Monday, October 8, 2018

Red Shoe Musings

Here’s a  truth—if you’re born and raised in Kansas City, red shoes are glittery and have the power, when clicked, to take you home.

When I was in college, I dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween. The dress was easy. The shoes less so. Simple red shoes wouldn’t do; I needed ruby slippers. I bought a pair of red shoes, covered them in rubber cement, and dunked them in glitter. I left a trail of sparkle behind me all night.

As I write this blog, I’m taking a mental inventory of my closet. There are no red shoes. There have never been any red shoes (I threw away the glitter shoes the morning after).

For my daughters, it’s a different story. One of them has a pair that makes the Stiletto Gang’s new logo look like flats.

What is it about red shoes? Do they connote power, a woman owning her sexuality, or do they simply add a pop of color to a black ensemble?

Ellison, the 1970s heroine of the Country Club Murders, has a closet like mine. No red shoes. There are navy and black and beige pumps. There are boots (so many boots). There are sandals in delicate spring shades. There are white espadrilles for summer. There are gold stilettos. No red.

Poppy—the heroine of Fields’ Guide to Abduction and Fields’ Guide to Assassins—she might have red shoes. Although, she wouldn’t wear them because they make her feel powerful or sexy. She’d wear them because they look good with her dress.

As for my daughters, this mother doesn’t want to examine the meaning of the red shoes in their closets. Who am I kidding? Their red shoes are tossed under their beds…but that’s another blog.

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures. 

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Her latest Country Club Murder, Back Stabbers, will release October 23rd.


  1. I have never owned a pair of red shoes, unless you count a pair of cordovan Weegen loafers that I had for a short time in the 70s. I am not opposed to colorful shoes, because I wore out a couple of well-made, extremely comfortable pairs of loafers which were one of soft orange and the other was light blue; I got them on great clearance. I am not a power-shoe girl However, I have spent my life searching for good-looking, comfortable shoes ever since I wrecked my feet walking around Washington, DC with a young man when I was 16. (No more heels for me, but I had some that I could run in!)

    1. It occurs to me - just now - that I am the owner of a pair of red Uggs. A nice change from the heels I wore for work for decades.

  2. I did have some red flats, but I don't think that is the same thing!

  3. My second daughter loved her sparkly red shoes - and her red cowboy, sorry, cowgirl boots. Some people are born for red shoes! I'm happy that shoe companies started making red, glittery shoes for little girls - it makes dressing up as Dorothy easier, but also lets them express their inner magic.