Friday, June 22, 2012
My Life With Shoes
Out of sheer curiosity I decided to count how many pair of black shoes I have readily visible in my closet. I noticed the shelves were a bit dusty and when I picked up a towel to make my shoe haven more pristine, I noticed there were quite a few black shoes and my curiosity was piqued. So, I counted them.
My closet contains 24 pair of readily accessible black shoes including pumps, flats, sandals, and mules. Naturally, this does not include strictly winter footwear, which is properly packed away until the leaves begin to turn. My justification for the abundance of black shoes....black goes with everything and is slimming.
Now, I have no idea just how many pair of shoes I currently have. My color scheme tends towards multiples of blue, brown, red, taupe and animal print. Sometime in the spring there was a purge. To encourage the circulation of good karma, it is my intent to remove an older pair of shoes each time a new pair is introduced to the collection. But in general, at any given time the collection includes in toto somewhere around 150 pair. I've maintained this level of shoe immersion for at least 25 years. This is a long standing affliction – this lust for shoes.
My first inkling of a problem – when I would go to my favorite purveyor of shoes in Plano, Texas back in 1986 and the owner would offer to take my fur coat and hand it in the office so I would be unencumbered while shopping. If I found a style I liked, I would buy it in every color. I still recall a lovely kitten heel pointy toe pump made by Evan Picone (back when Evan Picone was desirable) that I bought in 5 colors. I wish I could find a duplicate of that shoe today! Of course, at that time, we were still dressing for success and John Molloy's recommendations for dressing for the corporate world was the bible. Thou shalt not show toes! It was so cool to be on the calling list whenever a new shipment arrived.
The seminal moment, however, when I knew that I'd reached a point of no return.....when my then husband and I were moving to Taipei, Taiwan in the fall of 1988, I insisted that Rockwell International ship all 160 pair of shoes by air. The company thought I was crazy. Of course, the extent of the Imelda Marco collection was still a state secret. But, there wasn't a long line of sale persons begging to move to a county that the USA didn't recognize, was just lifting marshall law, and still held that any opinion adverse to the ruling party's was a capitol offense. So, they agreed to air ship my shoes while everything else was put on a slow boat to China ( ok – the Republic of China – not to be confused with the People's Republic of China).
One I moved to Asia, I was stymied. The local people had little feet. A size 7 was considered huge. I wear a size 9 American or a 39 European. These sizes were not to be found. I had to order from the US and hope for the best. Once I moved to Hong Kong there were a few shops that would get 1-2 size 9's each season. I haunted the Joan & David Boutique and the Episode shops (a UK based boutique) for those few offerings that would fit. Episode had fabulous D'Orsay kitten heel pumps that I still recall fondly. But, my fix was only sated by occasional trips to the States where I'd come to rely on the shoe department at Nordstrom. If only Zappos had existed in those days.
Which brings me to the present. Zappos!Let's all say it together: “Zappos”. Zappos is shoe nirvana. There are other online site that offer footwear – but none can come close to the offering of Zappos.
Fast free shipping and free returns! The real killer – paying via Pay Pal or Bill Me Later. This is truly a danger zone.
My favorite designers change with the seasons. I've never been inclined to buy “designer” shoes. The likelihood I will step in a metal grate or a gap in the sidewalk is directly proportional to the amount I paid for the shoe The more expensive the shoe, the faster I will step in hazard and scrape the heel. That is not to say I advocate buying cheap shoes. Most synthetics make feet sweat, which causes bacteria to grow, which creates smelly feet. That is a bad thing. I just do not see the point in spending $500 + on a pair of shoes that I will tire of eventually. And, the heels on Manolo's or Choo's are to high for me at this point in my life. There was a time when I thought nothing of running through the Dallas – Fort Worth Airport in 4 1/2 inch heels. Those days are past.
However, there is no need to sacrifice style for comfort in the 21st Century. Manufacturers such as Stewart Weitzman, Donald Pliner, Earthies, Tracy Reese, Josef Seibel, Ecco, and Born design cute shoes at a reasonable price that are comfortable and stylish. Uggs now has boot and clogs that do not resemble cave woman boots; Privo by Clarks offers great alternatives to the ubiquitous sneaker that is a fashion disaster when worn with anything but jeans or shorts. Privo also offers some adorable ballet flats that make fabulous driving or commuter shoes.
The best thing about shoes – you don't have to worry about a few pounds here or there. They will fit and make you happy.
My favorite sites other than Zappos or Nordstrom:
gravevine hill on ebay