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When I was six years old and needed new winter boots, I pleaded with my mother to buy me the shiny chocolate brown faux leather boots with equally fake yellow-tinged sheepskin lining, a little heel and a slim-line bootleg I'd seen in a shoe shop in the centre of town; for no other reason than that they were the hippest boots I'd ever seen. I dreamed of those boots for weeks, and thought of how good I would feel owning them. My mother however, decided otherwise - she believed children's footwear ought to be practical and comfortable, with plenty of room to accomodate growing feet. So instead of the coveted boots, I got a pair of flat, wide bootleg, beige-y leather boots without sheepskin lining that I hated at first, but came to appreciate if not exactly love later.

The first thing I did when I started earning from a Saturday job at age 15 was to buy a pair of high-heeled, knee-high boots made of red canvas. Two years earlier, Mum had presented me with my first, 3 inch high, heels. They were meant as shoes to practice in, as the heels were made entirely of rubber: put a foot wrong, and you'd fall flat on your face. I wasn't allowed to wear them outside, or unsupervised. I don't know where she got them from, but they taught me how to walk in heels very well: every time I twisted or otherwise injured my ankle, I was wearing flats...running shoes, actually.

Anyway, it's no secret that shoes are important to me. They're not just a foot covering, protection against the environment, or even just adornment to me; they help me express or show something of my personality. I can look back and remember my life in shoes, and here is a small selection:

I bought these patent leather pumps in Feb 1985 in a street market in Florence, Italy for (IIRC) 20,000 lire.I wore them quite often in the mid-80s, whenever I went out to party with my friends. You can see they're quite battered and worn-out, but I still can't bring myself to throw them away -- they remind me of my younger, carefree days as a student at Leiden University.

These fuchsia pumps were bought for a special occasion, to wit: my mother's wedding to her second husband in the summer of 1985. My then-boyfriend bought them for me, and I wore them with a Laura Ashley dress in the same colour. I don't think I wore them much after that day.

Another pair of shoes I've hardly ever worn, mainly because they pinch dreadfully, these winklepickers date from the early 90s. I liked their punky look, and still do.

These date from the early 90s as well. They're quite worn; I used to wear them often in those days, as there was someone who said he loved to see me in them...

...until Sept 1997, when that same person broke my heart. These were new then, and worn with silver trousers and a black top the night my hopes were dashed.

In contrast, these red suede slingbacks carry much happier associations with them. They were bought in May 1994, paid for with my first paycheck from HP. I was so full of optimism then!

Mid-90s, sequined slingbacks. Worn sporadically, and to parties mostly, because I would have hated to have lost even a single sequin. Also, the elastic strap tends to cut into the flesh after a few hours.

These were my favourite shoes of 1996/7; they're quite comfy and their cherry patterned uppers always cheered me up.

Clogs, bought in Oxford Street in the summer of 1998, because my feet had become quite hot and swollen after a hard day's shopping, and they were just so what my tired, achey feet needed at that moment. And as you can see, they're quite indestructible.

This pair of Carvela booties I also brought home as a souvenir from London, some time in the early noughties (2003?). Peronne helped me pick them in Harrods' shoe department...I've never worn these, as I'm too afraid to get dirt on them.

Another souvenir, from Bluewater this time, while on a visit with calove a few years back, and worn just once or twice since then. £20 they were, in the sale at Jones Bootmakers.


( 18 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Jan. 28th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Ironic the clogs should come from London.
Jan. 29th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is rather! ;-)
Jan. 28th, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
This was a fun post to read! I have a pair of similar to your 1997 black shoes. I loved them forever, but once I had my son, my feet no longer fit into them. It was a sad day for me.

I love the white boots!
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked! And I'm sure that becoming and then being a mummy has brought you much more pleasure than any pair of shoes ever did...

I love the white ankle boots too, but the colour makes them so impractical :(
Jan. 28th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
Those fuschia pumps are sooooo 1985! I knew they were from the '80's before I read the caption. I had quite a few pairs of pumps in the '80s, but never any that bright!

I've never been much of a shoe person. I love to buy clothes, but shoes not so much. I loathe wearing anything uncomfortable, and most shoes that aren't expensive, well-made ones hurt my feet, and for the longest time I refused to spend a lot of money on shoes. I've since learned that it's worth it to have good quality shoes that fit and are comfy and will last for years.
Jan. 29th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
80s Pumps always remind me of Daisy Duck; they did so back then and they still do so now.

I've since learned that it's worth it to have good quality shoes that fit and are comfy and will last for years.

It's a lesson we all have to learn at some time in our lives...I learned mine quite early on, but my sister still buys cheap rubbish and wonders why her feet hurt all the time.
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
I've tried to get my mother to buy more expensive, higher quality shoes, but she won't spend the money on them, even though she can afford it. She's in her 70s and has diabetes and so has foot problems. Then she complains that she can't get shoes that fit right. ::shakes head::
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
In your mother's case, I think it definitely would make more sense if she went to one of those specialist shoe shops where the staff is knowledgeable about problem feet and can advise her properly...Those shoes usually do come at a price, but if she could claim it back on the insurance, perhaps that might convince her to give it a try?
Jan. 29th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
Loved the trip down (shoe) memory lane! I am more of a tennis shoe person, as you know, but the clogs are something like shoes I've worn in the past.
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
As bogwitch has pointed out, it is quite ironic that I, a Dutchwoman, should have to travel all the way to England to obtain a pair of clogs...But I'm glad I did. I don't wear them very often, but they do come in handy sometimes.

Edited at 2008-01-29 08:11 pm (UTC)
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:59 am (UTC)
What a good way to walk down Memory Lane. I don't keep shoes - I don't have room, so I throw them out, or donate to charity shops regularly. Looking at all your shoe memories makes me wish I'd kept a few more of mine.

I had some very like the black wedges at about the same time.

I love those white boots, but I can see why you would worry about getting them dirty.
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
Most of my shoes, I don't keep either -- some get so worn-out that really, the bin's the only place for them to go at a certain point; or they're still okay but for whatever reason I decide to give them away, usually to a good cause. Why, only the other day I sent 10 pairs to Kurdistan (loafers mostly, and one pair of heels).

As to the white boots, I really want to wear them outside, but the conditions will have to be perfect. Although the first thing I dow hen I bring home new shoes is to treat them, spray them so that they become dirt and rainwater repellent, in the case of these boots I doubt the efficacy of that.
Jan. 29th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
What a great idea! My thing is handbags. I have about 50 of them but only ever use about 10.
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
I like handbags. Or shoulderbags I should say; I own a few of those (nowhere near as many as you!) and never leave home without one. If money were no object, I'd soon have a collection to match or even rival that of my shoes.
Jan. 29th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
fun storytelling. very clever and creative. when i was six, i wanted me a pair of fire engine red maryjanes. but my mom and your mom must have gone to the same school of practical shoes for impractical daughters.
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
I thought my mum a meanie at the time, but now I have to say: I'm glad she took little or no notice of my whims back then. My feet are healthy and free of bunions, and it's all thanks to her!
Jan. 29th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
This was a fun post to read, and very cool pictures. I tend to not keep shoes over the long term.
Jan. 29th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
I wish I could keep all my shoes, but I just don't have the room. Most of them end up in the bin or in a charity shop, and those that survive my periodic bouts of cupboard clearing only do so because they've hidden themselves away in other places at the crucial time...
( 18 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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