When I can't sleep sometimes I think of lists in my head—types of cheeses, breeds of dogs, and, the other night, shoes of my middle school years.
Writing about the preppy Land's End Canvas line got me thinking of middle school shoes. Middle school was only 3 years, but it seems the longest 3 years ever. There were some hardcore fashion police at my school. It was pretty unbelievable—very John Hughes. I remember one girl actually demanding to see the label of another girl's shoe, to see if it was fake. (It was. A knock-ff of the expensive and very popular L.J. Simone flat. The other girl cried.)
I realize now this post could also be called, If I doubted the 1980s were back I don't get out enough, or Urban Outfitters and my middle school are in cahoots, or I am totally getting old. All the shoes I could think of from that time are still available and pretty trendy again and yet are so loaded with associations for me seeing them the second time around, that I am having that I-am-old feeling, like I remember feeling bad for those old people who were all excited about the Rolling Stones still playing concerts and that is me, only about shoes. You know what I mean. The analogy is kind of off, but whatever.
These Jack Purcell's were my favorite. So much so, I have a pair now and I think I have owned a pair since 6th grade. I remember there was a boy version too, with the stripe over the top? Wait, am I getting it reversed? Anyhoo, the poor boy who got it wrong was done for.
I never had these, they weren't really me. Bu I did love them. I also remember the kelly green and pink swoosh-stripe versions being popular.
I had these in 7th grade. I think they looked different then, but maybe not. These are pretty dead-on. I loved them. Very comfortable and I think impossible to keep clean.
The classic. I, always being one having difficultly conforming—had them in navy, not brown. I also wrote "I heart Brian" on the bottom of these shoes and then was mortified when it was discovered. (?!)
I think there were top-sider people and penny loafer people, and I was the former. I guess some kids had both. They were worn with ripped Levi jeans and a pink oxford, Polo, of course. I actually didn't have Polo oxfords, but unlabeled generic ones. The Polo ones were too expensive and I just didn't care. Now, a real pair of Guess jeans, I did care about getting them. And I did.
I had an off-brand version of Keds in sea foam green, which got filthy right away. These were a bit too delicate for me. I was a tomboy and really wore out my shoes. I am showing white here, because that's all I remember from the 1980s—along with toe holes. These got holes in the toes, in like, 3 days, I swear.
I had these, of course. The red high tops were popular too, but these were what I remember the most. The kids that wore the colored high tops always seem to have cool older siblings.
So, I didn't have these, but my mom did (grammie) and it seemed 3 pairs were always laying around our house for tripping over. I want a pair now, in this color.
Okay, these shoes. I know the 1980s are back, but I can't believe I just saw these at Urban Outfitters! For real. Really? Wow. I would have thought the coolness (?) of these was regional. But maybe not?
So, I had a pair, and so did all my friends, but some of my friends also wore them hunting too—we are in Oregon after all. I think even then they might have been worn to school ironically. You know, like so ugly they are cool. Maybe not. They sure are powerfully ugly. I wore mine with wool socks, shorts, and a rugby shirt.
Cheap and wonderful and seemed to only last a few months because, hello, we wore them all year around in Oregon, in the rain, and pretended they weren't always damp and moldy. Apparently they are popular again, as seen at Urban Outfitters, and I love them still.salt water sandals
We all had them as little kids and then it was cool to get them again in middle school. Not sure why. I had a pair in navy in 8th grade. They were not comfortable. I do think they are super cute and have about 5 pairs in various sizes for my girls.
I did not have these, but several cute boys did. These were the mark of a cute boy in my book. They wore these and listened to The Police. (Not Def Leppard, or if they did, denied it.)
These sort of walked that line of a bit too trendy in our school, but were still around. I know I had one pair which smelled funny and broke almost immediately. My middle child has a pair and is obsessed with them. Hers smell funny and break easily, too.
A few of us had these in 6th grade when we were trying to copy the very cool 8th graders, who would skip school to shop downtown and wear trench coats and smoke cloves.