First date shoes

I have a photographic memory when it comes to recalling exactly what I wore on almost any occasion. It’s one of those useless skills, like remembering the lyrics to a song I haven’t heard in 30 years. I always wished I had this powerful memory when taking tests back in school, but I guess I was never as passionate about Shakespeare as I was about shoes and The Stranglers. I share this test-taking curse with Jslow.

Think about it. Every day, we pick out what were are going to wear based on so many factors: the weather, where we’re going, who we’re going with and who will be there when we arrive, what we will be doing, why we’re doing it, what our body looks and feels like that day, and how we feel.

That’s a lot of decisions to make, and on every piece of our outfit to deliver.

First school dance? Red, white and blue floral Gunne Sax dress. Outfit failed to deliver, as I only got asked to dance once by the son of a parents friend.

First driver’s license test? White sundress, red rickrack tied in hair. Outfit delivered, as I passed, barely, with a 75.

First trip on an airplane? Dittos and Famolares. Outfit delivered, as that ride was the precursor to an incredibly fun pre-college trip to Hawaii.

Two years ago today (Sunday, as I write this) I went on my first date with my now husband. Since I had been married before, I hadn’t been on a date in 16 years. To make matters worse, I wasn’t drinking, meaning the nerve calming cocktails of yore were off the table, literally. I was excited and terrified.

What should I wear?

Since he had only seen me in gym clothes, I wanted to look sexy but not slutty. Like a girl but not girly. Stylish but not too styled. And although I was trying super hard, I didn’t want to look like I was trying too hard. Which is really, really hard.

When putting together outfits, sometimes I start with the shoes and work up from there. Or maybe I start at the top with the top, then pants, then shoes. This time, I started in the middle.  I knew I would go “jeans”, because I love them and they are most “me.” They would also advertise the fact that I do have a figure that had been hiding under baggy sweats. I chose my favorite R-13s and put them through 5 dryer cycles to render them as tight as possible. I was so afraid of bagging them out that I barely moved during my transit to dinner. I wore my push-up bra under a navy Loomstate v-neck T to suggest the cleavage of my dreams, but only if leaned over just so, and grounded the look with a pair of Isabel Marant ankle boots with a hint of heel for height.

I guess it worked, as he proposed after our one-year first date anniversary. That time, I was dressed for the occasion: Diane Von Furstenberg chevron-print wrap dress (my very-first online purchase 15+ years ago on BlueFly) and gold Surface 2 Air buckle wedge sandals.

In my closet now hangs “The Engagement Dress,” “First Date Jeans” and “First Date top” over the “Wedding Shoes,” Engagement Shoes” and the shoes that started it all, “The First Date Shoes.”

Fashion and clothes have so much meaning and are integral to everything we do in life. They cover us when we are cold, hide us when we are afraid, prop us up when we need the confidence, and make us shine when we want the light. When I wear those jeans I am filled with love and nostalgia and smiles. And when all else fails and I need a sure thing, I go for the First Date Shoes. Because they delivered.

Isabel Marant “First date shoes.”

Surface 2 Air “Engagement Shoes.”

Bruno Frisoni “Wedding Shoes.”


Diane Von Furstenberg chevron print “Engagement Dress.”






6 Responses

      Paula Mangin

      I had them in every color. My favorites were a denim pair with needle-point rainbow stripes that crawled up one leg, over the belly, around to the butt, and down the other leg. 😉


    Oh my, you brought back some memories. The Hawaii trip. It delivered for both of us! A very fun week, indeed. Dittos, a solution to those of us built like a ruler. I loved my blue tie-dyed pair. I’m sure I looked amazing! That was why we had all those hot guys crawling all over us, as you described at that first dance. How could those boys not go for the Gunne Sac dresses. They just oozed Little House on the Prairie! Oh my, times do go fast. I don’t remember the things I wore like you do, but I bet my daughter does.

      Paula Mangin

      One of my biggest regrets is tossing my old Hawaii trip diary. That whole trip was epic. I have photos I’ll have to show you. Yes, Gunne Sax was key to delivering curves. Did you save any of your old clothes? Jen would have a field day. xoxo

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