My Addiction

If you know me well, you know about my former addiction. If you don’t already know, I once had a serious problem. For years I unsuccessfully waged a war against my disease but in the end, it always won. I easily fell back into my habit and, with little resistance; I let it consume me over and over again. It wasn’t until I had two children that I was finally able to knock that monkey off my back. For the good of my family, we moved far, far away from the places that offered me an easy fix whenever I felt a moment of weakness. It was an expensive habit – my addiction to shoes.

I liked my shoes high and I liked them pricey. I don’t know why, I just did. Who am I kidding? I still do. My closet is filled with beautiful shoes that were just perfect in New York and Boston. I could throw them on for work or cocktails. It wasn’t odd to take a pair for a stroll through the mall where no one ever threw me the hairy eyeball for walkin’ around all fancy-like. In fact, the sales people who knew their shoes knew that they had a sure thing if I walked through their department. Like the pushers they were, they pushed their best stuff at me and fed my disease. I justified my addiction by claiming that my job required me to look a certain way. I was representing a major hotel company. I was attending the openings of W Hotels and their trendy bars. I needed my shoes, dammit!

Gucci courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue

Last summer, I put one of my favorite pairs of shoes on and simply walked around the house in them. I told them that I missed them and apologized for keeping them all boxed up in the closet. Then I walked into the garage, fired up the riding mower and bumped around our acre and a half wearing my Jimmy Choos and a pair of shorts. It was a bittersweet ride. I mowed my lawn in a pair of golden high-heeled sandals.

Jimmy Choo courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue

Like millions of girls before her, Gwen has inherited the gene that draws her to a pair of pretty shoes like a moth to a flame. Last weekend we went shopping together and, although she’s only 4 going on 16, she displayed great prowess on the hunt. I nearly burst with pride when she naturally gravitated to the shoe department as if called by some ancient beacon. Her tiny feet carried her through the department store along the precise route I would have chosen to reach the shoes as quickly as possible. I simply followed behind and nodded approvingly at her early and advanced display of skill.

Gucci courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue

Having reached the shoe department, she cast a distasteful glance toward the water shoes and those slip-on moccasin/sneaker things. Her footsteps led directly to the jewel covered thongs, shining patent leather and mini-gladiator sandals. Then, exhibiting the aptitude of a seasoned pro, she performed an efficient walk-thru of the shoe department to assess the situation. Without missing a beat, she looped back around to where she began, picked up the shoes that caught her eye and requested each in a little girl’s size 9.

Our arms loaded with boxes, we entered that most heavenly place of trying on shoes and imagining where they might be worn and with what?

She slid her feet into a pair of tiny wedge sandals and gasped, “Ooooooo, Mommy these are just like your beautiful brown wedges.” She pivoted her dainty foot and lovingly gazed at the shoes in the mirror resting on the floor. 

I’m going to take a little walk, tell me how they look.

And off she went, walking away from me with her legs looking a bit too shapely in that pair of wedge sandals. For the briefest moment, we rode straight through time and spent a split second in our future. She was no longer four, but instead, a beautiful young woman who seemed to have just left her fourth year behind. My throat tightened.

Gwennie, I think those shoes are bit too grown up for you… Mommy and Daddy don’t think that heels are appropriate for little girls.

Expecting some resistance, I had armed myself with a pair of gaudy jewel-crusted flip flops. The gleaming pink plastic gems distracted her. She kicked those wedges off and clamored for the sparkles. If anyone can successfully pull off giant pink jewels on her shoes, it’s a four-year-old fashionista.

She tried on precisely 15 pairs of shoes that afternoon and provided a commentary on each.

I’m not a big fan of the blue sandals.

Those ones look like boy shoes.

Those are nice, but they just aren’t my ‘thing’.

She finally narrowed her pile down to two pairs of shoes, and then very decisively chose a pair of fashion-forward gladiator sandals.  Exactly the ones I would have chosen if they came in my size.

Stuart Weitzman Kid's


  1. I just love the idea of you mowing your grass in your Jimmy Choos and shorts. Fabulous!

    There is a shoe gene, I think. Maybe it’s attached to the female chromosome or something. My daughter (not quite two) is very opinionated about her shoes and will refuse to wear a certain pair, even though she may have loved them the day before. I dread and anticipate the day when we can shop together and share shoes. Things will get expensive quickly.

    • It’s crazy how we enter the world with that dangerous trait! My two year old is a shoe freak already too. It’s going to be crazy-expensive when they get older. I don’t want to think about it yet 🙂

  2. I am totally the same way! Except not about shoes, but…wait for it… BACKPACKS! Kiddo’s already got four and she’s not yet four! Ah…

  3. I just never “got” the shoes thing. Probably because we here in Syracuse dont have very many fancy places to go and I hate shopping.

    • never move anywhere close to a high-end department store. you’ll be sucked in by those nasty shoe dealers. one pair was never enough.

  4. Addictions run in families, Kelli : ) Just think of all the fun you two will have together when she’s older, after the I hate you Mom, you ruined my life stage.

    • If she’s smart, she’ll never say those things to me and then reap the reward of uninterrupted shopping for (slightly less expensive than what i used to buy) shoes.

  5. I wish i had the budget to have a shoe addiction lol!

  6. It’s posts like these that make me long for kids. Shoe shopping together? Yes, please, except me and my future daughter would go grocery shopping together. We’d cook together. She’d be a mini-me…and that’s where my fantasy stops. Who wants there to be a mini-Katie on the planet? *Shudders*

    I want those sandals though. In a size Clown Feet to fit my huge puppies!

  7. You in your Jimmy Choo’s on the riding mower…what a perfect image! Awesome 🙂

    Do you know I used to work for Neiman’s ? Attending a shoe sample sale during work hours…I mean, can you imagine? So bad. So wrong! Imagine my joy when my oldest didn’t care at all about clothes or shoes! But then my second, she seemed to have it a little and I got worried. And now my fourth, oh that tiny 14 month old baby. She only knows three words. One of them is “shoes”. Today she tried to cram her fat little foot into a tiny pair of sandals she found in her closet and when she couldn’t make them fit decided to carry them around in her sweaty paws all. day. long.

    I love her.

  8. Normally, I’d write a lengthy comment but, at the moment, I’m going through my Summer closet, renewing friendships with an unmentionable amount of sandals and more.

    It’s deja shoe, all over again.

  9. What a sexy thought, shorts and Jimmy Choo shoes. I suppose it allowed you to wear them. It made me giggle.
    Your story shows that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. How fun that your daughter picked the same pair of shoes you would have picked.

  10. Wow! That is a combination I never knew went together…riding mowers and Jimmy Choos! Fabulous! Brings back memories of my first pair of Cinderella (plastic, bejeweled) high-heeled mules…I’m too choked up for words…

  11. My husband is learning of my shoe addiction. I keep all my shoes by the front door since we have such a tiny flat here in Ireland. As he puts his shoes on in the morning, he’s left staring at them sole to face. He counts them every once and a while to see if I’ve added to my collection. I brought over exactly 30 pairs of shoes with me when I left the States having gotten rid of a good 50 pair b/c I knew I wouldn’t have room. I think of those that have gone often. Luckily, I’m finding plenty of shoe stores here.

  12. I love my shoes, but I’ve never had the money to shell out on Jimmy Choos or Manola Blahniks. (Sadly.) I just kind of “pet” them whenever I stumble upon a high-end boutique.

    I have a ton of cheapy shoes that are completely inappropriate for my life now, but I like your idea of wearing heels for yard work. Suddenly weeding got a whole lot more fun!

    • Sadly, Ada, I will never again have the funds to shell out on Jimmy or Manolo either. Such is life of a stay at home mommy who quit her job and aspires to write a book. We’re better for it. Shoes are much less fulfilling than art.

  13. I think about the other life, the one I had, the one I could have had, before children. When I could shop because I wanted to and I had time to. Now my shoe collection is still there but it is dwindling.

    Sad really. I like my life, I love my life but the other life was good to.

  14. I love the look of high heeled shoes, how polished and chic they can make a woman…but I am not that woman.

    I’ve never learned how to walk in heels. *sniffles*

    BUT – I could TOTALLY ride a lawnmower wearing them! LMAO

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