Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What's behind shoe obsessions?

It was a bright pink pair of saltwater sandals that began Katie Rosen's love affair with shoes — beyond the normal need for foot protection, that is. "I was about 5 or 6, and I was totally obsessed with them," Rosen says. "I was very fastidious about those sandals."
Rosen is now 39 and an attorney in Seattle. But back then, just barely into elementary school, she was entering the vast Sisterhood of the Shoe Obsessed. Rosen now recounts painful stories about her shoes, like the time the 3-inch heel on a black patent leather Christian Louboutin broke in court. Or when her black Jimmy Choo flip-flop was swallowed by quicksand while she was at the beach.
This affinity for shoes is not unique. Shoe mavens are everywhere, eager to show off their latest footwear finds, collecting pairs like kids with baseball cards or hipsters with LPs. Ask one, and she'll preach about how shoes make or break her outfit, how shoes can change the way she feels, how shoes let her personality sparkle without saying a word. Shoes are, without a doubt, the most important piece of fashion.
What shoe are you?: Take our personality quiz
The USA WEEKEND Program: Listen to an interview with fashion expert Valerie Steele
"When you ask, 'What do women want?' — the answer seems to be shoes," says fashion historian Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
"It might help if you think of shoe shopping as the ultimate happy form of shopping," says Steele, the author or co-author of more than a dozen books on fashion, including 2013's Shoe Obsession. "If buying a bathing suit is the most humiliating and depressing part of shopping, then buying shoes is the most delightful part."
Shoes are forgiving. Shoes are loyal. Put on a few extra pounds, and your favorite strappy, metallic sandals will still fit, unlike that ruthless pair of skinny jeans that mocks you in the mirror.
"While you may age out of plunging necklines and miniskirts, a woman of any age can enjoy a stiletto or vampy toe cleavage," says Michelle Madhok, founder of SheFinds.com, a style and shopping resource.
But an enduring fit is just the tip of the pointed toe pump. A special shoe makes a statement. You might not embrace glitter, animal print, metal studs or bold prints on your clothing, but on shoes? Yes, please.Source

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