Shopping is the opium of the masses

The main thing I was looking forward to in the US was going shopping.

With a huge market, and variety of choice, I knew I’d want to shop.

Even with our pathetic dollar, I knew/hoped the prices in the US would make for cheaper goods.

I was really looking forward to shoes! Sand shoes. Dressy shoes that come in different colours and designs.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

The US really is a shopping paradise. Choices! Lots of choices!

And cheap. But why did the dress and coat I really want in Bloomingdales cost over $400 and $2,000 respectively? They WERE gorgeous. But I resisted.

On my first full day in the States (after visiting Old Sacramento, I didn’t just shop), I hit Maceys.

Mr S said, “Don’t buy at the first shop you visit. Look around. We can come back.” But I know we don’t do that. Too many places to visit. And anyway this was The Post Christmas sales. (As it turns out, I did return as there was a stuff up with a pair of shoes – they gave me two different shoes, not a matching pair in a box, so I took them back. Luckily they found the left shoe of the right shoe I wanted. And while I was there, I bought the watch I saw and which spoke to me but didn’t buy on the first visit. No watch has called me in years.)

On that first visit to Maceys I bought:

  • Boots for $30. (Maybe I should have 10 pairs?)
  • Nike runners.
  • Some other brand of runners.
  • A Calvin Klein coat in the most divine blue.
  • Micheal Kor shoes.
  • A pair of green sling backs.
  • Two pairs of active wear leggings. (I need these now I am a regular gym goer.)
  • Mr S bought me two blingy costume jewellery bangles.

I could have gone really mad with dresses. So much cheaper than at home. But I have enough dresses.

In San Fran we hit the discount stores that take remaindered stock. Ross is my fav. Also visited the shopping centres which has Bloomingdales. The shopping centre had curved escalators!

In San Fran I picked up:

  • Pair of red loafers
  • Pair of blue Sketchers (With all my walking and exercising, I need new sand shoes. My current pair are wearing out and are ready for the bin. I was putting off buying new ones until our trip to America.)
  • A gold Calvin Klein cardie. I have one in black and one in white at home. This will be perfect with all my navy work dresses that don’t suit the black or white.)
  • Another pair of exercise tights
  • A black top.

I also popped into several shops, including new and secondhand book shop, Costco and supermarkets. I always love checking out bookshops and supermarkets in other countries. I had to find a diary and some mascara I’d bought years ago but then the importers stopped bringing it into Australia. Both of which I bought. And:

  • 1.75 litres of my favourite vodka at $US32 – less than half the price here.
  • A lovely little Christmas tray
  • Several different types of melanin. We can only get this by prescription. In the US it is on the shelf at Costco.
  • Four books, including two I was so glad to find from a second hand book store as they are out of print and I couldn’t find in Australia.
  • A double lined water bottle
  • Foot cream
  • Pens that write on glass
  • Little place setting nutcrackers for Christmas (Second hand. They only had five.)
  • Two Hamilton t-shirts
  • Reading glasses.

Oh dear. I should have listened to friends who said to go over with an empty suitcase.

I had to buy a second suitcase. Luckily it will be very useful as it opens like an old fashioned suitcase, not one that has two halves. Easier to use when travelling.

  • So what else?
  • On the way to the airport we stopped off at a factory outlet shopping centre where I bought:

    • A pair of lined crocs
    • Kate Spade handbag
    • Pink sandals.

    It is truely amazing the choice that comes with a big market. I saw some amazing variety in taps and furniture and electronic goods. But you know choice doesn’t make you happy and choice isn’t the same thing as freedom. It’s just more variety, “more permutations of the same meaningless shit”.

    (I’m sorry. I can’t just revel, can’t take simple joy, in buying heaps of stuff. I have to question and interrogate my actions – a life unexamined is not worth living and all that. I’m reading a book about hope and may post on its message soon.)

    I know I’ve bought a lot, and it seems incongruous with my posts about decluttering, but all these things will be used.

    Now to make room for the new stuff!

    (Unnecessary) Clothes I bought in January

    Currently Mr Sans and I are on 80% of our income, saving for a full year off in 2021. We are also planning a trip to Germany in October this year.

    I have wardrobes full of clothes.

    I have these two paragraphs as preface to let you know that the word “unnecessary” in the title is unnecessary. All clothes I buy are unnecessary and not really in my budget.

    So what and why did I buy?

    When we stopped in Noumea, a window display of a clothes shop caught my eye. Clothes for Mr Sans. Really! Not for me.

    Except when we went in the shirts we saw weren’t really suitable for him. But hey, look! T-shirts for me. With New Caledonia on them. Not garish tourist T-shirts. What better way to remember our trip?

    The other T-shirt has a rose on it. Links to my current obsession – more on must later.

    Well, add in two pairs of sandals. So tropical island-y. No matter that they’re made in China. We probably can’t get the same ones back home.

    Then my hairdresser alerted me to the bargains on Peter Alexander”s summer pyjamas. I went online. They had THE cutest little shorts at $15 each, down from $49. So I got three. Luckily, they didn’t have the matching tops in my size and those that they did were not as heavily reduced. So I didn’t buy any. I know I don’t really need three, but one pair is suitable for lounging around st home. Not that I like lounging in shorts. I much prefer dresses as they’re cooler. And in winter, I need long pants. Oh but on they are so cute. I have a matching pink top for the ones with the Paris print. Sooo cute. And the upside of a two piece PJ is, unlike a nightie, they don’t twist up at night.

    Then, when buying some necessary items (undies as my existing pairs were all wearing out at the same time), I picked up a pair of track pants. I’ve been looking for a pair that have no writing on them, are cotton, not synthetic, and are the right cut for me. And not overpriced. So I had to get them while there was a discount. Ready for winter. If it ever comes. Can’t even remember what I spent here – it was a lot as I bought my son, The Dreamer, socks and track pants too.

    Well, then, when I went to Queensland, I had to visit my favourite dress shop. They stock Jacob Ribkoff. How could I refuse a heavily discounted dress and a lovely, likewise discounted, jacket. The jacket was $85 and the dress was, actually, I can’t remember, but it was half price.

    But oh dear, I received an email from an online stockist of Jacob Ribkoff that had end of summer dresses reduced to $85 each. So I bought two.

    Three Joseph Ribkoff dresses! The one on the left is sky blue. The colour hasn’t co me out in my dreadful photography.

    When I went to Aldi, I had to run next door to Rebel to buy a pair of sneakers. (The Dreamer’s girlfriend tells me Sydney stores have been sold out of this style.) These are not actually unnecessary- “At last,” I hear you exhale. My walking sneakers have worn out – no grip, no springiness. I do like these ones. Strange how you don’t realise you have no cushioning until you buy a new pair. Walking in these feels like I am bouncing on a trampoline.

    Also while in Queensland I called into the large outlet mall, Harbourside. I had been looking for walking shorts to replace my well-worn ones that are on their last legs. Again, I’d been looking for a while. Most are synthetic, too expensive or have writing on them. Canterbury had exactly what I was looking for. Identical to my current shorts. And st the right price, $25, so I got two pairs. I love the little logo – kiwis in the brand name.

    And finally, I went to an op shop and picked up a white cotton-linen look 3/4 pants and white linen-look shorts. They fit perfectly. And we’re only $3 each. I don’t think they’ve ever been worn. The pants look so Gold Coast-y on me, especially with bling-y sandals.

    God almighty! I officially ban myself from even looking at emails, catalogues or in stores.

    I will go on a wardrobe diet until winter.

    Wasteful, wasteful me!!! But I will look good!

    This is why I stay out of the shops

    I ventured into a shopping centre to buy some thick tights. The leg brace has pulled holes in my two pairs. I could have waited until next winter but I wanted to take two pairs to France to wear with skirts and my boots.

    I only like the Italian brand, not the cheap Chinese copies that are not as smooth and silky, not as long lived. The Italian brand are about $24 each.

    I went to a larger shopping centre, not my normal small, local centre as I also wanted to check out flat dressy shoes for work. I won’t be wearing high heels again this year and I can’t wear my boots for many of my work outfits. I had already looked in my local centre and they didn’t have anything that appealed to me.

    I ran into a neighbour who works in my preferred department store. She offered to use her staff discount.

    All this is a long-winded preface to say, needless to say, I didn’t just buy stockings.

    Three tops; three pairs of shoes; a scarf; a pair of jeggings and two pairs of tights.

    I might availed myself of some discounts but thank god I have been saving money; I can cover this splurge. Yet all my principles of sourcing socially and environmentally just clothing went out the window. Opps.

    Here’s a peak at what I bought, minus the scarf and pants.

    I’ve been dressing like a man

    I've been wearing the same pair of boots for three weeks. Usually I wear different shoes for different outfits. I do have several pairs, OK lots of pairs, of "work shoes", shoes with a slight heel, shoes with a high heel, shoes in different colours, that I only wear at work. And then there's all the flats and sandals and runners and heels I wear when not at work.

    But while I have to wear my leg brace, I need shoes with support, that are comfortable, that stay on firmly, that don't have a heel.

    So, no court shoes. Nothing with a kitten or small heel. Nothing with straps. No ballet flats.

    These fit the bill.

    The leg brace limits my clothing choice as much as footwear choice. I have to wear something that fits under or over the brace. The brace also catches on clothing and pulls threads. I don't want to wreck all my clothes so I can't wear them all.

    The boots also limit clothing choice. Black tights and boots require a certain look. So no pretty and floral clothing.

    Do you know what?

    I haven't missed swapping shoes and clothes. It has been freeing; thinking what to wear has been simple. I rotate between two skirts and one pair of leggings. No thinking. No clothing dilemmas. No "what to wear" thoughts in the morning. No finding the right top for the desired skirt.

    I know I will enjoy wearing my other clothes when I can again. But I will miss the excuse the brace gives me to wear the same three items over and over again.

    A bonus: normally I wear these boots with jeans, so they are never really seen. Now with skirts, they've truely been admired. I've been asked where I bought them.

    London. They were the only thing I liked and could afford at Liberties.

    PS. People have questioned why I'm wearing heels. The boots don't feel like high heels to me. The heel is solid and large, and compared to my normal work shoes, don't feel high. Also I need to bend my bodgy leg so the heel takes the pressure off the ball of my foot.

    Comfy shoes

    I have thrown out a pair of shoes. 

    I bought them three summers ago. They were my first foray into “leisure shoes”. 

    Mr S hated my new leisure shoes from the start. He thought they looked ugly and did nothing for my legs. I admit I normally wear something more structured and with a heel. If I am in walking shoes I tend go wear runners. Still these were so comfortable and I was in them non-stop through three summers.

    (Yes, they were the start of my move into “comfortable shoes”, a sign of aging and an insult. Mr S says that about ugly shoes, “They must be comfortable”. Implication for those who don’t get it, “because you wouldn’t wear them for any other reason.”)

    But they started dying. First the inside of the heel went. I persevered. Then the sole started separating from the top in different spots. Then the sole was nearly worn through. Then they stretched. And the last sraw: the inside became quite dirty. 

    But never fear. I have another pair. A friend bought a very similar pair on my recommendation. While she was amazed I would take to leisure shoes (it was she who coined the phrase, as she normally wears such shoes.) she didn’t like my recommended pair. So passed them onto me. 

    Quite handy having a friend with the same size foot.

    The But wait, there’s more shoe post. 

    Black boots, brown boots, flat boots, gum boots. I feel like Dr Seuss. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.


    Gum boots? Really? Yes. And I have another pair at work for schtomping around in the wet. Herein lies a warning to subscribing to emails from alleged discount online retailers. I was sucked in by the promoted discount. Sucked in also by that these were Italian gum boots. And then I wanted Hunter ones. Really? When I’ve worn these, maybe once. Luckily I stopped myself. (But this is meant to be an audit, not a didactic opportunity.)

    Flat leather boots. Boring but a staple. 

    Stretchy boots. Bought on advice, not personally  mind, of Trinny and Suzannah. But the heels are not balanced which is crucial in high heeded shoes so your feet don’t wobble and you don’t twist your ankle or fall. I fear with cheap Chinese made foot wear, and I don’t mean to piss off millions of the human race, good design has been lost in the race to cheaper, faster production by millions of peasants. I really should have thrown these away. But I might give them a go next winter. 
    Blsck ankle boots of varying designs. Yawn. But classic. 

    Gorgeous. Cute. But uncomfortable. And a tad smelly in a plastically way. 

    Well worn, read as comfortable, flattish with tiny kitten heel, sling back shoes.

    God. I know, unbelievable. I have “leisure shoes”. But as my husband would say, “They must be comfortable,”meaning you wouldn’t wear them otherwise. And they are. 

    Do I have to count these individually? All but one pair are from hotel stays. The one in bag is a souvenir of Buck Palace. Not of my visit when I received my investiture (haven’t I posts about this?). Yeah, OK, just joshing. Just your run of the mill souvenir from the shop.

    I’m an Aussie. Of course I have a pair of uggies. I wear these as slippers. Uggboot Rule Number 1: do not wear these outside the home. 

    My God. What is this mess? Two pairs of slippers. The red ones are like socks and the others are lambs wool, so like uggies without a sole. Both can only be worn inside and neither were worn this winter. Might give them one more winter and then toss them. I don’t really need them, not with ugh boots and hotel slippers. 

    If I have uggies, of course I have thongs. The crocs in the front are so comfortable. If only I could find the same design but crocs have changed their style. I could walk for hours in these. The Haviannas are horrid. My feet slip around in them. I might have another pair of these somewhere in the house. Really they are crap. I know some people swear by Haviannas but I hate them. Keep them for emergencies like using communal showers and washing my own shower with bleach. (Hate bleach on my skin.)

    My current joggers. They were outside when I took yesterday’s photos as they had to dry off after a walk when I had to cross a creek by just walking through it. And why keep two old pairs when I have this pair. No idea. Just in case. 

    I think this is it. I don’t think any are hiding elsewhere, except the gum boots I leave at work. But I cannot be 100% sure. 

    I am not counting the hotel slippers individually. So today’s total is: 20 bringing the grand total to 53. 

    That’s not too bad, is it? What do you think?

    And numbers aside, which of my shoes is your favourite?

    I have ishoes*

    * Get it! Issues. And shoes. Issue with shoes. Haha. How we laughed!

    Was asked in a general sense on a forum, how many shoes do you have?

    Mmm! Not quite sure. Time to do an audit and wuickly before I lose interest. Or buy new ones. Or dispose of old ones. 

    Half way through said audit and I paused, exhausted. 

    Which tells you I have too many shoes. But as my son said when he saw them all over my bedroom floor, “You have to have a hobby.”

    And all the shoes serve a purpose for different outfits, reasons, seasons, mood, purpose, context etc etc etc

    Five pairs of low heeled or flat sandals. Can you tell I love colour?

    I hate my toes so shoes with sling backs and covered toes are ideal for warm weather. I love the flirty look of sling backs with a kitten heel. And of course, more colour. The pink ones in the front are cloth covered. I have a matching jacket. But that’s anothe story. The coral ones in the back are new. I couldn’t resist them. And I have a dress that I had no shoes that would go with it. But now I do so I think that will be my new Christmas outfit. 

    High heeled sandals. Yes, black and coloured ones. 

    Work ones. Black, brown and flesh. But I can’t help myself; purple with bling! These have all been re-heeled and soled. Well-designed shoes are comfortable and well-balanced and hard to find. So it pays to have them repaired. 

    Low and high heeled leopard prints. Gorgeous. 

    More work shoes. More for winter. 

    Flashy shoes. (I’m getting over the audit, hence the less carefully placed arrangement and photographing.) 

     I’m an Aussie so of course I have a couple of pairs of RM Williams but shhhh, I don’t find them comfortable at all. Too hard soled. 


    My ski boots. I wear them when down the snow. The need for grip and warmth and stuff!

    Old sand shoes in the back row (for jobs like gardening – ho, ho, ho – and if visiting a muddy place. Yeah, I should just toss them.)  And more hip ones to wear with jeans and casual pants. I hate the look of joggers with jeans so will only wear the ones in the front. Really with no support, they aren’t that comfortable. Still, when has comfort ever got in the way of looks. 

    So that’s it. Not that’s all my shoes. I’ve just had enough for today. 

    How many is that? 

    33 by my tired count.