Yesterday, I was in my walk-in closet trying to imagine its future.
I’ve never had a closet this big before, but even so, it’s already full.
So I closed my eyes, took a big breath, and sent up a prayer to the god of things and said namaste to my high heels – time for you to retire to the back room.
What else is in the back room?
My coats, fur boots, gala gowns.
And now, my high heels.
My closet is big but not giant, and I like that. It forces me to really think about how much I need, what I actually wear, what makes me happy, and what I get attached to even when I don’t really need it anymore.
My closet is my therapist, actually. And yesterday, I had a big moment of personal discovery.
I don’t need my high heels anymore.
Or rather, I don’t need to have (hold on, I’ll be right back, I have to count) twenty-five pairs of heels staring at me with their pointy tips every morning. In my new life, I know when I’ll need to wear heels. It’s at very specific times, think about it. A party, a trip, an important meeting. A dinner with my fiancé, a nice restaurant with girlfriends. A photo shoot.
And they were all piled together with no breathing room while my high heels were very well organized on the upper shelves like a micro-army ready for combat, looking with an arrogant superiority at my other shoes.
While, actually… Poor heels. They’re more like an army in retreat, still stuck on their former splendor, but well aware it’s been months since they’ve been called to duty.
It was almost getting painful to have to look at them every day. Of course I love them, my Manolos in every color, my rhinestone Miu Mius, my timeless Gianvitos. But they also take me back a few years, to when I was…
Another version of myself, maybe.
I had thrown myself into heels passionately. I liked how tall they made me, I liked how they could transform any outfit, from boyfriend jeans to a gorgeous dress, into a statement. I liked feeling like an urban warrior, kneeling down in my stilettos to take a photo. I liked that they were my fashion week kit, like a fashion toolbox.
Most of all, I liked the femininity of them. After a few years of wearing strange heels of every bizarre shape (remember the Prada chandelier heels? That was definitely another time) that happened to be in style at the time, I had a moment of clarity (“The emperor has no clothes!!!” = “These heels are ridiculous!!!”) and decided to stick with classic, timeless styles that still make me happy when I wear them today.
Pumps with a well cut pair of jeans, and you’ve got everyone melting. That’s still my number one piece of advice when my friends call me in desperation: “What am I supposed to wear for this first date??” “Jeans and heels.” There’s nothing simpler or more feminine and nothing else can give you that look of soft confidence.
If you know how to walk in heels, of course, that’s the most important, crucial, vital part. What people see (particularly that person you’re hoping to charm (ok, knock out) on the first date) isn’t your shoes. It’s your self-assured gliding walk. It’s your long legs and your butt, miraculously rounded by the heels. High heels are a whole attitude.
I threw myself into high heels passionately, and they reflected who I was. A girl who wanted to become a woman. Who wanted to belong to a certain world. Who wanted, excuse the cheesy expression, to go onward and upward.
But fashion changed, us along with it, and I started to breathe. My heels still proudly lined up in my closet slowly started to gather dust. My spring closet cleaning saw me able to say goodbye to pairs of heels that had accompanied me in big moments in life, but that now looked like an old, yellowed photo album.
My first Zara heels that were consecrated when Carine Roitfeld said: “I love those shoes!!!”
My first Prada heels I was given right after the show, that got photographed like crazy by street style photographers. They were prototypes and horrible to walk in, but they carried that feeling of pride I had for being part of that world.
My everyday Chloé heels that made me feel invincible at so many fashion weeks (and god, how I needed that, I felt so vulnerable…)
My first Manolos, from when I finally understood my personal style. I still have those.
And yesterday, just like that, I decided my priorities had changed. I decided I was ready to let go of the person I used to be. That what I’d been seeking all these years, going through so many highs (haha) and lows – the idea of calming down, finding myself, living a life that fit who I was – I’d finally gotten there.
I didn’t need to pretend anymore, keeping them close by “just in case.” And admitting I no longer needed “armor” didn’t mean I had given up my ambitions or what I believe in or who I am – it just meant it was time to do things differently.
So my heels can go in the back room, waiting patiently for the occasions when I have the immense joy to get them out. Besides, when I buy a new pair, I have a tradition of leaving them on my desk to be admired for a few weeks.
That way, I can give my everyday friends a real life – my sandals, ballerina flats, slippers, sneakers, my real life shoes. I can let them breathe and give them their own space in my
brain closet. I can honor them, and show them they are precious and loved.
Just like my other new everyday friends. My light blouses, evening jackets, and day dresses.
And when the time is right, all I have to do is slide open a door to find all my high heels, my precious allies. Our clothing says so much about us, and that’s why I will always love fashion.
We’re always the same, even when we become someone else, don’t you think?
Translated by Andrea Perdue