Shoeperwoman to the Rescue: To Keep or Return – Marks and Spencer peep toe boots

Emily writes:

Dear Shoeperwoman,

I’m in a bit of a pickle. I purchased these shoes the other day from Marks and Spencer, but am now unsure as to whether to keep or return them. I’m like them, but don’t know whether they’ll be too quirky to be a versatile addition to my shoe collection. What do you think?

Many thanks 


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I probably shouldn’t be billing this post as a “To the Rescue”, because I really think this is a personal taste/style thing, and that only you can really know how much use you’ll get out of a certain item. I can tell you that, for me, these probably wouldn’t get a lot of use, because they wouldn’t work well with my personal style, but without knowing what kind of look you tend to go for, and what’s in your closet, it’s hard to know how well they’d work for you.

In this case, I think the best I can do (other than asking for the opinions of my lovely readers, of course) is to tell you how I decide whether to buy or not to buy a pair of shoes. Actually, my Shoe Challenge has really changed the way I shop for shoes. These days, I’m much more likely to deliberate over the purchase, and to ask myself how often I’ll realistically get to wear the shoes in question. For this reason, many pairs of beautiful shoes that I’d normally have purchased in the blink of an eye have been left on the shelf, because I just know I wouldn’t ever get round to wearing them.

These days I tend to ask myself two questions before making a purchase:

1. Does it make my heart flutter?

You all know what I mean by this: every so often you’ll walk into a store (or click onto a website), see a particular item and just think “YES. THAT. MUST. HAVE.” It’s the shoe that’s perfect in every way: as soon as you see it, you know you love it, and as you’re walking to the register to pay for it, you’re already thinking “I could wear these with my…” or “These will be perfect for that…” These shoes are always worth buying (assuming they’re within your budget), even if you don’t instantly know when and how you’ll wear them, purely because if you don’t buy them, you’ll regret it. And you’ll regret it even more when you go back the next week and discover they’re sold out in your size. Then you’ll find yourself paying three times full retail for them on eBay, because you lay awake thinking about those shoes and berating yourself for not just buying them when you had the chance.

(I’m speaking totally hypothetically, here, by the way. I mean, it’s not like that has actually happened to me. Ahem.)

In other words: BUY THE SHOES.

2. Will I wear them all the time?

At least once a year, I buy a pair of totally plain, gold leather ballet flats, and often a pair of totally plain black ones, too. Gold ballet flats don’t make my heart flutter. Neither do black ones. They don’t rock my world. I buy a pair every year (or sometimes more often), though, because I wear those shoes until they, quite literally, fall apart. They’re not fun, but damn, they’re useful, so when I see them, I buy them (You’d think it would be easy to find the perfect pair of gold ballet flats, but you would be wrong…) because I know that even if I don’t need them rightthatverysecond, I will need them soon.

This is the criteria by which I buy shoes (and most other things, now I come to think of it).  To answer Emily’s question, it doesn’t sound like the shoes in question fall into either of these categories, so my instinct would be to say “return”, but as I said, only YOU can know how much use you’ll get out of them.

What does everyone else think? Should Emily keep or return the shoes?


  • I don’t know either. I have a £25 M & S voucher and have looked at these but couldn’t bring myself to buy them. I think that says a lot, even when they’re free, I still haven’t got them! Now, their red spotty peep toes, that’s a different matter!

  • I personally like them ! But i’d say it all depends on what clothes you wear and how many outfits these shoes would go with…

  • I am very much of the opinion that hybrids (peep toes/boots, Flip flop/heels, trainer/heels) are fun for a while but date very quickly. Much better to invest in something classic with a twist in a quirky colour of with exquisite detailing that will not scream summer 2010 everytime you look at them. For that reason these for me are a RETURN!

  • First of all, I don’t really like this kind of style, but that’s beside the point…

    I usually think the same way as our beloved Shoeperwoman: if they don’t make my heart flutter (whether it’s because of shape or colour), I don’t buy them. Actually, you usually realize whether you shouldn’t have bought them the second you pay for them. In Belgium, when you pay with your card, there’s a little bleepbleep sound when your payment gets accepted. If my heart does not get a tiny jolt at that moment, I might as well not even bother to walk out of the store with the newly purchased shoes/clothes/etc, but return them right away.

    It’s a bit like love: when you know, you know…

  • I actually think that, in the right kind of wardrobe, these peeptoe boots could really work. Either with a dress or jeans. I don’t really think peeptoe boots are that bad. Especially since these are a kind of nude colour, they could work on breezier days. (But definitely not with tights.)

    Also, Emily, would you consider these shoes expensive for your budget? If they’re the normal price you’d pay for shoes, and you’re not sure, then return them. But if they’re cheaper than your usual budget, then by all means, try out this trend.

  • If the upper is a sort of canvas material (I can’t quite tell from the picture) I’d say that makes them summery enough to reduce the severity of the PTB crime. Saw a woman wearing fawn lattice suede PTBs yesterday and they could have been interpreted as closed style sandals.

    Regarding these, I wouldn’t wear them myself but could see them going with a number of outfits…

  • Thanks shoeperwoman and everyone for your comments. I decided that I did like the shoes (despite being dreaded peep toe boots!) But I then spotted a pair that fitted much better with my wardrobe. My sister also spotted a fatal flaw… I am forever spilling drinks and well basically everything… that will not mix well with the canvas, so I returned them and purchased these in cream at new look instead…

    bargain 🙂

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