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bootsFor Christmas, I received a book of “questions for creative exploration”. They are writing prompts, not all questions, and I decided that I would include my responses to them in my blog. They’re meant as daily exercises, but I just picked one I liked and got to work. Because I’m a rebel, baby! I also slightly deviated from the instructions because the book’s not the boss of me. The exercise for this day was…

Consider your favorite outfit or article of clothing. Describe it in detail here.

These days, I don’t have a favorite article of clothing. Now that I’m technically a grown-up, I mostly dress for work. I don’t enjoy the shirts and slacks that only remind me of my adult responsibilities. In my off time, I wear what’s comfortable. Usually that’s a worn pair of blue jeans and geeky t-shirt ensemble. I’ve never had a sense of style, but I remember when I thought I did.

My college years were the early 1990s, when grunge crowd surfed its way over the remains of hair metal, and flannel replaced leather. I still clung to my rock-n-roll mullet for a while, even though everybody thought they were duty-bound to convince me to cut it. I wasn’t about to sell out. I met a girl who thought my hair was cool and wore her own tributes to Guns-n-Roses and the rest. For my birthday, she bought me the baddest leather boots ever. They were patterned in faux snakeskin. The silvery caps over the toes protected them from dings during the breaking-in period, when I still felt like they were clown-shoe sized. The heels catapulted me to an almost dizzying 5-foot-six. Flared tops allowed me to tuck my ripped jeans inside. By far, the best feature was the removable leather strap, complete with silvery buckle, that circled each boot like a gunfighter’s belt. ROCK-N-ROLL!

Several years (and girlfriends) later, the boots collected dust in the back of my closet. I’d replaced them with a pair of hiking boots. My jeans were still ripped, but I wore a knotted flannel shirt around my waist, courtesy of my grandfather’s closet. Nobody needed to know that part. My roommates and I hosted a party with the theme: ’80s. My girlfriend talked me into letting her make me up like a glam-rocker, and the boots completed the ensemble. They received enough compliments to outweigh the derision from several years before. My mullet was gone. What was left got spiked and shellacked to lethal sharpness before eye makeup and other assorted powders were applied. When I was at last allowed to view the results in a mirror, I missed my mullet. Even though the costume wowed people, I couldn’t wait to smear cold cream over the gunk and scrape it off my face.

I considered wearing the boots from time to time but never had the nerve. Some kind of nostalgia, even over that short period of time, kept me from getting rid of them. I would look back the days before I sold out and wonder how I could have liked that music and admired those gravity-defying hairdos on MTV. I think my younger sister eventually appropriated the boots, and I never saw them again. She probably wore them far better than I ever did.

Someday my son might own those boots, or more likely some other clothing accessory that he finds awesome. I’ll try to remember how cool those boots made me feel before I tell him he looks silly. If he ever wears anything I think is ridiculous, I’ll bite my tongue and look forward to whatever fashion takes its place. Wouldn’t it be funny if those boots came back into style? For the sake of humanity, I hope they never do. If they ever were.

Do you have a favorite article of clothing or outfit you used to love from earlier in life? Drop me a comment and let me know. Extra points if you look back at it and cringe like I do about my old boots.