Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shoe Collector - List # 6

Originally posted on my facebook October 21, 2011:

My guy, Neil and I were watching an episode of “Hoarders” that featured a cute blonde girl from Tennessee.  She’s in her early 30’s, presents herself well, and holds a professional position, but her apartment home is too small of a space for all her belongings, and it has become an overwhelming mess.  (I’m not judging; I’ve been there.)  Her disorganized, (and in places) downright dirty home was causing her much anxiety, and it was affecting her job performance and relationships.  Prior to this show, she never allowed anyone she dated into her home.  The television show “Hoarders” introduces their counsellors/therapists/organizers in order to help.

When they reached the point that it was time to tackle her clothes and shoes…well…let’s just say that I could relate to some things I was seeing.  She had a lot of clothes.  She had a lot of shoes.  She had 55 items of clothing that had never been worn and still had store tags on them.  Needless to say, all of these items were in an unorganized mess.  But, the part that really got me was the topic of shoes.  She had 140+ pairs of shoes.  The counsellor/therapist/organizer (CTO) expressed how excessive that was.  The CTO herself claimed to have 10 pairs of shoes and that she felt that was all that is necessary for someone to own.  Up to this point, I absolutely agreed that the girl needed some help, appeared to be overwhelmed, and that this show could offer her some sound advice.  But, 10 pairs of shoes?!?  For a woman?!?  My reaction was “that is just ridiculous!”  Neil felt that 10 or 15 pairs of shoes were an acceptable amount for someone to own who lives in a smaller space.  I replied that no female that I know (or very, very few females that I know) only own 10 pairs of shoes.  I feel like the goal of the show should be to help her attain some organization and relieve some stress and anxiety, but it needs to be in a realistic, reasonable manner.  And, in my opinion, only 10 pairs of shoes are neither realistic, nor reasonable.  Neil and I discussed some more, and this got me thinking……

Am I correct?  Or am I just trying to justify my own shoe addiction and hoarding tendencies?  I began thinking some more…  Is this a cultural thing?  In America, there is an overabundance of choice and variety on almost every consumer item available.  So, are American females more likely to buy more of those varieties that are available?  I kept thinking…  Does someone’s profession or age or interest in clothes/shopping/style influence the number of shoes they own?  Another thought… In America, prices of shoes are SO much less expensive than here in Australia (or countries in Europe that I have visited).  For example, Nine West and Steve Madden shoes in Australia will cost a minimum of $100 a pair.  Boots would cost $200+.  But, in the US, you can find either one of these brands on sale or at a store like DSW for $19.99 and up.  Does the cost of shoes affect the amount of shoes that are purchased?  Do my Aussie friends have less pairs than my American friends because they cost so much more?  And, I thought some more…  Does a single female with no children have more shoes than a mom who also clothes and buys shoes for her growing children?  Again, am I having all of these thoughts and asking myself all of these questions to further justify my personal excessive ownership of shoes?

I decided I needed help.  I needed help from my family and friends.  Where better to reach out for help than facebook?!  I could conduct my own social experiment on this social networking site to examine females and their relationship with shoes.  I believe that I have a good cross-section of the female population in my friends list.  I couldn’t remember the exact number of friends that I have, but I knew it was over 400.  I assumed that I had at least 200 potential female friends and family to participate in my shoe study.  (Actually, I have 284 females on my friends list; I’ve counted now.)  I have friends from the age of 13 and up.  I have friends that are wealthy, friends that are scraping by, and everything in between.  I have friends that are trendy and fashionable and friends that couldn’t care less.  I have friends that are in the professional world, retirees, stay-at-home moms, and more.  I have friends that are heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual.  On my friends list, I have females that live in every continent except Central America or Antarctica.  I have single friends, married friends; mothers and those of us who aren’t mothers.  I decided that my group of gals from facebook sure could help me answer some of these questions swirling in my head.  At least, it sure would be interesting to me to hear their replies.

On three of my facebook status updates, I said this:  “To my female fb friends – how many pairs of shoes do you own?  There’s no right or wrong answer…from 3 to 300…I’m totally curious what answers I’ll receive, so please participate in my little social experiment here.”

Unfortunately, I did not get as many answers as I wanted (only 36 people gave actual numbers with 2 others admitting that they had too many to count), but I did get some insight to a few of my developing questions, and I did reinforce some of my beliefs.  For the results of those that participated, if I was given a range, I went with a number in the middle (i.e. my sister-in-law said “between 130 and 150”, so I counted her as having 140).  The answers ranged from 10 to “at least 150”.  Way to go Tiffany!, although I bet if Stephanie had actually counted she would have been over 150 as well.  :)  Only one person said she owned 10 pairs, the amount that the “Hoarders” CTO recommended.  I think it is important to note, this girl is from the UK and temporarily lives in Australia, so my guess is she didn’t bring all her belongings, and she’s kept her amount of clothes and shoes to a minimum.  Only 4 females said they owned 10 to 15 pairs, the amount that Neil felt was enough.  Of this group, one is Scottish who says she’d definitely own more if she could pay US prices for shoes; one that has 15 pairs commented “obviously no where near enough”; one is the 10 pairs of shoes friend I mentioned before; and one explained that she moves a lot so she keeps herself “pretty pared down”.  By adding all the pairs of shoes and dividing by the total that answered, my average female friend owns 59 pairs of shoes.  So, I feel justified in my belief that the advice of the CTO who said on “Hoarders” that she should only own 10 pairs of shoes was in fact unreasonable, ridiculous advice. (Okay, okay, I admit that it’s not a fact.  It’s only my opinion, but it is an informed opinion based on my highly scientific study conducted on facebook.)  And, based on my study, Neil has been proven wrong too.  Sorry Neil. :)

I received answers representing 8 different countries, and without a doubt, the ladies living in America have more shoes.  The exact reasons, I can’t be certain, but I do believe the large availability of decent to good quality shoes at reasonable prices are a contributing factor.  After receiving answers from a 14 year old and people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, I don’t think age seems to matter.  Based on my study, someone’s interests didn’t exactly contribute to the amount of shoes they own, but surely it does.  I do know that most of the mothers with children still in the house seemed to have less pairs than the ones without kids or children no longer in the home.  That makes sense to me.  Of course there are exceptions to each of these findings.  This is best exemplified by Lisa, an Australian who just informed me that she bought 5 pairs of shoes yesterday (her count is “100+), Cass, another Aussie friend who editted herself a couple of times after she purchased 2 pairs of shoes on 2 different days this week to bring her count to 75, and Stephanie who is a stay-at-home mother with 3 kids still at home.  Girls, I support you.  Everyone needs a hobby!  :)

Another contributing factor that I hadn’t considered became very evident to me – family influence.  My grandmother probably could have “won” this list.  She was constantly shopping for shoes, but I bet she never purchased a pair at full price.  She definitely didn’t need any new shoes, but if there was a shoe sale, she was buying.  She regularly hid Christmas gifts in the top of her closet tucked away behind her shoe boxes.  Also, she regularly lost Christmas gifts because there were SO many shoe boxes.  Shoe shopping and collecting (some may call it “hoarding”) was and is a family past time.  As a kid, I went shoe shopping countless times with my grandmother, mom, and aunts.  This family tradition continues along with my cousins, sister-in-law, and nieces.

I finished my count last night.  Admittedly, there are still a couple of boxes unpacked, and I have one box of clothes and shoes to be donated that has sat at the door for close to a year.  So, I estimated what was in each of those boxes to the best of my ability.  My count:  130ish.

I admit my love of shoes and the amount that I own is excessive, and I could survive on less than I have.  I admit that I have hoarding tendencies when it comes to shoes (and clothes and make-up and handbags).  I accept these traits about myself.  For me, it truly began in my junior high/high school years when I owned an assortment of high-top Reeboks (as Flo Rida says “the Reeboks with the straps”).  I don’t remember how many pairs I had, but I remember yellow, red, blue, black, white, purple, pink, and lime green.  Thank goodness that trend hasn’t come back in my life.  Now, I like that I have 11 pairs of black boots (high heels, super high heels, suede flats, soft leather flats, cowboy boots, wedged heels, motorcycle boots, Doc Martens, lace ups, Uggs, some novelty ones with flames on them that I got in London).  I enjoy choosing what pair I feel is appropriate according to my outfit, where I’m going, what I’m doing, and the weather.  I like that I have snake skin hot pink ballet flats that can make a boring black, white, or gray outfit look bright and fun.  I like that I own 3 pairs of cowboy boots (black, brown, and snakeskin) because being away from Texas, I can put on a pair of cowboy boots and feel a little piece of home.  I like that I share my love of shoes with female family members.  Lastly, I like that the first compliment that Neil paid me was that I have “nice footwear”.

So, for the Tennessee girl on “Hoarders” and to all my family and friends who participated, thank you for your contribution to my examination of shoes!!!!  (If you made it to the end, and actually read ALL of this, I thank you even more!!!)

Since I make lists on this blog, here's a list of my favorite shoe designers, some practical, some lust worthy:
Alexander McQueen
Betsey Johnson

Brian Atwood

Christian Louboutin

Diane Von Furstenberg


Guiseppe Zanotti
Iron Fist

Jessica Simpson

Jimmy Choo

Louis Vuitton


Miu Miu

Sergio Rossi
Steve Madden



  1. So I counted and I currently have 10 but that is as some are still in California and shoe prices in Sweden would make you cry!

  2. 10 pairs of shoes is insane. If I could live with 10 pairs of shoes I'd be so proud of myself. But no, it's not possible for me! I have at least six pairs of tall boots, at least five pairs of booties and that's already 11. And there's sandals, heels wedges, sneakers... Telling her only 10 shoes is a much too lofty goal. (I know this is two years old but since you linked to it and it fascinated me I had to comment!)


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