About a year ago, Hannah, Jeremy and I arrived at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts for her first Parent Teacher conferences.
Parent Teacher conferences involve a great deal of waiting around. Waiting for the extroverted student volunteers to call our name from the sign up sheet. Waiting for other parents to finish talking to teachers. Waiting for teachers to read the riot act to underperforming students and their parents.
So we're sitting in the hallway waiting, and I started looking around at the other parents, especially the moms. Some of them were in business attire because they came directly from their business type jobs. Some moms were dressed in sweatpants and sweatshirts with the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts logo on them. These clothes are called Spirit Wear.
I was wearing stuff I'd describe as crisp-casual with an artistic flair. After the conferences I did buy some Spirit Wear for myself from the PTA. Of course, I also let Hannah choose some, too.
One mom in particular was sporting a sort of modified Joan Jett rocker look. Others looked distinctly theatrical or artsy. This is to be expected from parents whose children attend an arts intensive high school.
I felt like nothing there could really surprise me. Until I noticed one mom who was dressed perfectly normally except for the fact for the fact that she was wearing bedroom slippers.
Now, god only knows I like to dress for comfort. I'm a stickler for comfort. But I think there are limits. The least one can do is wear shoes when it is time to meet your child's teachers. You need to show them some respect. You need to show yourself some respect.
Less than a week later I was wearing the exact same footwear. I was wearing the shoes I formerly referred to as bedroom slippers everywhere and in public. Here is how it happened. Here is why it happened.
I started to see women younger than myself wearing the shoes formerly referred to as bedroom slippers on the subway, out to dinner, in hip independent coffee shops and at Trader Joe’s. The slow realization came that these might not actually be bedroom slippers. They might be actual shoes.
I discovered that these women looked casual-fashion forward if they happened to be wearing the shows formally known as bedroom slippers with cute, contemporary clothes that were not sweatpants. Wearing them with sweatpants makes you look like you just got out of bed. But wearing them with a skirt and nubby sweater tights looked very city chic meets après ski. Wearing them with dark skinny jeans with cool socks looked very updated preppy in a good way.
The tide really turned when I went to Payless. I am a person who does love clothes. I am a person who does love shoes. I am a person who does love accessories. I am a person who does not love spending a lot of money on these things. So I go to a lot of discount places. Most of what I see is crap or not my style. I'm looking for the diamond in the rough. I love it when I find this.
I was at Payless looking for some flats to go with a sheath dress I'd bought for an upcoming event.
I didn't like any of the flats. Some were too glitzy and tacky. The plainer ones looked very 1998 but in a bad way. But then I noticed the shoes formerly known as bedroom slippers not in the slipper section, but in with the shoes. I also looked at them in the window display. That is when I realized unequivocally that these were shoes. These shoes were called Cozy Mocs. That is short for Cozy Moccasins.
Just to be sure I double-checked with the salesgirl. These are shoes, right? Yes.
The next thing I know, I'm trying on some of the Cozy Mocs in my size. They had a fleecy material inside that did not spill to the outside of the shoe. My God. These shoes are like walking on air! I realized it was perfectly acceptable to wear a slipper-like shoe in public. I also realized that wearing a slipper like shoe in public might only be acceptable for a limited time. This cozy shoe style had a limited shelf life.
|These are the Cozy Mocs I purchased|
during the legendary trip to Payless.
In other words, I immediately bought myself some Cozy Mocs. I got a fetching and practical pair in black. They looked like a reinvented moccasin. I felt like the black on black sequins elevated them.
In addition to the black ones, I also purchased a pair inspired by camouflage but not slavishly so. In addition to the moccasin/slipper like design these had a little extra bling in the form of camouflage inspired sequins. I wanted something a little unexpected because I like to mix pattern on pattern in an ironic/textured/still tasteful way. Also, Payless was having a BOGO event.
I found the flats I wanted at Marshall's.
Just because I wear the Cozy Mocs in public does not mean I have thrown all caution to the wind. I've got rules.
I have a pair of sweatpants. They're navy blue and say Camp Sunshine on them. When we go to camp for the bereavement retreat there, we sometimes buy clothes from their gift shop, either as souvenirs or because we forgot to pack something. Clothes with the Camp Sunshine logo on them are called Camp Sunshine Duds.
I also bought a Frank Sinatra School of the Arts sweatshirt from the PTA. As I mentioned earlier, this is called Spirit Wear. I am not allowed to create an ensemble consisting of Spirit Wear, Camp Sunshine Duds and Cozy Mocs. This is out of the question.
I am not allowed to wear Cozy Mocs with clothes that even mildly evoke cowboys, the wild west, native Americans or Americana in general. I may not wear them with anything referencing a kimono. I will not wear them with a camisole peeking out from a button down shirt. I refuse to wear them with anything silky. If clothing reminds me of lounging or sleep, I cannot wear the Cozy Mocs.
Obviously, Cozy Mocs are not advisable footwear in the summer. They are also passé come spring. Consider them a two-season option.
All other times, I may wear my Cozy Mocs with abandon.
This is not my first experience with slipper type footwear. A few years back, I was not at all interested in fashion. Comfort was my only criteria. This was understandable. I had given birth to three children in four years. One of them had gone through cancer treatment, I was either pregnant, breast feeding or both. Don't flame me for combining these things. I was being followed closely by a top OB/GYN.
The first time I saw Uggs in a window display, I felt a sense of deep affinity. Winter boots and slippers in one seemed like an excellent idea to me. When I saw the price of these boots, I experienced some sticker shock. But soon enough, I had my solution because other companies started making knockoff Uggs at a much lower price point.
Every couple of years, I'd buy a new version of fake Uggs after the old ones sprang a leak. Of course, they felt good. I sort of negotiated with myself about how they looked. On a good day, I felt they looked vaguely Scandinavian. On a not so good day they looked like the damp, dirty footwear version of a Snuggy.
So I instituted a new personal policy. No more fake Uggs. I've stopped wearing them. My standards aren't sky high. But I do have them.
This post is part of a series about things I have changed my mind about. You can read my other writing on this theme here.