“I hate white shoes’ she confessed to me in history class, a girl called Lucinda, who was my first ever real-life fashion icon. A year older than me – she never wore anything twice, was the first of us to have a designer handbag swinging from her arm in the school cafeteria – she wore sequins and expensive jeans I could never afford. She paid no attention to boys, far too busy worrying if her Repettos matched her blazer. She liked me, not for my geeky awkward personality back then, but purely because I liked her – and her outfits. We’d pass each other notes and talk about things we liked at the mall. I’d help her with her homework and she, well she would dish out sporadic fashion advice that I would lap up like the overenthusiastic puppy I was. The advice was simple and delivered in the form of hard-fast rules. And if these rules were broken? She’d sigh, roll her eyes and her lips would purse up in utter disapproval. Amongst a sea of Nike hoodies, belly button diamonds and converse sneakers, Lucinda was perpetually frustrated. I soaked her frustrations right up, claiming them as my own – just like the rules she fed me. There is nothing quite as energetic as the teenage desire to be just like someone else. And for so long, I didn’t like white shoes. I never questioned the dislike, instead quietly shook my head at every person I saw wearing them. But then, I realized, only a few months ago, that I do, I do like white shoes. I like how they match my cotton blouses so perfectly. I like how they make my legs look tanner than they are. I like how rarely they are worn by women, we all seem to usually opt for black, it seems. Long ago I tossed the rules the fashion industry throws at us, but just like the memory of Lucinda, some of hers stuck with me, subconsciously. One woman’s rules are not another’s – we make our own – there is no decorum for dressing except the one you decide on yourself, and even that should be defied sometimes. So, Lucinda, I’m sorry, maybe you no longer hate white shoes, maybe you do – I guess, my rules are more rubber than rigid. So bendable I can barely keep up. But I like it like that.