Let it be known that I make judicious choices almost all of the time. I am a rational actor, a careful consumer, and an impassioned critic of capitalism and its resulting exploitation of our fragile human morality. Let is also be known that I will throw out all of my convictions for the sake of shoes. Among my repertoire, I count eBay-purchased sunset Vans, sparkly loafers, flame-adorned heels and knee-high yellow rain boots. In every one of my middle school yearbook pictures, I can be spotted in the front row showing off a different color of Converse. In 2005, when my tender young eyes hit upon the forgotten gem In Her Shoes, the pivotal quote of the movie ingrained itself in my consciousness.
When I am having a bad day, I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good. Food only makes me fatter. But shoes…shoes always fit.
Forget about the problematic exposure of my young impressionable self to this quote’s sexist implications, or how it may have twisted my approach to self-care and encouraged me to spend all my money on environmentally destructive fast-fashion, or incited a thorny equivalence between my relationship to food and my self-esteem. Just remember: shoes always fit.
Is it any surprise, then, that on a late summer evening, faced with such insurmountable obstacles as readings I didn’t want to do and laundry that I wanted to do even less, I turned my attention to Zara’s Autumn-Winter 2017 shoe collection?
Have you ever been in love?
Do you know what it is like?
It’s the feeling of contrasting velvet ankle boots that you want to rub your face into. It’s the feeling of platform loafers that you want to bring into bed with you, just to kiss them goodnight. It’s the feeling of faux patent brogues that you just know are going to be a perfect fit.
But love is also generosity. And that’s why the good, kind, thoughtful shoe designers at Zara, always full of their very own original insight and innovative creativity, put in the work. What’s so unique about these shoes, so very special, is that each one is painstakingly conceptualized with me in mind. They put me at the center of their process, and it is this personal attention, this profound consideration of my wants and needs, that warms my heart.
Love is generosity, and I love you, dear reader, so today I choose to give back. Here, hoping to excite the flames of your passion, I present several bewitching specimens.
1.The “It’s Not A Nipple Unless You Want It To Be” Rain Boot
These were the first to get my heart pumping. I blushed as soon as I saw them, a little overcome with emotion. Zara, in a very becoming show of modesty, describes them as wrinkled burgundy leather boots with patent finish leather, gathering at the top of the leg, and pointed toes… but they’re so much more than that. Just look at the ankle drawstring that says, “it’s okay that you always forget to shave these two inches of skin! We’re hermetically sealed, and we’ll protect you from indecency!” The drawstring, ironically cinching your ankles, is a cunning commentary on uncomfortable women’s clothing. They mirror the form of regressive corsets and bustiers, while undermining the stifling societal conventions that ask women to mark their waists to please the salacious male gaze. These are shoes that you can count on to have your back—they’ll trumpet your feminism, and you won’t have to say a word. Just angle your feet in precept so that everyone knows where you stand.
Still have reservations? Please direct your gaze toward the heel: slender, discreet, 100% thermoplastic rubber, looks kind of like a nipple, and just high enough to lift your foot out of very shallow puddles on marginally rainy days. This is the definition of a wardrobe staple: a shoe that loves you back, and that you can reach for any time this fickle New Jersey sky might sprinkle for six to ten minutes.
2. The “Grandma-Approved” Thigh-Highs
Zara read right into my soul with this one. Allow me to color this with a personal anecdote: I often find myself about to visit my grandparents, unsure what to wear to best express my fiery personality and fierce personal style without wounding my grandma’s delicate prewar sensibilities. This is it. The conservative thigh-high ensures that not an inch of my legs is exposed, while the four-inch heel says, “I turn heads when I walk into church,” (and I know Grandma likes to draw attention to her only Ivy-league granddaughter). Bonus: I’m pretty sure she owns a handkerchief with the same print. All that, but no sacrifice to sex appeal or #influencer aesthetic. I’ll be pulling these out at Christmas, and for an honestly worthwhile $120, you could, too.
Zara, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. This is a masterpiece.
3. The “I Skinned A Muppet And I’m Coming For You” Slides
Look, I love my grandma, but I’ll be honest, I’m not a saint, and sometimes I wish I could just slip on a pair of sandals to show the world that I’m a hard-ass. Cue these flat furry friends. The wide faux-fur straps that cross over the instep mirror a harness, an implicit but undeniable suggestion of bondage imagery and deviant sexuality. When I see these, I see sex. Notice the intelligent conceptualization of a furry sandal that keeps your sole (and your soul!) warm while the rest of your foot can be gloriously naked, exposed to the elements. These slides say, “You should be proud of the arch of your foot and you shouldn’t have to hide your curves—but let’s get you out of the cold, honey.” They unite two elements sorely underrepresented in the shoe market: a capacity to intimidate, and a promise that they’ll put your feet first. They’re sexy, and they’re comfy. And as if that weren’t enough, they’re inlaid with large dark jewels, because Zara knows that there’s nothing wrong with a little sparkle.
4. The “Francis of Assisi” Mules
You heard it here first: Jesus sandals are out, and Francis of Assisi mules are in. Jesus had a good run, but let’s keep with industry trends here. It’s all well and good to be virtuous, wise and capable of miracles, but humans are kind of beyond repair and we should really use our energy more wisely. Take it from Zara, and embrace your inner patron saint of animals (or woodland fairy if you’re a pagan). Wear these feathery friends to a nearby forest, and you’ll see that you’re able to commune with wildlife. Bugs will be drawn to you, birds may choose to nest at your feet, and soon enough, you will become one with nature.
5. The “Chewed-Up Bubble Gum Underneath The Back Row Desk” Heels
I had to stop scrolling when I saw these. My already-overexerted heart skipped a beat. Once again, Zara challenges the status quo and reinvents an entire generation’s aesthetic. Some genius worker of magic sat down with millennial pink paint samples, had a good long think about what was so attractive about the color—the Lolita-like appeal, the underside of a rose petal, the flush of color in a virgin boy’s cheek during orgasm—and flipped it on its head. The clever juxtaposition of the color with a rough-to-touch, wall-insulation material on the reimagined classic silhouette of a court heel—what artistry! The cone-shape heel to imply a traffic-cone—what vision! This is construction-worker chic. It gets at the root of normcore while refusing to subject itself to a trend. It’s a tour de force in a shoe. Hard hats off (but shoes on) to you, Zara.
6. The “I Swear These Aren’t Birkenstocks” Birkenstocks
If these look familiar to you, it’s because you’re blind to talent and innovation, and if you’re one of those sad cynical naysayers who claims that Zara fishes designs from other creators, we’re done here. These are not tacky but I’m not going to tell you why. You figure it out.
7. The “Maybe In The Privacy Of My Own Home” Slingbacks
Picture this. It’s a dark winter night, pitch black outside. You’re home, completely alone. The shutters are closed. The lights are turned off. You are in the nude. You pull two neon yellow shoes out of your closet. They glow in the dark and smell like new leather. No one knows you own these, no one at all, and you bought them online so there would be no risk of running into a coworker at the Zara on 5th and 42nd, which is really where everyone seems to congregate after work to gossip about Donna and her husband’s receding hairline. Go on. Slip them on your feet. No one will know. Do you like the way they illuminate the top half of your foot?
All of a sudden, you hear a noise. It’s coming from downstairs, inside your house. Your dog starts barking. You left your phone on the NJ Transit last week and Verizon is being really slow about sending you a new one. You’re anti-gun and anti-cutlery so you have no means of defending yourself. Remember, you’re naked. There’s no doubt in your mind now—there’s a home intruder. What do you do?
Zara’s got you covered, because these little babies double as throwing knives.