Shoe shopping can be incredibly cathartic. No matter if you've gained an extra five pounds or lost ten, a shoe always fits. It's no wonder that most women have extensive footwear arsenals in their closets. A new survey found the average British woman owns about 20 pairs of shoes, but only wears 11. The total value of that same woman's shoe collection? About £720, or around $1,189! That means that about $660 worth of shoes are collecting dust in our closets!
Most of us have a long way to go before we can afford a walk-in closet worthy of Carrie Bradshaw, so minimizing your shoe collection is crucial. It may be easier said than done, but if you stick with the classics and allow yourself a handful of standouts, you'll make the most of your stiletto stockpile quicker than you can say "size 8, please!" to your favorite shoe salesman.
KEEP: The Day-to-Night Staple
Transforming an office appropriate outfit to one that's just as chic when meeting the girls for Happy Hour can pose quite a dilemma. Owning the right pair of shoes means you can build your weekly wardrobe around classic footwear. Christian Louboutin's "Simple 85" pumps are just that … simple! Made in Italy, this smooth black leather heel is just 3½'' making it ideal for hailing a cab in rush hour without toppling over. A rounded toe is demure, but tongues everywhere will be wagging once onlookers spot Louboutin's iconic red bottom.
KEEP: The Summer Wedge
Every summer, regardless of the latest trends, women can be seen teetering on wedges. A variety of textures (cork, raffia, etc) paired with a peep-toe is perfect for sneaking out of the office on a summer Friday or to your roommate's wedding. Nothing says summer chic like a gorgeous pedicure peeking out from a sexy shoe. Diba Rosley's Gladiatior Wedge Sandal combines the popularity of the flat gladiator sandal with a 5" cork wedge.
TOSS: The Shoe That Needs a Gimmick
Did you last wear this pair of chunky heels when you and your girlfriends went as the Spice Girls for Halloween? Or did you end up buying them because they sat in the clearance section long enough that you felt it was just meant to be? Either way, a gimmicky shoe has no place in your closet. Here's what to avoid: mirrors, any material that will show the tests of time quicker than you can ask if it's too late to return (think feathers, fur, etc.), or something that you can't imagine wearing more than once.
TOSS: Those Adorable Shoes That Leave You Limping After a Night Out
Whether it's clothes or shoes, there's no denying fit is everything. We all have that pair of shoes that we fell in love with and couldn't believe were finally on sale, but pinch our toes together, or leave our heels rubbed raw every time we wear them. We sacrifice our poor feet to break in shoes and match our outfits perfectly, but isn't it time we gave our feet a break? Don't tempt yourself to squeeze your aching dogs into that too-tight pair of Choos anymore. Gift them to a friend or put them on display! Besides, whoever said "beauty is pain" never staggered countless blocks during a MTA strike.
BUY: That Standout Pair
There's a lot to be said for streamlining your wardrobe or creating a uniform so all of your pieces work together. But don't ignore what makes your style your own! Shoes are where individuality can really shine through. Everyone has to wear them, but the way you pair black and gold strappy heels with a little black dress is what sets you apart from all the other girls at the party. It's hard to assert your style in a sea of equally fashionable peers, so make sure they fit and you can picture yourself wearing them before you shell out the big bucks for that pair you've had your eye on.
Ask anyone who follows fashion, trends come and go quicker than sample sales. Maybe you're way over those six inch yellow stilettos you bought last summer but that doesn't mean your old roommate isn't still envious! Grab a few of your girlfriends with the same shoe sizes, bring a few pairs of shoes still in good shape and swap! It's like shoe shopping without the hefty price tag. Don't have any friends who wear the same size? Pack up those heels and bring them to your local thrift store or Salvation Army. Most of the time, your donations are tax deductible. Plus, you pass on your great fashion sense to another!