The shoe is a thing of beauty - it’s the finishing touch to any outfit

Cheryl Cole owns 1200 pairs of shoes
Cheryl Cole owns 1200 pairs of shoes
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I STRUGGLE into the car, trying to look nonchalant about my latest purchases.

I strive to make the big, shiny boxes look small and inconsequential by jamming them into the footwell beside my legs.

I say cheerily: “Drive on, Jeeves,” all the while ignoring the cardboard corners biting into my shin bones.

The wave of my hand is my way of telling him I know what he’s thinking and it’s none of his business.

His eyes roll to his brows. He sighs something that sounds deeply resigned and says exactly what I know he’s going to say. What he always says: “You don’t need another pair of shoes.”

If I had a pound for every time he’d uttered those words, I’d have a pair of Louboutins by now.

Men might have their own shoe fetish, which we won’t go into here, but they will never understand a woman’s. It’s because their view of the shoe differs so greatly from ours. To most men, it is nothing more than a sturdy, practical foot protector. The only reason you need a different style is if the weather or the destination dictates.

Walking boots, Wellingtons, trainers, sandals plus two smart pairs of exactly the same make and model, one in black, the other in brown, covers virtually every eventuality and occasion.

They only need, as opposed to want, another pair when soles have gone to holes, or heels have worn down on the outer edges and they’re walking like John Wayne.

Even the rare ones who do see the shoe as the way we do – as a thing of beauty and the finishing touch to an outfit – still don’t think they need more than three extra pairs.

My husband is one such; he is extremely particular; the line of the toe has to be exactly what he had in his mind’s eye.

Though if he can’t find perfection, he abruptly quits the search and wears what he’s already got. Hence the reason I can fit his entire shoe collection into one wicker basket (I say I because I’m usually the one who has to move them from the hall where he leaves them).

My collection includes many a shoe bought on a whim, or in a sale, or after a thorough traipse of an entire city’s shoe shops. It takes up three wardrobe bottoms and a drawer.

I have no idea how many pairs I own; too many to count. Lucky cow Cheryl Cole, who has just designed her own collection, surely the dream of every shoeaholic, has admitted to owning over 1,200. That’s three pairs a day and then some.

I assume she also has a personal shoe lackey who not only counts them for her, but has them all catalogued AND stuffs tissue in the toes when she’s putting them all back in the right boxes. Drool.

Like Cheryl I don’t wear all of mine often. Some are too special, some only go with certain outfits (even just the one outfit) and some are too uncomfortable to wear more than thrice a year.

But I covet each pair as if they were jewels. It’s a woman thing; if nothing else fits, or looks ridiculous, you can always ram your foot into a truly stupendous shoe and attract a compliment from another woman.