I still remember the jacket … it was double-breasted, fitted and trimmed with black cord.
Pretty standard so far, but what made this jacket stand out was the material … it was made up of hundreds of small squares of colourful fabric. Think the hottest pink you can imagine, the boldest orange, the sassiest green and you get the idea.
I used to wear it with a black skirt and black heels … the jacket was the star.
What I also remember about this jacket was how my then boss at the time suggested I not wear it to work anymore.
“It’s too out there, Carol,” she scolded. “You stand out too much.”
This was about 25 years ago and I still remember the feeling of dismay that I should be judged for my fashion sense and that my favourite jacket in the world (at the time) was being criticised.
Fast forward about 10 years and I remember when another boss decided that all the fundraising team should be wearing navy uniforms. I was horrified. I had never worn a uniform before (or since!) and I felt quashed by the sameness and drabness of the synthetic ensemble.
This is when I started to wear flowers in my hair and on my lapel … anything to express myself and be an individual.
And don’t get me started on how hard it was to find size 12 navy shoes at that time either!!
All of these memories came flooding back when I posted on Instagram the other day how I now love wearing caftans teamed with boots.
I love wearing them because I like the look … but also because I can!
I know this look wouldn’t have been accepted in some of my other workplaces, so it’s particularly satisfying to be in my own shop wearing my gorgeous Shoe Garden shoes and whatever outfit I like. It’s liberating and it’s fun.
I see that same sense of liberation in my customers. For so long deprived of shoes that fit, the fact that they can now find shoes that fit AND, if they wish, can make a statement in … it’s exhilarating for them.
It’s why so many customers come in for black flats or sensible heels and leave with pink suede boots or colourful wedges!
Because they can. Now.
One of the most popular boots in the shop at the moment is covered in boldly coloured flowers. The boot itself is pretty conventional, just like my jacket was, but the floral leather is spectacular and is what sets it apart.
I reckon I’d still love my long lost jacket today, too. And boy would I have some amazing shoes to wear it with … perhaps even some boots!
Until next time
Carol & CCx