I’ve made no secret of the fact I’ve struggled much more with a Winter in lockdown. When the weather was nice and we could spend all our time outdoors I didn’t feel too claustrophobic despite not really being allowed to go anywhere. In Winter it’s very different though. We’ve been blessed with a heavy snow fall this weekend which was so welcome, but up until now it’s pretty much rained every day since Christmas, and living in a small village as we do, rain means mud. I can still just about manage to walk the dog with Bailey in the carrier, but when all the local walks turn to a swamp it becomes too hard and we have to rely on walking the streets which isn’t much fun. When Dan is free we can venture a little further afield, but as we’re trying to stick to the rules and not travel unnecessarily we’ve only been walking close to our village, and after two months the same routes I’m pig sick of all of them now. So it’s been far harder to stay positive and keep my mind occupied. The thing is, unlike Dan who is the master at staying busy, I really struggle to engage in projects that don’t interest me, so the big lists of household tasks we compiled as we learned we were once again being instructed to stay at home have only kept me going for short periods at a time and I’ve found myself with far too much time to focus on the fact that the world seems like a terrifying and horrible place right now, and dwell on the sense that we’re hurtling towards some inevitable doom! So I decided I needed to give myself something to concentrate on, something that I would find fun but that would also give me a sense of achievement, and here it is!
It was born from an afternoon sorting out in my closet, where Bailey likes to play these days, and as I lovingly returned all my prettiest heels to their homes on the shelves I lamented about how little they got to see the light of day these days and that I should really make more effort to wear them. My mind then cast back to my original inspiration to blog, Forever Amber, who back in the day also ran a shoe blog on which she hosted an annual shoe challenge. The idea was to wear all of her shoes within a year, and those that hadn’t made it onto her feet after 12 months would be passed on or donated, and just like that the idea took hold. I should do my own shoe challenge! I dithered back and forth for a while – I hadn’t counted my collection in a long time and I knew this would mean facing the truth about just how many I owned, as well as endure the inevitable ribbing over it’s vast size from those who find the idea of a shoe collection beyond belief (I wrote all about such comments in this post a while back!) but I knew inside it was a good idea. As much as I get joy from simply looking at my pretties, I do still think it’s a shame for them to be hidden away in a closet, so at the very least it would mean they got some exposure on Instagram! And lockdown has really made me reassess how daft it is sometimes that we declare certain types of clothes ‘innapropriate’ for an occasion simply because of the style. I’m not talking in practical terms, obviously – you aren’t going to catch me trying to tackle that aforementioned mud in my best satin peep toes – but I do think there should be no reason why you can’t wear glitter outside of christmas, for example, or a nice pair of heels to the pub on a Tuesday night just because everyone else has opted for trainers. I’ve already got much better at wearing what I want rather than worrying what people will think, and I felt this challenge might push that thinking even further. And finally, 2020 was the year I swore off fast fashion, so in 2021 I really want to focus more on making the most out of my existing pieces rather than feeling the urge to constantly buy new things, and what better way to tackle that than a challenge which forces me to think smarter about how I can mix and style pieces around my shoes?! Especially as my style has changed somewhat since Bailey was born. So I vocalised my thoughts to Dan, and after that there was no going back!
I realise this will be no easy feat. I know from Amber’s own experiences that it can start to feel really restrictive once you get to the dwindling numbers and you have to spend your mornings working out exactly how you’ll get those last shoes worn rather than just putting on whatever you want. And almost half of my collection is made up of heels so given that I live in the coutryside and don’t go out partying all that much since Bailey was born it will be a challenge finding ways to get those worn. But it isn’t impossible. The final tally has come to a massive 180 pairs, which means I need to be wearing a different pair every other day on average, but with some careful planning and making the ost of the opportunities I often have to wear more than one pair in a day it is doable, and I’m determined to do it! I know I will need to hold myself to account though, so I’ve devised a set of rules to follow:
The Shoe Challenge Rules
- The dates run from 1st Jan – 31st December 2021 – thanks to Instagram I’m able to go back and check what shoes I’ve already worn so I’m going to include those as it just made sense to go from the start of the year.
- The shoes must be worn as part of a styled outfit. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have to go outside (firstly because LOCKDOWN and secondly because working from home part time and parenting a little one the rest of the time means I frequently don’t go out other than to walk the dog!) but I do need to have worn them for at least a portion of the day, not just thrown them on to tick a box. And of course, there must be photographic evidence! Lockdown life does obviously makes it a little easier to cheat, but I’m going to try and think about what I would be doing that day normally i.e would I be going into the office, having playdates with Bailey, etc, and plan my outfits accordingly. So no 6 inch platforms on a random Tuesday morning just for the sake of it!
- While I have included all types of shoes in the tally there are a handful I haven’t. My running shoes, for one, as I wear them all the time but not as part of an outfit. Similarly, the tatty pair of old boots I keep by the door just for the purposes of letting the dog out or popping to the garage for a bag of ice, nor the flipflops I use for the hot tub. I haven’t counted my Louboutins even though they likely will get worn because they’re just too special to me and I wouldn’t dream of getting rid of them whether they were worn or not so it seemed silly to include them. And you can rest assured my wellies are getting plenty of use so no need to pray for them! There are a whole range of styles involved though – everything from summer sandals to OTK boots!
- If I buy new shoes they have to be added to the tally, as I think otherwise it would be too easy to continue splurging when I’m trying to curb that activity. The only exception will be if I buy a pair to replace one I’ve already saved – this may well happen with a few as I have some that I love but are getting a little worn out, so I’m on the lookout for upgrades!
- Gifts will be assessed on a case by case basis. If I get any for my birthday they will most likely get thrown into the ring as I’ll have all year to wear them, though it would be a bit much to say the same for Christmas presents! I do feel dfferently about gifts than shoes I’ve bought myself though – when someone has lovingly chosen them for me I just don’t think I could bring myself to simply get rid of them if I hadn’t worn them yet, so this is one area I will allow a little sentimentality to affect my decision!
I’ll be trying to write a monthly update on how I’m doing, but if you want to follow my journey I’ll also be posting daily on Instagram using the hashtag #stephsaveshershoes and I’ll be using the following Pinterest boards to track each save so feel free to take a look!
You could also, of course, join in yourself! It doesn’t have to be shoes – I’d really like to try doing it with my dresses one day, but we still think we’d like to have more children and getting pregnant would make that near on impossible so maybe one day in the future – as long as you’re using it to help you get wear out of your wardrobe and reduce your shopping habbits then share away! I’d love to hear all about your own journey!
Wish me luck!