Style, minimalism, and grief

Style Diary

Thoughts on style, moderationism, and grief.

Shoes I Own

This post was updted on MAR 24, 2018 to reflect shoes I forgot. 😳


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27 pairs of shoes.

That's my count. Is that a lot? It's hard to tell.

26 27 pairs of shoes. That's my count. Is that a lot? It's hard to tell.

The breakdown is: 9 kinds of boots, 4 kinds of sneakers, 3 kinds of heels, 3 kinds of flats, 5 6 kinds of sandals, and 2 pairs of slippers. A portion of these are what I call Utility Shoes, shoes that maybe aren't stylish but which serve a purpose like working out, hiking, poolside, or sloshing though snow/inclement weather.

This post has been updated to reflect shoes I forgot 

I sat down last night to do this inventory audit and came away with a clearer understanding of what I want to keep (even if I'm not wearing it much now), what I want to sell/retire, and what I would like to add to fill certain needs.

One pair of boots I almost forgot about because I keep them in a rubbermaid bin of special clothes and shoes that I don't wear but want to keep, things that are special or emblematic that survived purges, but that might not be my style anymore. Also things I've inherited from grandparents that are sentimental. 

The exhaustive audit:


Legend

πŸ’• - Most loved. Worn often. In good repair. 

πŸ’› - Liked a lot. Worn with relative frequency when an occasion arises.

πŸ’š - Worn rarely or never but sentimental or classic enough to keep.

πŸ‘ž - Utility shoe. Necessary for a specific activity, although activity may only come occasionally.

✨ - Additional or replacement shoe.

πŸ’” - Time to sell or retire this shoe.


 L to R: Veronique Branquinho block heel, rubber rain boots, Nisolo chelsea boots, black riding bootss, brown riding boots, hiking boots, duck boots, dress boots. Not pictured, white pointy ankle boot in the archive.

L to R: Veronique Branquinho block heel, rubber rain boots, Nisolo chelsea boots, black riding bootss, brown riding boots, hiking boots, duck boots, dress boots. Not pictured, white pointy ankle boot in the archive.

Boots

  • πŸ’• Nisolo chelsea boot - black
  • πŸ’• Veronique Branquinho block heel boot - camel
  • πŸ’š Knee-high riding boot with woven detail - black
  • πŸ’š Knee-high riding boot with brass details - brown
  • πŸ’š Stiletto dress boot with slouchy ruched detail - black
  • πŸ’š Pointy toe leather ankle boot from 2007 - white [Lives in the rubbermaid archive]
  • πŸ‘ž L.L. Bean maine hunting shoe (duck boot)
  • πŸ‘ž Hiking boots from when I was 14, still going strong
  • πŸ’” Rubber rain boots - yellow with daisies [SELL/RETIRE - rarely worn, redundant by duck boots]

 L to R: Ecco sneakers, workout shoes, summer biking shoes, bike cleats.

L to R: Ecco sneakers, workout shoes, summer biking shoes, bike cleats.

Sneakers

  • πŸ’› Ecco leisure sneakers - beige
  • πŸ‘ž Running/workout sneakers - gray
  • πŸ‘ž Summer biking/workout sneakers with velcro - gray
  • πŸ‘ž Biking clipless cleat sneakers - gray

 L to R: Everlane heels, pointy stiletto pumps, Etienne Aigner oxford heels.

L to R: Everlane heels, pointy stiletto pumps, Etienne Aigner oxford heels.

Heels (closed toe)

  • πŸ’• Everlane block heel - rose tan
  • πŸ’”Stiletto pointed toe pump - nude  [SELL/RETIRE - I don't like stiletto pumps.]
  • πŸ’š Etienne Aigner oxford style lace-up heel - black [Rarely worn, but want to keep... for now?]

✨ ADD: v-cut pump - nude. See below.


 L to R: patent flats, burgundy 2-piece flats, ancient woven brown 2-piece ankle strap flats.

L to R: patent flats, burgundy 2-piece flats, ancient woven brown 2-piece ankle strap flats.

Flat (closed toe)

  • πŸ’” Patent leather pointed ballet flat - nude [SELL/RETIRE - Do not like patent. Replace with heel/flat hybrid?]
  • πŸ’› 2 piece suede flat - burgundy (dyed from orange. Gift from my mom years ago and they sort of give me blisters sometimes but I like them anyway??)
  • πŸ’” 2 piece woven with ankle strap - brown [SELL/RETIRE - They are very worn.]

✨ ADD: heel/flat hybrid, prefer v cut - nude. Potentially a 2-piece, or 2-piece w/ ankle strap. Will replace patent flat and brown woven.


 L to R: Nisolo 2-piece ankle straps, Nisolo 2-piece that gives me blisters, suede block heels, flip flops, wedges. Not pictured: wedding shoes (see below).

L to R: Nisolo 2-piece ankle straps, Nisolo 2-piece that gives me blisters, suede block heels, flip flops, wedges. Not pictured: wedding shoes (see below).

Sandals (heel and flat)

  • πŸ’• Nisolo 2-piece with ankle strap, my favorites - nude (Getting worn because I wore them alllll summer, might want to get a replacement pair at some point.)
  • πŸ’” Nisolo 2-piece - nude [SELL/RETIRE - They give me blisters].
  • πŸ’•Suede block heel with ankle strap - black
  • πŸ‘ž Foam flip flop with braid detail - black [Utility Shoe -  for the pool or the beach]
  • πŸ’” Wedge with woven straps - brown [SELL/RETIRE - Leather is stretched out. Rarely worn. Replace with nude block heel.]
  • πŸ’šπŸ‘ž?? Oh yeah, and the shoes I wore a single time at my. [Do these count as a Utility Shoe??]

✨ ADD: block heel with ankle strap - nude. Will replace the worn out wedges and uncomfortable 2-piece.

 Ah yes, the wedding shoes. They are a work of art. But I imagine NO future where I have occasion to wear these again (Should I just invent one??). I knew that going in but couldn't resist how perfect they were with my dress. They live in a dustbag in my shoe care drawer. Would you keep them? Or sell? Honestly if they had a block heel I might wear them again. Do you think it's worth seeing if my cobbler can make a switch? Probably not worth it.

Ah yes, the wedding shoes. They are a work of art. But I imagine NO future where I have occasion to wear these again (Should I just invent one??). I knew that going in but couldn't resist how perfect they were with my dress. They live in a dustbag in my shoe care drawer. Would you keep them? Or sell? Honestly if they had a block heel I might wear them again. Do you think it's worth seeing if my cobbler can make a switch? Probably not worth it.


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Slippers

  • πŸ’• L.L. Bean shearling - brown
  • πŸ’• Chinese embroidered summer slippers - red

Another way to quantify the data is: 7 πŸ’• most loved pairs (2 of which are house shoes), 2 πŸ’› I like a lot as well, 6 πŸ’š I don't really wear but want to hold on to, 6 πŸ‘ž that are for a specific utility, and 6 πŸ’” I want to move on from by selling or retiring them.

In total, I want to remove 6 pairs of shoes from circulation because I either don't wear them, they aren't my style, or they are worn out. I'd like to add/replace with 3 pairs of shoes, for a net loss of 3 pairs and a total of 24 pairs.

My weakness looks like boots. I only wear about 2 pairs on the regular. Both my knee-high riding boots as well as my dress boots got very little wear if any this winter. I'm just more into the ankle boot/block heel look lately, which goes better with wider legged pants. But I don't necessarily want to purge these boots yet. The brown riding boot pair I'm a little sentimental about even though they are very worn. Just not ready to give them up. Plus I don't necessarily think they are out of style, or that I will never want to wear them again. They feel like a classic, and I can imagine wanting to reach for them in the future, rare as those occasions may be. Enough so that I don't want to have to re-buy a knee-high riding boot.

This is where moderationism comes into play. A minimalist approach to the shoe closet would say, get rid of everything you didn't wear in the last year. And I get that. But I don't want to get rid of them because a year isn't necessarily the benchmark I want to go by. What about 10 years? If I wear them once a year is that enough?

So what to do with the things we want to keep but don't necessarily want to get in the way of the day to day? Organization. I feel like a big tenet of moderationism is to keep a tidy, well-organized home that makes it easy to find and store things that are not in current use. If you use your space efficiently, you can fit more without it feeling like more. Plus, the act of pulling the shoes out to photograph and then reorganize really made me feel in touch with how I needed to consider each one, weighing whether it was really fit to go back on the shelf.

I definitely struggle with the Urge to Purge. Those Etienne Aigner lace-up oxford heels? Not really my style AT ALL. I bought them many years ago when I first started working in an office. I thought they were what I should wear to be stylish in the office. I still pull them out maybe once a year for fun and to assuage my guilt but really, I should probably sell or move on from these. But they are also really unique and not duplicated anywhere else in my closet, so what harm will it do to hold on to them a little longer? On the other hand, would I miss them? Probably not. I'm not even that sentimental about them. Maybe I should move on from them.

For now though, I will move on from the easier things. The Nisolo 2-piece ballet flats that give me blisters. The patent ballet flats that are too dark, too shiny, looking worn ( a big worn rip across each heel where my shoe hits the ground). The stiletto point toe pumps β€” those I feel confident about moving on from, partly because the Everlane block heels fill the same niche. From a technical perspective, the Everlane heels are a little delicate and I wouldn't mind having a second nude pump in my arsenal to spread out the wear a little more. I'm keeping my eye out for a sturdier low to mid heel, also in a neutral shade (because wherever black would have looked good, neutral looks good too β€” that's why I'm not really looking for a black pump, I know what I like). I'd love a v-cut/choke-up look as well, and also haven't ruled out a mule. 

I'm trying to decide if what would be good is a flat/heel hybrid that can take the place of all three of these items β€” the 2-piece ballet flat, the patent flat, and the pointy stiletto pumps. A 1 or 1.5" heel that functions like a flat but an elevated flat badum tsssss. That might be a way to keep the numbers down in my closet. I certainly don't want a taller heel than the Everlane ones, I'd never fucking wear them. I'm not a fan of the stiletto kitten heels but a low block is attractive and functional. 

Having done this shoe audit, I'm excited (and a little scared maybe) to do it for other areas of my closet. It was really helpful for me to parse out what I have vs. what I really need. Handling each shoe as I photographed it made me really look at them closely and see what flaws or assets they might embody. I feel pretty good about where I am, but improvements, however incremental, can be made. We'll see how I feel about doing some more wardrobe auditing this weekend! If you feel inspired to do the same, GOOD LUCK and be kind to yourself.