These Boots Were Made For Balkin’….
In all their vintage glory and grandeur, these Tony Lamas garnered a lot of attention in my valley girl world. Not everyone appreciated them at first, but I was never one to mire in the mundane. I wanted to kick up my fashionable world a notch. Up a notch, I did! I knew it was a risk, but I didn’t care how others perceived me. If I learned anything from my idols, David Bowie and Vivienne Westwood, one’s persona was everything.
Clothing was a way to express myself as an individual. It was a way to define myself as anything, but normal. As expected…the neon-clad, acid wash in-crowd gave me the once over and commenced with their Zappa quips: “Like, oh my god! As if!” And get ready for it…”gag me with a spoon!” Bring it on, bitches! These skeptics were not ready for my badass boots!
In due time, I won my peers over with my quirky style and no-nonsense approach to vintage clothing. I was voted best dressed my senior year. Quite frankly, I was shocked. I didn’t think my style was for everyone, especially those who took notice. Who the hell was I kidding? I was up against the Bloomingdales bred homecoming queen and her Contempo Casuals court. But alas, the votes spoke the truth. I had style. Go figure!
For all intents and purposes, my bags were packed and ready to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City right after high school. I had grand plans of studying the art of fashion in the city that never sleeps. I dreamed of stealing away most nights with my imaginary musician boyfriend at CBGB, hopefully catching a glimpse of Debra Harry, Patti Smith or Iggy Pop. If I was truly lucky–witnessing David Bowie ordering the ushe at the Smelly (aka Carnegie) Deli in mid-town Manhattan. A girl can dream, right?
Well, my mom had other plans for her 17 year old dreamer: a four year stint at a UC college. One closer to home. One they could realistically afford. One that was, according to her, grounded in “reality” (what?). They wanted a well-rounded education for me. An education that was not steeped in just the fashion world. Well, la-dee-fucking-da!
So off to the agricultural collegiate capital I went: University of California at Davis (go Aggies)! Don’t ask me why! I think my mom bribed me somehow. I didn’t go happily, but I found my creative niche regardless. I discovered they had an admirable art and design program, nonetheless.
I studied English, design, and art at UC Davis. I learned about the importance of color and print from Wayne Thiebaud, how to sculpt a multitude of mediums (including trash) from Lucy Puls, how to design and execute a centerpiece shrine out of pretzels and Cheez-Its from Dolph Gotelli, how to regurgitate Beowulf and other Norse texts without frustration (ugh!) from Marijane Osborn, and how to operate and control a John Deere tractor without maiming any jackrabbits from “insert-hick-name-here”. I came out with a BA in English, a double minor in design and history, and a BS in…well…procrastination! Much to my parent’s chagrin, I followed the 7 year plan. But at the very least, one can say, I received a well-rounded education! My college experience gave me grit. It’s where my creative roots took hold, and I mastered my black belt in sarcasm and wit.
I went on to become a middle school history teacher (curve ball, right?), yet I am still able to maintain my sense of style and divine right to wear what makes me feel good in the workplace and community.
So here are the boots that started it all….