Frankly, sometimes I think there's something wrong with me. I think I must be the only female on the planet who does not lose it over a pair of shoes. Consider the following quote:
"There's one pair that I always like to wear. Sometimes when I'm alone in my hotel room, I look at them and I think how they are the only things in my life that know exactly what I've been through all day. I often feel like my shoes are the only part of me that know exactly what I'm doing because they're always with me." - Lady GagaA Daily Express study reported that the average woman will spend $25,000 on 469 pairs of shoes in her lifetime. So why are shoes such a "thing" with women, coveted by both Carrie Bradshaw more than any other accessory and frequenters of popular street style blog Jak & Jil? When it comes to status, shoes win approval in ways shirts cannot — the Daily Express study stated that four out of every 10 women judge other women based on their shoes. It Bags had only a moment, and it's not like there's a Tumblr devoted to pants. What makes shoes so special?
Science has explored why women love shoes as recklessly as they do, and they've discovered that the brain sends out a barrage of mood-booting hormones during a new purchase. "The neurotransmitter dopamine is released, providing a feel-good high, similar to taking a drug," says Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. ""Shoppers rationalize shoes as a practical buy - something they can wear multiple times a week - so they hold on to that pleasurable feeling longer," says Lindstrom.
Furthermore, buying new footwear stimulates an area of the brain's prefrontal cortex termed the collecting spot. "Shoes are a collector's item, whether women realize they perceive them that way or not," says Suzanne Ferriss, PhD, editor of Footnotes: On Shoes. Consider how shoes are often stored prominently on shelves, or in custom-made acrylic boxes. "They're like sculptures," says Ferriss. Collecting shoes causes an adrenalin-like rush similar to that a baseball card collector feels when landing a new find.
Back in May, a British survey revealed that the average British woman owns 20 pairs of shoes, eleven of which she barely wears. The total value of the average lady's shoe closet? £720, or around $1,189. That means about $660 worth of shoes are sitting idle. The survey also noted that women buy an average of eight new pairs each year.
So. There are all these women buying shoes, talking about shoes, wearing (and not wearing) shoes, and budgeting for shoes. I get the feeling that, as a woman, I am supposed to like shoes too. Everywhere you look, women are waxing methodical about their shoes, glazed looks of transcendent bliss upon their faces. Female role models, whether they be singers, models, actresses or stylists, are constantly speaking of their love for heels. It was widely reported that Rachel Zoe and Victoria Beckam trolloped through their pregnancies in five inch stilletos. And it's hard to ignore the fact that a pair of pumps can transform an outfit and do pretty miraculous things for your shape. Much as bras and corsets are worn to encourage a womanly, hourglass shape, heels are worn to elongate the legs and raise the derriere. In a pair of heels, you stand taller. Your stomach is more tucked-in. And if you're petite, that extra four inch of heel is an enticing confidence booster.
So how did my husband react to my new heels? "Eh," he shrugged. "They're...okay." (Then again, this is a man whose sole emotional moment in the course of our 13 year marriage took place while watching The Rookie. A movie about baseball.) And I sort of agreed with him. I will never have a passionate love affair with shoes. It's just not me.
Tell me - what's your relationship with shoes? Do you get a rush from buying a new pair? Do you get excited over this season's must have heels? How many pair of shoes do you estimate you own? Which pair is your favorite? Or are you like me and just not a shoe person?
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