I’ve never been a fashion plate. I’m more likely to select clothing for reasons of comfort, ease, or even nostalgia, instead of for any kind of conscious image-crafting.
I’ll wear an old concert T-shirt, from The Cure, maybe, because it reminds me of a great show from years past. Or, I might wear one from the Queen show I attended more recently. I’ll lace up a pair of Converse All-Stars because they remind me of younger years. I might even wear them with cheesy little socks decorated with colorful graphics of old cassette tapes.
While I’m at it, I’ll pair all this madness with a good-old roomy, comfy set of momjeans (who am I fooling? I’m an overweight mom. Old Navy will do just fine).
I never care what people think of my often-dubious style; I only care about how it makes me feel.
As an author and journalist, I write for a living. This means when I’m not traipsing around attending events and interviewing people, I’m lounging beached-whale style on the sofa, writing (And no, I won’t work from my cold office chair when there’s a perfectly good sofa just a few feet away!).
All the while, my favorite clothing item — which is, in fact, the ugliest thing I own — is always there, imparting the power of comfort.
My slippers are so dang ugly, my dogs haven’t even tried to chew them yet.
They’re black. Fuzzy. Covered in lint. Oversized. Dreary. Domestic. Unsightly. But as my favorite “power” item, these slippers make me feel relaxed and creative, which gives these homely things a certain whiff of magic.
Plus, on the days when I’ve got that Cure T-shirt on, they actually somehow match the spirit of the day’s outfit. I have a sneaking suspicion the clunky-booted, teased-haired Robert Smith would approve.
These might not offer the magic of Cinderella’s tiny slipper, so small it could fit a Geisha. No…these nine-and-a-halfs look as if an old man could wear them. These clunkers are more like the embarrassing stepsisters, hideous, dubious-smelling things that only a mother could love.
In a way, though, they might be kinda-sorta like Dorothy’s ruby red slippers. Just as three clicks of her sparkly Mary Janes took her to places fantastical, the comfort of these suckers transports me — in mind, at least — to other places. I’m able to relax in my momjeans, prop my feet up on the coffee table, and put together an article, or news story, or even a book, that might bring the reader along for a ride to another place. To an Oz, perhaps, if I’m lucky and having a really, really good day.
Relaxation often begins with our feet, and with that relaxation can come a freeing of the mind; there’s a certain power hiding behind the fuzzy, dark, raggedy, cheap facade.
So, I’m not fooled.
Although spiky-heeled Louboutin pumps might give me a svelte long line, added height (heck, I need that!), and great looking calves, a pair of those beauties can’t bring me to a place of zen creativity.
Although a pair of killer Rodeo Drive-bought Miu Miu ankle boots might impress my friends, they won’t cushion and cradle that one distracting sore toe that needs soothing while I work.
Although a pair of strappy Jimmy Choo heels would make me feel like a princess, it’s really the ugly stepsister slippers that take me to the calming productivity ball.
Even as the clock strikes midnight, I always feel right at home.
Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the essay collection for women in midlife, “Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women, and Careening into Middle Age.” She has read her work on NPR radio and it has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers and literary journals, including The Writer, Funny Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and many parenting magazines. Find out more at KaraMartinezBachman.com or follow her on Twitter, @80sMomKara.