I, however, care very little about shoes. What really makes me smile are socks.
There are numerous ways in which socks are more worthy of our devotion than shoes. For one, they’re cheap. You can pick up a cute pair of socks at a discount store for a dollar. Even my beloved SmartWool socks cost less than most pairs of shoes.
Socks always fit. There’s no tedious trying-on of numerous pairs, only to find that your first choice rubs blisters into your heels within five minutes of putting them on. After our kids were born, I discovered that my feet had permanently grown in both length and width. I had to discard every pair of shoes I owned and go hunting for wide sizes (only slightly more rare than a flattering bathing suit). But my socks still fit. In fact, I only recently tossed a pair of knee socks I’ve been wearing since high school, a gazillion years ago. I wish my high school jeans still fit.
Because socks are pretty much a one-size-fits-most item, they make great gifts. Not sure what size your aunt wears? Send her socks. You can’t go wrong there.
Socks come in way more colors than shoes, and often all at the same time. Shoes are mostly black, white or bone, brown, navy… dull, goes-with-everything colors. Sure, you can buy red high tops, pink ballet slippers, or those gold spike stilettos I guarantee I will never own. Lately, I’ve seen some very cute sneakers in plaids and stripes. But most shoes are one or two colors of drab.
Socks, on the other hand, can reflect your personality and interests in ways shoes are unable to express. I have socks with flowers on them, socks with birds, socks with monkeys and with chickens. When the snow is flying under gray, lowering skies, I put on my pair of bright green-blue-orange-yellow-red socks—that don’t even match one another!—and I immediately feel like smiling. Try that with a pair of three-inch heels.
In general, I tend to dress pretty conservatively. My kids complain that I’m always wearing brown. I like brown. I can blend in with my surroundings, which is especially helpful when birdwatching or photographing wildlife. You may not be able to judge my mood by my outfit, but just take a look at my feet. The happier I feel, the louder my footwear.
So here’s to hosiery. May your feet be ever snug, and your sock drawer always full.
Do you have a clothing fetish? If you were incredibly wealthy, what would you hoard?
 Imelda Marcos, often criticized for her extravagant lifestyle as the wife of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, may be the patron saint of shoe-coveters everywhere. When a coup toppled his rule in 1986, they fled the country, leaving behind her collection of 3,000 pairs of shoes.