Tag Archives: fashion

Cool Time to Be Alive

I offer the following moment in time for your consideration, a year during which some amazingly cool people lived. The year is 1890, and alive during this brief snapshot of history were 25 individuals whose contributions have an impact on our lives to this day. 

This list started because I’ve always been intrigued that some of my favorite painters and writers were contemporaries. I sometimes wonder if they knew each other, although I know it is not likely. I just like to imagine DH Lawrence sitting at a cafe with Rainer Maria Rilke, telling him that he needs to lighten up and find someone to love. I picture Monet inviting himself to sit down, complaining about the critics of Impressionism. Freud leans in from another table to tell them all that they are stuck in the “id” stage of personality development.

I began to notice other monumental historic celebrities were also cranking out their brilliance around the same time. I did some googling and came up with more important figures, and a few who are lesser known but equallly important. In the end, the list is entirely based on my own personal taste and random whims, but I welcome you to comment and toss in your additions.

I can tell you that as a result of these 25 historic celebrities, Angela’s life is richer. I am able to read my favorite books while listening to impressive music and viewing amazing art, while wearing jeans and eating corn flakes. I can enjoy the conveniences of lights and phones, the priveledge of voting, and the reassurance of the modern nursing system to care for me if I fall ill. I can pursue philanthropic endeavors and engage in esoteric debates about philosophy and psychology. And finally, I can enjoy the world of fashion, rich with colors and textures.

I am not saying that I wish I had been alive during this time, as I willingly acknowledge my spoiled nature could not carry me more than a couple of days without modern amenities. I can, however, express my gratitude to all of these go-getters, whose ambition and ingenuity has propelled me into a far more comfortable and richly diverse existence.

I’m sure you will recognize almost all of these names, with the possible exception of the person who invented the electric guitar, the chemist who brought color to the fashion world and the Reverend who started the Salvation Army. See if you can figure those out.

1. Writers, Poets, Publishers, Philosophers:

D. H. Lawrence 1885-1930

Rilke: 1875-1926

Robert Frost: 1874-1963

Nietzsche: 1844-1900

Joseph Pulitzer: 1847-1911

Stephane Mallarme: 1842-1898

Mark Twain: 1835-1910

2. Academics, Scientists, Inventors:

George Washington Carver: 1864-1943

Sigmund Freud: 1856-1939

Thomas Edison: 1847-1931

Florence Nightingale: 1820-1910

Adolph Rickenbacker: 1886-1976

Alexander Graham Bell: 1847-1922

Sir William Henry Perkin: 1838-1907

3. Business, Philanthropy, Human Rights

Levi Strauss: 1829-1902

John Kellogg: 1852-1943

Andrew Carnegie: 1835-1919

Susan B Anthony: 1820-1906

William Booth: 1829-1912

John D. Rockefeller: 1839-1937

4. Art and Music

Matisse: 1869-1954

Monet: 1840-1926

Van Gogh: 1853-1890

Pablo Picasso: 1881-1973

Tchaikovsky: 1840-1893

Adopting my first Choos

Behold my first pair of designer shoes. Kevin gave them to me on our second Christmas together, and I proudly proclaimed them my first pair of “Choos”. People were amazed that he could pick them out for me, but I was a loyal fan of “Sex and the City” at the time, and must have done some casual label-dropping. I just didn’t realize that he was paying close attention. The fact that he also picked up on my preference for Mary Janes just made the gift that much more impressive. I felt like an animal-lover who had stumbled upon the opportunity to adopt a full-bred, fancy dog. I was not and am not a snob about shoes (or dogs); I just found myself face-to-face with magnificent beauty and couldn’t resist.

I certainly never expected to own a pair of shoes like this, much less have them purchased on my behalf. Unwrapping them was overwhelming: they were swaddled in a Jimmy Choo velvet bag, which was nestled into a pristine Jimmy Choo box, which was packed with care into a fancy Neiman Marcus box, which was gift-wrapped and adorned with an elegant keychain. The packaging alone made me feel like a princess.

I will go ahead and admit that I went online the next day and figured out how much Kevin spent on the shoes. I will not be rude enough to post the amount here. If you know shoes, you know how much. If you don’t know shoes and are curious enough, you can look it up on your own. Suffice it to say that I was humbled and almost embarrassed, feeling unworthy of the magnaminous gesture.

You may think that shoes of this caliber would remain safety enshrined in the aforementioned bag/box/box packaging, until an occasion of some merit arose during which I could justify wearing them. You would be wrong: I was happy to wear them to work on a regular basis. The first time I wore them, I thought about the price with every step, keeping a keen eye out for stray puddles which would mar the flawless finish. On subsequent wearings, I still thought about the price and the puddles, just not as often. I was most often acutely aware of the shoes while traipsing through the shop, walking underneath cars being repaired on a lift. I knew it was wrong to be wearing them to a car dealership, but trying to keep them at home in a box proved very difficult.

So on a regular basis, (although not daily), I continued to wear the Choos. What started as simple rationalization (I have to wear them today since I just got them, or I have to wear them today since I have an important meeting) eventually became the mentality of the masterpiece art owner who insists on displaying the coveted work in their home instead of locking it up in a safer place: “the shoes were made to be worn and enjoyed!”

Finally the sad day arrived when I realized I may have rationalized one too many times. They were starting to show their wear; the tip of the heel was almost gone. (Yes, even the tips of the pricey shoes work down to nubs.) The problem with this situation is the lack of high-end shoe repair places. I couldn’t imagine taking them to Hakky shoe repair in the mall. I had once been reticent to trust them with my $100 pumps; how was I going to trust them with my precious Choos? With my $100 pumps, they had insisted that I leave them in the basket on the counter and return “in about an hour”. I told them I prefered to watch and wait. They argued that there were many shoes in line ahead of mine. I reluctantly left, feeling like I had just allowed a stranger to pet-sit for me. I sadly strolled through the Mall with visions of returning to the Hakky counter, where they would force me to take someone’s Payless shoes and insist that they were the same ones I brought in. It didn’t happen – my shoes were fine –  but until I can find a way to entrust my Choos to a reputable Choo-repair establishment, they will remain on temporary hiatus in their fancy velvet pouch.

I have received other designer shoes from Kevin since then, including a pair of the “urban shoe myth”, a reference only SATC fans will recognize. While I realize that this likely qualifies me as officially spoiled, I try to remain in humble awe of any designer shoes, recognizing them for the works of art that they are, and appreciating all of the shoes that I own, regardless of their pedigree.