My Black Canvas Toms

This was more or less how I acquired clothes and dressed myself through high school. I was exactly as popular as you’re imagining and, sure, in retrospect, it may have had something to do with my wardrobe (I did not give in to the ever-so-slightly-too-tight Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts and chunky blonde highlights, which were all the rage but definitively not my style). I, however, never really stressed about that. In fact, fashion meant nothing to me until I moved to Los Angeles and got my first job at a national magazine, where the official dress code was, and I quote, “casual-trendy-cute.”

So, not long into my L.A. tenure, while walking around a mall with two friends who actually went to malls to shop and not just to see how many Auntie Anne’s samples one can get, I splurged on my first-ever pair of “name brand” shoes: Toms.

Okay, so this wasn’t exactly a Carrie Bradshaw moment. But, spending $50 on a pair of shoes went against all the values I learned in my upbringing (even if I could pretend it was kind of like spending $25 because the company promised to donate to charity as a result of my purchase). Despite this minor guilt-ridden moment, it was love at first slip-on.

I wore that first pair of Toms for about a year, until they were coming apart at the seams and smelled truly awful. It took all my strength to throw away the most expensive item of clothing I had ever bought for myself. And, even more to resist the urge to buy a pair of cheaper “Bobs” instead of shelling out again for the shoe I really wanted.

Fast forward six-plus years later, I now replace my Toms like clockwork every six months. Sometimes even sooner, because when you wear them every day for every activity, they wear out pretty quickly.

The shoes are worth it, worth every usually-pinched penny. They are comfortable. They slip on. When you break them in, they feel almost like they’re formed just for your feet…or they do for me anyway.

Plus, now that I’m buying them in black and not rainbow glitter, they’re also appropriate for just about every occasion. I’ve worn them on interviews, on roller coasters, on subways, and on dates. I’ve worn them with jeans, with shorts, with dresses, and with skirts. They might not be the right shoe to wear to certain fancy-schmancy events, but they also never look totally wronganywhere. I’ve never felt embarrassed about my Toms and I’ve never felt either over or underdressed in them, either.

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