On shoes we keep but never wear
I realised, when the man came to measure for new wardrobes, that I have a lot of shoes.
‘How many?’ he asked, looking at what appears to the outsider to be a breeding ground for gold sandals at the bottom of my existing wardrobe.
‘Twenty?’ I suggested. I thought that was generous, given I only ever wear the same four pairs.
He looked at the shoe cupboard hidden around the corner, pointed to the boxes stacked high up in the wardrobe and stroked his chin.
‘Thirty?’ I suggested. His eyebrows rose.
‘Let’s say forty,’ I said. ‘Forty-five?’
But, if the wardrobe designer draws in space for 45 pairs of shoes, it leaves little space in the wardrobe for clothes. So, short of persuading DH to buy a bigger house so I can have an whole extra room solely for my shoes, I decided I’d have to be honest with myself about my footwear, and ditch those I don’t wear.
For there are plenty I keep but never wear:
Shoes you can only stand still in: Usually very high and quite possibly with a bit of platform, these make your legs look like Gisele’s, your ankles look delicate, and take at least 5kgs off your hips. But you can’t walk in them. At all. Occasionally there are events when you just need to stand up and not actually walk anywhere, but events like these are few and far between: usually one does at least need to exit the house and climb into a taxi, lurch to the bar and stagger back to the taxi. Which means this category is out of the question. (For a great example, see this Michael Macintyre sketch – watch from 1 min 27.)
Old designer shoes: You wore these when they were fashionable. In 1999. You got good use from them but, because of how much they cost, you can’t bear to throw them out. You hope they’ll come back into fashion one day and you can pass them on to your daughter, who’ll think you’re über-cool. But let’s face it: it isn’t going to happen.
Beautiful shoes: These are the shoes that you buy when you forget what your life is really like. You see yourself tripping into school to pick up the children in them; you resolve to be a better dressed person; to wear dresses that will complement the beautiful shoes – and then you get the beautiful shoes home and realise that they suit neither your feet nor your lifestyle.
Old favourites: I seem to remember writing about these shoes before. They’re the two per cent of your shoe wardrobe that you’ve actually worn so much they’ve fallen apart. They need to go, too. They do!
Party shoes: Silver flats, silver heels and silver super-high heels (cross-reference with ‘shoes you can only stand still in’). The same set of shoes in gold. And in sparkly black. And red shoes – just the two red pairs, though: high and super-high (cross-reference with ‘old designer shoes’). But how many parties do you attend each year? Really?
Crazy shoes: These are the whacky styles in fun colours that made you smile in the shop. You imagined yourself dressed head to toe in Audrey Hepburn-esque black with a fun pop of colour in the shoe, and you handed over your credit card with a merry toss of your hair. Now the shoes just make you laugh. In a bad way.
Trainers: You know how it goes: you wake up feeling fat; you happen across some trendy running shoes in the shop and you come over all ‘I’m going to start running. I’ll get fit and skinny and have amazing muscles…’ so you buy the trainers. As I said: shoes you keep but never wear.