It could be something understated. An old scarf, a simple pair of sunglasses, or an old baseball cap. Maybe it’s more intricate and mechanical, like a classic watch, withstanding the test of time. Accessories and trinkets you hold onto, because of their story, because they simply define you.
The struggle to get me to dress up was a plague my parents dealt with the majority of my youth— for me, appearing somewhat “respectable” was nearly impossible, it was against my inner punk rock mantra. I’d stick with Elmer’s glue in my hair and Chuck Taylor’s on my feet; this I’d thought was the proper attire required for any formal event. Investing in a pair of formal and typically pricey dress shoes for some raggedy ass kid was seriously out of the question. And who could blame my parents for my appearance? Every time my mom struggled to toss an outfit on me, I tossed it into the next bin heading out to goodwill. For every formal occasion, it was always economical and easiest to slide me into a pair of my father’s shoes.
As the years passed, I consistently reached for one pair in particular, satin black, size 10.5 Bruno Magli’s. They were bold and sophisticated, rounded toes with a well worn top that was stitched to thick leather soles and a logo simply stamped into the heel. They spoke without speaking of luxury, sophistication, and purpose — all things detrimental to a High School sophomore at his band concert. After years of avoiding the dreaded shoe shopping experience with my mom, by default the shoes kinda’ just became mine. I always acted reluctant to put them on, but deep down I think I always looked forward to wearing them. Because I knew that, with them came a picture of my father tossing them on before a long day’s work in a romantic time when purposeful appearance dictated his attire. When those shoes are on my feet, I had a chance of becoming all that.
But, let’s dig a bit into the Bruno Magli’s past. I asked my father when he acquired the shoes, and instantly he responded “About twenty years ago, just before OJ killed Nicole.” Awwww yes, OJ killing Nicole . . . what significance could that possibly have in our little shoe story?! Well, if you recall those famous size 12 bloody footprints stamped around the crime scene, yeah well those came from a Bruno Magli’s shoe. Along with the leather driving gloves, they were practically the spotlight accessory the prosecution leaned on. Even after Mr. Simpson called the size 12 “Lorenzo” style Magli’s “Ugly ass,” on the witness stand, photos were presented revealing OJ in fact owned that style and size shoe used in the murder . . . Who’s ugly now Mr. Simpson?!!!
Bruno Magli actually had a rich history rooted in Italian manufacturing and design. Started by Magli and his siblings after learning the art of shoe making from their grandfather, the brand started in 1936 in Bologna, Italy and has been making handcrafted timeless leather goods since then. From Italian roots, to bloody cover ups, these rugged and gorgeous shoes now come along with me on every early morning coffee run and each drunken bar night. It doesn’t matter the task at hand, when I pull them on and lace them up, what I’m about to do becomes important because I now look the part.
Not long after this was written, the shoes encountered a bit of a set back with the rear rubber heal separating from the leather sole. I sulked for a bit, but no worries folks!! The shoes are resting comfortably at my nearest cobbler as he re-soles, stitches, and polishes ‘em back to glory. This should keep them neat and sturdy so whatever hellion I birth someday can enjoy them for the next 20 years as well.