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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"What does your Chuck Color mean?" Or, "My Life in Chuck Taylors."

Good Morning darlings,

As far back as I can remember, Chuck Taylors have been my weekend shoe of choice in all seasons other than a hot hot summer (havianas always win). I have had more pairs of chuck taylors than any other shoe out there. I am a big believer that you can wear chucks with (just about) anything, and as a rather confident teenager, I would even rock the pink ones with formal dresses (before everyone else did, please and thank you!!!)

As a woman in my mid-twenties, I feel a little less certain that chucks are an appropriate choice for women at formal affairs, but I still kind of love it when boys  (or men, whatever) wear chucks with their tuxes. I still believe that nothing looks better on a woman on a Sunday at brunch than a mans white oxford, a pair of straight (NOT skinny) jeans, and a pair of chucks (at this point in my life, I say either navy or cream works best).

But the timeline of the color of chucks that one wears in their lives is interesting. Here's mine and I would love to hear all of yours as well:

0-12 years old: Here's what I remember about these years: I used to wear chucks with looney tunes on the sides of them with leggings and t-shirts with cats in baskets. Basically I was entirely ahead of the curve, as this is what just about every hipster in Philadelphia wears these days. I even had the big grandma glasses from about 9 - 12.  So the next time you walk into Dirty Franks, you can thank my childhood self for inspiring the dirty young adults of the future.

13 - 14 years old: I started my love affair with chucks during these years. I got my first real job, and thus had my first real disposable income. It was during these years that I rocked the neon chucks, the textured chucks, and the flat out weird chucks. I was just starting to get into the social scene where everyone wore chucks...and I always wanted to be ahead of the scene, so I always had to have the newest and coolest chucks. Of all of the pairs I had, my favourites were my pink low-tops. I wore them with everything from skirts to jeans to pajamas to dresses. I would probably still wear them once in a while, but I have no desire to be mistaken for a 14 year old girl who shops at Hot Topic and goes to Good Charlotte shows (which I was when I wore them).
"If you would be my punk rock princess..."

15 - 18 years old: I became far too hardcore for my pink chucks. You were only a serious rocker if you were wearing black chucks. So that's what I wore. Black chucks. Some days I wore high tops, most days low-tops. The high tops had a much different connotation than the low tops. So on the days I was listening to Dashboard, I wore the low tops with argyle socks and a mini skirt, and on the days I was listening to (trying to learn to enjoy) Fugazi, I was wearing hightops (with skinny jeans, again before the craze).

I also met the first love of my life during the black period. He wore black low tops, had tattoos, and wore a studded belt. He drove a Wrangler that had band bumper stickers like Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids. He was much older. We went to shows every weekend and watched Empire Records on rooftops. I learned a lot during the black period about boys and the way that they like to treat girls. I stopped wearing black chucks soon after the first time the first love of my life left my life.

"And I feel dangerous & vexed"

"Youth's the most unfaithful mistress"

19-21 years old - This is the time when I was dying to be a grownup. The only grownups I knew who wore black chucks were my friends dads (and, yea, okay my dad) who wore old Springsteen t-shirts, and still had kind of long hair. I got rid of my studded belts, sold my autographed band tees on ebay, and bought really really expensive jeans. What would one wear with really really expensive jeans other than a pair of white(?), yes, white chucks. I think that I found a picture of Drew Barrymore in like YM or Seventeen and decided that I was going to style myself after her. 

Gratuitous pic of Drew circa like 1996ish.  The best Drew period.

She was wearing white chucks. She had red lips AND a baseball cap. And she just looked so hip.  I wore the white chucks for a while, getting so angry at the people who suggested that I clean them. To me, buying a pair of white sneakers and then CLEANING them was so declasse. It was something that people who bought white Reeboks did, not something that I did to my white chucks. 

"I am the last of the famous, international playboys." 

When I was twenty, I met the second love of my life. He was a Spanish artist (something every lady should try at least once) and he was incredible. I went to visit him in Spain and my world view was broadened, but I lost my white chucks --  I gave them to my lover (same shoe size, strange)...but not after wearing them to the best karaoke night/too much whiskey/disco I have ever been to...If you look to the far left of this photo, you will see the back of a twenty year old Lyndsey after her first European all nighter, waiting for the train at 7:00am...wearing the white chucks! 

"Por un beso de la flaca, yo daría lo que fuera aúnque solo uno fuera"
(The only song I knew in the karaoke list was La Flaca by Jarabe de Palo)

Alas, our love ended and he ended up with the chucks. But perhaps, it was time for a change...

21-22 years old : At the end of my first year living in Boston, I went on a shopping spree. I remember it so vividly. I bought a green dress to wear to Berklee's booze cruise, three necklaces, a new pair of heels, and a pair of the washed navy chucks. LowTops. I thought that they were the most grownup chucks that I could buy. They said "I am still a punk rock girl at heart, but I still want you to take me seriously." After the shopping trip, I met my friends for curry at Bombay Cafe, and changed into the chucks almost immeadiately. I felt like a new person. They gave me a new sense of confidence. I was a person who went out and got what she wanted when she wanted it. Apparently that included a boy with a stallion tattoo (please, just try to fill in the blank, _________ - American, or __________- Stallion). He wore a gold chain around his neck and was studying to be an Engineer. He interested me because he was a new thing. He thought that I was the most happening lady around, and for that I will be forever grateful to the Italian Stallion of my navy period. 

More importantly, the navy period brought the third love of my life. We shared a mutual love of navy chucks, aviators, and judging other people based on superficial things. We both had a background in underground music scenes and low self esteem. We bonded over our alternative teaching methods and flirted by smearing mud on each others faces. 
"You take me out shopping, and all we'd buy is trainers"
When, after a shot or two of Patron (and a pair of false eyelashes), I finally worked up the chutzpah to kiss him, we were both wearing navy chucks. In fact, I suppose you could say that we shared our first kiss over navy chucks. 

The navy chucks may have been the most short lived pair of chucks that I have owned. They went into the garbage after I killed a large spider with them. I was sure that the eggs from the spider had made their way into the crevices of the shoes and that one day I would be wearing them and I would have a spider explosion on my feet. 

23 - Present: Today I wear cream colored chucks on the weekend. I don't wear sneakers during the week at all anymore, unless I'm at the gym. What does this mean? I have no idea. I think that time can only tell what the color of the chuck means. But let's hope that by 25, I can find my own personal classic color. I will report back in t minus 21 days. 

What color chuck defines you? 


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