Rainboots: bringing kindergarten sexy back

November 30, 2006

I was that girl who stood outside the RHO at 10:13 watching time pass with impatient anticipation. Naturally an absurdly fast walker, I had returned by the most circuitous route possible from my class that ended at 10:05. When the charming—they have my packages and a key to my room, I think I’ll be nice—employees of the Village C RHO rolled up the door, I asked for my package with phony casualness. I’m sure they saw right through me.

The package wasn’t from home; it didn’t contain cookies or forgotten sweaters. Nor was it some form of entertainment, books or movies to help me waste my precious free time. My coveted—I had been waiting five to eight business days—package was much more practical.

My rainboots had arrived. After a few weeks of weather ranging from gentle mist to torrential downpour, I had finally caved and admitted the need for footwear I used to associate with kindergarteners. These particular rainboots—which I love, don’t get me wrong—don’t exactly help set me apart from the six-year-olds. They’re navy with baby blue whales.

Prancing around my dorm room in my new rainboots on a rare dry day, I was forced to make a shameful admission: I have preppy feet. The rest of my body has resisted the preppifying effects of both my private high school and Georgetown, but my feet have defected completely.

It started with the Uggs. I hated Uggs from the moment I discovered their very existence. They’re ugly, hence the name, and there is no weather in which an outfit consisting of a short skirt and snow boots doesn’t look ridiculous. In March of the second winter of Ugg trendiness, I went to Boston as part of my college visit extravaganza (12 schools in seven days!) on the eve of the largest snowstorm that winter. Somewhere between Tufts and Boston College, my poor feet gave out. The old boots were not up to the challenge. When I begrudgingly tried on a pair of Uggs, the warm fur enveloped my icy toes, and my feet—once fans of Converse All-Stars before they caught on—were sold.

I longed for Birkenstock clogs for two full years before I finally asked for a pair for my birthday last winter. I had just decided that I liked them when five of the seven girls in my 11th grade English class started wearing them every day. So those were out. I remember wishing for the trend to pass so that I could have a pair. No such luck. I gave in to the demands of my feet, and I now wear my beloved Birkenstocks almost every day.

I bought J. Crew flip-flops this summer. The kind with the ribbon. My six-dollar pair from Old Navy had broken in the fall, and I had learned last summer that the two-pair-for-five-dollars Target kind became flattened into nothingness in less than a week. And so I found myself paying double-digits for flip-flops for the first time in my life. My feet were thrilled.

These purchases were spread over years, and each could be easily justified in practicality. With the advent of the rainboots, however, I could no longer deny the preppiness taking over my footwear. I think it was the whales that did it.

This is particularly problematic for me as I traditionally loathe all things preppy. I don’t find polo shirts attractive, and I cannot think of any possible justification for a popped collar. Hair ribbons should be limited to cheerleaders and little girls on their birthdays. Plaid shorts are equally aesthetically unpleasing on both genders. And “Nantucket Red” is pink. Seriously, just admit it.

And so now I begin the difficult task of reconciling the fashion choices of my feet with my anti-preppy mindset. I think I’ll practice a containment policy of sorts. Or I could try to ignore it; feet are pretty far away. But maybe I’ll just learn to love the trendiness of my toes. After all, those whales are pretty cute.

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