Finding Comfort in London

A couple of months back, on a whim, I flew to London, where I’d lived for a couple of years before coming to Boston. I brought only two pairs of shoes: one pair of the most comfortable flat pull on vintage and a pair of fabulous rose-colored suede pumps with a three inch heel. I hadn’t found the right place to wear the heels here in Boston, where I generally dress on the classic, preppy side of the line; but in London, I knew I’d be allowed to unleash the ferocity of my pink pumps without anyone so much as batting an eyelash.

I felt pretty good about my fashion choice as I set out on the Tube to meet my friend Ben for lunch. Girls on the subway were all funked out, with asymmetrical haircuts, chunky jewelry, and the most amazing, brightly colored shoes. And also, Ben happens to be six-foot-three, so wearing a heel seemed like the obvious choice. It even seemed wise, at the moment.

My mistake became clear, though, as Ben whisked me through Leicester Square, past the lions at Trafalgar Square, up the mall, past the ICA and through St. James’ Park. I’d forgotten how much longer Ben’s gait is than mine and how fast I had to go to keep up with him. As we made our way toward Tottenham Court Road, I spotted a row of shoe stores and fell into the doorway of the first one we came to, called Office.

“Shoes! Oh, flat shoes! I have to stop!”I called from the shoe store, as Ben got carried along in the current of shoppers hurrying up the pavement. ducked in and slipped on the first thing that caught my eye: flat, red ankle boots with the perfectly appropriate name of Perky. They were on sale, and they were heaven. I felt like I was gliding for the rest of the day.

I haven’t worn the boots since coming back to Boston –for some reason it was fine to look a little like Peter Pan in London in a way that I just can’t bring myself to here; but I do keep them at the front of the closet, where they await another trip across the Atlantic.


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February 2008
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