Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Reversion to the mean

After today's insanely early department meeting, I decided I owed myself a trip to DSW. I spent a long time looking for THE PERFECT pair of black pumps to replace my worn-out almost-perfect pair (and the two other not-at-all-close-to-perfect pairs I've been making do with). I bought these, which are exactly what I was looking for: sturdy, stylish, tall.

And then I spent even longer considering a pair of low-heel pumps, or maybe flats. . . but somehow, instead, wound up with what can only be described as "dress clogs" (Clarks brand, no photo available). Now, I'm not a clog-hater; there are plenty of groovy women in the academy--and in my native land, the Great Pacific Northwest--who can rock 'em. But it's fair to say that I never imagined a world in which I myself would own clogs.

But 37 appears to be the age at which I'm no longer able to hike all over town in heels, and I've recently started inserting cushions in the fore part of many shoes I wore comfortably for years. And suddenly, I understand the walking clog: tall enough to wear with long, boot-cut jeans, dressier than sneakers, and just the thing for a day of urban tourism.

Or maybe it's that academic womanhood has finally fully interpellated me: first cats, now clogs. What--I hesitate to ask--could be next?


Sisyphus said...

Those *almost* even work in the tan, and I hate the tan/nude pump trend! The burgundy is also lovely.

I am surprised by the clogs admission, though ... weren't you the one encouraging me to turn in my flip-flops and other flat shoes for cute little heels? I think I'd rather stick with the flat skimmer style than actually moving to clogginess!

Dr. Koshary said...

If I had to bet, I'd think the next step is developing a shock of white hair that sets off the rest of your hair's color. :)

Flavia said...


Age catches up with us all, I guess! But these are not shoes I'll be wearing to conferences or to teach in--not as long as I can hack heels. (For whatever reason, I've had bad luck in recent years with cute flats: multiple different pairs, from different brands, have looked and felt awesome in the store, and then turned out to cut painfully into my heel/achilles tendon.)

I suspect the real solution may be to invest in better-quality shoes: I bought a $325 pair (Stuart Weitzman) for my wedding, and liked them so much that I bought a slightly sturdier version of the same style, in a different color, on eBay for a third of the price. Those shoes still feel pretty fantastic at the end of a day of work.

But there are obvious problems with that strategy, namely my reluctance to pay more than $100 for a pair of shoes.

Anonymous said...

So cruel to post that link! I have just spent the last 20 minutes looking at shoes that I want!!

Love the pair you got! They are so cute!

Flavia said...

Dr. K:

Good call! Though given that I've no grey hairs yet (and my sixty-something mother, I believe, still doesn't have any), it may take a while. But I could work on making my hair big and frizzy and frazzled--and maybe add in some ethnic jewelry--while I wait.


I'm always here for you and your procrastination needs.

phd me said...

I have those in red, so naturally, I love the black ones, too!

And I hear you on the adoption of clogs. My clog moment came when I bought my first pair of Naturalizer flats. I swore I'd never wear a truly flat shoe because they make my feet look longer than swim flippers. Then I got older (the back surgeries probably didn't help).

Comrade Physioprof said...

What--I hesitate to ask--could be next?

Motherfucken DANSKOS!!!!!!!!!!! Thatte's what!!!!!!!!!

Lucky Jane said...

Oh, don't say it! I've got (mumble three mumble) years on you, Flavia, and I'm still ambling all over town in my purple suede heel with tiny rhinestone buckles—well, that's what I did yesterday. As a short person who freakishly experienced a recent growth spurt, I've gotten so comfortable in heels that I always feel like I'm falling backwards in flats like hiking shoes.

I too am seeking yet another pair of black pumps, when what I really need to do is find a better cobbler. Like you, I quite love my Stuart Weitzmans, so much so that almost all of them need new soles.

hd said...

I, too, have been committed clog-hater. Yet this summer, I found myself touring that section of nordstroms. Glad to know it's 37 and not motherhood that brought me to it.
solidarity, sister.

Miss Self-Important said...

Next up: potato sack blazers adorned with third world patterns, a frequent sign of female aging in the social sciences. If it's not too late to turn back, Clarks makes really comfortable stacked heels and wedges...

Flavia said...


See, I prefer to alternate between three-inch heels and sneakers (or apparently now, clogs). No compromise, just a self divided against itself.

Sensible said...

Linen. Flowy, kaftan-y, "neutral"- colored linen. With the ethnic earrings, it's the fate that awaits all academic women.

i said...

In case it makes you feel less old to hear this, I spent much of grad school (and, therefore, my 20's) in a pair of clogs. I also ranged over several cobblestone-covered bits of Europe in them. They were hideous, and wonderful.

I now wear heels more often, mainly to teach in, but still wear flats or a low heel (my favourite) when I can. The downside is that I could look sexier. The upshot is that my large and long-toed feet are still pretty straight and bunion free. That, along with a few other reasons, means no one will write articles like this about me.

(And just to go against everything I just wrote, I had to go to a wedding last weekend and bought a gorgeous tan and black pair of Spanish shoes, with quite a high heel, and killed my feet walking on medieval German cobblestone, and felt great. You can't wear flats forever. Also wore Weitzman to my wedding party, and they were gorgeous too.)

Dr. Koshary: Say what you will, I think the Sontag hair look is incredibly sexy.

Now, if anyone catches me either:

1. Wearing a felt hat;


2. With long hair down to my butt and wearing Celtic knot jewelery;

then it is time to take me out behind the barn and put a bullet in my head.

Dr. Koshary said...

Hey, I'm not knocking the Sontag look! Merely observing that it somehow feels a part of the total mise-en-scene of a mid-career academic woman.

The request for euthanasia has been duly noted, and rightly so. When that second kill-list look begins to make an appearance, it's time to reappraise things.

i said...

Dr. Koshary, I'm a medievalist. There is a real and serious danger. Last Kalamazoo, I actually found myself looking at Celtic knot jewelery, took a deep breath and started moving deliberately away.

Historiann said...

Love the shoez.

I've found that my B.O.C. (Born Concept) shoes strike the right note of cool and comfortable but also high heels. (I have an espadrille style & am eager to see what fall styles they have.) And I would never have been caught dead in a Born shoe otherwise.

Britta said...

Next up, "funky" glasses with purple and orange rims worn around your head on a glasses string?

My field is filled with frizzy haired academics with ethnic jewelry and clogs and linen kaftans, but there is an alternative for those at the top: dominatrix chic. If you're really successful, you can move to skintight purple leather pants with leopard print tube tops and chunky jewelry. To maintain a figure that can pull this off into your seventies, I recommend cocaine and a mild eating disorder.