It started in the 1970s. My mom had a pair of white patent leather go-go boots I wore playing dress up. As a young girl, these boots represented two things to me: power and glamour. Stepping into them, I became Wonder Woman. A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. An Emma Sansom High School majorette. Sansom was the high school my older sisters attended, and the marching band had beautiful majorettes that were always front and center, wearing shiny sequin uniforms and glossy white knee boots.
In fourth grade, I asked my Mom for my own pair of boots. I wanted brown or burgundy ones, not white. At that time, I wanted to dress like Chrissy, Suzanne Somers’ iconic character from “Three’s Company”. Mom took me to every shoe store in the tiny town of Gadsden, Alabama, but they were all sold out. She said she’d order a pair from the JCPenney catalog and I would have them in time for Christmas, which was just a few weeks away. But I was desperate. I wanted boots right then and there. I ended up settling for a cheap pair of boys’ boots from Payless Shoes that I thought were just tall enough to pass for the boots I’d actually wanted.
I couldn’t wait until Monday to wear my new boots to school. I spent all day Sunday trying on clothes and putting together the perfect outfit…a striped turtleneck sweater with a brown blazer, paired with jeans that I could tuck into the boots. I was so excited about wearing them that I barely slept that night. It was just like Christmas Eve.
The next day, I marched into class confidently. Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking” played in my head. I was so happy. Moments later, I was humiliated. “You’re wearing boys’ boots!” the guy sitting next to me blurted out. Everyone started laughing at me. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I wanted to melt into my desk and disappear, but I couldn’t. At recess, I untucked my jeans. And I never wore those boots again.
Later that week, I was over at a friend’s house, and I saw a pair of tan boots next to her garbage can. I asked why she was throwing the boots away and she said they hurt her feet. She said I could have them. The boots were way too small for me and absolute torture to walk in, but I took them anyway. And I wore them for weeks.
That Christmas, I got the pair of boots I’d wanted. They were burgundy. They were beautiful. They fit perfectly. I put them on with the pajamas I was wearing that morning. I wore them all day, and I even wore them to bed that night.
Several years later, I would once again don a pair of white patent leather knee boots when I became an Emma Sansom High School majorette. My boot story had come full circle.
Last year I started the “To Be Magnetic” manifestation program. Part of the curriculum is doing “deep imaginings” that help you go back and mentally heal childhood trauma. The first childhood wound to pop up for me during meditation was the utter humiliation I felt that day when all the kids were laughing at me for wearing boys’ boots. Thankfully, I’ve been able to heal. And now I completely understand my obsession with boots, why I can’t stop buying them, and why having a room full of them brings my inner child so much incredible joy.
A few from my current collection
Shop some of my favorite boot looks
Left: Steve Madden suede boots; vintage 1960s skirt; Rachel Comey blouse | Right: JLO Jennifer Lopez boots; Levi’s jeans; Liz Claiborne sweater; Ralph Lauren blazer
Left: Manolo Blahnik boots; Target skirt; Diane von Furstenberg blouse | Right: Guess boots; Anne Klein dress; vintage Wilson’s Leather cropped jacket
Left: Steve Madden boots; vintage 1970s peplum dress | Right: Nine West boots, Lulu’s dress; Ralph Lauren blazer