A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a TV production company making a show about collectors, and they wanted to interview me about “being a shoe collector”.
I said ‘no’, obviously: partly because the idea of appearing on TV totally terrifies me, but mostly because when I read the email, it made me realise that I’m NOT a “shoe collector” – not any more, anyway.
I realise this is possibly a strange thing to admit: this blog did, after all, begin life as a shoe blog, and I still regularly feature shoes here – because I still LIKE shoes. Quite a lot, actually. I just no longer feel the urge to own as many pairs of them as possible. I used to, of course. If you scroll through the archives of this website, you’ll find countless examples of me buying more and more shoes, and telling everyone about how “you can never have too many pairs, right?!” I’ll just quickly say here that there’s nothing wrong with collecting shoes – or anything else – if that’s what you want to do. I mean, as long as you can afford it, and it’s not getting you into debt, or negatively affecting the quality of your life and relationships, why not?
My shoe collecting wasn’t doing any of those things: but when I really think about it, I’d have to admit that it wasn’t really making me happy, either. Because there’s always another pair of shoes you MUST have, isn’t there? Sure, that newest purchase would be a quick fix for me – I’d feel happy when they arrived, and I’d really enjoy trying them on, and styling them and wearing them. It’s not like that joy would totally disappear, either: I’d love wearing them every time I put them on, and looking at them on the shelves would make me smile.
But there was ALWAYS another pair.
No sooner did I manage to track down that one pair of shoes that I’d convinced myself were going to complete my life, another pair would pop up to replace them. And so it went on. Before I knew it, I had well over 100 pairs of shoes – and it still wasn’t nearly enough. I STILL felt like I had nothing to wear when I was getting dressed in the morning – which even I knew was absolutely ridiculous, wasn’t it?
In an attempt to justify owning all these shoes, I started a Shoe Challenge, with the aim of wearing every single pair of shoes I owned in the space of a year, and documenting the process. It was fun – for a while. But I quickly discovered that forcing myself to wear each pair of shoes, just so I could say I’d done it, actually WASN’T much fun. I told myself it was a good way to challenge myself: to become more creative about putting together outfits to wear with each different pair of shoes, and to stop myself wearing the same things over and over again – which was what I’d been doing before I started the challenge.
What I realised, however, is that I actually LIKE wearing the same things over and over again. That I don’t really NEED to be creative with my outfits. That, actually, I feel at my best, and most stylish, in the simplest outfits I wear – the ones that don’t take too much thought, and which I feel so comfortable in that I end up repeating them on an endless loop. I realised that there’s nothing wrong with that: that fashion blogging had helped convince me that I was letting myself down if I wasn’t constantly “switching it up” and coming up with new ways to wear my clothes and shoes … but that’s not real life, is it? I mean, I’m sure it is for SOME people. I’m sure there are people out there who are really into fashion, and who take a great deal of pleasure in always looking different, but the fact is, I’m not one of them. I don’t really want to have to spend hours thinking about my outfit, just so I can say I never repeat outfits, or that my style is always evolving.
Adidas Superstars c/o Spartoo
Again, I’m not criticism the people who DO want to do those things, and I’m also not criticising those who collect shoes, or other items of clothing. And let’s be honest, it’s not like I’ve done a complete 180, and now I like like some kind of monk, with just a single pair of shoes and a sack for a dress. Hell no: I still enjoy shoes and fashion, and if I was rich, and space wasn’t a consideration, I’d have a closet full of Louboutins, in every shape and colour under the sun. Of course I would. And a closet full of trench coats. And one of stripe dresses. And one for all the skirts. And… you get the idea.
For now, though, that kind of “collecting” isn’t realistic for me, so while I will continue to admire the pretty shoes, and to occasionally buy the ones I love the most (yes, even if I can’t think of a single reason to actually wear them), for now I’m no longer a “shoe collector”.
And I’m perfectly fine with that.