This summer I traveled to India, where I resided for a month and a half. I had a ton of fun experiences and being there on a study abroad, that my boyfriend led, I learned a lot! However, being into fashion/style I tend to notice these subjects in my surroundings (whether I try to or not). While there, I continually compared and contrasted the Indian people’s fashion/style v. my own (a lot has to do with traditional religious dress or their conservative views on a woman’s place in society). Needless to say, there were a lot of contrasts, but none was so great as their relationship with shoes. It was in this one month that I experienced the great shoe debacle of summer ’16:
Shoes in India are not an accessory to an outfit but are a tool. I know, in a world of Carrie Bradshaw this concept is hard to grasp. But Indian footwear is solely concerned with comfort and ease of removal…like orthotic sandals. And yes, they look exactly how they sound. Their outfits are astounding with the array of beautiful sarees and interesting coordinations of Kurtis and Dupattas. Their style aroused my senses only to leave me wanting more…once my eye caught a glimpse of their feet.
Here is the thing about India: The women are great at coordinating the accessories they see as essential to complete a “look,” such as their dupattas/scarves and bangles, shoes are just not one of those. They have so many opportunities for shoes, so many stands, so many shops. I would pass by 4 in one block. Yet, all around comfort and necessity outweigh style, aesthetics, and trends. Clearly these women did not grow up knowing Carrie Bradshaw.
The weird part is, in a society so unconcerned with stylish shoes, I seemed to be the most consumed and aware (of shoe trends) I had ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved shoes, but I rarely found myself online trying to find shoes, lusting, or obsessed with a shoe search. They mostly have always been on-the-spot purchases for me. My routine: go to a store, check out their shoe selection, and something catches my eye or I find a style I have been seeing around and it happens to be there. However, if you were to search my browser history from during my trip, it would be overwhelmed by shoe shopping searches.
When I could walk outside and see that women didn’t care about their footwear choices as an accessorizing piece, why couldn’t I follow suit? Is it really that you always want what you can’t have? There I was in a place where I was not even looking to shop. I didn’t need fashionable shoes, and yet I became obsessed with finding “on trend shoes” and finding the perfect pair. Could it be that I was just so much more aware of footwear because I was constantly reminded of how important it is to completing a look. While simultaneously my inbox was being flooded with articles on “The IT sandals for summer,” “The shoe trend for now,” and other various posts recounting all the shoes I NEEDED to be wearing. I was sitting there judging my own shoe collection (in my closet back home), knowing they were inadequate, having my great debacle.