waiting for the other shoe to drop…and the other…and the other

As promised, here’s greater detail about the weekend’s closet purge.  I have too many shoes.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I have several pairs of shoes I almost never wear.  What to do?  I’ve said repeatedly that I’m on a mission to simplify my life, and yet these shoes (these gorgeous, impractical, space-filling shoes) are something I cling to.  Let me introduce you to the cast.  I was mildly horrified at the actual amount when I started documenting.

-There are the brown Mary Jane flats, the navy sneakers, the knock-off Keens, and the New Balance running shoes.

-There are silver high heels with optional ankle straps.  I bought this pair in dead panic en route to a wedding where I was a bridesmaid.  The bride graciously allowed us to choose our own shoes, as long as they were silver, but I forgot to pack mine!  I bought this pair on the strength of their color, though thankfully they also ended up being decently adorable.

-Next to them are the black patent heels I just knew were an essential addition to my womanly wardrobe.  I’ve worn them a few times, but they aren’t as essential as I imagined.

-Then there are the dark brown sandals, the vibrant beaded sandals, and the cushy light brown sandals.  A couple pairs of flip flops; some Mary Janes that have seen better days: please note that I’ve had the black ones since middle school–yeah; a pair of fuchsia Chuck Taylors; and some more cute-but-mostly-useless high heels.

My life really isn’t conducive to the wearing of any of the shoes in the lower row.  They live in my closet all the same, longing to be worn with sundresses to parties where everyone plays croquet and sips mojitos…or something.  Honestly, I don’t know what they’re waiting for.  The glittery silver ones are my wedding shoes, but I can’t think of a single time I’ve worn them since.  Not because I don’t want to, but because every time I try to pair them with something I lose my confidence when I see all that glitter.  It was one thing under a wedding dress: my girlish secret.  It just feels different out in the open.

But wait…there’s more.  From left to right: suede boots I got at Target for $40.  Rain boots I bought in college (also at Target) and still love.  Boots I couldn’t resist at Sears last year because they were only $15.  Did I stop to ask myself why they were only $15?  Of course not.  But now that the thrill of the “deal” has worn off, it’s painfully obvious to me that their combination of cheap materials, poor construction, and foot-devastating discomfort tell the truth: they were no bargain, just a waste of money (*sniff*).  There are some lessons I’ve had to learn by experience….

Oh, yeah, I also have my Danskos, which somehow didn’t make it into the photo shoot but you’ve seen them before.  I would have bought them myself–they’d have been worth the money!–but my parents gave them to me as a gift before I could buy them.

I’ve tried to get more practical about my shoe purchases, especially since running back and forth across the library and the flower shop (places I work) reminds me often of my feet.  I bought these flats at Target:

They actually have some cushion–yay!  I bought these boots, which I told you were on their way a while back.  They have since arrived and oh, boy, are they just what I wanted!

Please tell me you can see how happy I am.  No?  Well, here, just look at this close-up and imagine how happy I must be.

Those are my thousand words, friends.

The flats and boots fit right in with the other low-heeled members of my shoe collection.  How people function with their feet at steep angles all day is a marvel and a mystery to me.  Don’t misunderstand: I think high heels are adorable.  It’s just that if I tried that method of adorableness I’d be crumpled on the sidewalk before you could say “catwalk.”  Hence the sensible examples below:

After this crazy inventory, I thought seriously about whether each pair of these shoes deserved its place in my space.  Most of them ended up staying, but a few hit the road.

Now everything fits in the mesh shoe organizer on my closet door…except for the boots and a few pretties I just couldn’t bid adieu.  I’m weak, what can I say?  Here are the guilty pleasures that remain:

My thinking on this issue owes a great deal to inspiration I found reading this blog, which I found after reading this book.  I recommend both.  Basically, my questions have become: is it worthwhile over the long term?  If yes, great.  If no, am I inextricably attached to it in some way?  (For example, is it made of red satin and does it have a rosette that bewitches me?)  Then it can stay too.

How do you sort the worthy from the unworthy in your closet?  Obviously I can’t judge you no matter what you say, so fire away!

P.S. Now I can’t help but wonder if I really am just as much of a shoe nut as the stereotypical woman.  I honestly wouldn’t have said I was but…25 pairs?!  Helloooo??  How many pairs do you have?  I need to know if I am crazy!

shopping my closet

My friend Nicole at The Neesby Lookbook introduced me to Kendi Everyday‘s concept of combining 30 items of clothing into enough outfits for a whole month–the 30 for 30 Remix.  (Make sure to check the link to Kendi’s results, grouped by season.)

Partly as an act of solidarity with budget-restrained fashion lovers and partly as a creative challenge, I decided to play along.  If you read Kendi’s musings on this project you will see she is adamant that no one should obsess over the “rules” of this challenge.  It’s meant to refresh your perspective, not bog you down in details.  That came as a relief to me, because I definitely did not feel like taking a photo every day.  In fact, before 30 days ended I was more than ready to revisit the other clothes in my closet!  Here’s the documentation I did achieve:

Please pardon the awkward self-portraiture.  The breakdown:
-14 photos
-24 items of clothing
-28 if you include the scarves, which I didn’t plan to count, but hey.
-6 days of skipped photographs
Tally those numbers and I came close to completing the Remix within its original parameters.  But variety really is my muse–and then there’s the fact that the weather is taking a nosedive that makes me want to wear two days’ worth of clothes at the same time–so I’m calling it quits here.

A couple things stood out during this exercise in artificial scarcity.  One is that in the fall and winter, I spend most of my time wearing just three pairs from my shoe collection.

I have to show you how cute the middle pair is.  When I told my parents I’d been hired at the flower shop and was going to buy some Danskos, they almost immediately sent me these:

They’re “Professional Embroidered,” for those who care.  Darling, right?  I love ’em.  They go perfectly with this shirt…

…and jeans.  Voila: feminine without trying too hard.  Here’s another key player in my restricted wardrobe:

I love solid-colored clothes with textural embellishments.  These two got some mileage during the last month.  The top one is a gift from my sister; the bottom one is a purchase from a consignment shop.  Both led me to unearth a verrrry interesting fact about my closet.  Check in tomorrow to find out what it was!