Outfit deets: Sunnies, Joe Fresh; Earrings and ring, Out of the Blue; Scarf, H&M; Puffy vest and tights, lululemon; Jeans jacket, Buffalo by David Bitton thrifted from the Ruby Slipper; Plaid button-up, stolen from my dad’s Canadian closet; Tee shirt, American Apparel; Boots, Rocketdog.
This outfit is a modern interpretation of my Grade 6 uniform. Similarities include a plaid shirt in the red family stolen from my father’s closet, heavy footwear and tights. Not infrequently, there was also a jeans jacket, and a pair of nature inspired dangly earrings. Differences include the colour of the tights (back in the day they were electric blue and SHINY), the earrings were parrots instead of leaves, my hair was horrific – why, oh WHY did I go the bowl cut route? – the shoes were Doc Martens, and they were scuffed and destroyed and amazing.
Recently, I had a conversation about Doc Martens of yore. They were purchased by my best friend’s parents, brought back from London. My hope was that my social standing would completely change when I laced those black three-hole Docs onto my feet. Suddenly, I had cool footwear. Cool footwear before anyone else in school had a pair. As a devastatingly unpopular child, I assumed this would be quite the boon. They weren’t, but I loved them regardless. My Docs represented hope.
By the time I was in Grade 8, my Docs were perfectly broken in. I didn’t even have to wear socks with them, and when it was warm enough out, I wouldn’t bother. I wore them with every outfit, on every trip, to every occasion. And every day I wore them, my mother flinched a little bit more. The heavily distressed cracked and dirty leather shoes went against every sartorial instinct she had, so one day, when I wasn’t looking, she made the switch. Gone were my old, perfectly broken in, comfortable para caramba Docs. In their place? Shiny, new, pretty Docs.
It was a pretty heartbreaking moment in my life.
Nothing has ever compared to the footwear comfort of those (admittedly disgusting) Docs (that my mom SHOULD have thrown out, because they smelled and were gross). I think of them fondly (despite the funk), and I think of Grade 6 Becca, and how she thought she would never be cool, that people would never like her, and how she thought that maybe those shoes would help to make her cooler. This outfit is for that girl – because maybe grown up Becca isn’t very cool, and maybe there are people who don’t like her, but grown up Becca has learned something a bit more valuable than coolness. Grown up Becca leanred to like herself. And that’s what Grade 6 Becca needed – to like herself – even if she didn’t know it. Just like those Docs really needed to be thrown away, even if I didn’t know it at the time.