Really, can girls have too many shoes, or handbags?
I collect Birkenstocks – I have a few vintage sandals that predate my daughter Careid (and she is 30). I bought these sandals back in the day when I didn’t know any better and paid full price which had to be saved for (actually listed in my budget!). These sandals are no longer a part of my sandal rotation due to extreme wear although the leather uppers could be revived with a good polishing, it’s the poor condition of the cork and soles that keep them grounded. Birkenstock offers a refurbishing service but I haven’t taken them up on it yet, maybe I’m waiting for a worthwhile number of pairs to send out.
If my Birkie collection were teapots, Nascar minis, comic books, or owl figurines, then eyebrows wouldn’t arch and comments fly. I wouldn’t feel like I had to defend the fact that I own more than 67 pairs. I have moved beyond collecting by color and now chose by pattern. I have an excellent storage system based on, you guessed it, color and type: sandal or clog. My Birks get wild sometimes and threaten to overtake my bedroom and dining room; they especially like to loiter under the oval oak table, until I put my foot down and break them up, disperse them back to their rightful slots in the shoe-tree. Most of my sandals are not leather but are man-made of a material called Birki-flor, a felt backed “leather-like” material that takes color well, can be washed, repels rain and scuff marks. Probably 15% of my collection is real leather and suede – these sandals and clogs can be expensive and like in the old days require budgeting – they don’t get the same wear as their less expensive cousins.
The economy has reduced my purchases lately, although to be truthful, I don’t need too many new colors. Violet and avocado green are the only colors that I am looking for this season. I saw a pair of green sandals in an ad featured in Real Simple magazine a few weeks back that inspired me to look through QVC’s offerings, then Zappo’s, where I found them but since they use American sizing (I wear European 40, 9 ½ -10 American – but sometimes called 10-10 ½ American in a few catalog stores; I don’t want to get sandals that are too large) I get nervous about ordering over the internet even though they have free shipping and returns. Amazon, my favorite on-line book and video store, sent me an email last Friday highlighting the exact Birki sandal I was looking for (how did they know?) with a $5 promo price and free shipping to boot! I snapped them up in a flash during my lunch break. Now I have the summer to hunt down violet sandals for school opening day in August.
While I’m listing my vices I feel that I must also add that I collect nonprescription reading glasses from Peepers.com. I can’t resist coordinating my readers with my sandals, and yes, occasionally my headbands, too! My students ask me why I do this annoying thing (why would anyone?) and I try redirecting their attention by pointing out that at the middle school a special needs teacher wears nothing but purple everyday, but they won’t be deflected – why do I have to do it – they have noticed my compulsion to match. When pushed into a corner, I reply, “Because I can.” I rationalize that a person can be known for worse than her color schemes and matching glasses, and hey, where are people’s sense of humor anyway?