Listen, I'm not going to pretend I haven't had a lifetime obsession with shoes. I've always loved shoes. I fancy myself sort of a shoe connoisseur. I can tell you what shoe to wear with a tapered pants leg, flared leg, pencil skirts and flowing skirts. With a flared leg you need balance so never wear a stiletto. Always wear a block heel and have the pants hemmed so you only see a peek of the shoe or barely any shoe at all. Whereas a pencil skirt or tapered leg jeans or pants always looks sleeker with a stiletto, slimline shoe, or strappy sandal with a heel. That said, a tapered leg jean or pant with a bulky military style ankle boot somehow works very well. Flowing skirts look great with sandals or shoes with a platform. You can even pair a flowing skirt with a pair of flats, but I'm not a huge fan of flats. I have flats in my shoe wardrobe but they are strictly on a need to wear basis. So you won't hear me talk much about flats.
Now, I admit these are my fashion shoe pairing opinions and suggestions and you can pair your shoes and clothing the way you like and feel most comfortable. But you have to admit anything other than a stiletto or slimline pump or sandal with a pencil skirt looks bulky. Now, that doesn't mean it's wrong....just bulky. But, there's always the exception to every rule and with shoes that exception is WEDGES. Wedges wear well with just about every cut of pant or skirt. But...the thing to remember with wedges is "do you really need that strap around the ankle?" My answer would be "NO." Unless with a flowy skirt. If you are around the 5' 2" height mark like me you know to avoid ankle straps at all cost.
So as you see, to me, shoes are extremely important in styling a look. Shoes can make or break an entire look. So when did my obsession with shoes begin? Well if you know me by now you know I gotta give you the backstory to how it all began.
It started the day I picked out my very first pair of shoes as a child. My mom and I went shopping for school shoes at a popular children's shoe store in Chicago. As I wandered around the shoe store my eyes gravitated to this really oddly different pair of shoes. They were red patent leather, with a mix of a red and white bandana material. I know what you are thinking and yes they sound absolutely awful, but it was the 70's and they were the most spectacular pair of shoes I'd ever laid eyes on. Somehow I was whisked across the shoe room floor and found myself directly in front of the shoes and now had them in my hands. It's like the shoe fairies lifted me from the floor and with a soft blow of fairy dust and air transported me across the room to meet with my new love. And it was definitely love at first sight and I knew I could not leave without my new love. That's when I realized I was in trouble because like I said I was taken to the shoe store for school shoes and my new love had nothing to do with school. But like any girl experiencing love for the first time, I stood firm and was moments from throwing myself on the floor and my mom suddenly said, "OK!!! You can have them!" WHAT??!!! WAIT! WHAT?!! OK!!! WHEW! That was easier than I thought it would be.
But that love was a long time ago, and frankly, I think I only wore them willingly once or twice. Sadly after one or two wears they no longer had the same shine and frankly found them to be a bit...well too odd looking. But my mom forced me to wear them several more times, especially since I stood firm that "I can't leave without this shoe!" Since then my love affair with shoes continued but I became more and more selective about the shoes I would take home and put on my feet. I made sure I picked quality, comfort, style and of course making sure my love was within the right price point, but never cheap. Then one day a new love came into my life and down the rabbit hole I went. Meet my new love...The Luxury Designer Shoe! Oh BOY!!!! This girl was in trouble once again.
Now, admittedly this technically wasn't my first luxury brand shoe. My first lux shoe was a pair of designer shoes my ex purchased for me which I found to be extremely uncomfortable and was agony to wear. The shoe...not the ex. The moment I fell absolutely head over heels in love with a pair of shoes that was like no other was at the Last Call Sale at Neiman Marcus. Now my American friends may be aware of Last Call but for my friends not familiar with this sale I will explain. Neiman Marcus Last Call is the final markdowns for previously on sale items in the store prior to being shipped off somewhere. Often you can find very nice high-quality pieces for moderate prices. So as I perused the racks I suddenly looked and gasped. The New Love Of My Life!!! They were perfect. But then I suddenly remembered what store I was in and stood there in total fear as I coaxed myself to turn the shoe over and look at the price tag. "Please be in my price range!! Please be in my price range!!" Turned over the shoe and... "Damn It Man!!! WHY WHY WHY!!" I put my love back on the rack and felt completely defeated! I can throw myself on the floor all I want, but I'm the only one picking up this bill.
So before I could walk completely away, the salesman came to me and asked: "Why don't you try them on?" Me - "No. I can't because they are completely out of the price range I would pay for a pair of shoes. But they are beautiful." Him - "Doesn't hurt to try." Well, that's the moment when I said to myself "Girl, he does not know you. Do NOT listen to him! Walk away now before anyone gets hurt!" Me - "OK!! I'll try them on!" So now I'm violating my golden rule to never ever try on anything I have no intentions of buying. One, it's a waste of time and two, when you fall in love with something that's not exactly for you, you find all kinds of rational reasons to make irrational decisions. And down the rabbit hole I went!
After trying on the shoes I thanked the salesperson, he gave me his card and off I went with my heart a little broken. As I sat in traffic thinking how sad I was leaving my new love on the rack for possibly someone else to love and enjoy, the rational irrational conversation in my mind began. I began adding up how many pairs of shoes I own? How often do I purchase shoes? Well if I reduce my shoe purchases to only 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 times a year roughly I won't be spending MORE money, just the SAME money on fewer shoes. I mean, how many more shoes could you possibly need?!!!! End of discussion! "Mr. Salesman, can you please hold those for me. I'll be back tomorrow." The next day I went home with my new love and a new fancy for luxury brand shoes. The flame of that love was lit several years ago, and even though the years have passed the flame still burns.
As with my old love, I still look for the same qualities. Comfort (very important), quality (quality isn't always based on price), style (must be timeless), and yes we still consider price point because unfortunately I still have a budget to maintain. I stick to the rule I promised myself that day to buy fewer shoes and focus on buying what I really really want. But with love sometimes you have to do a little thing called "stalking." I will stalk the heck out of a shoe until it goes on sale and is reduced to a price I can live with. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose because either the shoe sells out of my size or I've found a new love to pursue. I can't have them all so sometimes I gotta leave one behind. I've always loved shoes that are a bit different from what everyone else is wearing and the bells and whistles luxury designers add to their shoes make them very special. While it's true many shoe brands recreate or re-design some of the luxury designer brands it still isn't the same. Something is always lacking. I love shoes with bling so I notice the bling is slightly less blingy on the redesigned shoe.
Now don't think I'm a complete luxury shoe snob, I am not and nor can I afford to be only beholden to luxury brands but a girl can dream!!! I've amassed a very nice shoe collection over the years. So many shoes actually I may never have the chance to wear all of them. But being able to add to the collection very special pieces, pieces that I loved first sight, ignites my love of shoes and keeps the passions brewing. Shoes are my art! They are little pieces of art for the feet that are used to express my individual style. Just like art you sometimes stumble upon a piece from your favorite artists/designer that you must purchase and add to the collection. So in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, a girl after my shoe heart, when you see that pair of shoes that makes your heart skip a beat just say - "Helloooo Lover!