Most fashion trends are deemed "trends" for a reason — coming and going before we even realize they were popular — but every now and then, a fashion trend will come back from the dead for a second round at "being stylish," albeit not without reminding us of why it became outdated in the first place. And nothing epitomizes that process more than the process of breaking in jelly shoes.
The '90s fashion revival has brought out the good, the bad, and the ugly from a decade that already feels like it was ages ago. Besides hip-hop, video games, and the creation of that thing called the Internet, the '90s are known for a gaudy fashion and loud style that has now fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how much you like '90s fashion) come back into the spotlight again. And there’s nothing that represents the gaudy, loud aesthetic of the '90s better than jelly shoes.
While they took a leave of absence from retail for quite a few years, jelly shoes are now making a comeback, promising to infuse any outfit with a dose of cool, retro style. But while we all love the way jelly shoes look, breaking them in can be a real pain. Heels are no problem, and boots are easy, but when it comes to jelly shoes, breaking them in takes real effort, courage, and patience. Because as cute as those plastic, jelly soles look, they’re absolutely unforgiving on your feet.
So, in an effort to sympathize with anyone revisiting '90s style with jelly shoes, and to provide some comfort during the process of breaking them in, here are the seven emotional stages of the process. Because '90s fashion (and jelly shoes in particular) is totally worth the pain.
They won’t hurt that bad. Will they? It’s not like they’re completely made out of a plastic mold or anything. Oh wait… Well, either way, they can’t be as bad as walking in five inch stilettos. Because those are like daggers on your feet. These shoes are flat, they’re bendy, and they’re not nearly as scary looking. So they’ll be fine, right? Right?
They’re so cute, you can’t not wear them. Just look at them, in all their plastic, shiny, sparkly glory. You invested in them for a reason, and you’re not going to simply shy away from the cutest shoes you’ve bought in a long time just because you’re afraid of getting a little tiny blister. No, you’re not that weak. You’re stronger than that. Yes. Yes, you are.
Or maybe you’re not. Because when you look at your new jelly shoes with your head titled and your eyes half closed, they look like little devil shoes for your feet. If you stare long enough, you can even see minuscule pins ready to pinch your feet with every step you take. No band-aid, cream, or sock can protect you against the pain you know you’re about to endure. But, you endure, and wipe the sweat off your brow to finally step into the jelly shoes.
Oh no. What have you done? All you can talk about is how you wish you had a different pair of shoes to change into. You’re considering returning the shoes, demanding your money back even though you’ve worn them already.
Obviously, you’ve made a mistake and you regret even thinking jelly shoes were a good idea. But, you keep on getting compliments on your shoes so you continue on your way. Just pretend like you’re not wearing them, ignore them, and the pain will surely go away.
Or not. You walked maybe 50 feet and you already feel three blisters seeping, have spotted blood on your heel, and are convinced you broke a toe. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but these shoes are painful.
You’re afraid to take your shoes off because you’ve already imagined your feet disintegrating once separated from the sticky, hot plastic. You’re even considering revisiting the idea of stilettos, because nothing can be as painful as jelly shoes.
But look at them. Look at how cute they look on your feet, and how great they look with your outfit. And remember all those compliments you got on them? You have yet to spot anyone else wearing jelly shoes, so you stand out among the crowd. Your style is unique, an ode to the '90s, an original throwback. But the downside is that they hurt sooooooo much. Let the tears fall, and release your sadness.
But after the tears fall, you come to terms with the fact that like beauty, style can be pain. Reliving the fashion glory days of the '90s is not an easy feat, but you took the risk and endured the pain to express yourself — your unique, original, personal style. And despite the pain, you felt confident in yourself and the way you presented yourself to the universe.
Plus, breaking in shoes is only a one-time process, guys. It gets easier and more comfortable with every wear. Right?
Images: Getty; Giphy