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For years, splurging on clothes or shoes that weren't exactly my style was my M.O.
For example, I would buy neon Manolo Blahniks or a Karl Lagerfeld faux leather collar because I saw someone who looked cool wearing them, but then never put them on because I actually loathe neon — and how do you wear a faux collar?
Over time I've gotten much better. I try to collect pieces I can wear from season to season that reflect my taste (maybe best described as wannabe hippie-meets denim addict, with a little avant-garde flare thrown in) and not just the trends. I know I've got it right when I can't wait to wear something right after I buy it.
But everyone hits a few bumps in the road while they're cultivating new habits, right? That was me a few months ago.
Somehow, I got it in my head that I needed a pair of white summer boots. After several attempts with cheap pairs that ultimately ended up in the garbage, I stumbled on Marc Jacobs' Georgia boots: a high-heeled cowboy silhouette in buttery, white leather. They were perfect, minus the price tag. I bought them anyway.
I barely finished entering my credit card information before I had a running list of new outfits built around the boots in my mind. I thought they'd go perfect with wide leg jeans or cut-offs — two things I happen to own a lot of.
"Screw those pom pom slides and the pink Dries platforms," I thought to myself. "These are the only shoes you'll be wearing this summer."
I couldn't have been more wrong.
But a week went by without me trying to wear the Georgias even once.
When the box arrived and I tried them on with the skinny jeans I happened to be wearing, I ignored the fact that I looked like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader on her day off and told myself that I'd figure out some way to make them work.
But a week went by without me trying to wear the Georgias even once. Unsettled, I sent them back.
Apparently though, I wasn't over the white boots. Especially when I saw them on Shoescribe for more than half off. I ignored my inner voice and purchased the same pair of shoes a second time — that's how badly I wanted these boots to work.
I prepped for their arrival by laying out two "me" outfits that I thought would work.
First up: denim shorts and a sweatshirt. Horrible. I didn't look like the western bohemian in my imagination; I looked full-blown, Carrie Underwood cowgirl. Next I tried them with my favorite Rachel Comey wide leg jeans. Even worse.
I thought I'd found an item that was a classic, or at least classically me. But loving something in concept is not enough. In order to pull the Georgias off, I'd need to change the way I dress completely — and don't think I didn't consider it.
In my weaker days I would have kept the boots anyway, convinced that the perfect outfit would appear in a dream.
Instead, it took me two separate 30-day return windows to admit that I'm no cowboy, and maybe I can't make white boots work. And that's quite alright.