Its Principal Characteristic Is Gorgeousness

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

So declared an effervescent Austrian tour leader in somewhat ambitious English, as my friend and I were guided up the not-exactly-low-key staircase of the Vienna State Opera. And that phrase is exactly what came to mind when I first clapped eyes on these little beauties. A quirky choice for the fashion-forward, spectacularly minted bride, perhaps?
In my head, I had always imagined I would wear Christian Louboutins on my wedding day. Well, when I was five I was probably picturing something with a bit more pink glitter. And I know that the sight of a bride flashing those intoxicating red soles as she struts down the aisle is probably turning into a bit of a cliché. Even so, I always assumed that your wedding was for splurging, blowing the budget on extravagant once-in-a-lifetime purchases, indulging your wildest whims and fantasies and generally behaving like a crazy person.

In real life, my wedding shoes were from Aldo. I even signed up to their godawful newsletter to get a 10% discount. Don't get me wrong; I loved the shoes, they were beautiful, and comfortable-ish, and sparkly (my five-year-old self would have LOVED them). And of course, on the day in question, there are many more important things to think about. Like new husbands, and sandy beaches, and ice cream.

Part of me feels exceedingly sane and practical and maybe a little bit smug for not blowing on shoes the same amount of money as we spent on, say, all of our stationery plus wedding rings plus all my other accessories put together. But another part of me still feels an occasional little pang that I didn't get to rock these babies down that aisle.

I think it's partly because, if I'm honest, one of the reasons I chose my profession was because it was meant to be a well-paid profession. The really sad thing is, it is! Compared to the national average wage, I'm f*cking rolling in it! But I still don't have the money to even contemplate blowing £450 on a pair of shoes, wedding or no wedding.

Who are all these brides, these young women, in their twenties like me, who can buy these things? I'm fascinated by them. Did they snap their Louboutins up without a second thought, or were they reluctantly seduced by those elegant lines, that winking gold signature, into maxing out the credit card?

I can't help feeling that there is a serious disconnect going on here, between what we feel we have somehow been promised ("You can have it all!") and what is realistically achievable, especially in these times of economic woe (see, I read the news. It's not all shoes, you know. Well, not exclusively). Friends of mine who earn the same as me, or more, are fed up with putting in endless hours at work and getting what they perceive to be very little back.

I'm starting to think it's not about working harder and earning more, so you can finally buy those covetable courts with the sexy scarlet sole. It's about realising that what you own is not who you are; it's just what you own. Happiness does not lie in a pair of shoes, no matter how lovely.

I still wish I owned a pair, though. I can't help it. And that, my friends, is the problem.

P.S. I know I'm meant to be trying to cut down on the wedding chat, but considering it's part of why I started blogging in the first place, I might keep going for a little while longer, if that's ok with you? Thanks.

Top image: Alaïa shoe boots, a mere £1,320, Net-a-Porter. All the rest: Lillian and Leonard

3 boats moored

  1. I do love shoes, but for our wedding I spent $30 each on two pairs of shoes. Comfort is a priority for me, as my feet tend to have trouble with high heels. I really wanted this one amazing pair of Cole Haan shoes though...but someday, I'll own fabulous Cole Haan shoes and so it's all good.
    I think a lot of the women in their twenties that buy expensive shoes for their weddings are either: splurging because it's their wedding; or their wedding is being financed by their parents who believe that wedding shoes cost that much.

  2. Cara - ha! I knew it!

    Ellie, I think you're totally right. Hey, if you're going to spend a fortune on shoes it might as well be for your wedding, but if it's not in the budget - it's not like it's the only time you can ever buy shoes. I'm not familiar with Cole Hann though - must check them out immediately!


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