When I first moved to the woods aka the Upper Connecticut River Valley, it was summer and I was pregnant. I liked the casual way everybody dressed. I threw on whatever I wanted and got on with my day. Eventually, my friends got tired of me wearing pajama pants, rainboots and the same long sleeve t-shirt day after day, but no one else noticed or cared. Plus I didn’t work, so it didn’t matter what I looked like. All I did was chase a 2-year-old and try to catch a nap.
When I was done having babies, or so I thought, right before I turned 30, I went into a women’s dep’t store, went to the makeup counter and asked for the works. I am a makeup, perfume and jewelry girl. I love it. I see something in a magazine and go try it on myself. I suffer from chronic insomnia and I swear I am held together by Maybelline and caffeine. Nude lips are my latest thing. I was rocking red lips for about 10 years too long, so it is about time.
Anyway, there I am at the counter, am planning an outfit for a dinner date with the hub and I remember that I need panty hose. They are having a sale because the store isn’t going to carry them anymore. What? How can you be getting rid of your entire hosiery department?
Well, the Upper Valley is so relaxed, no one wears them, especially with their clogs.
CLOGS? You mean like the things Holly Hobbie wore? What are we, in Holland? Auditioning for a Michael Flatley show? Who wears clogs over the age of 3?
But up here, clogs are not only everywhere, they are unisex. Now, a chef wearing clogs: I am ok with that. Docs, sure.I know that they are good support for feet. But women dressing up and throwing them on as the final touch smacked to me of just not making an effort. When I took a look at the clothing in the clog stores, I knew I was right.
Caftans, jumpers and shifts all tye-dyed but, on silk, so no one makes the connection. The place is reeking with patchouli and new age music is playing. All very relaxed, welcoming, affirming and expensive. It takes money to cultivate the natural, organic, third world look. This is for rich former hippies.
I am a blue collar first generation immigrant in a middle class black migrational woman’s body. I come from big hair, long nails, lots of perfume and a lot of mascara, baby. Chewing gum. Marisa Tomei’s character in My Cousin Vinny? I went to high school with her.
So, naturally, I swore I was nevah, evah gonnah weah clogs-it was like,… a thing with me-they looked ridiculous, they didn’t ‘go with everything’ like people said and I just wasnt doing it.
There were too many great shoe options to be a woman in comfortable shoes as my default. Sling back, open toes, wedges, ties ups, boots, calf length boots, knee-length boots, stilettos…
But, of course, I caved. My mother in law gave me a pair of clog slippers for Christmas one year which I secretly vowed to keep in the box for a year then give away to my own mother or to my sister who has long been into comfort over fashion.
After a while, though I got curious and tried them on just to see what all the fuss was about……I wore them around the house as shoes you leave in the mud room (another thing I learned about in the woods; we used to call it a hallway) to run to the car and doggone it, weren’t they comfortable.
SO…I broke down and went to a semi shi-shi-la-la store and tried some on. OMGGGGG-they were awesome. It felt so good wearing them, I could not get over it. I realized how much I had been torturing myself for the sake of looking cute.
Now that I was a mom, it was more about the scent and the above the neck appearance, anyway. SO, coming into a room with a well put together outfit and snappy clogs was just my new anti mom jeans thing. I did not wear jumpers, silk or otherwise, matching outfits as the kids, holiday vests( okay, okay, I did this once) or anything with teddy bears on them, so I didn’t feel that clog wearing was not a sell out. Danskos are my fav and since they are not cheap, I took to wearing them every single day-they are great for teachers who are on our feet all day-and they have great styles. LLBean has some fun one as well.
HOWEVER! I almost fell all the way into the cavern and would have been lost forever if not for the fact that I had a knee injury and had to have PT. This made me have to stop wearing clogs for months. I discovered that shoe makers have been busy making adorable stylin’ shoes for women who need comfort and want value. There are TONS of selections out there. I went retro first and donned Chuckies low tops for a summer and now also have some cute maryjanes and loafers. The choices are endless.
I have discovered Silpada’s jewlery line which does kinda scream “SCHOOLTEACHER!!”, but, hey, I like their stuff. I look cool and edgy, like a hip 50 year old, which I am not, but think how ready I will be by then?
Country life has changed me in many ways.
I now wear clogs, yes, but will never stoop to Birkenstocks.
There are days when I am dressed from head to toe in LLBean, yes, but still shop at New York and Company.
I know what wellies are and I have more than one pair and they have funky peace signs on them .
I have a lovely flower garden where I used to want nice, flat grass.
I have a kid who owns horse.
I was once enlisted to help catch a runaway cow which I did from my car by honking the horn at it as it ran past me.
Here’s how I will never change:
I still like big hoop earrings,
I don’t compost( eeeyyyuuuccck),
I never go near that stinkin’ horse but I can buy some adorable horse riding outfits,
and even though my mother in law once complimented me on my skinny wrists, I will
nevah evah, and this time I mean it, put my hand into an animals’ body to assist in a