Growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, this was our norm: Each September, Mom would buy us one new pair of school shoes, usually two-toned saddle shoes for me, brown loafers for my two brothers, then one pair of gym sneakers in white or navy. At Easter, we’d get a new pair of dress shoes, usually white patent leather for me and lace-up brown Oxfords for the boys. As I grew older, times and tastes changed, especially once I started to work. So many styles, so many stores, what was a girl to do?
So, I bought them — platform shoes in rainbow colors, clogs with cork or wood soles, ankle-tied Espadrilles, sandals and moccasins with straps and beads. And, don’t forget boots — anything fringed, white go-go boots, black leather, Fryes, Dingos, anything Western was cool. There were the high-heeled Candies, then walking shoes in suedes and leather, fancy sneakers for comfort and style.
But Jellies were my particular favorite in the ’80s. Made of flexible plastic, one-piece, low-heeled, cheap slip-ons with tiny lace-like straps, they came in pastels, brights, black, white and clear. I had a collection of them with matching Jellie tote bags. They were great for work or play and everything in between.
One day while walking down Sixth Avenue to work, the epitome of Jellie chic, my white Jellie broke a strap, just like that. I had no intention of strapping them, so once at the office, two rubber bands, stretched over foot and Jellie, saved the day.
OK, they did pinch and looked rather odd, but they did get me back home intact. Eventually all the other Jellies snapped, crackled and popped their way into the trash. However, I do still have one last pink pair, just for the pool. Let’s see how long they last!