Blue Suede Heartbreak

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

N.B. Our friend the Sarah, who wrote brilliantly about shoes and sin, is back with more sad news.

Elvis’s first single was “Heartbreak Hotel.” The first track on his first studio album was “Blue Suede Shoes.” This cannot possibly be a coincidence. Elvis clearly knew that when you purchase a pair of suede shoes you might as well book yourself an overnight stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. Why else would he have so enthusiastically adopted the lyrics to Carl Perkins’s hit, immortalizing forever the warning, “Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes.”

Blue Suede Shoes!

The Shoes of the Blue Suede, belonging to The King

The Shoes of the Blue Suede, belonging to The King

It’s possible that somewhere, some tormented graduate student has worked up an analysis of the lyrics of “Blue Suede Shoes” and argued that the song is, at heart, not so much a warning about the shoes as it is about protecting the singer’s masculinity, or identity, or coolness. That graduate student has obviously never owned a pair of suede shoes.

My mother had a pair. They were lovely. Black suede pumps with a scalloped edging and a delicately curved high heel that was at least an inch higher than the shoes she wore for work. We knew they were special because she kept them in a box on the highest shelf of her closet and, unlike every other pair of shoes she owned, we were never allowed to try them on.

black suede pumps

Naturally, I conceived an instant desire for suede shoes of my very own.

I have them now. In fact, I have several pairs of suede shoes. I even have a pair of blue suede shoes. (And honey, stay offa my shoes!) And here is what I have learned, despite eschewing the temptations offered by a pair of pale pink suede Betsey Johnson Mary Janes with 5 inch heels in favor of the far more practical black suede Betsey Johnson Mary Janes with 5 inch heels:

1. You cannot wear suede shoes in the summer. Fashion crime.

2. You cannot wear suede shoes in the spring. Marginally less significant fashion crime. Also, it’s going to rain.

3. You probably should not wear suede in the fall. It’s going to rain. All month. And next month too.

4. You dare not wear suede in the winter. It’s going to rain. And snow. And also sleet. And there will be road salt. Also de-icing chemicals.

Suede shoes—at least for those of us poor mortals who live in the Midwest and must trip the light fantastic toe through separate and equally inclement seasons—can never be worn at all.

And if that does not break the hearts of the friends of the Manolo, I cannot think that they have any hearts at all.


6 Responses to “Blue Suede Heartbreak”

  1. Miss M Says:

    You know, when I moved from Iowa to San Francisco right out of college, one of my very first realizations was that one could wear suede shoes, all year ’round.
    Then I realized one could also wear wool, all year round, which was slightly less thrilling.

  2. Athena Says:

    I am fortunate to live in a mainly dry climate where the cool season is very conducive to the wearing of easily marked, although warmish, footwear.
    But I can, sadly, report that for the political activist, candlelight vigils are not compatible with suede shoes. Suede and wax do not mix.

  3. Nancy Says:

    Dear Sarah! You can wear your suede shoes! Just not outdoors!

  4. creativefashionglee Says:

    I always adored suede shoes, especially suede boots. But because of their delicate nature, I was always anxious of buying one for myself. It took me long to earn the courage, but with the trending of leopard print boots and pumps, which always come in suede, I was left with no choice. :)

  5. Livia Says:

    Blue suede shoes are special. The time must be right, the weather must be right, the ensemble must be thoughtful, and you must be both a person of caution and a risk-taker at the same time!

  6. The gold digger Says:

    I live in the Midwest. Every time I have been tempted to buy suede shoes – and there have been many times – I have turned to the person next to me in the store and said, “Talk me out of this. We both know it’s insane to wear suede in Milwaukee.”

    Maybe when I am rich and can be chauffeured everywhere and followed by my lackeys who will carry my snow shoes with them once I have changed into the pretty suede shoes, I will spend the money.

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