It was all about the shoes.
I love shoes. I always have. It dates back to my Catholic School girl days when our uniforms dictated that we wear oxfords. Now there are oxfords and there are oxfords. My Dad, who was one of the best dads in the world somehow got the last say on our school shoe purchases and he had a flair for choosing for me the ugliest oxfords known to man. Black and white saddle oxford shoes were not one of our choices. St. Margaret Mary’s required the simpler even uglier possibilities. (Maybe this was considered penance.) The one pair of oxfords we purchased in September were to last us the entire school year so he picked the ones “built to last”. To ensure against growth spurts we also bought them a half size bigger so make no mistake these shoes were BIG, BROWN and UGLY. Being a former Navy sailor, Dad polished our school shoes every night and left them lined up against the dining room wall ready for us to clunk out the door. Heaven forbid those oxfords could look any uglier but I was always grateful that each morning they looked like new.
So I’ve grown up admiring shoe designers creativity yet with my oxford upbringing I’ve always tended to opt for practicality. I don’t own hundreds of pairs but I always take notice of shoes. I’ve heard fashion pros advise that one’s s shoes reveal much about one’s personality. Shoes mirror who you are.
Flash forward to my daughter’s junior prom. Parents and teens gather at friends house for the traditional pre-prom photos. It is their red carpet moment before the Oscars.
The girls enter one by one in dazzling short length cocktail dresses. (I’m advised that floored length gowns are more suitable for senior prom.) Some of the dresses costing more than my first car. Overall the looks were classy, elegant and gorgeous.
Special kudos to one girl who made her own prom dress and it easily passed as high end designer garb.
Hair and makeup, for the most part, were all professionally done. What happened to girls gathering at one house and doing each other’s hair and makeup?
But the night belonged to the shoes. It wasn’t about unsteadily tottering in stilettos. Instead they were high heel shoes combined with innovation design. And they weren’t all high heels as, especially at this age, some teen girls can overshadow the boys in height.
Those that chose to wear sandals wore sandals with a statement.
I was proud of the girls.
As we left the picture taking session the girls, escorted by their handsome dates, began the stroll to their cars. Along the way pain begins to set in. A couple of the girls walked with shoes in hand saving their feet for the entrance into the prom hall. (Yes, they’re walking in bare feet wearing $300 dresses.) The girls are quickly learning the woman’s mantra of “pain before beauty”. You learn to pick your moments. Moments such as grand entrances. I’m sure that even Oscar nominated actresses sit most of the evening with their shoes kicked off under their evening gowns.
Prom night isn’t just about the dress or even the date. It’s about the entire ensemble.
I’m sure my dad was watching down on his granddaughter and he was proud. Even I don’t think he would have wanted her wearing stiletto oxfords.