PHOTOGRAPHY BY RANDI VASQUEZ. MAKEUP BY BAILEY GOSS.
Videographer and content creator Regan Vasquez’s punchy platforms reflect her uplifting personality.
By Odessa Paloma Parker
Date February 28, 2023
The style in Chattanooga, Tenn., might be outdoorsy and granola, but Regan Vasquez is anything but. “My best friend, whom I live with, and I are both very maximalist when it comes to fashion,” Vasquez explains over a video call from her colourful bedroom. “We know when we walk into a place that we’re going to be the craziest-dressed people there. But we kind of feed off of it.”
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Foremost in Vasquez’s OTT wardrobe is her collection of around 60 pairs of platform shoes. Her three everyday go-tos are solid black, white and blue, but it’s the novelty designs that excite her the most. Standouts include a barnyard-themed style with 3-D animals and a Halloween purchase with see-through bottoms that can be filled with Skittles (or any other amusing assortment of items).
@reganvasquez someone plz give me shoe display tips #shoecollection #noveltyshoes #closetorganization #shoedisplay #closetstorageideas ABBY USED MY SOUND – livinonthedancefloor
“I’ve always loved shoes, even when I was a young girl,” Vasquez says. “But I hated kids shoes because they weren’t ‘cool’ to me.” Platforms intrigue her because “they are different,” she explains. “They’re a style with wacky colourways and patterns. You can do things with a platform that you can’t do with a stiletto.”
Vasquez’s impeccably dressed grandmother bought her her first pair of high heels when Vasquez was a preteen. Hilary Duff and her flatform-wearing Lizzie McGuire character and the Tumblr-centric rise of Jeffrey Campbell’s iconic Lita design were other formative fashion moments for the collector.
Since she’s only four feet tall, Vasquez’s obsession could be explained as a desire to be taller. But she says the lift is a perk rather than a goal. “It was more that I wanted to be like my mom, sister and grandma,” she says. “My sister’s email when we were little kids was literally ‘pinkmetallicpumps.’ We were just very centred on fashion.” Vasquez recalls daylong shopping trips with her mom and sister that ended with fashion shows in the living room for her dad. And the story of her grandma’s 1970s hike in the Grand Canyon, where she wore platform shoes and cut her jumpsuit into a romper because of the heat, is part of the family’s lore.
Vasquez says she does have one pair of running shoes to work out in. But everything else is thick-soled and fun, whether she’s going to the beach or on a mountain hike. She even attached crampons (ice cleats) to a pair of Zara flatform sneakers for a glacier walk in Iceland.
Vasquez’s passion for rocking conversation-starting soles has garnered her quite the following on TikTok. There, she shares her ever-growing collection with an audience of over 26,000 followers. Colleagues at the cast-iron-skillet company where she works as a videographer in the marketing department also get a kick out of her quirky style. “I definitely push the corporate-dress-code envelope,” she admits.
But that’s nothing new. “I always did push the envelope, even as a kid,” Vasquez recalls. “I wasn’t always comfortable with it, for sure. When I was in high school, Tumblr was really taking off. All these fashion bloggers were getting popular, and I wanted to start dressing differently. Half of me was excited, but the other half was scared because I was made fun of at school. I wore a pair of sequined Ugg boots with my school uniform, and I remember everyone being like, ‘What is she wearing?’ And when combat boots were starting to come onto the horizon, I had a pair of satin Betsey Johnson ones with ruffles and thought they were the coolest things on earth. But I remember my friends making fun of me.”
In time, Vasquez gained strength from the women around her: “My mom, grandma and sister were always very confident in the way they carried themselves, and I mimicked that confidence until I really started to feel it.”
“Now that I’m 26, I just don’t care anymore,” the collector declares. “The people in my life expect me to have a statement piece. And I love that this has become my signature.”
Click through the gallery to see more of Vasquez’s platform collection.
“I loved the Spice Girls and also designer Betsey Johnson,” says Vasquez of a few of her early style inspirations, all well known for their attention-getting garments — and attitudes to match. Given these references, it’s no surprise that there’s also a pair of nostalgia-inducing Powerpuff Girls-themed platforms in her closet.
Taking It in Stride
“Don’t get so caught up in trends,” Vasquez advises. “They are always coming and going. Try to find what you like simply because you like it. People are always going to have something negative to say, but your own opinion is really the only one that matters.”
With the Gang
“Some people are really impressed, while others look at me like I’m an alien or something,” says Vasquez about her collection. “But I don’t care how people react.”
No look is too bold for Vasquez, who says her colleagues love it when she shows up at the office wearing her novelty wardrobe items. Major crowd-pleasers include Sugar Thrillz’s watermelon-design platforms and a watermelon bag by New York-based brand Susan Alexandra.
A penchant for shoes that pop means that Vasquez has not one but two “if money were no object” shoe purchases she’d like to make: the infamous Chanel boots from The Devil Wears Prada and Elle Woods’s pink platforms from Legally Blonde.
Vasquez says the possibilities are endless in terms of what she can fill these clear-soled shoes from YRU with. She purchased them as part of her Willy Wonka Halloween costume.
Rise and Shine
“I actually use what I collect,” Vasquez says of her array of whimsical accessories. She’s even been known to buy two of the same pair — one to wear out to clubs and the other to keep nicer for daywear and display. She’s also mindful of maintaining her pieces, noting that makeup-remover wipes have been useful for getting rid of scuffs after a night out.
Vasquez recalls wearing these pasture-printed platforms from a Delia’s by Dolls Kill collection to a bachelorette party with a cowgirl theme. “The people in my life expect me to have a shoe for every occasion,” she notes.
Vasquez shops mostly online because bricks-and-mortar stores don’t always stock her size 5.
“Two questions that I get asked the most are ‘How do you walk in them?’ and ‘Where did you find those?’” says Vasquez about how others react to her droll footwear.
This article first appeared in FASHION’s March 2023 issue. Find out more here.