An Englishwoman’s Right to Shoes

There are two types of women in the world: shoe whores and bag hags. I, personally, am the latter. Always have been and always will be. New York style is all about the status handbag. On my weekend strolls down Fifth Avenue (OK, more like daily) I could name the brand, even the season of every bag that passed me. I came to regard myself as a bag connoisseur, and never did I feel more stylish than when I had a Chanel or Marc Jacobs draped over my arm (even if I was on my way back from the gym!). This is why the past two months in London have been such a struggle for me.

I was shocked upon my arrival at the lack of designer logos blinding my vision. British women seem to carry basic black totes or messenger bags to the office. Take a trip to Harrod’s and you may see an elderly woman with a tattered Louis. In my entire time here I have not spotted one MJ Stam or YSL muse. However, for what the British lack in arm candy, they more than make up for in the shoe department. Despite the crooked cobblestone sidewalks and long work commutes, the quintessential British woman is never seen in any less than four inch stilettos…which is why I have looked every bit the dowdy American since I landed at Gatwick Airport. Taking my parents advice for once, I’ve been alternating Converse and UGG’s on a daily basis; choosing comfort over class is not in my nature. So when the opportunity to blend in presented itself, I jumped at it.

I woke up to my first proper London rain last week, and I was so excited to prove my British style in Hunter rain boots. Unfortunately, I received a rude awakening when I walked out my front gate. I passed not a single person wearing rain boots in my mile-long walk to class! I could not have looked MORE American. Needless to say, the Hunters have been stored under my bed until my return to New York. I’m trying to adapt to English style for the time being. Although, seeing as how I brought only one pair of heels (that kill my feet, natch), I don’t think I’ll be wearing them to class anytime soon.