A few months ago, upon the strict instruction and watchful eye of a professional organizer (best money I've ever spent, by the way), I was coerced into downsizing my already pared down shoe arsenal from 76 pairs to 58. This is the maximum number that fits into my brand new, dedicated, painstakingly-constructed-by-my-husband, shoe closet. Faced with a decision of Sophie's Choice proportions, I surveyed the lineup: 11 sneakers, 19 flats and 14 boots (completely impractical in Southern California I know, but you can take a girl out of New York, and all that). After arranging the shoes by category, one thing was very clear; the vast majority of the 20+ pairs of high heels did not see the light of day nearly as much as their low-to-the-ground counterparts. In fact, more than I care to admit, most of them never made it back onto my feet after the initial in-store try-on. So how is it that I've accumulated enough Choos, Blahniks and Louboutins to warrant an entire storage system -- not to mention the countless hours spent ogling possible new additions -- if I seldom wear them?
I will say, it's not for a lack of occasions: I work in fashion so I can prance around with stilts attached to my legs and no one would blink an eye. Wearing any one of my "Shiny Ponies" (thanks for that one, Jenna Lyons) shouldn't be an issue, but I rarely do. Then there's my looming birthday celebration in Vegas-the land of all-you-can-eat buffets, body-con dresses and wicked all-nighters (no judgment, you only turn 29 once). In Sin City, super-high heels are not only acceptable, but strongly encouraged, yet I'm devising my celebratory outfit around my trusty moto-boots, lest I tower over my fellow party-ers. Should I care? No. Do I care? Yes, yes I do. Because at 5'9, though by no means am I a giant, I can strap on perfectly sensible pumps, and I'm hovering at a little over 6 feet, successfully out-inching my husband, not to mention, the majority of my friends and co-workers.
I can't speak for all tall girls, but the relationship between this tall-ish girl and her ever-expanding collection of stilettos, pumps, platforms and the like, has been a long, arduous love affair-going on decade number two. I can trace the start of my height-related complex to the 9th grade -- by then, I had already fully grown into my lanky self. A boy likened my stature to that of a drag queen (and not in a good way). Granted, he was significantly shorter than me, but thanks to the fragile self-esteem that's synonymous with teenage-dom, I turned my wrath to the 4.5 extra inches added on by my prized Steve Madden wedge slides (for the uninitiated, in the early 2000's they were at the height of their reign of terror on teen girl ankles everywhere). The incident prompted me to stash my beloved clunkers and opt for non-gravity-challenging kicks for the remainder of my high school career. Ironically, My love for sky-high heels has only deepened over the years, and I'd like to believe that I've long since shed my adolescent insecurities, but that nagging anxiety of towering over everyone in the room still torments me.
It turns out, lightening my footwear load to a somewhat manageable number wasn't as hard as I'd originally anticipated. A few pairs of dingy tennies here, several less-than pristine oxfords there -- but I couldn't let go of a single pair of heels. Something had to give -- I can't be a full functioning adult while hoarding an overabundance of under-utilized stilettos. The truth is, my usual diet of skinny jeans and blazers can only benefit from a choice pair of strappy sandals, and integrating them into my everyday wardrobe should be a cinch. I need to kick that nasty habit of slipping into sky-high pumps for special occasions and events, only to wuss-out at the eleventh hour and change into flats. Because at the end of the day, it all boils down to confidence -- that unmistakable sway of the hips is downright the best accessory a girl can have -- bullies be damned. So what if I have to duck when walking through doorways, right?
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