Shoes and Scarves

Musings from One Tampa Chica:

So Many Shoes, Only Two Feet

Yesterday was an excellent day to purge shoes. Gone are the worn, out of style, physically challenging stilettos, and just plain ugly “What were you thinking?” shoes.

Didn’t we enjoy the Carrie Bradshaw series, Sex in the City, where we longed to afford and wear the beautiful shoes featured each week? I’m here to share that my 42 pairs of shoes seem reserved compared to the shoe addiction portrayed by the show’s actresses. My mom used to justify her extensive collection of shoes by saying that a woman should not be criticized for the number of shoes she owned as long as she did not have more pairs than her age. Theoretically, I could have 77 pairs of happiness. The truth is that I don’t need that many shoes. At 77 years of age, my feet, knees, and balance dictate my choices in chic, comfortable, and not too pricey footwear.

Why do women love shoes so much? For me, it starts with my shoe size. No matter how much I eat, the size 8 shoe still fits. Shopping for shoes is rewarding because if one browses through the shoe department, one will walk out with a pair of shoes and be much happier than when she walked in. Shoe shopping is also good exercise. Thousands of steps have been added to my Fitbit just walking through DSW and trying on shoes. A new pair of shoes is a confidence booster. Someone may compliment your hair or dress or purse, but nothing feels better than when someone says, “Great shoes!”

There is a saying that if something fits and you love it, buy it in every color. I tend to do that with shoes. In this pile of 42 shoes, there are the two sets of Vionic sandals, the brand with those comfortable arch supports. These are identical sandals, one pair white, the other red. A year later, these sandals went on sale, and I purchased them again.

There are also the three sets of Tommy Hilfiger block heel sandals, each in different colors. The truth be known, the beige and white pair would have sufficed. But no, I also had to have the navy and green, and the navy and white combos. Justifiably, the shoes are classic-looking and are incredibly comfortable. They look pretty good on my feet, go great with slacks, jeans, skirts and dresses, and can be worn casually or a bit dressy.

Dressy? What is that? Will we ever dress up our casual look after COVID-19?

Another reason women have a few extra pairs of shoes is that not all pants in the closet are the same length. Footwear and the pants need to go together, and sometimes it is easier to purchase a higher heel for the longer slacks than having them altered.

So how many pairs of shoes were purged from this pile? Nine pairs. Gone are both the white and red older worn-out Vionic sandals and a couple of travel loafers that I never liked. There were a few pairs of shoes that were impulsive purchases that I could not pass up because the sale price was so low the store was almost giving them away. I still have not mastered the concept that a sale item is not always a good purchase.

I did keep the suede booties, because they are my only go-to cold weather shoe. I also kept the most expensive shoe in the pile because it is a black beauty and very comfortable. I wonder, though, if I could walk any distance, stand awhile, or even dance again in the modest 3-inch high heel. Perhaps some yoga balancing sessions will allow me to wear that shoe again. I’m keeping the dream for now.

There are 33 pairs of shoes left to organize and put away. I would have liked to purge more, but I’m thinking that perhaps after a lifetime of buying shoes, I have learned to finesse my purchases.

Now let’s talk about scarves.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Scarves

Today I decided to purge the scarf bin. What an organizational challenge this silky mess presents! I have collected scarves for decades and have a problem putting any into the recycle bin. For decades, I kept the collection in an old suitcase under the bed.

When my mom passed, I loved her collection of scarves not only for the beauty of the pieces, but also because they held her scent, and that was a loving memory. Inheriting her collection forced me to get a larger bin to keep the silky mass.

Most of my scarves were purchased to produce a smashing fashion statement. In the ’60s, do you remember how we wore the little square scarf with our shirts and sweaters? But for me, scarves are never comfortable to wear. Scarves refuse to stay in place: they are too long, too short, too square, too bulky, too hot; well, you get the idea.

When it comes to scarves, I suffer from the “What if Syndrome.” What if I need it next year? I fret that if I give away some of my collection, later I will wish I had it. The bottom-line truth is that even though I have kept the massive collection, I probably would not wear any scarf, because I rarely do wear scarves. Does this describe the hoarders’ dilemma?

Perhaps Florida is just too hot to have some silky tie hanging around your neck, absorbing trickles of sweat. That helps me understand why men don’t like to wear ties. The one nice thing about a scarf is that my age they cover (hide) some neck issues.

For a year, I have followed a blog that builds wardrobe capsules using the colors from beautiful scarves. I’m just kidding myself when I peruse the site. I’m never going to work that hard to match a scarf to accessories.

So, I ask myself, what am I going to do with this bin of very nice scraps of fabric? For now, they are going back on the shelf in the closet. I’m going to take more time to process my feelings about the scarves. The next time I take the bin down, maybe I’ll purge the mass and limit myself to no more than a selected dozen or two, or three…

Ray Ann Favata says “For about 15 years, OLLI has offered me the opportunity to serve as the Volunteer Management Committee Chair, President of the Board of Advisors for the 20th Anniversary Celebration, and Chair of the Travel Opportunities Committee.  My membership in OLLI  has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. ”



6 Replies to “Shoes and Scarves”

  1. Thanks for the picture of the scarf. It has inspired me to organize my scarf drawer, something i didn’t realize I needed to do.

  2. I’ve always wished I could have a lot of shoes, but my foot is between a 5.5 and 6, making it a challenge to find one in almost any style that is not too tight or too loose. I have loved scarves for decades, purged them when we right sized into a small home. After Covid, I wonder how many I’ll ever use again. Your story has prompted adding this task to my To Do List.

  3. I loved reading this. I know I love shoes too because I don’t have to diet to keep wearing them. I kept my mother’s shoes too when she passed and have given them away slowly. She wore mostly open-toe shoes.
    My stock of shoes is now mostly flats and sandles but I have kept a pair of Stuart Weitzman heels that I bought for a dime. That will be hard for me to weed out.

  4. I connected deeply with this story. I have had a shoe addiction since my 20s, when I would spend my last few dollars on another pair that I didn’t need. Then during my career working with mostly men, I wore heels to add inches to my height . I travelled a lot through Europe, and would always stop in Rome to stock up on Ballys. Now in my 80s and with sciatica, I’ve had to come down on the heels, but have five pairs of beautiful colorful flats from Rothys. And like the writer above, I have my favorite pair of Stuart Weitzman heels from way back in the 70s, but I remain emotionally attached to them. I am also a big fan of Chico’s scarves and ruanas and ponchos….have lots of those. I need to de-clutter, but I love them all.

  5. Oh the scarves. So far, I justify keeping most even as I’m majorly downsizing because, well for one, they take up so little space, and two, they are practically weightless, right? Now, if I do decide to give them all away, even those Chicos “bargains” with the tags still on, I will still keep one scarf. My first boss out of college, an editor at GPPutnam Sons on Madison Ave, gifted this one keeper to me the day I left Putnam’s and my job as his editorial assistant. In 1963. My forever scarf is a large silk square, blue and gold, with an exotic Birds of Paradise pattern.

  6. I have to eliminate shoes and scarves a little bit at a time. It helps me think that I still have plenty. I realize that after a while, I don’t even remember what is gone. So then it’s time to do a little more. The next thing you should tackle is how to weed out jewelry that you have had since high school. I’m thinking about that.

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