Obsessed 

I am a walking cliché, a woman obsessed with shoes. Last time I counted, I had (have) 248 pairs of sandals, stilettos, Chuck Taylors, biker boots, ballet flats, ankle boots, platforms, wedges, brogues, kitten heels, slingbacks,pumps, Doc Martens, dance shoes, cowboy boots, peep-toes, combat boots and Mary Janes. I do not own flat moccasins and espadrilles. I find them depressing.

Although this is not in any way comparable to  the million dollar collections or to the “shoe estates” of the infamous former first lady or the famous romance novelist, I am aware that the sheer number alone is ridiculous. All the more so because I do not live in some kind of mansion  with walk in closets and custom made shelves, I live in a two bedroom apartment with tiny built in closets.I do try and make the most of the generous space available  under the bed  and have transformed my pantry into a micro walk in closet for coats and shoe boxes.

 

“And her old Uncle William used to say a lady is known by
her shoes and her gloves.”
― Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

I have no original explanation for my unoriginal love of shoes. I admire their sculptural.even architectural essence, their autonomous quality.  I admire them as objects, as affordable art. My obsession did not start with Carrie Bradshaw and I’m not even a huge SAT fan. 

I still have my first pair of shoes. My mum had them bronzed. I suppose this was a “thing” back then. Or maybe there’s a hereditary explanation for my obsession. Other shoes did not survive the passing of time.

I remember having little red clogs and triple buckles mary janes and outrageous beige fringed suede boots that my fourteen year-old self thought would work with just about anything. I wore blue velvet shoes across the snow in New York to go to the opera, I have walked miles in New Orleans in bejeweled black sandals that “died” this year during a night visit to the museum of contemporary art here in Porto. I’ve walked barefoot in Johannesburg after the strap on my fancy Sergio Rossi flip flops broke. For my first paid internship I got paid in over the knee black patent leather boots. My choice.

I do not have Manolos in my collection. I have a pair of black Laboutins filed under the category “so special”. They have never been worn. Porto is one of those charming cities with cobblestone streets. Fatal for high heels. This year, for my birthday, I got gold and silver Terry de Havilland peep-toe platforms. Ziggy Stardust shoes.

I don’t know if ” good shoes take you to good places” but, even when you don’t take them anywhere, they can make you feel you could actually get wherever you want.

 Featured photo via Facebook

A different way of letting go

“Women [seem to] have a dynamic relationship with their clothes that can be grouped around three co-existing views of self; ‘The woman I want to be’, ‘The woman I fear I could be’ and ‘The woman I am most of the time’.These three views illustrate women’s attempts to achieve satisfying images as they engage with clothes to create, reveal or conceal aspects of their identity.”( Guy and Banim).

They can also help explain why we keep the clothes that we no longer wear or even those that we have never worn. These clothes laid to rest are somewhat magic both because they connect us to our memories and they keep the promise of possibilities, of a different future.  Letting them go is also letting go of past and future, at least of the one we no longer see ourselves fulfilling.

Why open an online shop instead of just donating everything? This would not allow me the necessary reflection time to understand the process of revisiting myself and, above all, I could not tell the stories of how the Closet came to be.