Shiri Appleby


Actress Shiri Appleby (Girls, Life Unexpected) finds motherhood the perfect excuse to reminisce about her first love: a pair of boots. 

Recently, I became a mom to a wonderful little girl, Natalie.  So many things have been fun; taking her to the park, watching her learn to crawl, buying her clothes.  I love putting her in faux-fur coats, Ralph Lauren dresses and white Converse high tops, but I recently stopped to think: if she was old enough to choose, what would she choose for herself?  Which made me think about my own life, when I was old enough to choose…which got me thinking about my favorite high school boots.

To say my boots and I were close would be an understatement.  The fact that I had to take them off to get a good night’s rest was the only reason we ever separated.  If it had been legal in the state of California to marry boots, without question I would have proposed.

I first laid eyes on them at Nordstrom.  It was my sophomore year, I had just made the JV cheerleading squad (making a celebratory trip to the Topanga Plaza mall a necessity), and there they were as I came up the store’s elevator.  They were on the top stand of the display table closest to the store’s window. They appeared like a vision, a shining light calling me, saying they’d be the soy sauce to my egg roll, the wax to my surfboard, the Jordan Catalano to my Angela Chase.  I eyed them carefully – black leather, chunky heel, a little above ankle height, with a muted gold buckle that said they meant business – and within seconds they were on.  The fit couldn’t have been more perfect – narrow enough to hug my size six foot, tight enough to look great with a short skirt.  I took the plunge, laid down my Amex, and paid for the beauties with all the money I had made working as a hostess at California Pizza Kitchen all summer.  I walked out wearing them and I felt proud – I felt like me.

Walking down the halls at school, past all the girls in their Doc Martens, there was no messing with me in these boots.  These boots knew exactly who they were, which made me feel like I knew who I was – confident, powerful, and one of a kind.  Maybe I didn’t want to blend in, maybe I wanted to stand out.

I guess that’s what I’m romanticizing so much these days; shoes, and clothes for that matter, that say something about who we are.  Right now Natalie is learning how to move, so I want comfort, ease and flexibility for her.  As she grows into a little woman, I hope to give her clothing that she can slide into and find clues about herself in.  Personally, I want clothes that aren’t about labels or what season we’re in or what fashion rule says.  I want shoes like my dear old boots that I slip on and give me… and Natalie… an identity that is perfectly in line with how we feel and how we want to stomp around in the world.





Leave a Comment