Why Are Some Women So Obsessed With Shoes?

Notes from the fashion apocalypse.
Aug. 22 2012 3:45 AM

Does Buying Lots of Shoes Make You a Better Person?

Quite possibly.

Still of Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City 2.
Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City 2

Courtesy HBO/IMDb images.

A fashiony pal of mine was standing at a stop light on Madison Avenue and 57th Street when a similarly foncy broad alighted right next to her. The stranger looked down at my pal’s Prada-clad feet and, with an air of breathy reverence bordering on creepy, whispered one word: “Congratulations.”

Simon Doonan Simon Doonan

Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.

Yes, she was actually lauding my pal’s ability to own a pair of designer shoes!

Back in the last century only the shoe fabricator or the shoe designer would have been eligible for that kind of felicitation.

Advertisement

“Oh! Monsieur Hermès, your top stitches are perfection. They are like kitten’s teeth!”

The notion of blowing hot air up any gal’s dirndl simply because she bought something did not exist.

Times have changed. What constitutes an accomplishment has now become very elastic—as elastic, in fact, as the logo’d waistband on my Calvin Klein underwear, the ownership of which will doubtless, 'ere long, elicit a spontaneous ejaculation such as, “Congratulations on your undies.”

But back to footwear: In today’s world, purchasing a pair of nifty shoes, or better yet, multiple pairs of nifty shoes, is seen as a headline-making, gasket-blowing, praiseworthy accomplishment. I came, I saw, I snagged—and am therefore fabulous!

Pierre Hardy porno-pumps, Tabitha Simmons peep-toes, Reed Krakoff sling-backs, Alaïa ankle booties, Givenchy stilettos and Manolo Blahnik pointy toe pumps.
Clockwise from top left: shoes by Pierre Hardy, Tabitha Simmons, Givenchy, Manolo Blahnik, Reed Krakoff, and Alaïa

In the current everything-about-me-is-fascinating age of Twitter, acquiring those Pierre Hardy porno-pumps, Tabitha Simmons peep-toes, Reed Krakoff slingbacks, Alaïa ankle booties, and Givenchy stilettos is the ne plus ultra of achievement. Shoes are the new Nobel Prizes, or they would be if people were allowed to Nobel laureatize themselves.

How did we get ourselves into this seemingly ludicrous position? When did the vaunting and flaunting of designer shoes, shoe closets, and shoe collections become so vital to any gal in pursuit of social currency?

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 3:01 PM Netizen Report: Hong Kong Protests Trigger Surveillance and Social Media Censorship
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.