I own a dozen pairs of shoes. This includes wellies, walking boots and the trainers I wear (occasionally) to actually exercise in.
I used to have over fifty pairs. Back then, visitors to my bedsit studio apartment would marvel at them all stored in their boxes and stacked neatly against the wall in two tall piles.
Back then, I was known to choose cleaning my shoes over eating breakfast if I was running late in the mornings.
Over the decade since, I’ve become more committed to minimalism as well as ethical and sustainable fashion. I spend more and buy less (actually I always spent a lot on shoes, so I guess I’m just buying less of them). Right now I’m wearing a pair of patent loafers that I purchased sometime before I started dating my current partner, and we’ve lived together for two years.
I pride myself on having a pretty small wardrobe and sticking to my own style rather than slavishly following trends. I’m even currently reading a book, Inger D. Kenobi’s How Do I Look? The year I stopped shopping, about her twelve month boycott of clothes buying – and contemplating doing the same.
Of course you know that this is the point where I insert the big ‘but’.
But I want a pair of sliders.
I really want a pair of sliders.
This thought has been lingering for a while. My interest was piqued a few months ago when I saw the beautician from next door to the coffee shop where I like to work wearing an Ivy Park pair. Then yesterday I got serious shoe envy of a woman in a grey suede number on the train. Now I’m obsessing.
Suddenly all my own shoes seem wrong: too warm, too dark, too heavy, too try hard.
More dangerous are my fantasies about what a new pair of sliders would do for me:
They’d complete my wardrobe. I’d not need buy anything ever again. This would be the final perfect purchase (even though I already suspect that my plans to wear some new linen trousers for a wedding in August will fail as I’m already wearing them pretty much daily).
They’d make everything better. Literally everything in my life would be better if some beautiful new slip on summer shoes graced my feet. Borderline personality disorder? Building my career as a writer? Fears that mental health issues will prevent me from having children? But I would have bows on my feet!
Most pressingly: I’d feel amazing on at a friend’s birthday drinks on Friday evening.
As Inger recognises in How Do I Look?, such longings generate conflicting feelings. I know that new shoes, any new shoes, won’t improve my life beyond the pleasure of the shoes themselves.
Yet still I hope they’d be as transformative as Cinderella’s glass slippers.
Such is the power of our desires and the lure of the fairytale. Beneath the fantasy, though, what do I really want? To lose the five stone I’ve gained through medication, to quell the anxiety I’m feeling about going out socially at the weekend (no matter that these people are my friends)… and to feel as carefree as I did when I was younger, when picking up a new pair of shoes for a night out really did seem to have magical powers.
This is how I felt back in the late nineties – back in the late nineties when I last wore sliders.
I’ve featured here some of my favourite sliders on the high street at the moment (I’d have bows on my feet!). You can view some others over on my specially curated ‘Stop me buying sliders’ Pinterest board!
Tell me, have you ever had any magic slipper shoes? Why were they so potent? And what is your attitude to shoes now? Do you buy cheap and often or would you rather a pair that lasts? Do you own a cupboard full but always seem to end up wearing the same two pairs? I’d love to know.
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Thank you for reading.