Picture this.

You’re walking past a shoe shop and catch sight of a big red sign that says “50% OFF SELECT STYLES.”

You black out, and when you come to you’re standing amidst the carnage of the dozen or so shoes you’ve tried on. Which ones are you buying?

Well, those ones there, your heel slips out when you walk. And these over here chafed your pinkie toe. And these ones are almost too high to walk in, but they look so much like those full-priced ones that you really want that you’re willing to make them work.

And let’s not forget, they’re all half off. So you have to get them; it’s a bargain. You’ll pick up some Band-Aids and Dr. Scholl’s on the way home.

Half an hour later you leave with three new pairs of shoes that you hadn’t even known you wanted until you saw the sale sign.

Does any of this sound familiar? Just me? Okay then.

I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I’ve purchased over the years that didn’t quite fit, or weren’t of the best quality, or that I knew I would never be able to walk in, but purchased anyway simply because the deal was too good to pass up. Many of them are still living in boxes in my closet because no amount of inserts made them fit, the heels were too high to be practical for anything but sitting, and the un-breathable faux material made the shoes start to smell after a few wears.

If I were to add it all up, chances are good that I could have a much smaller collection of luxury kicks to adorn my feet, all of which would actually see the light of day.

This idea is not new to me, but in the past when I’ve tried to implement it I cringed so hard when I had to actually lay down my credit card that I always defaulted to my old habits, consoling myself that three or four of something was surely better and more versatile than just one.

But it’s a principle that makes an appearance quite early in Van der Post’s book, so I found myself faced with it again. And my first question was, do I need to redo my entire wardrobe in high-end gear?

The answer, surprisingly, was no.

While there are some staple items that will never go out of style (i.e. a classic white blouse), and so should be purchased in the best quality you can afford, for the most part there are just a few things you can invest your money in that will take any outfit up a notch. The rest, within reason, can be purchased at lower price points that don’t have the majority of us fainting from all the zeroes.

For starters: good shoes, and a good handbag.

After some careful consideration (and yes, several hours of hesitation), this is how I did.




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