Under Analysis: My 'trip' to the courthouse and the dangers of dressing fashionably

Lisa Henderson-Newlin, The Levison Group

As a lawyer, my work wardrobe can sometimes get a bit drab. Wearing dark suits all the time gets depressing, and gabardine is not a fabric that exactly screams “excitement” or “trend-setter.” Not that I’m particularly fashionable, as I still think a tight-rolled pair of jeans looks good if done well. Because my wardrobe can get boring, I try to find ways to spice it up while still trying to look professional. Whether I succeed or not is a different story entirely.

Since there isn’t too much I can do to liven up a suit, and the court frowns upon orange leisure suits, I recently decided to rejuvenate my wardrobe with a pair of wedge shoes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with wedge shoes, the entire sole is angled and several inches from the ground. These shoes are basically a torture chamber for the foot. Although they are typically quite stylish, they are difficult to walk in, and were clearly designed by either a male, or a sadistic female who hates her feet. Despite their discomfort and the walking hazard they posed, I found a pair that matched my brown suit, so I decided to give them a try.

 After donning the uncomfortable footwear and cutting off circulation to what I assumed where important parts of my feet, I limped to my car and headed to work. I had settings that morning downtown, so I parked in a garage and began the several block walk to the courthouse. As I walked, I found myself gazing down at the sidewalk, mesmerized by the colorful shoes I managed to cram my feet into. I began to formulate a bit of an attitude, and by the second block, I found myself walking with a bit of a swagger in the gravity-defying platforms. I approached the crosswalk just in front of the courthouse, and felt my new-found confidence swell as I began to cross the street.

That is when disaster struck. As I stepped down off the curb, my left foot rolled off the wedge, and I found myself falling face first into the crosswalk. I couldn’t catch myself as my hands were holding papers and files, all of which went flying through the air with my legs and feet.

I landed on all fours, papers strewn around the crosswalk, with the devilish footwear several inches away. (My pride was nowhere to be found.) I attempted to get up only to realize that my left foot was quite swollen and incapable of use. Fortunately for me, a woman saw me fall and ran over to help me up. (While this was fortunate for my injuries, it was quite unfortunate for my ego.)

The good Samaratin helped me up, gathered my papers, and helped me over to the bench just in front of the courthouse. I sat for a minute and evaluated my injuries. In addition to the throbbing in my left foot, I discovered that I had scraped my hands and knees and was most likely going to have scabs that would rival any eight-year-old boy’s.

 After assessing the bodily damage, I looked up to see several attorneys staring at me. Although I wanted to tell myself they were staring at my trendy shoes and commenting on my new fashion statement, deep down I knew there were gawking at my bloody knees and swollen foot. Several of them asked if I was okay, although I suspected they were less concerned with my well-being, and more concerned about what entity could be sued for my tumble. I declined an ambulance and had my husband take me to the doctor, as the color my foot was turning didn’t seem natural, and the goiter quickly sprouting was starting to look angry.

After a long wait at Urgent Care, my foot was X-rayed and evaluated and I was diagnosed with a torn tendon and an ankle sprain. The doctor wrapped my foot, gave me a boot, and told me I would be on crutches for at least a month. As I crutched out of Urgent Care, I realized my attempt at livening up my wardrobe failed, as I didn’t look fashionable with my hair askew, my dress bloodied, and my foot the color (and smell) of a rotting eggplant.

 I was on crutches for six weeks and didn’t wear anything other than flats during that time. I realized through that experience that being fashionable comes with a price (and a co-pay). I recovered, although I still have a bump on my foot and bitterness in my heart towards all wedge shoes. I have returned to wearing drab clothes and footwear to work, and since resorting back to regular shoes, I have had no more falls.

Perhaps what was most painful about this entire scenario wasn’t the torn tendon or the skinned knees, it was the fact that not a single person commented on my cute shoes. Lesson learned.


Lisa Henderson-Newlin is a member of the law firm McAnany Van Cleave and Phillips. Contact Under Analysis by email at comments@levisongroup.com.
© 2012 Under Analysis L.L.C.


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