Can we talk about shoes? I’ve never thought of myself as a “shoe girl,” but when I started packing to move to Australia, I pulled out all of the shoes I own and had to face reality: I own 38 pairs of shoes. That alone might mean I’m a “shoe girl.” At the time, Pretty Boy and I had been together for about three years, and after looking at my collection of shoes, he said he’d seen me wear every single pair. I’m proud of that fact and maybe will allow the label “shoe girl.”
But we moved to Australia with two suitcases a piece, and I only brought 10 pairs of shoes with me. I had one pair mailed to me and I purchased rain boots shortly after I arrived which brings my total here to 12. Including flip-flops, including dressy shoes and athletic shoes and summer shoes and winter shoes, and I’ve come to the conclusion that its just not enough!
Last weekend I went clothes shopping for pretty much the first time since I’ve been here. It was time. Since arriving in Australia, many things have changed. My body has changed: both in size and shape. The pants I brought when I moved here don’t fit me anymore, and the styles and cuts I used to wear fit differently and are less comfortable. My work environment is much more casual than I was previously used to, so I now wear more casual clothes. Socially, I go out less, so I dress up less and when I do go out, its also generally more casual than before I moved here. All this combined to mean the clothes I had were not serving my clothing needs.
Since this shift in body and style, I bought some new clothes when we went to Hong Kong and Japan and a few second hand items from thrift shops, and its been enough for me to get by with. But last weekend, I had just had enough. I’d been feeling frumpy, making due with the meager selection clothes I had, both while at work and at home for too long. I want to feel put together both in the casual work environment I’m currently in and the casual social situations I encounter when I go out.
So I went shopping, and it was hard. So hard. I had to find the intersection between (1) the clothes that fit and feel good with my different body size and shape, (2) the clothes that suit and complement my new-but-still-mostly-undefined casual but put together style, and (3) the clothes that are sold in Canberra. I’m still working on figuring out what cuts and styles fit well. I’m still working on defining my casual-but-put-together style. And the clothes sold in Canberra are limited and heavily feature young, pop-Australian fashion trends, most of which to not intersect with the first two clothing needs.
In the end, after two long days of shopping, I did buy two pairs of jeans, two tops, and one sweater, so I’m calling it a successful trip, but it wasn’t until this morning when I came across something in a post from Amid Privilege, that I was able to identify what was still missing (and what brings this back to shoes):
“Shoes. Turns out, we women buy a lot of shoes not because we are fetishists but because we know instinctively that shoes can make an outfit.”
Shoes can make an outfit. And shoes are exactly what I’m missing. Now that I have some nice pieces, that fit me, that fit my lifestyle and how I want to look while living that lifestyle, I’m really missing my shoes. I’ve resolved to rotate through my current shoe collection more often to help make more outfits. I’m also hoping to bring a few more pairs of shoes from home over here someday, but in the mean time, I’m keeping my eyes open for those outfit-making shoes.