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05.01.2011- 'Do I really need another pair of shoes?'

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

I wrote this piece back in August for a competition ELLE magazine was running, and didn't post it here straightaway for fear I might jinx my chances of winning (and because I'm always massively nervous of sharing anything I've written 'proper'). Of course the closing date for the competition has come and gone and I think I can safely assume I didn't win, so I think the time has come to share my entry. The piece could be about anything, as long as it was relevant to the title 'Do I really need another pair of shoes?'

Do I really need another pair of shoes? 
‘Do I really need another pair of shoes?’ The achingly familiar conundrum that confronts us all when we try (and usually fail) to justify yet another splurge on a pair of stilettos, boots or ballet pumps. Shoe guilt. A commonly recognised consequence of spending what is probably too much money on something which will inevitably languish in the labyrinthine recesses of your wardrobe. Despite the self reproach many women feel for indulging in a fetish for footwear, we are as fixated with the shoe today as we have ever been. Although this wardrobe staple has been a functional part of everyday life for centuries (they aren’t called gladiator sandals for nothing, after all), it seems the root of our contemporary obsession with the shoe can be traced back to one person; yes, step forward, Cinderella.  

Cinders and her magical glass slippers cemented the shoe not only as a garment of necessity (after all, what else does one wear to a Royal Ball?) but also as a ticket to bagging Prince Charming. In this fairytale world, nice shoes equal being swept off your feet by a tall dark stranger and, as a result, enjoying a magical reversal of fortune. It really is a no brainer: invest in (or, like Cinders) be gifted with a pair of perfect peeptoes and, sooner or later, you’ll be starring in a fairytale of your own.

On second thought, perhaps that’s just me being an old romantic, but it is impossible to deny that Cinderella certainly played her part in transforming the humble shoe into an icon, both in style terms and in popular culture. From Dorothy’s ruby slippers, to Audrey’s ballet flats and from Marylin’s notoriously wiggle enhancing stilettos to Carrie Bradshaw’s closet full of Manolos, the statement shoe is now a firm part of our fashion consciousness. It is the ultimate accessory when it comes to feeling confident, glamorous and sophisticated, allowing you to channel a touch of the aforementioned goddesses, and has become as important as the designer dress on red carpets and in luxury wardrobes the world over.

Despite the inevitable kudos which comes with wearing the latest ‘must-haves’, whether they be a pair of Chanel clogs, fiery soled Louboutins or Givenchy gladiators, indulging in a good pair of shoes is far from a frivolous. Ask any woman to deconstruct her shoe collection and you soon realise that every precious pair tells a story. From the £2 Primark flip-flops that you wore to death on that unforgettable beach holiday, to the designer heels you treated yourself to for achieving something special, each and every member of your shoe collection acts as a tangible reminder of the events that have shaped your life and, by extension, shaped you. When you come across those killer (no, really, killer) heels you wore on that brilliant night out with your best friends, you blank out the bruises and the blisters as you reminisce about dancing until dawn. Those trusty holiday shoes may stink to high heaven and be falling to bits, but parting with them is an idea you won’t even entertain. Every part of your collection is special as every pair is an artefact of your experiences, achievements and a testament to the milestones you’ve reached; your shoe collection is, in short, your own personal little museum.

I remember when I first visited New York: I was sixteen, had just left school and was unbelievably excited to be travelling to the city I’d always, always wanted to visit. For the entire time I was there, I lived in a pair of gold ballet flats, walking around Manhattan in them day after day until they were more or less welded to my feet. Those shoes saw Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, scaled The Empire State Building and browsed the department stores of Fifth Avenue. They had been on an international adventure all of their own and saw me blissfully blister free through what was, on reflection, a formative experience of my teenage years. Now whenever I spy them in my wardrobe, they bring back only the fondest of memories and I expect I’ll take them back to Manhattan with me if (or rather, when) I’m lucky enough to go back.

So, the next time you find yourself umm-ing and aahh-ing over whether you do really need another pair of shoes, don’t just think about the practicalities, like how much of a dent they’ll put in your bank balance, but think about the infinite, untapped possibilities that come with a new pair of shoes. Whether you’re thinking about treating yourself to a classic pair of Chanel pumps, pondering some Jimmy Choos, or simply deliberating what colour Havianas to pick up before jetting off to some far flung paradise, remember that in good shoes, anything is possible. Hell, you might even meet your very own Prince Charming.

I hope that wasn't too boring a read for you! I'd love to know what you think.

Have you ever entered a competition?

(Image credit: Google.)

19 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed reading this, if you didn't win (there might still be a chance!) you should send it off to all the top magazines as an exmaple of what you can do. I'm sure someone will be in contact with you to write a piece. It fitted the brief perfectly.
    If they don't pick yours I'm sure they would pick something boring about not buying expensive shoes because of the economy.
    xx

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  2. i love that you incorporated or blamed Cinderella, lol - toooo cute. i have already found my prince charming so i pretty much wear what ever shoe i want. and i say that because there are some pairs that he finds questionable hehe. i enjoyed this post A LOT, thanks!

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  3. obviously i'm quite a shoe fan (just look at my blog name!) and i really enjoyed reading this, i love the mentions of cinderella and SATC and think its a really well written piece. You may still have a chance of winning yet!
    anyway this has easily convinced me to become a follower :) x

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  4. It was so nice to read this! You have a great blog! ;)
    www.vanillamouth.blogspot.com

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  5. I have throughly enjoyed reading this post. I think at lot of shoe addicts can definately relate, myself included.
    You have such a lovely blog too.

    L x

    http://goodladyliberty.blogspot.com/

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  6. I thought you mind find this of interest, theres another elle writing competition, you can win a fashion intership at elleuk.com. All you have to do is write a 200 submission about the spring/summer 2011 trends and a CV by the 28th of January.
    You can view the details here:
    http://intern.elleuk.com/

    L x

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  7. What a great read! I mean that! very good indeed :)

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  8. You have a lovely blog dear!

    http://www.hsquaredfashion.blogspot.com

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  9. really enjoyed this post :) and personally I always need new shoes hahha
    love the blog btw, you have some really amazing finds on here, will definately follow you :)
    http://strayfromthemode.blogspot.com/

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  10. it was really nice to read what you've written!
    I love your blog!

    xx
    caughtinvogue.blogspot.com

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  11. This is brilliant piece of fashion writing. It's witty, inspiring anf very relevant to the modern woman.
    Plus the abundant pop culture references make for a reader-friendly piece.
    This is lovely.
    I'm definatly going to follow for inspiration with my own writing.
    i have a new post up on my blog. drop by if you like, or follow me – it would make my day! http://sartorialstardom.blogspot.com/
    twitter @cathodgkin

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  12. If you didn't win,they the suck. Big time. I really like your entry , it's really nice . And I love the last part of it.

    And yes, I have participated in thousands of contests,but I really haven't won anything than school competitions (English and Romanian).

    alexandra @
    shoependant.blogspot.com

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  13. yeeeess! how can we live WITHOUT shoes?!

    Vicky
    new post:Alternative straps&follow me

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  14. Wow brilliant post, I can't believe they haven't been in-touch!

    Happy New Year hun, looking forward to reading more of your posts in 2011 xxx

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  15. i loved reading this! Now I'm going to think about the "untapped possibilities" when I shop for shoes! you should definitely send this off to other magazines. You're a natural fashion writer!

    love
    sherry

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  16. great post & blog. and no, it wasn't boring:)

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  17. thank you for your lovely comment on our blog! its much appreciated <3

    we'll be back to visit you soon!
    xo, camilla & valerie
    abutterflybyday.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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