I started cleaning out my closet well before the pandemic began. We were in the process of moving apartments, and I needed to downsize my wardrobe to make packing easier. As you can imagine, the move is now on hold—but the closet cleaning is ongoing.
As a former accessories editor, shoes have always been my weakness. Looking across my shoe shelves, I can remember when and where I acquired nearly every pair I own. A glance at your shoe collection can map the story of your life—the black satin Gianvito Rossi stilettos I wore on the first date with my now husband; the Manolo Blahnik white moiré sandal I wore to my Newport wedding; the Tabitha Simmons embellished mule I danced all night in at a friend’s restaurant opening; the Chanel ballet flat I wore every day of my maternity leave; and the trusty Jimmy Choo block-heel boot that gets me to and from the office every day. These are the wardrobe touchstones that have supported me—literally—on my walk through adult life.
But as I am tasked to downsize (mostly by my husband, who jokingly calls me Imelda Marcos), I think about the ones I actually wear—and the reality, as hard as it is to admit to myself, is that I wear the same 10 pairs of shoes day in and day out. It turns out, despite my many pairs of jewel-encrusted kitten heels, I am a minimalist at heart.
Even with this downsized shoe closet, I realize that I’ll still remember that perfect date night even after those fabulous mules leave my closet and I can live with fewer pairs as long as they are the right pairs. I also discovered closet cleaning as a powerful stress reliever during a time filled with so many unknowns and anxiety. Plus, my shoe closet lives on with two of my closest friends who luckily wear the same size and welcome the hand-me-downs. They’ll make their own memories wearing them!
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