Why women love shoes
Women have always loved shoes – from Cinderella to Carrie Bradshaw. Imelda Marcos was a vile woman who wrecked her country and spunked its money into the ground.. But she did have over 2,500 pairs of shoes…
‘I like my money where I can see it – in my wardrobe’, Carrie Bradshaw
Ah, high heels and their beautiful madness… I have early memories of wearing my Nan’s shoes (at least two sizes too big). It gave me such a feeling of being grown up, such a strong sense of what it is to be a fully-fledged female; perhaps it’s in these early formative moments that we begin our fascination with shoes. The first time I walked in a pair of heels, pacing up and down the kitchen floor, I can remember the concentration – and the tripping over! But also the confidence it began to give me.
Shoes have an almost occult power. Is it any wonder women obsess over their footwear collections? They make an expensive indulgence seem worthwhile. They transform the way we feel. They give height, power, sexiness and of course elegance if worn with the right ensemble. Imelda Marcos is hailed as queen of shoes with her impressive collection of over 2,500 pairs – we can only feel awe at the sheer number of bills she must have hidden away, ignored, in a tottering mountain of shoe boxes!
Unfortunately, it’s only too easy to forget that Imelda Marcos was not only the Queen of Shoes but also the Steel Butterfly – the First Lady of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She spent millions of public funds in the Phillipines on personal glorification while her husband ruined the country with martial law, and they were eventually (and rightly) ousted through the People Power Revolution.
We don’t really choose to remember that. Thanks to their magical power, we only remember the cool shoes.
Girls and women are raised with narratives such as Cinderella and her glittering glass slipper, Dorothy and her red shoes and more recently Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahniks. It’s no wonder huge masses of women adore shoes, it’s in our cultural genes!
A once-secluded scene of the elite buying shoes to die for (or, in Imelda’s case, shoes to let someone else die for) has now become available and fairly affordable for all. With the help of ‘Sex in the City’, Manolo Blahnik became a worldwide success, a household name familiar to everyone, not just supermodels and european princesses. Carrie Bradshaw’s bursting-at-the-seams shoe collection is idolised by many aspirational Carries, and seems to have set a precedent for unabashed, sensuous shoe-greed.
Affordable high street brands like TopShop and Faith have surged forth to bring catwalk styles to the high street. Irregular Choice make the most exquisitely artistic shoes – their London boutique on Carnaby street has some of the most gorgeous heels for a fraction of any Laboutins or Jimmy Choos, with an individual twist perfect for the plain little black dress.
While shoe sales are on the increase, accessories and bag sales seem to be falling – it seems as though we’re more concerned with our footwear. Which should make sense, since accessories aren’t necessary (the clue is in the name) and footwear is beaten into submission by the ground every minute of every day, so is likely to wear away.
But shoe sales are not on the increase due to practicality, oh no – a recent survey revealed that over 60% of men have admitted to carrying or helping their partners home after the pain of dancing all night in those killer platforms.
Many women openly admit to buying shoes even though they are the wrong size, uncomfortable or unpractical for their job. They are a consuming obsession. Heels are somewhat democratic, too – they suit any woman of any body type, and while our hips and thighs may change size we can always count on our feet to transform the safety black dress on Saturday night.
Shoes – in particular high heels – enhance our figures, elongate legs and make us feel sexy. On average our love affair with shoes will last for 51 years, they say, during which time the heel size we aspire to wearing will increase (until one’s later years when it will rapidly decrease).
While the recession means investing in property is no longer a safe option, my money is – and I shall stand by this excuse, if it allows me to indulge my personal pleasures – safely invested in my shoes!
Dita von Teese models vintage high heels.
Vintage high heeled pump. Look at them! They’ve got curves like a 1930s Rolls Royce!
Simple, yet beautiful.
Satin high heel sneakers. We’re in love.
Stormtrooper high heels. We like!
If you look closely you’ll see this delicate shoe is made of white chocolate and therefore the best thing ever.