Given how much I bang on about traditional country music, it will surprise no-one to know that I really like wearing cowboy boots.
The first pair I remember owning were neither rich in subtlety or quality. If anything, they were a sure-fire signifier of my future clothing taste or lack thereof. Purchased from an op shop in the Victorian country town of Yarram, population 2000 (including my two sisters and my parents) in 1991, they were one of the first things I owned that belonged to what might be called a ‘stage wardrobe’. I was nine years old, had just started singing and had been cast /miscast alongside of a bunch of other attention seeking kids in a yodeling troupe.
Ah, the variety concerts of my youth!
The boots were white leather or possibly – ugh – pleather, with a cut-out pattern in the top and rhinestones. A triumph of bad taste, I LOVED THEM. At about that time I also loved a ratty pair of stonewash jeans with floral patches, cream buns* and the vocal stylings of Kate Pearson of the B52s, who had just done guest vocals on ‘Candy’ with Iggy Pop.
I don’t know what became of those first cowboy boots… I imagine my Ma threw them out one day during an “I’m doing this in your best interests” wardrobe cull. She also probably threw out my knock-off Mayim Bialik in Beaches electric pink leotard with the black fringing and a bunch of tatty feather bowers at the same time. Anna Swift = anti-Stage Mom**.
I got to wondering about the boots recently, thinking ”I’m living in Nashville. If I’m ever going to find a pair of equally dubious taste, surely I’m in the right place”. And sure enough, I’ve found them. They were in a store called Pony Show, which is dangerously close to my house and stocks awesome stuff. I’m talking vintage Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette tour t-shirts, abundant cowboy boots and embellished earrings such as Stevie Nicks might have worn in the ‘Rooms On Fire’ era.
Now the boots aren’t as over-the-top as my long lost ’90s pair, since they don’t have rhinestones. But they’re a pretty great shade of cream, have woven tops and leather tassels. And I’m happy to say they’re sitting pretty in my wardrobe right now. Along with… five other pairs.
*These may be unique to Australia, I’m not sure. A cream bun is a sweetened bread roll filled with whipped cream and jam, dusted with icing sugar. Delicious.
**I don’t thank her for this nearly enough. I’ve also never thanked her properly for letting me get a perm. I need to amend this, ASAP.