ROXIE Brearley, 37, works in retail and lives in Maidstone, Kent, with her husband Andy, 40.
Today, she talks about her obsession with shoes.
“Coming home after a stressful day at work, I knew exactly how to relax. Instead of pouring a glass of wine, I opened the door to my guest bedroom, otherwise known as ‘Roxie’s shoes’, where I keep my £26,000 collection of 120 quirky pairs of high heels , lovingly displayed on bespoke shelves.
“My spirits immediately lifted. When I was a kid, like most little girls, I loved Clarks Magic Steps shoes with the lock and key. In my teens, I lived in Converse, or high heels in plexiglass when I was trying to get into pubs, feeling like most girls that age – that I had to dress to fit in.
“Then, when I was 20, I spotted a pair of Irregular Choice shoes in a department store and was captivated. I had never seen anything like it before.
“They were blue snakeskin with rainbow patterned heels and glitter toes. They were £95 which I couldn’t afford so I had to leave but never got them forgotten.
“In 2015, I needed a pair of novelty shoes for a work party. Browsing eBay, I saw seven-inch black sequined wedge shoes covered in silver stars, and realized that They were Irregular Choice, like the pair I coveted years ago. .
“I knew I had to have them, especially as they were a bargain at £30 used. When they arrived I put them on and immediately felt fabulous.
“Until that day, I had always known there was a quirky person inside of me, but I didn’t have the confidence to let it out. Instead, I had gone through life in m integrated, but with my new shoes, it felt like the real me was starting to shine.
“I practiced walking in them so I wouldn’t fall off, and when I wore them to the party, I felt more confident and attractive than ever. I couldn’t believe how profound an effect they had on me, and I wanted to feel that way every day.
“That was the start of my obsession. Most pairs are between £100 and £200, but I also started spending up to £395 on limited edition models. I buy on eBay, from other collectors via social media and at the brand’s stores in Brighton and London.
“I put around £500 a month of my salary into my ‘shoe fund’. I don’t really drink or smoke and don’t have a flashy car so I don’t feel guilty treating myself.
“My husband Andy doesn’t understand my obsession – he doesn’t understand why I need more than one pair of shoes. However, he knows they make me happy, and it’s my hard-earned money that I spend , so he accepts. I love every pair, but I have a few favourites, like my £395 Godzilla monster heels that actually roar.
“I have a pair for every season and every occasion, including pumpkin-themed heels for Halloween, Santa Claus heels for Christmas, and a pair with a bunny design for Easter. A few years ago, I Managed to find a pair very similar to the design I’d seen when I was 20, and bought them for £200 on eBay, glad they were finally mine.
I wouldn’t dream of selling them – even though I know I could make thousands.
“While I’m careful with them, my shoes are for fun and I’ll wear them for everything from a girls’ night out to a movie night. My collection is insured, but it’s irreplaceable as the pairs are so limited-edition .
“Although I don’t plan on having children, I have a niece who has her eye on my shoe collection and I would love to pass them on to her one day. I wouldn’t think of selling them – even if I know I could make thousands.
“I know not everyone shares my tastes and shoes can be divisive – either you love them or you hate them.
“I mostly get compliments on my shoes, but I’ve seen people snicker. I don’t know because it’s everyone’s way when it comes to personal style.
“One of the nicest things about being an Irregular Choice collector is that I’m part of a global community, all connected through social media. There are women from all walks of life and we chat online, Share unboxing videos and help each other track down designs.
“As my collection has grown, my self-confidence has increased. I don’t care about blending in like I used to. I don’t care what other people think of me, because you just can’t not when you’re in such attention-grabbing shoes, and it’s been so liberating.
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