Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Big Shoes

brogue Oxford shoes (photo: ASuitableWardrobe)
Big shoes to fill is an expression that’s sometimes used when a person is taking over a position that may have been run by someone of authority who had a reputation in a particular field. It may also refer to a son or daughter taking over for his or her father or mother in the family business or just taking on the role of pater or mater familias upon the demise of a parent. Some people literally try on shoes or other elements of attire because they feel it will change them. For instance there was a period back in the 50’s and 60’s where you would dress for success. Getting the right suit and rep tie at Brooks Brothers was almost as important as having an MBA from Harvard and this was the period starting with the Stork Club and ending with the demise of Studio 54 when nightlife with its emphasis on appearance was a convenient metaphor for the stratification of society. While in England, you had to have aristocratic lineage to attend certain clubs or even get a room at the Connaught, in New York it was a matter of wearing black tie or the equivalent that distinguished you from the crowd entreating the pickers behind the velvet ropes. The selection process was primitive. However it catered to a uniquely fetishistic approach to self-definition, in which the part (often the most superficial part, attire), was representative of the whole. As quickly as one conjured the images of the Duke of Windsor or Wallis Warfield, one might change uniforms, feeling the shoes of Jane or John Doe more comfortably fit the foot.

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