Friday, July 29, 2011

commentary: the 3 shoes rule

I have a genetic pre-disposition that causes me to desire many pairs of shoes. It's true. Just walk in my mom's closet and you will quickly see what I'm in for. Like many of us, my inclination is to buy, buy, buy. But, because I realize that there are (perhaps) more important things to purchase in life than shoes, I created the 3 shoes rule. For me, it is a way to fulfill my shoe craving, while maintaining control.

Figure 1. Three shoe choices from spring/summer 2010 (left: Tsubo heels, center: Rocketdog wedges, right: Target gladiators).

If you have this same affliction you know the feeling you get when a new fashion season (i.e., spring/summer or fall/winter) is beginning: that insatiable desire for new shoes (don't even get me started on the clothes/accessories). My rule allows me to purchase three new pairs of shoes per fashion season.

Figure 2. Three shoe choices from fall/winter 2010 (left: Anthropologie boots, center: Steve Madden boots, right: Urban Outfitters heels).

For me, this means being a few months 'behind' the fashion curve while I sit back and blog-stalk my fashion inspirations to see what shoes I just can't live without. Next, I make a mental list of the general types of shoes I want to buy (e.g., tall brown boots, brown wedges, flat t-strap sandals). Then, the research begins. The majority of my purchases are done online and I search site upon site (e.g., Piperlime, 6pm, Zappos, Endless) to see the available choices and variations in style and price. I spend hours doing this. Yes, hours. I select candidates and ask others' opinions, read online comments about comfort, and try them on (look for free shipping/returns). Order your favorites, try them on, and wear them around your house. Yes, I have trotted around my house in PJ's and high heels all night to test their comfort.

Figure 3. Three shoe choices from spring/summer 2011 (top: Frye wedges, bottom: OluKai sandals). One choice remaining and I am eyeing these).

Then, carefully, select your three pairs. In the end, you have satisfied your desire for new shoes, participated in new trends, and added to your collection, all while staying in control.

(Note: Sometimes you may get shoes as gifts and these certainly don't count. And sometimes you may encounter a really fantastic pair after you have picked your three. A splurge, every now and then, is perfectly acceptable. Mom, this note is for you.)


  1. This is a great rule because although it does limit you, it is also rewarding - all the while having control. I love the brown wedges.

  2. Thanks Becki! I suppose that must be the trick (at least for me) to many things in life - a balance between limit and reward.

  3. These shoes are beautiful! Love the summer finds. I add another rule...Once my shoes do not fit in my hanging shoe bins, it's time to weed them out and give some to Good Will. I always have a few pairs that I haven't worn for awhile.

  4. I do this EXACTLY. Zappos = bff. I think I've spent probably 15 hours this holiday season researching BOOTS alone.