tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Do I Have a Problem?

Lately I’ve been wondering if I have a shoe problem. I’ve thrown out a lot of shoes recently, approximately 8 pairs. Which sounds pretty good, except that I’ve bought almost as many. So, last week, I counted my shoes, and I own 45 pairs (which has since increased to 47). I tried to figure out if this is good or bad. I mentioned it to my mother, and she called me “Imelda,” which is totally unfair since Imelda Marcos had like 10,000 pairs of shoes and I’m sure she never even wore most of them, so the comparison is way off.

Yes, 45 may seem like a lot of shoes. But it’s all relative. So, I surveyed a few girlfriends. June estimates that she has between 80 and 100 pairs. She couldn’t do a more accurate count, because she’s moving and most of them were packed. But she made me feel much better. BB has 55 pairs, but she’s in the process of culling. Baby only has 20, which surprised me, since it seems on the low side. Mary Ann estimates that she has 25 pairs, of which 99% are black and 60% are Mary Janes. Schadenfreude has 12 to 15 pairs, but felt she would have more if she worked in an office and didn’t live in a country where shoes are really expensive. Also, she’s the complete opposite of a packrat and gets rid of everything*. The Redhead has about 25 pairs, but she has bought very few shoes in recent years since moving to a region where shoes in her (perfectly normal) size are hard to come by.

So, out of the six I polled (a fairly representative sample, spanning several fields of employ and three continents), two have more shoes than I do. Clearly, I don’t have a problem. Or maybe I do. Because when I took a good long look at my shoes, I realized something: They’re all pretty similar. For example, I own five pairs of black Mary Janes. But they’re all unique and essential to my shoe collection. One is a half patent/half regular leather spectator MJ with a walkable 2.5-inch heel. They’re my “everyday” MJs. Then there are the 4-inch heel ones with an ivory rosette on the buckle. They’re adorable, but the rosette makes them less versatile, so I don’t wear them as much. The third pair is patent leather wedge platforms. I can’t really walk in them, and they nearly led to my being hit by a car, but I can’t seem to give them up. The fourth pair are patent leather peep toes. They’re the closest I could find in my price range to this pair of Louboutins I’d been eyeing, and I lurve them. Then are the most recent arrivals, suede platforms with bows on the straps. They’re adorable, and I haven’t exactly gotten around to wearing them yet. But I totally will.

And I wear a lot of my shoes regularly. Since starting my new job, I’ve worn 12 different pairs of shoes to work. Which means I’ve worn more than 25% of my shoe collection, which is an excellent number.

Why I think I may have a problem is this: the idea that somehow a pair of shoes is going to change my life. Recently, I was at the new Zara downtown. I saw a pair of ivory patent leather peep toes. I looked at them for a minute, said “eh,” and then put them back on the shelf. By the next morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I was utterly convinced that a pair of ivory patent leather shoes was going to change my life. They would work with all the outfits that don’t seem to work with anything else. So, I rushed back there that night. They still had the shoe in my size, so I excitedly tried them on. And they were awful. They did nothing for my legs. They were extremely uncomfortable. And they apparently weren’t going to change my life. I was totally bitter.

But now I do think that the perfect pair of ivory patent leather shoes is sorely needed, even if that wasn’t the pair. And, really, I’ve been trying to cut back. Although cutting back for me somehow means that in the last three months, I’ve filled all the spots on my Loehmann’s frequent shoe shopper card and my next pair is 50% off.

Of course, cutting back doesn’t exactly mean cold turkey for me. When it was raining nonstop recently, I realized that I need a pair of rainboots so as not to ruin my precious shoe collection in inclement weather. So, I found a cute pair of rainboots, and then I just had to check out all the other shoes on the site, and I found this one really cute pair that I liked, and they were on sale, and they were named after me. I figured that was a sign from God. I mean really, how often do you find Lady Tiara peep toes?

Sadly, the Lady Tiara shoes arrived and they didn’t quite fit, and it seemed like the next size up would be too big, so they’re going back. But that’s ok. I have my eye on these adorable Mary Janes…

*I admire this sort of minimalism, and I wish I could emulate it. Instead, I hang onto shoes that I’ve had for years and hardly ever wear just because they match one thing I own.

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  • At 11/6/07, 1:23 PM, Blogger JordanBaker said…

    Off the top of my head, I think I'm currently at 41--not counting bedroom slippers. But I could easily be forgetting several pairs of black heels.

  • At 11/6/07, 8:30 PM, Blogger schadenfreude said…

    You're right, I have that rare genetic defect that makes me a "purge rat" instead of the normal pack rat".

    My lust for shoes seems to have shifted to lust for winter coats. I own an embarrassing number, but I'm sure you're close!

    How exciting that you have ZARA now in DC, how's that working out for you?

  • At 11/6/07, 11:40 PM, Blogger Lady Tiara said…

    jb: i've come to the conclusion that anything in the 40s is just fine.

    schadenfreude: i wish i could be like you. i have a lot of winter coats. but that's partly because i rarely throw them out.

    zara is pretty cool, but the sizing is so hit or miss that i walk out empty-handed most of the time. i did get a super-cute patent leather satchel recently. i love it.

  • At 11/7/07, 2:14 PM, Blogger LJ said…

    I agree - wearing 25% of ones collection is good. I myself have about 45-50 shoes as well. I refuse to be shoe-shamed :)


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