Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Shoe-related anxiety syndrome

This is partly a review of my Gipsy Dharma boots, which arrived yesterday, and partly an exposition of what I have just realised is a major issue of mine relating to buying new shoes. You see, most other clothes I'm good with - I buy nice clothes and feel good in them without feeling like I'm doing something wrong by buying them (unless they might have been made in a sweatshop, in which case my ethical discomfort is related not to the clothes themselves, but the conditions which my money is helping to create, and is therefore justified). But with shoes, I have this weird thing where if I buy a pair of shoes that I really love, but are not actually useful in any way, I feel really guilty - even if there's nothing to feel guilty about. I've decided to call it Shoe-Related Anxiety Syndrome, or SRAS.

I'm pretty sure I can track it down to this story by Hans Christian Anderson. I'm not sure quite what he was trying to teach little girls when he penned this one, but to my young and impressionable mind it meant one thing: if you like shoes (especially red ones) you must be a pretty bad person, and you'll probably get your feet chopped off. In fact, I do have a pair of red high heels, with bows on them, which I got from the op shop - and every time I wear them, this story comes to my mind especially strongly.

Anyhow, I had been coveting these amazing specimens ever since a friend of mine tipped me off to the Gipsy Dharma label.
Now, these boots have a lot of things going for them: for a start, they aren't red; they are also handmade from sustainably sourced leather; and the woman who started the company is the same woman who makes the shoes (as far as I am aware) - so no sweatshop! But, unfortunately, they are fairly expensive (because of the fact that they're hand made), and so not only my shoe-guilt but my innate stinginess stopped me from buying them straight away.

After my husband spent a fairly large amount of money on squash racquets and shoes, I finally decided, after much angst, that I was justified in buying them. To make room for them in my wardrobe (and to stave off the feeling of being horribly vain), I pared down my shoe collection by giving most of my boots and the heels I no longer wear to goodwill. Yesterday the precious boots arrived, prompting first a gleeful dance followed by an Ecclesiastes-style bout of existential guilt:

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.               Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.     (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)
 However, I must report that these boots are definitely worth the money. They are incredibly comfortable as well as being beautiful. The leather is sheer, flexible, and warm-but-not-too-warm. They really do feel like a second skin - and I anticipate that this feeling will only grow as the leather wears in and moulds more to my leg. My SRAS will be somewhat mitigated by the fact that they are fairly practical shoes - sure, you can't go bush walking in them, but they are comfortable and pretty sturdy, so they can be used as regular everyday footwear.

One warning: if you purchase a pair which are, like mine, knee-high or taller, prepare to spend at least half a day figuring out the laces, which must be loosened all the way down and then re-tightened so that they fit your leg perfectly. My husband did most of the work on mine, and although I can now wear them, we still want to "fine-tune" the laces so that they are just right and as beautiful as they can be. I imagine the ankle boots are probably a bit easier to handle.

I will definitely be wearing these puppies A LOT (in fact, I'm wearing them right now, with my pajamas).

Now I just have to shake the subconscious fear that I won't be able to take them off again...

Oh and PS did I mention she does giveaways?

1 comment:

  1. What amazing writing. Please write a book or many books so we can all read a novel by Saskia Scott.