, I still spent a lot of time hunting for the perfect shoes and the perfect coat, mostly out of habit, but once I got used to the fact that I could wear whatever I wanted, even jewelry and nail polish, shoes and coats just didn't matter as much. Not that I would get these things in colors I didn't like, but I was fine wearing plain, solid-colored shoes I liked without stripes or polka dots or sparkles.

People often talk about maturing, and that when you're older, certain things won't matter to you like they do now. But what I've found for the most part is that I don't really outgrow things. I only change because my situation has changed. Because honestly, if I were back in that school uniform situation again where the majority of my social life took place at that school, you can bet I'd out there right now searching every store for a hot pink glitter-covered winter coat.

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