Having an intentional approach to shoes has long been a challenge of mine. When I started simplifying my wardrobe, I started out with approximately 60 pairs of shoes.
A few people have told me that is insane (which it is! I know!), and that my roster of 30 shoes is still way too many. But I tell myself it is important to remember that when I started this, I was in a totally different place in life – working in an industry where appearances are extremely important (public relations, beauty), working a lot of events where I needed to project a particular image and also shopping often as a mechanism to cope with my depression. So I am gentle with myself about how many items I own, and proud of how far I have come! I also personally don’t think minimalism should be defined by owning a set number of items, but about owning the items you need and nothing more – whatever that number is to you. But I do still have too many shoes.
I bought two pairs of shoes this week, which will replace five (I misspoke and said six on my Instagram – apologies, ladies!) pairs of shoes in my closet that I’ve set aside to donate or consign. I wanted to share them, and my thought process, with you here.
Out with the old…
in with the new.
First, a bit about the new shoes. I found these Eileen Fisher heels on Poshmark and I absolutely love them. They are soft and comfortable, with a block heel that is a reasonable height. I also took the plunge and bought the St. Agni woven loafers. I had admired the look of them for awhile, but ultimately it was their reported comfort and breathability that sold me.
The shoes they are replacing are all shoes that are too similar to one another, or are no longer my style but I held onto because they were practical or I felt like I should own them. I think it can also be really difficult to get rid of shoes because they are so expensive – even ones that aren’t ethically made. You don’t really recoup your money selling them, so it seems like such a shame when you have to admit that they no longer work for your life.
A bit more about each shoe I’ve chosen to part with, and why.
Aldo wedges: I love a neutral wedge, but these are quite high and more of a holdover from my college days – six years ago! I rarely, if ever, go anywhere that would warrant a five-inch heel. I have a shorter pair of wedge espadrilles, but they don’t quite feel as dressy as these do so they never fully replaced them. These Eileen Fisher block heels are the right color, and have the level of sophistication I was looking for in a shoe that can be worn with something dressy or casual.
Esprit mules: These are the flat mules I’ve been wearing prior to buying the St. Agni ones. When I purchased them, I liked that the rose gold was fun and on-trend – but as my approach to my closet matures, I see that they are too trendy of an item and don’t pair well with a lot of my outfits.
Cole Haan snakeskin flats: These have been my spring and summer flats for a long time, as a result of the light coloring and the blush bow. And man – are these hard to part with. They were expensive, so there is some guilt, but they did serve me well. I haven’t been reaching for these much though, because I’ve been starting to feel that the colors and bow, combined with my small stature, makes my outfits look juvenile. I’m trying to communicate a more confident and mature message with my clothing, and so these no longer work for me. The St. Agni mules are a great closed toe spring and summer shoe. I don’t need two closed toe/ flat-like summer shoes, since I wear sandals most often during these seasons.
Arturo Chiang nude pumps: These are the shoes you think you have to own when you become a young professional – a nude pump. My office these days is more casual. A neutral block heel works much better for the occasions when I would have typically worn these.
Sole Society studded heels: Ah, yes – the Valentino dupes! These have been, to this day, my go-to shoes for weddings. I remember being THRILLED when I bought these – back when I worked a lot of events and was an avid follower of dozens of fashion blogs. These days my style is a bit more understated, and I even found myself questioning how much I wanted to wear these shoes to that last wedding I went to. Despite being black, they have an open back, so they have always been a warm-weather shoe for me. These Eileen Fisher shoes are more comfortable for dancing, are a more appropriate warm weather color and a more classic style.
So, there you have it! It might be small progress, but I’m proud of every step I’m taking to live a more intentional life. Are you a shoe hoarder as well? If you have any tips for me as I continue to streamline, I’d love to hear it!
I don’t actually think 30 is a lot, but I have around that number so maybe I’m biased. In my case, quite a few pairs are for very specific things like biking or working out or hiking. When you factor in having a couple pairs or styles per activity/season/occadion, it’s pretty reasonable. You’ve taken a really pragmatic approach to reducing and replacing a number of your shoes. The reasoning behind your choices makes a lot of sense and I enjoyed reading about the process. Good job!
Thank you! I totally agree that having whatever number of pairs of shoes is appropriate if they all serve a purpose! I have way too many duplicate/similar styles which I have no need for though. I tend to just always gravitate toward the same types of things.
They’re a great shoe for a business casual office! But for me, my office is just casual. Good luck!! ????????