Sneakers that Lit Up

04/06/2010

Remember these babies?

I remember them being the coolest things in the world when I was in grade 5.  There was nothing cooler.

I remember being scared to ask my parents for them.  I knew that they would never buy them for me.  We had sneakers with velcro that we had bought on clearance from last season, and we haven’t even worn those yet cuz our current running shoes were still good.   No way I would even bother asking them.

But my little sister did.  The youngest.  She was always the bold one. Even when she was only in grade 1.

We passed by them at a shoe store in Chinatown, and my youngest sister (c3) asked my dad.  My middle sister (c2) and I exchanged looks pretty sure that sneakers with lights won’t fly with my parents.

Instead of just saying no, my dad tried to reason with my youngest sister.

Dad says, “So why do you want these shoes with lights?”

c3 says, “Because they look cool and all the kids at school have them.”

Dad says, “So you like the lights on them?”

c3 says, “Yes.”

Dad says, “When you walk around, do you look at your shoes?”

c3 says, “No, I look where I am going.”

Dad says, “So you don’t look behind you and downwards?  Do you look where the lights are on your shoe?”

c3 says, “No.”

Dad says, “Well, then aren’t you just wearing the shoes for other people to look at?”

c3 says, “I could look at them in the mirror!”

My dad still brings up the story to this day.  I guess the moral of the story hasn’t changed very much at all, and I was reminded of this in Fabulously Broke’s post on her car.

Are we wearing our shoes for comfort or for the viewing pleasure of other people?

Even in grade 5 (and maybe even before), we used materials possessions to define us.  Peer pressure and consumerism did not end at LA Gear sneakers.

I remember in middle school (grade 7), I dearly wanted to fit in(or at least look like) the “cool” kids.  At that time, the cool thing was to wear track pants (remember Adidas tear-aways?), with a fitted baby tee (usually Nike or Adidas).  Of course, I couldn’t not afford real athletic wear, and there was no way my parents would buy a $30 dollar t-shirt for me.

So I did the only thing that I could do.  Buy a fake one for 5 bucks in Chinatown.  I kid you not.

I wore to school proudly that following Monday.  Wondering if all of a sudden I would feel “cooler.”

I remember working on my spelling when one of the “cool” girls walked up to me, and then flipped out my tag to see if it was real. Then she made some comment that I didn’t remember. I felt humiliated.

But I learned my lesson.  Again.  That this was same the LA Gear lesson repeat.  I wore my shirt for others, and not myself.  I thought that by wearing that shirt, I would be able to find acceptance from people who I didn’t care about.  My friends, never cared about what brands my shirts were.  They were the people who really mattered.

We are conditioned by society to express ourselves with our belongings.  From what car we drive, to what we should smell like, to what cleaning products and even how our house smells!  There is always a better way, and that better way seems to be with their brand.

Sometimes, there is a certain level of quality associated with a product.  Other times, it’s just the logo and the high advertising and endorsements they need to pay celebrities.  As a consumer, we have a choice. We can make a choice to buy a product that will better our lives, or we can buy into their advertising.

Are you going to spend your money on something that will better your life?  Or is it a show for other people to see how cool and glamorous you want them to think you are?  To a certain point, there is a balance.  I am not completely oblivious to what people think – it’s very difficult to completely detach myself from society.

I do things, such as getting haircuts and buying clothes which fit my body (and are pretty), so that I make sure I look professional for my job.  However, I will not cut my hair a certain way to please someone else.  “Wash and Go” is my style :).  I pick clothes that fit me because it makes me feel good wearing things that are flattering to my body.  However, I will not go buy a shirt (or fake Nike tee), just to fit in with someone else.  It’s a balance 🙂

I think that if you are comfortable and happy with who you are, there is no need to please anyone else than yourself.

Wear sneakers because they are comfortable, not because other people can see them light up 🙂

What are some lessons that you’d like to share?  What were some of the “must” have trends you remember as a kid?

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13 Responses to “Sneakers that Lit Up”


  1. I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself regarding desiring what others have. It is a token of youth to admire others and to learn and grow from there. I think if in your 20s or 30s, you are only buying “whats hot” because other people are buying them and NOT because you have developed your own personal tastes, then you may need to see a psychologist.

    But what if your own personal tastes align with the popular trend and you are able to afford it without breaking the bank? I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    I actually don’t know anyone in that situation, but I think if those people can afford it, then they should have it.

  2. Leonardo Says:

    Everybody remembers the Lights and there’s a story in SLAM mag about the kids of the guy who invented the technology and how they pointed out to him that the lights only lit up in the back so people who bought them wouldn’t see em light up – and why buy smoething you can’t even see?? So they changed it and made the lightups wrap around the back and side. Anyway, the NEW LA Gear Lights (just out) are very cool… there are pics on http://www.lagearnews.com, the blog. Only Sportie LA sells them i think but you can get there via the blog to order them.

  3. Leonardo Says:

    Oh, and as far as impressing people, it’s all about what makes you feel good. You should be confident and dress to make yourself feel good. Following what other people do isn’t a great place to start, but if a lot of people dig something there’s usually a reason. You know inside if you’re doing something to TRY to be cool, or if you FEEL cool doing it cause it suits you. Go with what suits you!


  4. I agree that we should buy things for ourselves instead of for other people to look at. It really is a personal choice. I only buy what I like… or do I just think so? I’m sure I’m still persuaded by ads regarding what looks good and what doesn’t. However, I’m not into fashion or fancy gadgets so that part of my personality probably helps me financially. =)


  5. @Investing Newbie:
    You’re right, it is a long time ago, and I have gotten wiser (hopefully 😉 since. Everyone’s taste is different, and we get ideas from all sorts of places – including what’s trendy. I guess what’s important is that we do what makes us happy in a responsible way.

    @Leonardo:
    Thanks for stopping by! That’s funny that they changed the shoes so that you can see! I should show my dad this 🙂

    @Jersey Mom:
    I guess everyone has a different balance. I think it is important to feel good and confident in what we have 🙂

  6. eemusings Says:

    Trends: snap pants, Spice Girls platform shoes, sticker collecting, chatterings, yo-yos…

    I look back now and laugh.

  7. Revanche Says:

    I pretty much go the other way. Since I’m pretty bleh on fashion, I find people whose styles I admire and borrow what I like and can afford from them. But I never expect anyone to accept me for that presentation and it’d be awfully weird if my appearance (begged and borrowed as it is) had a direct effect on our friendship.

  8. Heather Says:

    Trends I remember…rolled up acid wash jeans…jelly shoes in neon colors…wearing your clothes inside out or backwards (never understood this one)…Hi top sneakers…I remember brands like The Gap being huge. : )

    The lessons I have learned is the simplest of all…be yourself. I never could afford the trendy stuff but then again, I don’t like to be a cookie cutter of everyone else. I like to be comfortable and cute and have my own flair. It’s hard because there is so much pressure, especially as kids, to conform or else be ousted. I try to instill in my son his good heart, sweet smile and zest for life are more important than any name brand on any given day. : )


  9. @Revanche:
    I agree. I don’t think that appearances should affect a friendship, and if it does, it would make me question the reason for the friendship. In this post, I was looking back on my childhood, and sharing how I had once saw myself, and portrayed myself to the world. I have grown and gotten (a little) wiser since then 😛 and like you, I admire many individuals’ styles, and I try to stay within my budget and means, as well as add my bit of flair to my style.

    @Heather:
    Gap and CK was super huge when I was in elementary school! I think it takes a while for most people to be comfortable in their own skin. It certainly took me a while :).


  10. This is a great, great post and thank you for including me in it!

    I do agree that while image matters somewhat.. it is kind of crazy to spend money on things you don’t look at ..

    I mean, even necklaces or earrings. Seriously, why do I care? .. But I do.

    The places where I don’t care about image are when I am in the car, cruising along and scaring people who think that I’m too young and childless to be in a minivan that old 🙂

    I’m comfy and it’s all that matters. I only see what’s inside, not outside.. and perhaps it’s being cheap (frugal?) … but perhaps it’s just because I don’t care much for image for certain things.

    I haven’t figured that out yet.


    • Thanks for stopping by, FB! I love your blog 🙂

      I once told a co-worker that if I were to purchase a car, it would likely be a minivan because they are good value and lower in insurance – and they nearly fell off their chair. They thought that I was too young to be driving a mini van!

      My only complaint about a minivan is that I am a terrible parker… 😛

  11. myminimalfootprint Says:

    This is a great post. I can relate to your childhood storys..


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