About 10 years ago, I had my first encounter with the mother of all fashionista shows, Sex and the City. The outfits, the “lady issues,” and the SHOES – my 20-year-old heart could barely take it! :) Indeed, I was several years late boarding the Carrie Bradshaw train due to the lack of cable at home and funds in my college-aged wallet. That being said, my interest in fashion had been around since, oh, age 1; and when I first laid eyes on those gorgeous silver d’Orsays from Season 6: Episode 9, my brain reset. I was completely smitten. Since then, I have been on a committed (but not exactly “die-hard”) quest to own those shiny lovelies. It has taken a while, but this year is the year that my grubby hands were finally able to get hold of these untouchable, unicorn-like shoes.
My personal style has evolved quite a bit since college. Though hoodies and chucks are still on regular rotation, I find myself reaching for staples like pencil skirts, fitted blazers, pumps and the occasional animal/skull-print accents for everyday wear. Though I would never put myself out there as being a completely fashion-obsessed person, I would say that my love of styling clothing and finding special pieces has grown significantly in the last few years thanks to the discovery of new style inspirations (Wendy Nguyen, Jean from ExtraPetite, Kate Middleton) and a re-discovered appreciation for classic icons (Audrey Hepburn & Jackie O).
I have many special pieces I know will stand the test of time (my first Louboutins from the Mr., my LV Speedy, my Burberry trench) and several more that I will always hold dear, even as they fade out of their on-trend status (my McQueen skull scarf, my lilac Balenciaga City bag). However, these SATC shoes, for me, transcend fashion and have become something else entirely. Without a doubt, these shoes are a symbol of accomplishment for me – they represent patience, hard work, dedication and an all-around drive to become someone stronger, smarter, happier, and whole. I know it may seem silly to put such an emphasis on an item so ephemeral. But to apologize for doing so would likely be doing myself a disservice given my efforts to obtain these.
The quest to have these shoes was not simply one of saving enough money to buy them. Money was not the issue as much as it was feeling as if I had earned the right to own them that was keeping me from just “picking them up” at the store. From the day I first set foot on the University of Michigan’s campus, I made a promise to myself that I would “never go back” to being the self-doubting, scared and angry little Asian girl I was in high school – a girl who, now, seems like a mere shadow if myself. I wanted to prove to myself, more than anyone, that I could be a Carrie Bradshaw of the real world – a stylish, confident, professional and driven person. A flawed person, of course, but still a person who accepts her flaws and learns from her mistakes – one who never stops believing that she can continue to grow and become a positive role model for others. I wanted others to know that I am someone who does not take anything for granted, and who is not above rolling up her sleeves and getting a little grit under her nails to get the job done.
Without meaning to sound arrogant, I believe I can look at myself today in the mirror and see, reflected back, a self-assured, confident, motivated and accomplished woman. I am a mother of a beautiful son, a wife of a wonderful man, a hard-working lawyer, a home-owner, and most importantly, a happy person. It seems fitting, and much like a touch of fate, that for my 30th birthday this year these shoes came back in stock, with only one pair remaining in the right color and size at the time I was ready to purchase them. It means a great deal that, after all this time, I was able to buy these shoes with my own money, for an occasion that marks the beginning of a new and exciting time in my life. Though I may never have a little daughter with whom I may be able to share this story (and if she’s lucky, the shoes themselves), I will at least be able to share my accomplishments with my son, hoping to set an example for him that he CAN be who ever he wants to be if he has the courage and will to fight for it.
By no means is my journey toward being a better person over. My 30th birthday marks only the beginning of a new era, with new goals and new challenges ahead. I know that it will never be easy walking in this woman’s shoes… but as Carrie once said, at least now that walk might be a little more fun. :)
Manolo Blahnik “Sedaraby” in Silver