Christian Louboutin ‘Pigalle': my favourite shoes!
As some of you will have seen from my New Year’s Eve post, the end of 2012 also meant the end of my 3rd Shoeper Shoe Challenge, in which I pledged to wear every single pair of shoes in my collection at least once in the space of a year – or give them away if I didn’t manage it.
With 112 pairs of shoes to get through, and a year in which the rain frequently made wellies the only sensible choice, that was actually a tougher challenge than it might sound. Nevertheless, having started in March 2012, I actually managed to finish early, wearing (and “saving”) the final pair of shoes in my collection on New Year’s Eve of the same year.
Now, technically speaking, the Shoe Challenge shouldn’t have ended there: it was really supposed to last for a year, which means that if I was playing strictly by the rules, I’d be obliged to go on until mid-March, adding any new pairs of shoes to my total and duly “saving” them. When I reached the point where I’d worn all of the pairs I owned at the time, though, I decided to bend the rules and declare myself done. Yes, it’s technically “cheating”, but after three years of back-to-back shoe challenges, I hope you’re all willing to forgive me.
You see, I had never really intended to do this challenge at all. Back in March, when I launched it, and invited other shoe lovers to take part in it, I initially said I wouldn’t be taking part myself. In retrospect, I should have stuck to that decision, but I let myself get carried away with the excitement of the new challenge, and before I knew what I was doing, I was into my 3rd challenge in a row: uh-oh!
The fabled Zara asymmetric pumps!
From the first two challenges, I learned a lot about shopping more sensibly, only buying the shoes I knew I would wear, rather than impulse buying anything that caught my eye, and not allowing the lure of a bargain to coax me into thinking I absolutely MUST HAVE a pair of shoes I’d never actually wear. There’s no doubt in my mind that these are all good lessons, which were well worth learning, but this challenge taught me something different.
From year 3 of the Shoe Challenge, I mostly learned that when you force yourself to wear 112 pairs of shoes within a certain time frame, you may be “saving” the shoes from being left on the shelf, but you’re also taking away some of the enjoyment of owning them in the first place. A much wetter than average summer, combined with a (possibly) larger-than-average collection of summer shoes, meant that I really struggled to find opportunities to wear them all: that wasn’t because I’d bought shoes I didn’t like, or because I didn’t know how to style them – it was simply because of the weather. The knowledge that I had only a very limited time in which to wear all of the peep toes and sandals meant than when we did get a rare dry day, rather than simply enjoying wearing whatever I felt like wearing, I felt obliged to “save” another pair of shoes. There were definitely some days when I found myself wearing shoes I didn’t really want to wear, or which possibly weren’t the best possible choice for my outfit, purely because I knew that if I didn’t wear them then, I might not get another chance. Pretty silly, huh?
Christian Louboutin ‘Very Very’ wedges
Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t all bad. As with the previous two challenges, I found it forced me to dream up new ways to wear each pair of shoes, and to be a little more creative with my outfits, rather than simply reaching for the same old “favourite” things over and over again. More than anything else, I think doing this challenge has had a big impact on my personal style, and it’s also helped me to be less of an impulse shopper when it comes to shoes. For those reasons alone, I think it’s something that’s worth doing at least once – I just think that once in three years is probably enough for anyone! By the time I reached the end of this third challenge, I was more than ready to go back to simply enjoying my shoes, without having to worry about “saving” them, and for that reason, I can say for sure that I will definitely NOT be doing this particular challenge for a 4th year, although I’m more than happy to continue hosting a space on the shoe forum for anyone who wants to have a go – and, of course, for those of you who started later than I did, and who aren’t done yet.
Topshop Barley2 boots
I may not be planning to take this particular challenge again, but I AM keen to continue with SOME kind of Shoeper Shoe Challenge for 2013 – I just need to work out what it’s going to be! So far I’m thinking of some kind of monthly shoe styling challenge, in which everyone taking part would agree on a particular colour/style/type of shoe to wear each month, and then post their photos on a designated day, but I’m totally open to suggestions, so feel free to post them either here or in the forum. Most of all, I’d really like the next challenge to be another one which my readers can participate in too, so I’d love to hear your suggestions!
As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and generally being part of the Shoe Challenge: now on to the next one!