Own it like you mean it

I was having dinner with a couple of friends the other night. One – the proudly dismissive father of a similarly wilful, creative, although rather more beautiful, late-teens daughter –was shrugging about her massive (8000-plus) following on Instagram, achieved “apparently,” he sighed, eyes rolling pubescently heavenwards, by wearing as little clothing as possible within the bounds of porn’s thin blue line.

I immediately whipped out my phone and took a look, of course. I mean, eight-f**king-thousand-plus Instagram followers – why wouldn’t you?

I have 217. I am doing something wrong, although I’m guessing not getting undressed is probably not it.

Indeed, only that day, I had posted my own rather less revealing little Instagram/Facebook jewel. A candid shot of the pair of mismatched boots I’d absently zipped on that morning in my usual unseemly dash to work. One suede, one leather. Both black. Both, mercifully, the same heel height.

Just a normal Thursday at the office.

Just a normal Thursday at the office.

I had only noticed at midday.

And no one else had noticed either.


I blame this on the Silver Fox (as I do with most things, unless I’m blaming my mother or Tony Abbott). He is on the brink of the final denouement of an 18-year aspiration – a habitable bedroom. And he has, as he never fails to do, surpassed himself and everyone else anywhere in the known universe with this latest Beautification of the Mean Streets of Botany. When he – finally, finally – screws on that last drawer handle, I will show you pictures to prove it. As my utterly unblameworthy mother said the other day, somewhat wistfully, “Please god it happens in my lifetime – in both our lifetimes…”

He may be slow, the Silver Fox, but he is the Gatekeeper of All Storage. I now have floor-to-ceiling shoe drawers on my side of our spectacular, bird’s-eye maple wardrobe, and a two-storey hanging rail. I gently pull on a lever and the top rail swings down towards me like a lover (or something). It’s my favourite gadget in the whole house – the action is so damn sweet. My boots, on the other hand, are in the lowest, deepest of the drawers. All I have to do is dip in and pull ’em out without even looking. But, judging by last Thursday’s dressing debacle, it seems I have lost my sense of touch along with the commonplace instinct of checking oneself in a mirror before leaving the house.

The thing is, though, I reckon I’ve had more comments and likes on Instagram and Facebook with those mismatched boots than pretty much anything I’ve ever posted. (Except, perhaps the picture of my whole family dressed up in Dutch national costume. No surprises there.) I think I’m on to something.

Among the commentary were the appealing, albeit misguided, suggestions of “an accidental hipster in da house”, “an indication of your versatility”, “I’ve always said that if you find comfortable footwear, you should buy two pairs – you’ve achieved that and saved money” and, most poignant, “Did you just own it like you meant it?”


But it did get me to thinking about how many shoes I own with which I could make the same um, statement, and – obvs – get a shitload more followers.

First up (and heading anti-clockwise), two pairs of NZ handmade Minnie Cooper ‘Dorothys’ (my nickname, as in, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”) in scarlet and brown faux lizard, bought on different trips to Wellington and Auckland about 10 years ago.

Two pairs of Ecco flats in black and brown, bought earlier this year on holiday in Noosa. I love them, although their relaxed, timeless chic was somewhat diminished for me by the hip young things in my office exclaiming, “They’re so cool. Our mothers wear these!” I may be old enough to be their mother, but I made a decision many decades ago not to be, and am still fine with that, even if it means I won’t have the pleasure in my dotage of watching my offspring fighting to the death over my estate.

Two pairs of sandals in black and a rather unpleasantly lairy red, bought this past summer – and for which I retain a certain ambivalence (there’s something a bit mumsy about them, but not in a good, timelessly chic Ecco way).

Two pairs of loafers – one in brick-red (no, I have no idea what I was thinking, either) – and one in white, which I’ve worn twice (and only indoors), because I just can’t shake the image of Queensland mining magnates on a Gold Coast holiday whenever I look down.

Damn you, Chicago.

Damn you, Chicago.

And finally these battered old Campers: the reason I fell in love with them in the first place is that they’re cunningly designed to look like you’re wearing mismatched shoes. I bought them in Chicago in 2010 on a stinking-hot day and wore them straight out of the shop. Whenever I think of that splendid city, my heels bleed like stigmata.

So, I have decided to tilt at the Instagram popularity windmill from another angle, not by flashing a headless, drum-taut abdomen and softly curved under-breasts (an impossibility, even were I blessed with the gift of reincarnation), but by baring my soles.

I expect to hit the 220-mark by tomorrow.