Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Validation! Or justification?! Plus June wrap up

Did you see this survey released yesterday?

Women Spend $25,000 on Shoes Over Lifetime

Aha! I am nowhere near that amount! A British insurance company called (though I could not find the original survey on the website) surveyed 3,000 British women. The average number of pairs of shoes is ~ 19: three with heels; six flip flops, flats, sandals or wedges; three pairs of boots; four pairs of sexy shoes; two pairs of sensible work shoes; and roughly two random purchases.

The lifetime tally of shoes is about 469 pairs, at roughly $53 per pair. The women surveyed buy about 7 pairs of shoes a year, starting at 14 (first purchase without mom).

So, what I don't get is 469 pairs over a lifetime, but only owning 19! Well, mathematically they surveyed women of all ages, and you acquire more shoes as you age - it would be more interesting to me to know how many pairs of shoes the average 40 year old owned. This makes my 150+ seem right in the norm! Especially considering I never discard any and my average price is ~$35.

I've been meaning to write about the (intentionally) shoe deprived among us. One of my non blogging friends, Helen, told me she had only 5 pairs. This caused me a lot of anxiety. So much so that I told her I had to blog about her and she said it was ok. Look, if you have 5 pairs of shoes, this is what you own: one pair athletic shoes, one pair outdoorsy sandals (tevas and the like), and one pair of work shoes, probably black, that are overworn and because they must match everything they actually match nothing. The other two pairs I hope are a pair of heels (again, black to match everything), and....I don't even know. What would your 5th pair be? Hopefully something else for daily wear, just to give your feet (and your co-workers) a break.

In 30 days of shoe note-taking, I've not worn one of those standard pairs!

I used to work with a woman who had 8 pairs. *shudder* The shoes she wore to work were quite possibly among the ugliest shoes I have ever seen.

It's not that I think everyone should own 150 pairs. I think an ideal number, for my age group, is more like 40 or so, to add in some fun shoes, to allow brown and blue into your wardrobe, to celebrate seasons, to own at least one pair of tall boots for pete's sake!

Ultimately, look, I'm no fashion plate, fashion snob, or shallow image is everything person. I try to write here, with varying degrees of success, in a faux mock-umentary style, recognizing the absurdity of my various collections. When it comes to shoes, you are more than physical appearance, without a doubt. But yet, we live in a visual society, where appearances do matter to some degree. So ultimately I think there are two sides to paying attention to your shoes. First, in thinking about the image it projects - what do you want your attire to say about you? I think it's fine if you want it to say: I do not care about spending time or money on my attire, I have loftier pursuits. But there are different ways to do that. And second, and even as important - what level of pleasure do you want to receive from looking put together, in clothes and shoes and accessories that are flattering?

And so my June wrap up:
29 pairs of shoes, 1 barefoot day, 1 repeat day, 1 day with two shoes
total price: $684.75

For an average cost of $23.61 (woot!)

One pair in donation pile (I am going to have a scar!)
2 pairs in repair pile (reheeled and evaluated to be resewn)
2 undecided (too small sneaks and out of date chunky heels)

8 from Talbots, 5 from Naturalizer, 3 from LOFT, 3 Bandolino, 2 Coach

7 with high heels, 14 low heels, 8 flats
5 black, 5 brown, 19 various colors

0 purchases
2 under consideration. Yes, now cyber stalking two pairs. The brown polka dots, and these. Don't you love them? (cyber stalking means I look at them online every day (or almost every day) and think about buying them. Under $35 and free shipping is my typical threshhold, which both of these meet, but it's hard to buy shoes with you all watching). It is hard to buy shoes knowing I've already bought 9 pairs in 2010, you all are watching and my budget is tight. And yet we head into massive sale season. I might not be able to hold out in July.

Oh, also, there was a peek at the mountain of shoes in the house.

June 30 - wedge

What: Size 8 wedge light brown 2.5 inch heel sandals
From: Naturalizer (outlet)
Purchased: August '07
Cost: $18

Short and sweet after yesterday's long post. Bought these with PJ on our summer vacation - Ryan and PJ came to our rental in OC, and OJ and I took off, leaving Rich and Ryan with the 4 girls while we went to the outlets in Rehoboth. We hit the sweet spot of summer sales - super markdowns, and still a lot left. PJ scored outfits for their girls for years out (buying bigger sizes). E can still wear a lot of the little clothes I got her that day. This was my only purchase for myself, I am pretty sure. We stuck to the kids shops.

These shoes are just not that comfortable for a lot of walking. Wedges are supposed to be comfortable. In thinking about yesterday's shoes, one of the problems is my (high) arch doesn't fit into the shoes curve at all, which in turn puts more pressure on my toes, which press against the webbed leather. Also - this is part of my brown problem - see my pants are dark brown, and these are lighter brown. I never know what to wear them with. But they are cute, so they'll stay.

Bottom line: keeper

June 29 - sad but true

What: size 7.5 brown 2.5 inch heeled sandals
From: I think Nine West, and I think Hecht's
Purchased: very early in my DC life - '94, '95, possibly '96
Cost: actually not sure, but likely $32 (39.99 sale, plus 20% off coupon)

When I was pregnant with Elizabeth I learned a scary, scary thing - some women's feet grow during pregnancy. This scared the crap out of me, given my investment in my shoe wardrobe. Why? This site explains it pretty well. Even though '05 was hot as hell, I continued to wear all of my shoes (except this one pair) until the last week of pregnancy. I was hopeful that continuing to cram my feet into my shoes, they wouldn't be able to permanently stretch. That seemed to work, but unfortunuately I did not take the same precautions with Andrew's pregnancy, and I am forced to admit that my feet have definitely grown - just a bit - in the past few years. I've always been inbetween a 7.5 and 8, and depending on the shoe, the brand, and the style have chosen between those two sizes. If my feet weren't wide, I'd probably more often be a 7.5, but the width means shoes with straps over the widest part of me feet generally have to be a little larger.

What does that have to do with this pair? Well, I've had them forever. So long, and so integrated into my wardrobe I have no idea when I got them. The chunky heel definitely dates them to mid-90s. I've had them so long, they're actually the pair I've done the most repair on. Aggie chewed them a bit, so I know that by summer '97 they were favorites. I had the insole replaced, so not sure of the brand, but am pretty confident it's Nine West. The repair also smoothed the heel and repaired most of the Aggie damage. The repair didn't cost much - less than the cost of a new pair, even with my exacting standards of cheapness. Which reminds me of the green saying: reduce, reuse, recycle. It forgets the other 're' - repair. We live in a throwaway society, where repair is often seen as not worth the effort. Shoe repair shops are generally interesting places, and the skill involved is an art. Repair your shoes if it's an easy fix! My most common repair is new taps on the heel - don't know what that thing is called now, but the plastic/rubber doohickey that is on the bottom of the heel. Cheap to replace, and shoes good as new. I should get guards put on the front as I'm constantly banging up the front of pointy toes, but I rarely do.

Anyway, can you tell in the picture that the top portion is actually two separate, but very close together, bands? It's an odd design - as your foot bends and flexes, those two very close together bands pinch the top and sides of your foot ever so slightly, creating a row of tiny blisters. It was always a given that the first wearing would result in pain, but eventually I'd develop a faint tough line on my feet from wearing them (doesn't that sound appealing?).

It's been awhile since I've worn them - that chunky heel really is out of date. And so, cramming them on today, I realized that my feet are indeed just slightly larger than they were in the 90s. I was able to wear them, but could not get them on properly - the arch of my foot couldn't just quite reach the sweet spot of the curve of the heel for the fit I'd been used to. And I did get a few tiny blisters (gone by this morning).

These live under my bed. Given their history, I can't quite get rid of them yet, but they probably need to go - style-wise, they're done. Size-wise, it's probably not smart to hope I'll lose a small layer of fat on my feet. Sigh.

Bottom line: back under the bed, until I really need the space

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28 - purple non-quest

What: size 8 purple slip on sandals
From: No idea on brand (it’s worn out) but I purchased from a small independent shop in Friendship Heights
Purchased: ’01 or ‘02
Cost: $22

I used to wear these shoes at least once a week in the summers. Loved them. Love purple shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever had a purple quest (specifically looking for them), but rather I’ve never turned purple shoes down when offered them at a great price. I used to wear these with a pair of light green Capri pants that have purple polka dots. Indeed. I will make an excellent retiree in palm beach someday. The stitching holding the left top piece together is almost gone, and I wonder if these shoes will simply die one day, mid stride. I think they might be fixable? They are really comfortable – haven’t worn them in forever only because of worries of breakage.

Bottom line: they have to go into a repair stack if I truly want to keep them

June 27 - more slip ons

What: size 8 blue suede scuffs
From: ? Not sure – I think from outlets in Florida
Purchased: ~’98?
Cost: ? not sure – I think around $20

My memory fades as the shoes age. I do remember my sister once was about to throw out a pair of slides from Adidas, when I stopped her – they were perfectly fine scuffs, if a little worn. So she ended up giving them to me, and I literally wore them out until the strap holding them together broke. This was pre-Cros, but those rubber slides, that she wore to swim practice, were awesome, in the way that crocs are awesome: ugly, but hugely comfortable. Knowing the slides would die eventually, I had a short quest for replacements in the late 90s (including the first and only pair of shoes Rich has given me). So, these. There is something……oddly stiff about the white fabric at the front and back of the top piece. It doesn’t give. At all. These shoes should be super comfortable, and they aren’t. They were fine for the pool today. They’d be awful for any period of walking.

Bottom line: sigh, keeper. I don’t know why.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26 - another flip flop day

What: size 8 orange leather flip flops
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: '09
Cost: $14

I've been holding these for a day just like today, though today did not turn out as planned. We were going to camp in a friend's backyard, but Andrew's come down with a virus and the pediatrician today said: definitely contagious, stay home. These are part of the small rotation that I was wearing all spring that caused Rich to say I only wore a small percentage of my shoes (little did he - or I - know how right he was). I liked these so much when I saw the yellow ones at the outlet even cheaper this spring, I bought them too. Wish I had bought the blue ones, too. But that's how I got into my current shoe situation!

Bottom line: keeper!

June 25 - the orange quest

What: size 7.5 strappy 2 inch heels orange sandals
From: Aerosoles (outlet)
Purchased: early 00's
Cost: $18

I used to be on an orange shoe quest (something to do with UVA football game attire, I think) and these are great looking sandals. Hmm, if I was really organized, I'd do my shoe exploration by color. A little tight, and too fussy with a buckle, but they look good. I like them. But another example of shoes that are now a little too casual for meetings, but too dressy for kicking around the house.

Bottom line: easy, definite keeper

Friday, June 25, 2010

So where do I keep all these shoes?

After numerous references to storing shoes, I thought I should illustrate my shoe storage system (or lack thereof). I'll be honest: It's really an effort of containment. Let me also guess how many shoes are in each location (I didn't count all of them).

A few years ago I got a shoe storage dresser. It's supposed to neatly hold 24 pairs. I currently have 31 shoved in there.

I stack up boxes next to the shoe thing (10), plus there's a lot of shoes jumbled up on the floor in between the boxes and a jewelry armoire (25?), not to mention stuffed under the armoire.
There's a stack of boxes next to my dresser, not to mention the shoes lined up under the dresser or jumbled by the side (~22):

And another box stack between the radiator and window (11):
The closet has a hanging shoe bag (~10):
There are also boxes along the top shelf of the closet (11):
And shoe underbed thing that contains brown shoes only (11). There also an unphotographed boot box under the bed (3):
And finally, the closet in Elizabeth's room. There's an overdoor shoe thing-y (13), plus another hanging shoe thing in the closet itself (10).
I really need to get rid of the shoes in Elizabeth's room (either by getting rid of them or storing them someplace else!). I haven't worn any of the over door shoes in years. Most are fall/winter shoes, actually.

There are other shoes on the floor of the closet (~10).

So let's see, that makes 31+10+25+22+11+10+11+11+3+13+10+10=



Whoa. I really did not think it was that many. I did an official count about 4 years ago and got the 125 number. So, ~10 new pairs a year since then, so yep. Wow. I need to get more serious about getting rid of shoes.

I really need to stop buying shoes. And yet I'm still thinking about those brown polka dot ones. Which I do not need unless I start worknig in an office, and even then, I do not need them. I suppose I should feel badly about money. But, you know what, I really cannot feel bad about spending what amounts to $30 a month on a new purchase for me.

There are definitely shoes to cull in this mix, so stay tuned next week for giveaways (though I seem to have blog friends with freakishly small feet) and more for the donation pile.

June 24 - more extravangace

What: Size 8, lilac/pink and red cross strap wooden heels with studs sandals
From: Coach (Lord and Taylor)
Purchased: summer '04
Cost: ~$85

My only other pair of designer shoes, a total extravagance. Like the other pair of Coach shoes, also purchased at first markdown from L&T. I usually scoff at first markdown, but I saw these shoes and loved them. My friend Therese once asked me about keeping older things, and made the point of items going out of style. Which is a very valid point, but I don't operate at the edge of trendiness. I work in the classics, the basics. I don't snap things up pre-season, I buy them end of season (which is usually actually mid-season! Why summer sales start in July is crazy to me from a seller's perspective, but as a buyer I love it) and wear them the next year. I do have some shoes that were once wildly popular but now extremely dated (platforms!), but really, most of what I've worn so far this month is fairly timeless. Every once in a while though I get caught up. I saw these and for whatever reason fell in love. I've always thought they were way awesome-er than anyone else ever has - I've never gotten the compliments on them I think they deserve. But I love them. Haven't worn them for a while, so busted them out yeterday. The suede straps were stiff, but quickly loosened up and they were as comfortable as I remembered. Sure, perhaps dated, and they also need to be reheeled, but I still love them. And I have a summer skirt in those exact colors!

Bottom line: Keeper. But tell me, do you think they are dated?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 23 - new (sorta) - and some updates

What: size 8.5 white/pink flip flops
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: ~1998
Cost: $6.50

So 23 days in and I struggle a bit with really casual shoes. We headed out to the baseball park on a 95 degree day and I needed something super easy and cool to wear. I rejected some shoes with heels and was a bit stymied, but then remembered these. I bought them a long time ago at the Talbots Outlet store, on a visit with my friend Kristen. They were marked $26 dollars, but 75% off. I only remembered they were super cheap (in my memory they were $8) - I've never worn them and the price tag was still on! They were a little big, and then I had my orthotic/back issue, so they've been living in a box for the past 12 years or so. I had been thinking about trying to sell them on Craig's List, but they were a great choice. I probably should have sold them, but the challenge had to be met!

- Pink sneakers: Here's the thing. People who keep things and people who get rid of things can never really understand each other. I simply cannot get rid of a perfectly good pair of shoes. It makes me slightly anxious (but what if I need them?) to think about discarding perfectly fine anything. And so, if I know you are a non-cluttered person and you say get rid of them with no analysis why, I am sorry to say I pretty much discount your opinion as you'd say that about any pair! I need reasons to get rid of them. TSM hit it - the heel overhang really is an issue. So, um, I will keep thinking about it. Though seriously? That pic from '07? I distinctly recall being dissatisfied with those shoes that day.

- strap sandals: I forgot to put a bottom line. Keeping. I wore them yesterday in the morning to walk to Target. Straps definitely tight in extreme heat, but sandals are cute. And all together now: Not that uncomfortable!

- overall: 23 days, 22 pairs of shoes, 1 definitely donated, 1 needs to be re-heeled, 1 undecided, 0 purchases, though 1 in consideration. And no worries about running out of options.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My secret superpower is remembering prices. I can do it with clothes, too - 'I like your shirt.' 'Thanks, $6, JC Penney.' It also helps to remember that milk is on sale this week for 3.99 at HT, while rolls are on sale at G for 1.99, etc, etc. Though my brain is too full and for some, especially older shoes, I'm definitely making guesses. Educated guesses, based on lots of experience buying shoes and other items, but still guesses. I wish I could transfer this into a marketable skill......

But maybe my skill will be in helping others find good deals? Though today, I am sorely tempted in my brown professional shoe quest. Every Tuesday and Friday I get an e-mail from shop it to me, a web service that aggragates sale prices on clothing. You give them your preferences (brands, stores, sizes) and they send you an e-mail of items as they go on sale. E-mail me or leave a comment if you want to subscribe, and I'll send you an invite, as there is some bonus if I get ten people to sign up. I believe I've gotten TSM to sign up, so only 9 more to go.

Anyway, this is how I've started cyber stalking shoes, even though shoe buying is a hands (feet?)-on experience. For the most part, I know my preference and sizes, so on-line ordering has only gone wrong once.

Anyway, look what showed up in today's e-mail:
For $29.99! From Piperlime, which means free shipping and free returns. Oohh, the temptation is great. These are super cute, and I'm on a pepetual brown shoe quest.....aaaaahhhhhh! I just resolved no more shoes. No More. Do not need. But yet, look how cute and inexpensive they are.

This is my life, people.

So I will sit and think for a while on these. I do get paid monthly, and the month is almost up......this is why I have an out of control number of shoes.

Also, this:

Lord and Taylor sends me their shoe sale catalog about 4 times a year. Tempting. But! Let me let you in on secrets of a good bargain hunter. The shoe catalog is for suckers. This, folks, is their opening bid. Sure, if you see shoes you love, buy them (see Coach espadrilles) as they might be gone. But if you see shoes that look interesting (hmmm, second row, left), wait and stalk the sale racks that they'll line up starting after the 4th of July. Sign up to receive their extra 25% off coupons - and you too will start buying brand name shoes for less than $25.
Check this page out - espadrilles! Platform espadrilles. I have a jacket that would match the second ones down from the top, on the left......note they're on sale for $48. Well, it's not $85, so that's good, but I scoff at that opening offer. Scoff. They'll be $25 in about a month or six weeks.

I'll go shopping with anyone (and bring along my discount coupons, too!).

June 22 - more black sandals

What: size 8, low heeled, wedge strap sandals
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: Sometime in 09, I think
Cost: $30? Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. I hope I didn't pay more than $24 for them, but I might have gone higher.

I'm pretty sure I got these last year, snapped off the discount rack at the Talbots outlet (sorry, the Talbots clearance center as it's now known). They are ok - the strap is a little tight. I haven't worn them much. A good case of the black sandal quest resulting in shoes that are ok, but not quite right. They are interesting enough with the straps and the wedge. But I really prefer slip ons for summer shoes, and these require some effort to get on (yes, having ot actually sit down and then use my hands to put on my shoes is too much effort!). Last summer was so mild they were fine, but just walking this morning in extreme heat meant they really grew slightly uncomfortable over time. I took them off - I do need to run out later so hope they will cram back on my feet!

Edited to add Bottom line: keeper. These are interesting shoes, so despite the tightness, they'll stay

June 21 - dip in the past

What: Size 8 low heeled black sandals
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: late 90s? probably early 00's
Cost: <$20

This was the first morning I've had to think more than a second about my shoe choice. I just wanted to throw on something easy - one of my standbys I've already worn. It's hot, I wasn't sure what to wear, most of the sandals I was thinking about were more for jeans or brown outfits, and I had on a black skirt, I was only going to the grocery store (but was walking in the heat). So I had to dig a little and pulled these out of the closet. I've had them forever, the heel is almost worn out, and I was reminded they make a little squeaky noise when walking on carpet. I've worn them a ton - the front is pretty worn. But they are basic black sandals. And that's about it. Perhaps not quite in style, with the wide band and chunkier heel. Maybe frumpy? My low heeled black sandal quest is simply because I've nearly worn out, and am totally bored by, the low heeled black sandals I do have. But since I power bargain shop, plain black sandals are harder to find. These are fine shoes. Maybe could use a re-heeling, but they'd also be fine for a while without it.

Bottom line: keeper, but really I'll just shove them back in the closet and not think of them for a while

June 20 - even lazier Sunday

What: size 8 orange flip flops
From: Ann Taylor LOFT
Purchased: '03 or so
Cost: $10

These are super comfy flip flops, with a thick pad of cushioning and a slight heel. They're the other pair of shoes I wore all summer in '08, and are almost worn completely out. I don't wear them much because I am afraid they are going to die at any moment. But, for the pool, they are perfect. Seriously I need to throw these away, but yet that would send me on a flip flop quest and I'd rather eke out another season with them.

The thing about my quests is I end up purchasing shoes that are not quite right (but are super cheap) looking for the right thing. For those keeping track, I have a slip on sneaker quest, a business attire brown shoe quest, low heeled black sandal quest, and probably more....

Bottom line: they are going to have to rip apart completely before I throw them away

June 19 - futile quests

What: Size 8 slip on pink Keds
From: Keds - I think from Hecht's
Purchased: early 00's??
Cost: $15

I was talking to my mom about this shoe exercise and she said she had just read something about shoe decluttering that suggested you spread all your shoes out in a large area (hmm, not sure where I could do that - pics coming soon of my at least 5 shoe storage areas). Then, sort through them in total, and for every ten pairs of shoes you keep, get rid of one pair. Not a bad idea - a fairly gentle culling, actually 1 in 10. For more serious decluttering, the article suggesting tossing two pairs per ten. So on day 19, thus far I've placed on pair in the donation pile. (and btw, my scabs from that harrowing day 1 experience just fell off).

As I've said, I'm on a continual quest for comfy slips ons. Here's yet another try. I actually can't really remember where or when I got these. I feel like I got them at some outlets, but then it's also possible I've had them awhile and got them from Hecht's. I do know they were cheap as I wouldn't pay much for slip ons.

If I were forced to cull, I'd probably get rid of these. They don't fit quite right, they're not long enough (heel hangs out a bit), nor wide enough. And of course keds have no support. However, they are kind of cute in the picture. I've only worn them very sporadically. Here they are in May 07, when ELizabeth was just about Andrew's age now:
What do you think, gentle readers? Keep, as there's nothing wrong with them? Or donate, as there's nothing really right with them, either?

Bottom line: awaiting input, but leaning towards keeping

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 18 - slip ons

What: size 8 slip on tennis shoes
From: Ralph Lauren (bought at Syms)
Purchased: May '10
Cost: $15

So when I first started this shoe blogging, I thought I had purchased 6 pairs of shoes already this year. But then I remembered a 7th, and then I remembered an 8th. Well, guess what? Actually 9. And I'm fairly confident that's it, but I gave up shopping for Lent! Successfully! I did not purchase anything for 6 weeks, except for one small slip up early on of some leftover, super cheap valentine supplies stashed away for next year. Unlike TSM and her compact, this 6 week hiatus did not result in me re-evaluating my life. It was a good break, and I did save money. And since then, I have thought more about the want versus need before purchasing. Though lately I'm big on the wants.

But that means, in 5 months - say 21 weeks, minus 6 weeks for Lent - 15 weeks - I purchased 9 pairs of shoes. That does not seem possible. But yet I have the physical evidence right here. I did total up how much each cost, and even with 2 pairs purchased for $54 each, the grand total is $277, or $31 average cost. Not bad, really. I cyber-stalked two pairs of suede pumps (awesome purple! and very cool red!) that I am super excited about for fall (I stalked them all throughout Lent (and they were on my "lenten exception list" but never got cheap enough to pull the trigger), but waited til late April and then early May to get both for under $35). Bought the yellow flip flops and still unworn black pumps that inspired this whole thing on the same trip in late May. The rain boots in early February. The gold strappy sandals in late April, the bronze platforms in May, the black strappy sandals in early May. And these slip-ons in late May. Seriously, I cannot buy any more shoes this year. Because friends, I have not even sweated a bit in 18 days of choosing a different shoe. Not even had to think twice.

Anyway, these. I am perpetually on a slip-on tennis shoe quest. AK Anne Klein used to make an awesome one - I had them in red and pink and still have both pairs (of course) but they are in sad, sad shape. The red ones are only worn for painting and house projects. Nothing beats a pair of slip on sneaks by the front door, to, well, slip on and run outside, especially after dinner with the kids. But I have a hard time finding comfortable ones that don't result in hurting back (see orthotic issue). I bought a pair last year I had to give away to a nanny on our street because they resulted in incapacitating back pain. Yes, I could keep my athletic shoes with the orthotics by the door, but lacing up shoes ruins the whole slip on ease.

I had a work dinner in mid-May that required a new dress (ok, did not require, but it was originally going to be black tie, then got changed to formal business). We were in a shopping center with a Syms to pick up beer making supplies for Rich and I said, let me just run into that Syms to look at their dresses. Found a formal dress I sort of liked and bought it, but ended up not needing formal. When I went to return it, of course I wandered through the store, and found myself in the shoe department (actually looking for low-heeled black sandals!). And I found these marked down to $15. I debated for quite a while but finally decided to buy. They do not have quite enough support (which means I am still on my quest to replace those awesome AK Anne Klein sneaks) but they will more than do. Wore them to Elizabeth's end of school year preK picnic. Perfect.

Bottom line: Keeper, but the quest continues

June 17 - brown espadrilles

What: size 8 brown espadrilles with white trim
From: Naturalizer (outlet)
Purchased: early summer '09
Cost: $22

So, when I ran across these shoes at the Naturalizer outlet, I could not decide between the brown and black pairs. I already had orange espadrilles, so could have just gotten the black, but I really liked the brown ones. When in doubt, buy both. Especially when they are cheap. I think they were cheaper than I am remembering, and I also think I had a coupon for extra off.

Like the black ones, I also saw the brown ones at the outlets in Florida, and so have a new pair waiting in the wings. I'm hopeful I can get another summer out of these. The problem is the elastic that holds the back strap tight completely gave out - actually after only one or two wearings (on the left shoe only). So while I love the look, they are not the most comfortable as they keep slipping off. The bottoms are in fine shape (Unlike the orange ones, which had only a thin rubber coating that quickly wore off so the rope part is really coming apart). I need a way to fix that elastic. Even though I have a pair-in-waiting, it bothers me quite a bit to think of getting rid of perfectly fine shoes except for one defect on one shoe that should be fixable. Safety pin? Take them to shoe repair to be sewn tighter? I sohuld investigate the cost and then decide.

Bottom line: keeper for now

June 16 - more flats

What: size 8 reddish patterned ballet flats with bow
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: spring ‘09
Cost: ~$20

I used to not wear flats at all – it’s a long story, but I am supposed to wear orthotics, which don’t fit in any shoes except ugly ones, so I rarely wear them. I discovered that if I wore a shoe with a bit of a heel, I didn’t need the orthotics to avoid back pains, which is why nearly every shoe I own has a heel, usually ~2 inches. Which, again, was fine for working in an office, but is a little overkill on the playground. And I also have wide feet, which also means the shoe sometimes has to be larger size to fit in width but then doesn’t fit in length. So I’d never found a flat that was even remotely comfortable, but I saw these in the Outlet and tried them on and they were actually comfortable in an 8. Really comfortable. But I think they were still too expensive, so I kept my eye on them at the outlet and by spring (they were from summer ’08), the cost had dropped into reasonable territory, so I grabbed them. And didn’t wear them for a few months, but started wearing them late summer last year and have nearly worn them out. They are not going to last much longer, but they’re a go-to shoe. I chaperoned Elizabeth’s school trip to the National Aquarium and they were perfect.

Bottom line: Keeper (and I’ve since bought other flats from Talbots, too, as they are sized well for me. Talbots flats are typically priced at $99. Ridiculous. I have three pairs now and the most I paid was $35. They had a cute pink pair with a flower this spring, so I am keeping my eyes open for discounts.).

June 15 - quest for brown

June 15 – brown

What: brown 2 inch tasseled slingback
From: Bandolino, Macy’s
Purchased: ’04 or ‘05
Cost: $32

I have a love hate relationship with these shoes. There’s something about them I don’t like – they’re not entirely comfortable. But yet they fill a very specific need – conservative (ie, closed toe) dark brown low-heeled shoes (but not pumps - I personally think low heeled pumps look matronly, but through in a little extra - sling back, or peep toe, or straps of some sort and you're fine). I used to wear almost exclusively black as my neutral, but started expanding into brown and really needed to fill that shoe niche, and so got these at Macy’s (or was it still Hecht’s, then?) with their 20% off coupon. The toes have really taken a beating. I wear them a lot in spring and fall, but for some reason have never really loved them. Brown shoes are tough. Unlike black, there are a lot of shades of brown. I have an entire under bed shoe thing filled with varying shades of brown shoes (seriously, this shoe challenge is not hard at all). Today, I needed to wear my brown suit and these were really the only shoes that would do, and they were more comfortable than I remembered them being.

Bottom line: a keeper, sigh. Believe it or not I am keeping my eyes open for more brown shoes. I just cannot get the brown shoe right.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 14th - old favorites make a comeback

What: 2.5 inch strappy red sandals
From: Ann Taylor LOFT
Purchased: ~’02 or ‘03
Cost: $30

I haven’t worn these shoes in a long time, but I’ve always loved them. They look like they wouldn’t be comfortable, but they really are. I used to wear them all the time (pre-pregnancies) with a black skirt, white T, and red sweater, but since working from home I don’t think I’ve worn them once. The last time I remember wearing them – and that outfit - was a work trip to Hawai’i in Jan ’05, though I probably wore them every once in a while to work in ‘06 and ‘07. This is where the whole working from home thing works against me – they’re too informal for formal meetings, but too dressy for casually kicking around home. Yesterday I had to drop something off at an office, but no meeting, so I threw on a red t-shirt and black pants and these shoes. Still love them.

Bottom line: Keeper

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 13 - lazy Sunday

What: 1-inch light green thong sandals
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: early ‘00’s
Cost: <$20 Even before I got this idea for a shoe series, I had been thinking about shoe decluttering, based on my green shoe sandal situation. A few years ago, I went through a phase and ended up with this, searching for a comfortable pair:
Yes, three pairs of identical color light green sandals (all from the same place, too). I was on a mission. I never though any of these were comfortable, but earlier this spring when I was considering I might have a problem and pulled out the green shoes and took this photo, I decided to give the thongs another try, and they worked. I wore these shoes all the time (along with the orange flip flops), which brought about Rich’s comment that I only wore a small percentage of my shoes.

Bottom line: Keeper - we'll see about the other two pairs when I get to them

June 12 - extravagance

I’d just like to point out that until this point, my average cost for shoes – 10 pairs to date – is $17.53. I’m helped out a lot by the $6 pairs. I think sometimes of an episode from Sex and the City, when Carrie’s apartment building goes co-op and she doesn’t have the money to buy. Miranda asks about her savings and Carrie says something like, 100 pairs of $400 shoes, that’s my down payment right there! Yes, I have a shoe issue, but when my average price is under $20, it’s not really that much of a problem. Sandals tend to be cheap, and if I were guessing, I’d guess my average price was more like $30-35 (and if you don’t count boots, it might even be a little lower). Sometimes, though, you just have to have an object of beauty, even if it is vastly overpriced.

What: multi-colored platform espadrilles
From: Coach (at Lord and Taylor)
Purchased: summer ‘06
Cost: $85

So this raises my average price from $17 to $23.66. But I had to have them. They are totally impractical and ridiculous, but I love them. LOVE. They make me happy when I look at them, and I did get them on sale (believe it or not). I only wear them to summer gatherings - casual parties, dinners out - and I realized on Saturday that with one child, with Rich along, I could totter on them and leave kid chasing to Rich. With two kids, they are even more impractical. But I love them, they are in great shape, and even though they’re 4 years old, still quite stylish.

But seriously, what idiot pays $85 for espadrilles?

Bottom line: Keeper!

June 11 - casual Friday

What: black espadrilles
From: Naturalizer (Outlet)
Purchased: early summer ‘09
Cost: $22

I wore these shoes out last year – part of my espadrille rotation. I liked them so much that at Thanksgiving, when we were in Florida and went to the outlets, and I saw them on the clearance rack for $15, I bought them again! The elastic along the back is really stretched out, but I am hoping to get another year out of them before opening the new ones.

Bottom line: we’ll see how long they last

June 10 - a litle painful

What: black patent 2.5 inch heel slingback peep toes
From: Naturalizer (outlet)
Purchased: ’06 or ‘07
Cost: $18

I think I got these on an outlet shopping trip with KG. I wore them a lot at my last office job. They are moderately uncomfortable – the peep toe opening rubs against the front toes a little. They’re also worn, especially along the front, though the patent on the heels is in decent shape. Also, I think I’ve re-heeled them once, but the nail head is starting to come through the heel again, so they need to be re-heeled. I ended up having to do a fair amount of walking Thursday, and my feet hurt by the end of the day. Hmm, this is where I need a push to get rid of shoes, but they’re still workable.

Bottom line: keep, but in the repair pile

*Edited March 24, 2011 - after careful consideration, I decided these shoes were functionally equivalent to these, so I am discarding this pair, thus removing any need to have them re-heeled. 

June 9 - back again

What: red/multi 1.5 inch peep toes
From: Naturalizer (outlet)
Purchased: winter ‘08
Cost: $18

Bought these from the sale racks at the Naturalizer outlet (love that extra 70 or 80% off!). And, I ended up wearing them at least 3 or 4 times a week the summer/fall of ’08, when I was pregnant with Andrew. They were comfortable with the low heel – I found most of my shoes just were not comfortable during that pregnancy, and I was job searching and doing a little consulting from home so when I would go out these were the go-to shoes. I did not wear them once in 2009. I think I’m not as sick of them now as I once was, so they’ll stay.

Bottom line: keeper

ps. And, I really do not wear the same pair of brown pants every day. Except when I do. I was supposed to be a conference, but had something pop up that required me to stay home for phone and e-mail. So spent nearly all day barefoot, but had to run out at the end of the day for a quick trip to the grocery store. So, same brown pants hurriedly thrown on!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 6,7,8 - repeat, bare, pros

Catching up - Sunday June 6 we were suppsoed to be camping and I had brought ratty flip flops, but we bailed on camping in favor of airconditioned dorm, so I just rewore the orange espadrilles.

Monday June 7 I worked from home, and went barefoot all day long

June 8
What: 2.5 inch heeled cream peep toes
From: Circa Joan and David, Lord and Taylor
Purchased: January '08
Cost: $25

The first of the 5-shoes-in-one-month extravagance. Andrew was only 2 months old, I wasn't working (or even had a job!), in was January and fairly nice but a little cold, so to get out of the house I would head up to Friendship Heights and walk around a mix of stores and outdoors. Sadly for my (I have no money or job) budget, Lord and Taylor had some fabulous shoes for sale for super cheap and I could not resist them. And over the course of the month, bought 5 pairs, each less than $25, each fabulous and great, but still, a totally ridiculous extravagance for someone who didn't know if she was going to be able to go back to work anytime in the near future. Luckily it worked out.

I had seen these shoes over Christmas in both darker brown and this cream, and pointed them out to my sister who hated them and said they looked like granny shoes. I have to admit, I have a slight weakness for things that look a little 'granny' and fussy and I loved the buckles. I used to believe that you should not wear shoes that are lighter in tone than your outfit (I rarely wear white shoes, either before or after Labor Day!), but I've been slowly convinced that 'nude' shoes are flattering, so during my winter weakness I could not resist how cheap these were. They are also very comfortable. So yesterday for my work meeting, I decided to break them out. I bet it's only about the 5th wearing they've had. I love them, but still unsure of what they really go with, besides brown pants, with a lighter top that's cream, not white. I'm not entirely as adventurous as I claim to be.

Bottom line: keeper! Must find new outfits with which to wear.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 5 - twofer

What: Orange with white trim espadrilles, Size 8
From: Jones New York, outlet
Purchased: Fall '08
Cost: $6!

I think she rang them up incorrectly, actually. Bought these at the JNY outlet store mid-fall 2008, a way it's the end of the season sale. Wore them almost all summer last year, alternating with two other espadrilles. Perfect for summer weather, casual, comfy, and yet still stylish. My friend Lisa says you only get one season out of espadrilles, and that's pretty much true - once you walk in rain or puddles and the bottoms get wet and start absorbing water it's pretty much all over. But I am going to try to keep these going as long as possible!

Bottom line: we'll see how long they last before totally falling apart

What: pink 2 inch heeled sandals, size 7.5
From: Bandolino, Lord and Taylor
Purchased: summer '03 or '04
Cost: ~$20

Later Saturday I was at my 20th reunion dinner. I wore the espadrilles for the afternoon and brought a dress to wear for the dinner, and before we left I spent too much time at home searching for the left shoe from the black sandals I had been wearing with the dress. That left shoe was no where to be found - and the last time I remember seeing it, both shoes were on Elizabeth's feet. So who knows where it might be. But, the dress has pink in it, and I remembered I had pink sandals so grabbed these. I first bought them in black, size 8, and wore them OUT - those black ones were go-to shoes for a couple of summers. I really need to throw out the black ones because the fronts are torn up. Later that same summer, once summer sales really kicked in, I decided to get the pink ones, too. The black ones were slightly loose, so I decided to go down a half size, but the pink ones have always been too tight. They've never loosened (honestly, have any shoes ever really loosened?). But pink sandals fill a wardrobe need, so they will stay. Other famous last words of the shoe addicted: they're not that uncomfortable.

Bottom line: they're there when I need pink sandals. Will never be comfortable first choice, but they'll do when needed.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4- professional day

What: 2.5 inch heeled tasseled pumps, size 7.5
From: Bandolino, downtown store
Purchased: summer '09
Cost: $20!

Work meeting today, so pulled out professional shoes. I had a meeting last summer downtown that went well, and walking to the Metro after I passed the Bandolino store and went in to check things out. Found the sale rack, and it was an extra 30% off - these were marked 29.99. Could not pass up this bargain, and while they weren't plain black pumps, they were definitely great, comfortable, good heel height for walking shoes. With the tassels and the loafer-esque look (plus white stitching), I wear them with pants, so they didn't entirely fill my "I have no black pumps" need, but a great purchase nonetheless.

Bottom line: total keeper

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3 - flat

What: flat yellow leather flip flops, size 8
From: Talbots (Outlet)
Purchased: last week (May 2010)
Cost: $6.25!

Today was 'May Day' (postponed from last week) at Elizabeth's school (also known as field day). (check out Awwwtrouble once I figure out why blogger hates me). The worst job at school fair? Sno-cone syrup dispenser. The second worse job? Sno-cone maker. Third worst is cotton candy. (this ranking may also be weather dependent - if you're running the sport games on the black top on a 90 degree day, you may be able to make a strong case for worse job). I spent two hours making sno-cones today, and my hand is still numb from the ice. Rich spent one hour and ruined a pair of shorts dispensing syrup on top of said sno-cones. Luckily, food was inside the building, because we would have had heat stroke otherwise. I knew I needed a dependable pair of shoes today - I have these in orange, purchased end of last summer for cheap. But, I was at the talbots outlet for the spring sale and saw these, 75% off the lowest price, plus an extra 10% off. Could not resist at that price. Cannot believe that anyone originally paid something like $60 for them full price. There is nothing to them. They are already scuffed along the front. But they are what they are - flip flops. Perfect for today.

Bottom line: keeper for years to come.

ps to Helen, who does not have a blog: if this random assortment of ramblings from a quite possibly nutcase like myself is actually inspiring you to declutter, I think you must have other inspiration, too.

pps. This reminds me that my sister is bemused by the blogging - or specifically the commenting. Everyone is so supportive and positive! My sister wants to comment: 'you are a nutcase' but thinks she will look mean compared to everyone else. My family is usually merciless. I can take it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

new (semi-silly) plan

While I decide how to structure my newest efforts at decluttering, I have an interesting idea for blog series/challenge.

So it happens that I like shoes. I got (gently) chided on it in yesterday's comments by Therese.

And, last fall, in the great boot search, TSM also worried about my multiple locations for shoe storage. (Darn it, where ARE those black slouch boots???)

Yes. I fully admit it. I have a shoe thing. Here's the thing: Shoes always fit. Also, if you are shoe adventurous (more on that later), there are bargains galore to be had. A few years ago I counted, and at that time I found, in various locations, over 100 pairs. And since that time I'm sure I've added at least another 25. The thing is, if you buy ten pairs of shoes a year, and you never throw anything out, and you're about to hit your 20th! College! Reunion! that's 200 pairs of shoes right there. So my problem is actually quite modest. I had to throw out a bunch of shoes after leaving grad school in Florida (crappy graduate student house with no AC + Florida humidity + leather = MOLD), so 17 years in DC, let's say 125 pairs of shoes, that's a little over 7 pairs of shoes a year. Sure, there was January '09 when I bought 5 pairs (great shoes, each $20-25), and I am pretty sure I've acquired at least 6 pairs already this year (polka dot rainboots, purple suede, red suede, yellow flip flops, black pumps and I'm sure there's one - Oh, yes, awesome platform bronze strappy sandals that I love, love, love! And, right, also totally impractical, but hot! and reasonably comfortable black strappy high heels to wear to fancy work dinner. So that's already 7 this year, yikes.). It's the new shoes last week that led to this latest challenge.

Rich noticed a new pair of shoes last week - hmm, what's this? Why, quite cute almond toe 2.5 inch heeled pumps! For only $33! A bargain I could not pass up. The thing about buying dirt cheap sale shoes is that you're usually not buying neutral pumps - those are snapped up quickly. No, I'm buying the quirky end of season leftovers in a variety of colors (shoe adventurous!). So when I dress conservatively, I actually usually scramble to find plain shoes and until this last purchase, I simply did not own a pair of plain black pump, which is frankly shocking in a shoe wardrobe of over 100 pairs. I needed those black pumps. Though, they are croc-embossed, so not entirely plain, and almond toe is sometimes a little trendy, but really always a classic.

Anyway, Rich says to me, "you know, I bet even though you have 20 times more shoes than I have, you only wear about the same number as I do."

And he's right - since I'm mostly working from home, I am only wearing the same flip flops and simple shoes most of the time. So, new idea.

I few days later, I said to him, "since you said that about the shoes, it's given me a great idea!"

"Oh no," he says, "I think you've gotten the wrong idea!"

"What? My idea is to challenge myself to wear a different pair of shoes every day!" I cheerily announce.

"Exactly the wrong idea," he groaned. "I was hoping you would take that comment and decide to get rid of the shoes you never wear!"

Humph. That's a terrible idea - at least not without road testing them before hand!

So without further ado, I present June 1st and 2nd shoe choices!

June 1 - OUCH

What: yellow mule sneakers, size 7.5
From: Talbots
Purchased: late 90s, early 00s, during my (mostly futile) phase of phase of looking for comfy slip on sneakers
Cost: under $15

These have been peeking out from under clothes in the closet for months, so I decided they'd kick off the month. I also thought they'd probably end up in a probably discard pile, as I hadn't worn them for years (they were dust covered). But they were cute, and I wasn't sure why I hadn't worn them. After walking Elizabeth to school, I knew why - insane rubbing along the top side of my foot! Giant raw spot on my left foot. I limped home, kicked them off, and went barefoot the rest of the day.

Bottom line: To be discarded! Donate pile (perhaps they will not be quite so hazardous to someone else).

June 2 - Tight, but cute

So, the sore from yesterday's shoes still hurts. A lot. I almost went with one of my standard standbys today, but decided I had to save those until I really needed them. So I dug around a little (pile of shoes by overflowing shoe wardrobe) and found these.

(see that sore on the top part of my foot??!! OUCH!!!)

What: gold 2 inch wedge thong sandals
From: Loft
Purchased: a couple of years ago, maybe summer 08?
Cost: ~$20

I started noticing a couple of years ago that greek sandals were making a comeback. So I was super excited to see these shoes in Loft - they were relatively cheap, and cheaply made (just a step up from flip-flops, really), and I love a metallic shoe (darn, I just remembered I bought a pair of metallic strappy heels also this year, upping my total to 8 already. I really may have a problem - they were cheap, they fit great, and I wasn't sure what I would wear to my work dinner, so I thought metallic strapy heels were a wardrobe staple!). I kept my eyes on them a few weeks until they went on sale and I snapped them up, even though I thought they were still, in my opinion, overpriced. I thought they'd be my go-to shoes that summer. Somehow, though they fit in the store, that strap across the top is just too tight. Not wear an open sore into your foot tight, but leave an imprint on your foot tight. I wore them out to get lunch, and they are cute, and I wish they were more comfortable. Perhaps (famous last words of the shoe addicted) they will eventually loosen up.

Bottom line: not ready to give up on them yet. Will keep and try to wear more often.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

back in the game

When last I typed, we were in Florida, renting a U-haul, bringing back stuff from my parents. That would be 6 months ago.

Well, we finally made it back. Kidding. Sort of. The return trip, with U-Haul, two kids, sick dog, and sick parents, may rank as one of the worst road trips ever. We spent 24 hours making what used to take Rich and I alone 14 hours to drive.

The final haul: bedroom furniture for Elizabeth, three desks (I don't know why), and at least 6 boxes of stuff.

Those boxes, and some of the furniture, sat in the front hallway for a couple of weeks before the bedroom was set up and the boxes relegated to the deepest, darkest corner of the basement. I'm not even sure now what the boxes contain. There were books - the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden's made it here. Some other books, I think. Boxes from my college days - a fair amount of 'mementos' that can probably be cleared out. Oooh, also the cast from when I broke my arm when I was 8, with all my friends signatures and drawings. And only a faint whiff of smell. The cast will get packed away in my trunk with other 'special' things. If I could keep my mementos to only a (fairly large) trunk I'd be ok. The dollhouse did not come back - it was just too fragile and needed too much work. Another time, maybe.

I haven't decided yet what format I'll take at this point. Getting rid of a number of things per day works, but the accounting grows tedious. I have one small blogging project I'll start tomorrow while I think about it. Maybe a goal of 20 items per week, or something along those lines. As always, ideas are welcome.