Once A Shoe Lover, Always a Shoe Lover

Fashion | Apr 02, 2013

Hi Stiletts,

Today I’d like to walk through the memory lane and share a bit about my shoe obsession over the years.

I don’t remember much about the first 5 years of my life.  There are about 4 or 5 incidents I can recall vividly and one of them of course is my first pair of shoes I fell in love with.

Picture 40I was 3-4 years old, if I’m not mistaken. Don’t quote me on the exact age. My father was traveling abroad a lot during those days. I remember he was always in some country doing business, and I would always be sooooo sad so we started this new tradition. Whenever he’d come back, he’d bring me a bunch of girly stuff, so soon I associated him leaving with him bringing me back things. How materialistic LOL! I don’t know which country he had just gotten back from but he brought me back a pair of shoes. I had plenty of shoes before but I don’t remember loving any of them. That was until I laid my eyes on these ones.

Picture 37They were patent pink; a bright, bright pink color and sooooo shiny. I swear my mom must have been a gypsy in her past life or something cuz I’ve always loved shiny, obnoxious and loud things since little. The shoes were almost flat. They had a tiny heel on them, but at that age that looked like a 7 inch heel to me! I was in love! I loved them so much I was afraid to put them on.

So every day I’d just shine them, kiss them, wipe them down if I saw any dust, and then at night I’d put them under my bed and I swear first thing I’d do when I woke up was reach for my shoes underneath and make sure they were still there. Guess I believed in shoe monsters back then. And I wish I could tell you that so much has changed now, but really, not a damn thing. I’m still infatuated with shoes. I still fall in love with every pair like it’s my first time; still afraid to put them on, especially the ones that really hit the heart for me, and to this day first thing I look at when I wake up is my shoes, hence why I’ve built a shoe wall in my bedroom (one day this has got to change though).

My family used to always say “Egreis is insane”. Well actually, they always called me Egi. Speaking of my name btw, I know a lot of Stiletts ask if Egreis means anything and hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t. My dad was learning English through BCC radio channel back when my mom was pregnant and he came across the word “Grace”. In Albania Grace, the pronunciation would be spelled “Greis” so then he put his little spin to it and Voila! Here I am: Egreis 🙂

Picture 35So since that pair, which I wish to God my parents had saved, I don’t think I’ve ever loved another pair like that again. I have a lot of shoes. I love them all. Some more than others, but definitely adore them all. People often say I refer to them as if they are my kids. When you are dealing with a shoe lover like myself it is hard to understand me unless you share the same love for them yourself. I think shoes are a completely safe, sane and healthy addiction to have. I’ve never been a drinker or into drugs, and if shoes are the one thing I’m addicted to then so be it! I’ll be an addict in high heels all day.

I grew up comfortably. My father did quite well for my family & I. I always had the most stylish clothes, the latest shoes, rocking Gap when in Albania the only thing available to people was Gabi (only Albanians know what I’m referring to hahaha).

When I moved to United States things weren’t the same. In college especially I was struggling. My father and I had our differences. He wanted me to go to med school, I hated biology. He wanted me to not have bfs, I got a bf as soon as I got there; he wanted to track everything I did in college, I wanted to break free and be on my own. You know, the same old fights that happen between parents and their children. I was always given an option: I could either do as he said and be taken care of financially or do as I pleased and be on my own. I chose the latter. I have a lot of pride and am also very stubborn.

Picture 27My shoe addiction in college was suffering, and I mean badly. Whatever I made at the Provost Office at USC when I was working there I had to put towards my bills. I always found myself window shopping online for shoes I just simply couldn’t afford. So I turned to Aldo, Shiekh, Michael Antonio, Chinese Laundry. Bebe was expensive at the time so heck no, and then later on Steve Madden which was like my A game; top of the line type thing.

I’ve always had a ton of shoes. Whether they were cheap or not, it doesn’t matter. I needed to quench my thirst for quantity. I didn’t have money for quality so I had to stack up on what I could, even if they each lasted me for just a month or two. I worked the whole time I went to college and when I was done I was working for a company that paid ok but at the time it was more than sufficient for me. I was living with my bf at the time, and he wasn’t working cuz he was always practicing trying to make it to a team, so guess who had to pay  all the bills? Yup! ME! But I’ve always been ALL about supporting my partner. So I was totally fine with it. It just gave me no room for my expensive taste.

Picture 36Then in 2008 I went to Vegas with my friend Jasmine for two days. I remember she handed me $100 and dared me to turn it into more in blackjack. Well you dare me to do anything, I’m ON it. I was determined to win that night. I sat at the table at 7 pm and left the next morning at like 11 am. And the only reason I got up is cuz Jasmine came to the table and thought she was seeing double. She couldn’t believe I was still there. But I made $1500 though! Boy was I happy! And what do I do right after? YUP! I bought my first pair of Louboutins at Neiman Marcus. They were the Top LA in rose gold. Man, the day I first wore them I’ll just never forget it. But I’ll save that for another post.

IMG_0337So since then I was little by little saving to buy more Louboutins. Why Loubs? I couldn’t really give you a great answer to it other than the fact that I truly love him as a designer. His work of art is magnificent. He designs a shoe for fashion in the future rather than the present. He sets trends. The heel shape, the height and how he always takes it to extremes, and the overall artwork is to die for. And of course, the red bottom which is absolutely genius from a marketing standpoint. He’s IT.

Over the last few years I’ve moved quite a lot. Have switched 3 jobs over the last 6 years because I’m always looking for upward mobility. My goal is every year to do better and make more and if I’m plateauing then it’s time to switch it up. When I got my first pair of Loubs it was May 2008. I told Jasmine the goal was to get 10 by May 2009. I did just that. Then I aimed for 20. I accomplished that in October of 2011. I remember once telling my friend Mo over lunch that I would be content if I got 50 pairs and when I did that she texted me and said “I knew damn well you weren’t done! LOL”. Do I still aim for more? You bet ya! I don’t have a specific number anymore, I just want to one day have literally an entire room full of shoes. Watch me. I will do it! I have put my mind to it. The rest is easy.

Picture 30

So today I’m in my apartment and to the left there’s my “walk in closet”; not much of a walk in to be honest. They weren’t planning on having someone like me live here clearly. And to the right is my shoe wall. In the next room is my second shoe wall. Everywhere you walk in my house there’s shoes. Literally everywhere. I swear if I go to my guest bathroom I’ll find a pair in there too. And I don’t see ANYTHING wrong with that. But I do have to get a bigger spot. When I move with my bf which will be my next move, I will make sure I have enough room.

So I wanted to share this with you the journey of this addiction of mine and where it is today.

Picture 31
As you can see not much has changed since my younger days….26 years later and I’m still a shoe lover…Cheers to that!

Much Love,