Thursday, 23 December 2010

Do you really need another pair of shoes?

Some people believe in a god. I believe in shoes.

When I was younger I put my faith in fairies and Father Christmas. The dreams of my six-year-old self were built upon the magic of tiny creatures with gossamer wings and a cuddly old man who would bring me presents if I was really good.

I am now convinced that shoes, in fact, can have magical powers. Just look at young Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I can guarantee that the Emerald City would have remained out of reach if she had been clicking together a pair of Crocs rather than those famous scarlet sparklers. And then there’s good old Cinders; every girl’s childhood heroine who finds the love of her life by way of one fabulous glass slipper. These two young women may be separated by years and years and very different fairy-tale realms but they have one thing in common; they both understood, and reaped their happily-ever-afters from, the power of a pair of shoes.

Back in the real world and the magic isn’t lost. The right pair of shoes can not only change the way you walk, but the way you feel, and even bring a fairy-tale type of luck along the way. For me it is a pair of red lace-up heels that give me an extra few inches in height, but an extra mile in confidence. Said shoes walked me into two university interviews and out with two offers. They are the same shoes that carried me into Vogue House and out with one huge smile on my face. If I’m feeling low I know all I have to do is slip my feet into the tomato red embrace of my shoes and the sun will immediately be shining.

Shoes can have transformative qualities. Of course, they can lengthen our legs, but the right pair of shoes can make us more confident, more witty, more intelligent and more beautiful. In the words of shoe god Manolo Blahnik: “You put high heels on and you change.”

But it doesn’t have to be heels. There are a million different types of shoes out there to fit a million different moods and occasions. I have my lucky shoes, but also my beach shoes, my happy summer shoes (complete with ample toe-cleavage), my sensible shoes and my New Year shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes for the wrong occasion is a sartorial error punishable by exclusion from the fashion scene for life. (My theory, therefore is just to have enough pairs stacked away in the wardrobe to cover all possible eventualities. Simple.)

A timeline of my life could be plotted by the shoes I wore along the way. My first proper shoes, a pair of black patent Mary Janes embroidered with flowers, marked my transition into the walking, talking world. They were the stepping stone for the pink jelly shoes, colourful converses, wellington boots and pretty pumps to come. The first pair of heels was a momentous occasion. “Look at me,” my feet seemed to cry, gleaming with the jewels adorning my peep-toe courts, “Look who’s all grown up.”

Finding the perfect pair of shoes is like finding Mr. Right. I find that the perfect black boots are as hard to come by as a Ewan Mcgregor look-alike who likes cooking and has his own gite in the south of France. But when found, the love is just as deep. The perfect shoes can be as elusive as the perfect man, therefore you just have to keep faith and keep looking. Just don’t give up hope, because when those red-soled Louboutins come trotting into your life they’ll be the perfect fit.

I swear by the joy of a new pair of shoes. The thrill of new shoes is better than any drug and, with repercussions no graver than a dented bank balance, they are surely a far better alternative. Who needs drugs when there are Jimmy Choos? The cardboard box, the tissue paper and the pristine soles of a new pair all add to the shoe fix which makes for happy feet and one happy girl.

Shoes are fashion’s barometer. On the catwalk trends come and go, but it is what is on the model’s feet that defines the mood. Be it teetering extravagance or the demure simplicity of a pair of kitten heels, the shoes dictate the way we will be dressing not just our feet, but our whole bodies.

It would be impossible to talk about shoes and not to mention Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. Because boy does she believe in shoes too:

“Aidan: Don’t take this the wrong way, but this place could use a little work.
Carrie: I know, but I can’t afford it.
Aidan: You’ve got eight thousand bucks worth of shoes over there.
Carrie: I needed those!”

Because here’s the crux: in this religion that is fashion “Thou shall buy another pair of shoes” is the first commandment. So: do you really need another pair of shoes? The answer is of course an inescapable ‘YES’. After all, it would be a sin to say no.