petite anglaise

August 1, 2005

podiatrically challenged

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 12:51 pm

I have been tagged with a shoe meme. Not only tagged, but challenged: “Petite, because she’ll never do it.”

Grrr. Of course this means I have to. But if it makes less than thrilling reading, it’s beyond my control.

Until about the age of sixteen, I loathed buying shoes. I liked having my feet measured at Clarks shoe shop, in the special machine with metal bars that gently closed around my feet, the vibrations of the machine tickling slightly, but I didn’t like the sensible shoes that we invariably left the shop with. Not only did the shoes have to comply with strict school uniform regulations, but they also had to have a low heel, because it had been decreed that I had weak ankles. Thus for many years my shoes were of the lace up, sturdy, characterless variety and the prospect of buying a new pair was not something I tended to get terribly excited about.

At sixth form college there was no uniform. Finally I was free to express my personality via my footwear. And what did I buy? Black slip-on plimsolls to start with, just like the regulation ones we used to wear in PE classes at school. I think I favoured these because they cost very little. Then, in keeping with my status as an NME and Melody Maker reader, I graduated to my very first pair of Doc Martens. These were worn with everything: the charity shop Laura Ashley pinafores which I favoured at the time, jeans, mini skirts and even ball gowns. At university, I graduated to a pair of bright blue Docs, and strung beads on the laces. I loved those boots, and wore them until the shiny leather cracked.

A couple of years later, I discovered electronic music and everything that entailed, which generated a need for footwear which would enable me to dance for twelve hours at a time. The Doc Martens were swiftly retired, to be replaced by suede trainers, worn with shimmering sequined mini-dresses. (I never could understand how clubbers managed to dance in strappy sandals.) These, when not adorning my feet, lived outside my window. For obvious reasons.

It was only when I began working in offices (circa 1998) and earning a wage, that I started to take any interest in shoes, owning multiple pairs, and investing in different styles of shoe to complement different outfits. Throwing caution to the wind, and blocking out my mother’s voice in my head, protesting in vain about my weak ankles, I bought shoes and boots with heels. A revelation! I discovered what most short people had probably known innately all along: they made me look taller, and made my calves look thinner. It was an epiphany, of sorts.

I still don’t think I own very many pairs of shoes by Nardac, schuey or Coquette‘s standards. And I’m sad to say that I am not au fait with much in the way of shoe terminology, so you won’t find me bandying about phrases like ‘Mary Janes’ with careless abandon.

My main gripe when buying footwear in France is that I can never find a pair of boots which I can actually zip up over my fair (but slightly sturdy) calves. I’ve learned my lesson: I source those in Blighty, to avoid embarassment.

 

Below is the shoe meme, in case this sort of thing really does fascinate you:

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

  • 1 pair of multicoloured suede pumps from fun&basics in Madrid
  • 1 pair of black kitten heel shoes for work, can’t remember where I bought them
  • 1 pair of patent leather high block heeled shoes from Nine West which caused me to fall down the stairs at work, with the sound of my mother’s voice saying “I told you so”, echoing in my ears…
  • 1 pair of black knee high boots (from England, for aforementioned reasons)
  • 1 pair of brown high heeled ankle-high boots
  • 1 pair of black medium heeled mid-calf high boots (from England)
  • 1 pair of brown tiger ‘Kill Bill’ trainers
  • 1 pair of black coq sportif trainers
  • 1 pair of brown flipflops
  • 1 pair of black and beige flat sandals from Office, UK**
  • 1 pair of black strappy sandals with kitten heels
  • 1 pair of gorgeous brown Louis Vuitton shoes from a private sale* (I photographed these, then deleted the picture by accident, sorry)
  • 1 pair of slightly less gorgeous Louis Vuitton shoes from same
  • 2 pairs of Barry Comfort slippers (free when Mr Frog did their advertising involving very sarcastic talking slippers)
  • 1 pair of complimentary slippers from a hotel in Geneva, 4 sizes too big, courtesy of Mr Frog

Total:16 (which probably doesn’t qualify me for “proper girl” status, and I’m really scraping the barrel by including my slippers)

Most expensive pair of shoes: *

Last shoe you bought:**

How many shoes under your work desk:

Er, I’m not sure I understand this one. That’ll be the suede pumps I’m currently wearing. I don’t make a habit of bringing extra pairs into the office. Should I?

I wouldn’t mind if my Lover’s shoes were also under the desk, provided they were attached to Lover. But that’s too rude a fantasy for my mum to read about.

At this juncture I think I am supposed to tag someone else with the shoe meme. But I think I’ll just look for volunteers instead. First five people who want to brag about their shoe collection, mention it in the comments box below and I’ll link to you here.

46 Comments

  1. Wow – I get to do the first comment! Didn’t understand the ‘link to’ thing but never mind eh..
    Hmm..shoes… plural??
    I am the proud owner of 1 pair of black court shoes bought more than a year ago from Taneo and 1 par of sparkly flipflops from Lafayette I bought this lunchtime.
    That qualify me as ‘proper girl’ or ‘trop maman who spends more on kids’ shoes than own?’
    Time for things to change…I didn’t know it was legal to own 16 pairs of shoes that aren’t all worn out at the same time…
    :)

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

  2. Nardac has 35!!

    Comment by petite — August 1, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

  3. *35* (gasps).
    Well, take me to the foot of our stairs…

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

  4. Petite, I’ve got the impression, right, that you check your Comments box at work…and here am I, doing exactly the same thing! I think, ‘God, I’m bored, wonder if there’s a new entry on Petite?’ and off I go. I get back to work and then 5 minutes later I think, ‘God, I’m bored, wonder if there’s a new entry on Petite?’ and so on through the long, long day…

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

  5. Would you like me to have a word with your employer – I’m sure they can find you something interesting to do…?

    Comment by petite — August 1, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

  6. but you still have 3 pairs of slippers. bizarre.

    Thanks babe! I could tell this was probably like pulling teeth for you.

    Comment by nardac — August 1, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

  7. Lucy – you seem to be forgetting your long boots that were in the sale but still too many euros, and *such* a good fit that it would have been a crime not to buy them… (or have they gone to shoe heaven?)…And not forgetting the similarly gorgeous ones I saw, loved, ordered, waited excitedly for and tearfully had to return because the wretched things were welly-like on my chicken calves.

    Comment by Susan, back in Rennes soon — August 1, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

  8. Yes, *sigh*, my beloved black velvet fetish boots (only designer shoes ever bought in entire life) have gone to the big shelf in the sky as the heel was viciously ripped off by a drain cover at St Vincent oh-so-posh College in Rennes in front of evil laughing 5/3eme students. Wonder why I had no street cred? Mystery. Could happen to anyone…*but had to happen to me*. Grrr.

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 3:40 pm

  9. In terms of finding something interesting to do at work, Petite, would love it if you could…I have loads to do, its just deathly boring…just whisper the word ‘Mobalpa’ to Susan nearly-in-Rennes-again and watch the fireworks…

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

  10. Why is it that women can always tell you what brand their shoes are and where they bought them. Similar conversation with blokes:

    Q. What type of shoes are they?
    A. Black ones.
    Q. Where did you buy them?
    A. Shoe shop.

    Comment by Alan — August 1, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

  11. Speaking of you, Susan…I just had woman on phone about cdt35..she was most displeased cos she saw ‘is’ instead of ‘it’ twice! Shock-horror. How could you?
    She finished by saying ‘l’anglais est simple, mais plus subtil qu’on ne croit’. How generous.

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 4:04 pm

  12. Well, Alan, there are exceptions to this rule. And I can vouch for the fact that he prefers ladies.

    Susan/LJ – I love the way you are using my comments box to conduct a private conversation…. Modern means of communication, eh? Perhaps you would like to make a symbolic contribution to my blog hosting bill?

    Comment by petite — August 1, 2005 @ 4:07 pm

  13. I agree with Alan.
    One black, one brown and 2 trainers are all I’m owning up to

    Comment by pww — August 1, 2005 @ 4:07 pm

  14. hummm did my best to describe my shoeworld, but it’s so incredible frustrating to have the vocabulary in french and miss it in english…

    Anyway Petite, I think your lover has discovered a whole range of gifts, I’ll be glad to assist him if he needs some advice? it so happens that I love women wear…

    Sergio Rossi being the quintessence…

    Comment by stephan — August 1, 2005 @ 4:08 pm

  15. I don’t have many shoes but I’m slowly building up my collection. At 22 I’ve FINALLY become a girl and started buying nice new clothes and shoes for myself. I’d say that I have about the same amount as you do Petite. An arrangement of flip flops, loafers, heels, boots, and 2 puma sneakers.

    Comment by juliana — August 1, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

  16. Ouch. Apologies.

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 1, 2005 @ 4:22 pm

  17. I only own about 14 pairs.. which includes four pair of flip-flops. However, the woman I work with owns 28 pairs of sneakers… different, multi-colored sneakers. Then she has a whole other shoe closet for the rest.

    It’s truly fascinating… and fortunate that we wear the same shoe size!

    Comment by theinsider — August 1, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

  18. One of my best childhood memories involves shoe shopping. Normally this was the domain of my mother. Flat, brown, lace-ups were always the end result. How happy I was on the day, when for some reason, she couldn’t make it and my father had to take us shopping instead. How we worked our charms on him. He didn’t completely cave in to our desires (I’m pretty sure that my mother had given him strict instructions about what to shoe us in) but, in any case, we walked away with the prettiest black t-bar shoes feeling like Ladies. Oh joy!

    Comment by Sarah — August 1, 2005 @ 5:02 pm

  19. I think the “shoes under the desk” question refers to the “Working Girl” habit of wearing trainers on your commute/walk to work and then changing into your work shoes when you arrive. To avoid having to carry the work shoes in every day, you stow a number of pairs of shoes under your desk at work. I used to do it when I walked to and from work, but never accumulated more than two pairs under the desk… but then, like you, I’m not particularly “shoey”, though I have become more so over the last few years.

    Comment by witho — August 1, 2005 @ 5:31 pm

  20. Well to get back on topic (with humble apologies), I too spent my formative years in Start Rite lace-ups and have only recently starting considering shoe shopping as a legitimate pastime. Due to my foot dimension problem (namely their diminutive width) some of my sandals fly off dangerously if I walk too fast, my long black boots had to be sourced at a specialist shop in the UK and I can’t wear pumps at all. So I’m no shoe fetishist – I own around 10 pairs but can only wear three of them for an entire day without wishing I’d gone for trainers instead. And my greatest shoe-related error was dropping an expensive, comfortable and smart pair of brown leather boots into the charity bag by mistake during an over-enthusiastic clear-out. Irreplaceable.

    Under the desk, well it has to be fluffy slippers, as my feet are always cold. But only at home you understand.

    Comment by Susan, back in Rennes soon — August 1, 2005 @ 5:40 pm

  21. The (seemingly) huge metal girders of the Clarks foot measuring machine closing around my fragile 5 year old foot, ready to malfunction at any moment and snap me like a twig, remains one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

    Only happened the once, they just used the tape measure after that.

    Comment by Mr. Andrew — August 1, 2005 @ 7:50 pm

  22. I’m afraid I own obscene quantities of shoes, most of which hurt (quite a lot,)and are inappropriate for most of real life but fulfil my self image fantasies, and all bought because they still fit even after “just one more Mars bar”….I do own 1 pair of trainers which I pinched from my son when he grew out of them.

    Comment by Henri — August 1, 2005 @ 7:52 pm

  23. Vous pouvez garder les chaussures, mais il faut changer tout de suite la moquette !!

    Comment by rico — August 1, 2005 @ 9:29 pm

  24. Label me “almost-typical guy”: one pair black, one pair brown, one pair trainers, one pair cowboy boots; I can tell you where I bought the boots.

    Comment by udge — August 1, 2005 @ 10:31 pm

  25. Funny how nobody’s asked to be tagged, and yet almost all the men have volunteered their “4 shoes more-or-less” answer. I actually enjoyed tagging Schuey because he’s such a label whore, and knew he would not disappoint in spouting off good advice for men (and women!).

    And… I wish more men would take more interest in their appearance. Looking like a can of beans, whether you care to be attached or not, just shows lack of self-respect. Even Einstein had good shoes.

    Comment by nardac — August 1, 2005 @ 11:22 pm

  26. Shoes make such a difference to the way you feel! I have thoroughly enjoyed ‘educating’ two friends in the last 18 months … away from the boring black and oh my God, colour is actually liberating! Now I just have to get them to understand that they will not get in trouble if they wear anything higher than an inch …..

    yes, I am a shoe whore, I freely admit it! 30 pairs and counting, including my good old ugg boots with the blow out in the right one! (10 years old I might add, bought well before the current fashion sent their prices skyrocketing!!!!)

    1 inch, 4 inch, boat shoes, boots, gardening sabots, sneakers, slides, platforms, mary janes, stilettos, wedges, I love them all – and I want more!!!!!

    Anything from Nine West and upwards …. I would love to say to Jimmy Choo or Louis Vuitton but alas, an Office Managers salary only stretches so far!

    Call me Imelda, I don’t care … and yes, once upon a time I too had weak ankles … i think the discipline of standing correctly in 4 inch heels fixed them :) … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    Comment by Miss Lisa — August 2, 2005 @ 1:12 am

  27. not to mention my favourite gum boots (or wellies, I guess you’d call them) that live at mum and dads place in the country – fabulous!

    Comment by Miss Lisa — August 2, 2005 @ 1:13 am

  28. On the one hand, given your past stunt in the oh-so-glamourous fashion industry, I thought you would be a Manolo Blahnik girl. On the other hand, you are definitely a cool trainers kinda girl…

    When my friend Vero moved in with her BF last year, he asked what were the 5 big boxes at the bottom of the stairs. Her answer: her 78 pairs of shoes!!!

    Comment by Maurine au bout du monde — August 2, 2005 @ 2:43 am

  29. Four pairs sneakers varying from ones I will wear should I ever get to the gym (white) to too trendy for exercise (red). Two pairs in black / white.

    Three pairs ankle boots varying heels and trendyness. Also one pair knee high cos a girl needs at least one pair of bimbo boots. Two pairs sensible-ish work court shoes. Two pairs less sensible shoes for frocked up occasions and minimal walking involved. One pair kitten heel slides. Two pairs flat sandally things for hot weather. All black.

    Steel cap work boots under my desk for building site visits. Also black.

    Am taller than average (tho not much) so heel height tends to depend on the occasion and the man!

    Comment by Sarah — August 2, 2005 @ 8:15 am

  30. I have….9 pairs of shoes…. not a lot really.
    2 x ankle-type boots, 1 x doc martens, 1 x flip flops, 2 x trainers, 1 x bright pink ballet slipper things, 1 x walking boots and 1 x black sandal things…which doesn’t even

    I used to love those Clarks machines….

    Comment by Chick — August 2, 2005 @ 10:02 am

  31. Eek… what I meant to write was that 9 pairs don’t really qualify me as a girl….

    Comment by Chick — August 2, 2005 @ 10:04 am

  32. I know what you mean about being calf challenged – not surprisingly, at the recent winter sales here there were stacks of boots. If we can’t fit into them, guys, we won’t buy them! It’s taken me several years, but this year I found two pairs of boots that fitted! Yay! And there’s a rumour that next year they’re going to sell boots in calf sizes here in Oz :-)

    Other than that, I adore mary janes, partly because my first memory is admiring my new red shoes (I think I was almost 2), and partly because I have one foot half a size smaller than the other. Court shoes have a habit of falling off one foot.

    Comment by /anne... — August 2, 2005 @ 10:56 am

  33. Enlightenment please: kitten heels??

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 2, 2005 @ 11:12 am

  34. wikipedia has this to say:

    A kitten heel is a short, slightly chunky heel found on women’s shoes usually no more than one inch high. They are particularly common on sandals.

    Comment by petite — August 2, 2005 @ 11:37 am

  35. Cheers! Should have thought of wicked Wiki myself, shouldn’t I?
    :)

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 2, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

  36. I never understood the shoe thing…I have 2 pairs of trainers, 2 pairs of Birkenstocks, and a pair of dress shoes. My job doesn’t require me to dress-up, so Birkenstocks suit me just fine and are comfortable. I wouldn’t mind having a pair of Clark’s, but I just haven’t gone shopping to replace my old ones. I don’t like to shop!

    petite, I, too, check your blog every day. I am disappointed when there isn’t an entry. I am a therapist, and like to check your blog during my mid-day break. I have lots to do, but sometimes I need a little diversion from my heavy workload.

    Comment by Elle — August 2, 2005 @ 12:41 pm

  37. Oh doc martins….how I miss you…..

    Comment by Anne — August 2, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

  38. ………and they say there’s no sparkling conversation any more…….Where’s Imelda Marcos when you need her? ;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — August 2, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

  39. I hereby tag myself. Can’t resist talking about shoes – I think I’ll come in under 16 pairs (excluding slippers, I admit) and hence not a Proper Girl; also, no designer items, tragically. But there’s this love/hate thing with footwear, so I’ll be tallying up imminently. *girds loins* How I do expose myself…

    Comment by Scroobious — August 2, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

  40. Kitten heels… sound much more sexy and interesting than they are!

    Comment by Sarah — August 3, 2005 @ 6:28 am

  41. Wait till you get a bunion then you have no choice but to find something you can actually bear to walk in even if it looks ghastly!
    P.S. What’s ‘tagging’pleae?(with apologies for being out of touch with modern terminology – but it goes with the sore feet – sign of old age!)

    Comment by Sandy Bootman — August 3, 2005 @ 3:30 pm

  42. Have we come across a wikipedia mistake? I always thought kitten heels with those little heels that come to a very tiny point. If that’s not them, I don’t have kitten heels.

    Tagging, which nobody here seems to understand, is saying “you’re it.” At that point, you answer the questions in the meme and post them on your own blog, not in the comments box. At that point, Petite will post a link to your blog, and you tag someone else.

    Comment by nardac — August 3, 2005 @ 9:19 pm

  43. I thought kitten heels were pointy too (which I have) but have seen low heels referred to this way. Anyway technically mine are mules (backless, closed toe) not slides… but does anyone really care??? They’re all just shoes for god’s sake!

    Comment by Sarah — August 4, 2005 @ 2:44 am

  44. Thanks Nardac. So I can’t be ‘it’ as I don’t blog – I’ll just enjoy reading Petite!

    Comment by Sandy Bootman — August 4, 2005 @ 8:22 am

  45. Probably too late to be tagged but I must own about..

    {diving under desk… counting, opening cupboard…. counting, bedroom… counting, downstairs… counting. O look, another pair}

    … 75-ish

    Comment by Laura — August 4, 2005 @ 11:00 pm

  46. Bonjour Petite! I’d love to be tagged. Mmm, talking about shoes. With pictures…

    Comment by Nico — August 5, 2005 @ 4:59 am


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