The first and only time I wore mismatched shoes, I was 13 years old. If I had known that this was gonna become a trend, I would have worn my mistake proudly instead of dying of embarrassment 😝
For one, no matter how groggy you are in the morning, you will never, ever leave the house in one sneaker and one loafer—I can almost guarantee it. You will notice the height difference right away and make a U-turn. For another, mismatched shoes are an entirely respectable trend that have been a long time coming.
It was 6am in the morning. I was tired as always from chronic lack of sleep due to late night of studying. This was back in Asia where students were expected to be study robots and not get any sleep. I had to catch a 615am bus for an hour long trip to my school. In my haste, I did not bother to turn on the light. I slipped on my sneakers and off I went.
I went about my day as usual, dozing off during classes in preparation for play time during recess. Then a friend came up to me and asked, “I am just wondering, are you wearing 2 different shoes?”
I looked down at my feet and couldn’t believe my eyes. There was no mistake. I was wearing 2 different shoes. What was worse, I had the right shoe on my right foot, but the right shoe from a second pair on my left foot.
Okay let me backtrack a bit… Students were required to wear uniforms back home. Part of the uniform was that we were supposed to wear white sneakers. To make each pair last longer, my mother had thoughtfully bought 2 pairs. They were just simple, plain sneaker with different shades of white. In the darkness, I couldn’t tell them apart.
And how did I not notice that I was wearing a right shoe on my left foot? Yeah well that was the embarrassing part. I suppose that being so tired all the time dulled my sensation. I also happen to have pretty narrow feet, which means that sneakers that were wider at the front don’t hug my feet that much.
Anyways, after my friend pointed this out too me. I quickly snuck back into the classroom. For the remainder of the day, I stayed glued to my seat and ran out of there as soon as the last bell rang. I was glad that only one person noticed this blunder…
My mom was waiting for me when I got home. She was standing in front of the shoe case with the displaced partners of the shoe couples I broke up. She couldn’t hide her laugh. “I just wanted to see it for my own eyes.” She said.
This episode becomes a recurring family joke.
As I grew older and more thick- skinned, my mind becomes less bridled about conventional fashion sense. One of my favourite is a pair of slip-on that I have worn for 10 years. The pattern on the right and left are totally different but they fit together. Of course this is designed on purpose, not like my youthful mistake.
From time to time, when my socks go missing in the laundry, I’d worn 2 different socks under the thick woolen uggs. No one could see and my feet were kept warm. I’d also experimented wearing different coloured leg- warmers to my dance classes.
One thing my dance instructor tell us repeatedly is that don’t worry about your mistakes. If you fall, make it seem like you did it on purpose. Make the stage your own. If you forget the choreography, make up your own. Dance is supposed to be fun, joyful. Wear your mistakes proudly and it might even become your signature move.
So there! I was a trendsetter, I was just too much ahead my time 🤣