Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes…


Look at these beauts. To me, they are stunning. They’re bright, they’re bold, they could make a cream sweater and dark jean ensemble pop. They’re also something I would never have dreamed of buying a year ago. 

One of the more strange things that has occurred this year, through my process of grieving and reinvention, was a profound need to purge my closet. When I finally started to emerge from the fog of the last five years, one of the first things I noticed was how little my wardrobe felt representative of me. Half the clothes were too big, and what wasn’t too big, said absolutely nothing about who I am. Yes, yes, go ahead and judge, but I have always loved clothes. Before kids, I’d go shop for a new outfit at least once a week (having a mall attached to the building I worked in might have helped…). I loved to wear bright colors, interesting patterns, cuts that emphasized my greatest…assets (ha!). Of course, once you have kids, your life isn’t exactly your own anymore, my own wardrobe slipped while my kids’ closets thrived. Then…life. Of course, it no longer seemed even a little bit important that I look nice. I mean, what did it matter? Jeans and cardigans were my staples. On a few occasions I remember buying an outfit or two that were “me” when things were on the up and up, but overall, “bland” would be the word I would use to describe them. Not to mention, the items I might have liked, all seemed to have some form of memory attached to them…bad days, long days, sad days, awful days. I just couldn’t even stand to look at half of it, anymore.

So I started ordering some things. At first I shopped like a wild woman, anything to get new clothes in, and old clothes OUT. After a few weeks I realized I still wasn’t exactly building the wardrobe of my dreams, but just continuing the cycle of “blandness.” So I started to take my time, be more selective. Did it fit just right? Did I like what it said about me? Was the color complimentary? It was a slow process. I decided that I hated a LOT of what was out there, and it didn’t take me long to realize that the most popular styles weren’t exactly meant to go on women five feet tall with athletic builds. By the time I figured out what brands fit me best, and what styles were just “out” forever (sorry leggings fans, my long torso, and short/muscly legs and thighs don’t mesh with the look), I finally figured out how to dress myself. I also accepted that not all the styles I love to see on other people will ever work on me. 

That’s not to say I was super confident in my “dress myself” intuitiveness, but one day, I was putting the same pair of booties on, then taking them off, then on, then off, and texted about five girlfriends asking if I looked crazy. One very fashion forward friend said, “People think half of what I wear is out there…just own it, just do you.” It hit. She was TOTALLY right. It didn’t really matter if the guy at Harris Teeter didn’t quite “get” my ensemble. Didn’t matter if the girls passing me at the restaurant think my cropped sweater and tank getup is a little “different.”  Isn’t that the BEST thing about fashion? Getting to make whatever statement you want? 

So while lots of people in my little town in North Carolina will probably see me coming in my bright blue suede heels and think “Really? Here??” I’ll own them. Because I LOVE what they say…bright, bold, confident…”me.” 

Megan Courtney