posted by: freePOrnaoa in General on June 7th, 2009
I must admit that I haven’t given that much thought to “shoe psychology” — i.e., the reason why I love shoes so much, or for that matter why they are such a cultural phenomenon, comprising such a larger market share of fashion sales. I grew up with beautiful ones around, and it was just like breathing air to be drawn to shoes.
But a couple of years ago, London paper The Times published an article that centers around shoe psychology and sociology. Basically, the article tried to parse out why women torture themselves over shoes, emotionally, physically and financially. Why did Carrie one day wake up and realise that she was so broke she was going to be the Old Woman Who Literally Lived in Her Shoes?
From the article: “We are all in thrall to the holy trinity of Choo, Blahnik, Louboutin. People explain it in different ways: some say shoes allow us to buy into an otherwise unaffordable designer brand in the way fragrance once did. ‘Magazines used to tell us what perfume Grace Kelly wore,’ says Robina Dam, the former editor of Shoo magazine. ‘Now they tell us what shoes Nicole Kidman wore on the red carpet.’”
Absolutely true. I do think we now care more about what shoes beautiful celebs wear than what perfume they wear. And I think it does allow us to connect with something glamorous when we strap on the same Ferragamos as Nicole Kidman.
So, without further ado, here are a few of my Shoe Psychology Theories regarding why we’re so obsessed:
- As Toni Collette’s character said in “In Her Shoes,” shoes always fit, unlike clothes. A shoe is static and dependable, something we can count on. Whereas a clothing item changes shape over many washes, a shoe basically stays the same, excepting some rain-staining, stretching or fabric tears. LBS’s (Little Black Shoes) in the form of quality leather, well taken care of, can stay with you for 40 years — how many LBD’s can do that???
- They are mightily sexier than a handbag, a belt, a necklace or most other accessories for that matter. I joke that you should wear the kind of shoes that go with the kind of partner you’re looking to attract, and I think that might be true.
- So far from the line of sight, they still draw an amazing amount of attention with their visual and aural effect (think of the clicking and clacking of heels drawing eyes downwards).
- Shoes are a place in our daily ensemble where it’s okay to let go a little bit and go wild, since it’s a contained area.
- The elevated shoe makes you taller and thus more powerful (or at least, powerful-seeming). Most women want to appear taller, and it puts you on par with some men height-wise, which can be useful in business for looking at each other eye-to-eye.
- They’re a metaphor for a mode of transportation and transformation. They take us places literally, physically, but also mentally. A great shoe makes you feel and thus act differently.
- In a sense, the shoe is the new hat, representing different roles. Switch your shoes and you’re ready to segue into a different function for the day, from staid worker to wild party animal or from grubby gardener to posh lady at tea. Shoes help you transition mentally.
- In a world of repression for adults, shoes are an area of play, like much of fashion.
- They have become the icon of the single woman and the business woman. They represent liberation and a woman’s ability to take care of herself. There’s something inherently rebellious about stylish shoes, which say a well-heeled woman has earned enough money to take care of her feet in quality shoes.
If we seek out our favorite shoe-sage’s advice about where all that hard-earned money for us single gals goes, I think Carrie said it best in the famous episode, “A Woman’s Right to Shoes”:
“The fact is, sometimes it’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.”
Or in the words of the singer of “Independent Women”:
“The shoe on my foot, I bought it. I depend on me.”
Even if you bought it for $20 and rehabbed it, it’s something you do for yourself that puts a little extra spring in your step.