Sunday, May 2, 2010

my life in shoes...

I couldn't write yesterday... I sat in front of the screen. My page and my mind were blank. All I could think about were the little espadrilles I wore every summer. My mother purchased them by the dozens in a rainbow of colors. They were inexpensive and comfortable, and of course very stylish. This triggered a little trip down memory shoe lane. I recalled the T-strapped sandals and the rubber toed Keds of my childhood and the sneakers and clogs and first grown up shoes, a pair of brown Joan and Davids I wore to a friend's Bat Mitzvah.

It's funny which shoes I could recall. I am sure there are many more that have escaped me. I am sure I would gasp in horror at some of them. Like everyone else, I too had succumbed to the Fashion Faux Pas that was the 1980s. The shoes I have posted here influenced my feet, somehow, during my youth.

I remember my T-strap shoes fondly. I had these in all three colors. I wore red ones year round. The blue ones were my school shoes and the white I wore in the summertime. Never with socks. I also had little white sandals but I couldn't find a picture. They were simple and white and leather and not all doctored up and junked up like most of today's sandals are.

Mary Janes were my party shoes until I outgrew them. I was never without a pair of black ones. Sometimes I had white ones that I wore with little white dresses in the summer time. The white ones were never worn with socks!

As mentioned earlier, I had espadrilles in every color imaginable. Some were like the top model and some tied around my ankle. I loved the ones that tied.These espadrilles will always remind me of my summers in France.

I also had a pair of Docksiders. Mom liked to dress me as a preppy tomboy when I wasn't wearing a pretty dress, ribbons in my hair and sandals. I wore my Docksiders with jeans. Levis of course. Mom had to search high and low for them every time. But she was determined. The older I got the easier it was to find them. Eventually my Levis and Docksiders would come with me to my summer camp in the Adirondacks.

As I entered my preteen years the Docksiders no longer interested me. I started to have a say in what I wanted my feet to wear. My feet wold soon resemble the feet of all my friends.

My little sandals and white T straps soon would become a piece of my personal history. These Dr. Scholl's sandals were all the rage as I entered those pre-pubescent years. All the girls wore them in the summertime. We wore them on the concrete streets of Manhattan and we wore them in the Adirondack mountains. They were said to be exercise sandals. They were supposed to be good for our legs, our calf muscles specifically. Like my T-strap sandals of my childhood I had these in white, red and denim. They looked especially nice with our denim cut off shorts (we all had nice legs as kids) and T-shirts. I still recall running in them and my foot accidentally sliding out, the middle of my arch landing squarely on the hard wooden heel. Ouch!

Dr. Scholl's sandals are not practical year round. My love for them paved way for my I HAVE TO HAVE Mia clogs. Oh boy did I have to have these. I had them in navy as pictured above and in brown leather with a braid over the top. I thought I was hot stuff in my clogs that were banned in our hardwood floor Manhattan apartment!

Followed by the clog was the Frye boot. Another must have. Another loud cloppity cloppity shoe that was banned from the apartment!

Shortly after the Frye boot phase, maybe it even overlapped a bit, the Dockside reappeared in my shoe repertoire, alongside these LL Bean Blucher moccasins.  Yes, I had the Camp Moc as well. As well as these cute little things.

The 1980s changed the athletic shoe market as we knew it. My Keds were no longer good enough. These were the coveted sneaker. I begged and begged and begged for a pair. My mother didn't see the appeal. After all, she had grown up on Keds and they were perfectly fine. Eventually I donned my first pair of Nikes. They looked just like this shoe pictured below. This was a sneaker like none other. These shoes added a spring to your step. They were like walking on air. I truly ran faster. These were amazing. Soon, every New York schoolgirl would have a pair of white sneakers with a red swoosh on the sides.

At this point the Preppy Handbook was in every hand of every New York City schoolgirl. And prep and non-prep started following this Plaid Bible.

 Michael Jackson's popularity rose again in the 1980s. He made loafers popular... how perfect for the preppy crowd!

I still have my pair of navy duck shoes in my closet in Newport.

By the time I was 12 or 13, I think in 7th grade, my taste in shoes started to grow up. I got my first pair of heels, a pair of brown Joan & David's. I coveted them and I was so proud to own them. Another shoe phase that took away the breath of every Preppy New York City school girl was the Jacques Cohen espadrille. How we coveted these! Did you have a pair?

I eventually outgrew my Nikes. The next coveted sneakers were the ones pictured above and below that I had in many colors.

My Tretorns came to college with me. Along with my LL Bean camp mocs and my blue LL Bean duck boots.

In college I was introduced to and fell in love with all things Pappagallo. Sadly the company no longer exists. I wish, like Lilly Pulitzer, someone would come along and resurrect and bring this wonderful company back to us!

(The loafer above is actually a Belgian Loafer -- completely out of my college budget -- but is the closest image I could locate that resembled my Pappagallos)

Are there any shoes from your youth that you remember fondly? Are there any that you remember that I might have missed?


Kathryn said...

You were dead on..I remember the Dr. Scholls - what were we thinking? They hurt like noones business. I don't think you missed a thing..except for the roller skates. Everyone had a pair of those in 1980 and the matching skating outfit, maybe that was just the girls in the suburbs of Boston.

pink green & southern said...

What a fun post! I always wore English Sandals as a little girl too and so did/do my girls. In my opinion, they are the quintessential little girl shoe. I also still have my duck boots and I WISH I still had my Tretorns--I think I had them in every color! I also had dyed peau-de-soie heels in every color to match all my party dresses--girls definitely don't do that anymore!

Casey said...

I remember those fondly - and my daughter has several of those in her closet. And I loved my Papagallo shoes!

I've been trying to find a pair of espadrilles like the ones I had when I was younger - but can only find these new-fangled types. I may have to take it to online shopping for them.

EntertainingMom said...

Kathryn... sneaker skates!!! Oh how I LOVED my sneaker skates!

Travelbug Mom said...

I have the BIGGEST smile on my face right now! I believe I wore just about every one of those shoes too!!
Forgot about so many....Frye boots were a MUST when I moved to Texas, those LOUD clogs, Dr. Scholls, duck shoes, of course Espadrilles and I cracked up with the NIKE sneaks....I HAD THE EXACT pair! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

MaryBeth said...

Oh my stars what a walk down memory lane. I had every one of these shoes. Added to the list because I went to catholic school was the black and white saddle shoes and Bass Weejans (sp?) with the weird wedge heel.
I must get a pair of the Jacques Cohen's, do they still sell them? Off to google them.

AEOT said...

I loved my black patent shoes as a little girl. I also had white, but I wore them with little lace anklets.

My duck boots were worn all the time. My brother and I, my mom, and my dad all had them. I think my dad's might have been brown instead of navy. I still love them and really should get another pair.

Treetorns were no longer "in" when I was a middle schooler- it was all about the KSwiss by then. LOVED them.

Sherrie said...

OMG we are shoe twins! I had ten of the pairs of shoes you posted, although my blue clogs were a bit different and I cannot remember the brand for the life of me. Yes I was the total prepster in HS.

Lily Lemontree said...

Wow, it looks like you just invaded the shoe closet of my youth! I remember each and every one of these shoes you mentioned. Funny what can make you smile, this post sure did!

EntertainingMom said...

Mary Beth... yes, I had saddle shoes too!

Jean said...

I had many of those too! What a cool way to take a trip down memory lane.

debra said...

Fun post. I totally forgot about Joan and David. I had several pairs of Jacques Cohen espadrilles - no other brand would do for a while. And I loved my tretorns. I actually worked at a Pappagallo shop for years. I miss them, too.

bevy said...

My boys wore those little rubber toe Keds. I'm working on a piece on that subject! Red were my favorite.

Loved my Jacques Cohens. I had a kelly green pair that I completely wore out and a navy pair with little grosgrain ribbon ties. Love to wear with my wrap-around skirts!!!

In college, we also all HAD to have a pair of LL Bean's Maine Hunting boots. For the rain, of course. LOL

Great post!

Beth Dunn said...

I've had ALL of those shoes. LOL. xoxo

jen_35 said...

OMG...I wore ALL of those!! Those white mocassins were in junior high--identical. The nikes I replaced the sholelaces with my preppy shoelaces. My mother always had us in those sandals and mary janes.
Granted- I have an old dog-eared "Preppy Handbook" ..and as the youngest of 3 I announced at 13 that I wanted to go to 'away' boarding school:). I think you were living my dream life as an only child..while I was stuck in the DC burbs:). Ironically-now I have chosen to raise my kids in the city.
p.s. did you have the bermuda bags--wooden handle with changeable pocketbook? I used to match my headbands and turtlenecks to them.

EntertainingMom said...

Jen, I did have those bags!!! And you totally reminded me of changing shoe laces... do you remember the laces that had pictures on them? hearts, pigs, etc??? They were so "cool!" LOL

Poolside with the Girls said...

Dr. Scholl's!!!

I can't tell you how many times I landed on the heel and nearly killed myself.

I had a pair in every color.


MBM said...

I wore so many of those too. I STILL wear Tretorns & Stan Smiths! :) Love them! I missed the espadrille/dr scholl's boat. :( I wore dr scholl's in the 90's. Loved them. I still wear clogs every Fall. This was a fun post! :) xox MBM

MBM said...

Oh, abt Pappagallo's -- For some reason I thought they were espadrilles? I missed that trend. What abt similar looking Belgian loafers & Stuart Weitzman shoes? Maybe that would help? xox MBM

averydesigninteriors said...

Oh, how I remember wearing all of these shoes.
My mom and dad took us to London and Paris during spring break when I was 12 and I insisted on Frye boots for the occasion. Who was I kidding - those shoes hurt. But I looked stylish - LOL!
Thanks for sharing a fun trip down shoe memory lane.

Mira J. Lee said...

Thank you The Entertaining House!

You have included a picture of our original espadrille design.

Now we have a new line with an updated look, more colors and more sizes.

Check us out at!