Willow Lindley is a senior at Barnard College, and a contributor to Refinery29.
"I know I'm not exactly reinventing the wheel here, but I really love my cream-colored high-top Converse sneakers. After a long week of running around to shows for New York Fashion Week, lacing into my worn-out Chucks felt like a homecoming. I'm what you could call a late bloomer when it comes to Converse. In high school, I was an all ballet flats, all the time type of girl who who wasn't about to raid her dad's closet for footwear inspiration (yup, he's been a Chucks devotee since he was a teenager, and yup, he also chooses cream high-tops). I guess genetics took over at a certain point, and I found myself buying these kicks sometime last spring as I was getting excited to pull out all my little floral dresses and stash my biker boots till next year. Hesitant to return to ballet flats (been there, done that, got blisters), I decided I wanted a pair of lace-up sneakers that were light-colored, and landed on this classic pair. The joy of my new purchase, however, didn't last. As soon as I got my new shoes home and started playing dress-up with them, I was completely disheartened by the fact that they looked HUGE. Here is what you don't know about me—the reason I've always been a ballet flat-wearer is the fact that I'm 5'10" and wear a size-10 shoe. All my life, I've been the tall, gangly girl with the feet that would prevent her from getting blown over in the rainstorm (something someone said to me on a particularly still day in L.A. when I was about 14 years old—perfect). Anyway, I've always been a little self-conscious in that area, and even though I like to think I've grown into a confidant young woman sometimes we've all got our moments of doubt. Or maybe we just avoid it by doing things like sticking to black footwear... Anyway, those shoes got immediately thrown back in their box where they sat until one day to take to Montauk for a weekend with my family in the late spring, where I thought I could at least wear them in without getting gawked at on the street. I think I put them on that weekend and never really took them off."
"With a little breaking down and general scuffing up, they turned into the perfect pair of shoes that were not only comfortable, but also perfect for daytime or nighttime (I'm a pretty casual lady), Montauk or Manhattan. The only time I didn't wear them was during Fashion Week. Well, almost. I caved in the middle of the week and reached for my Chucks. I justified it by telling myself it was okay, because when I did a Photoshoot about a month back, I'd hesitantly worn my Converses, and the first words out of the client's mouth were 'I saw a picture of you in those and I was hoping you'd wear them.' She even showed me a cute way of tying the laces around the back in a little bow that I still do when I want to be a little more fashion-forward. So, I skipped my way to Lincoln Center, just in time for the Diane von Furstenburg show, feeling a little nervous about being the girl in the sneakers, but happy to be reunited with my favorite footwear. On my way, I spoke to my mom back in L.A. on the phone, and she asked me what I was wearing. When I relayed the complete outfit all she had to say was, 'I hope you got yourself a new pair.' I laughed. When I was walking into the tents, a photographer stopped me for a quick picture. When she'd gotten what she needed, all she said was, 'I've never seen anyone rock Converse as well as you.' It was by far the best style compliment I've ever received. I guess being a Converse lover is just in my blood. "