A pair for every day of the year! Yes, Rebekah really does have more than 365 pairs of shoes — a towering collection costing thousands. And she’s not alone — as these women, who never wear the same thing twice, reveal
- Average British woman is estimated to own 14 handbags and 30 pairs of shoes
- Office of National Statistics claims women spend £43.88 on clothes each month
- Four women reveal the eye-watering sums they’ve spent on prized collections
- Among them is Rebekah Prince, 43, from Cheshire, who has 500 pairs of shoes
How many times have you opened your wardrobe only to declare you have nothing to wear? The average British woman is estimated to own around 14 handbags and up to 30 pairs of shoes, and — according to the Office for National Statistics — spends £43.88 on clothes each month.
But for a select group of avid collectors, buying clothes or accessories is something of an obsession, to the extent that these women admit to owning enough to wear a different piece every single day of the year.
Here, they proudly display their prized collections — and reveal the eye-watering sums they’ve spent . . .
MY COLLECTION RANGES FROM PRIMARK TO PRADA
Nicola Crawford, 44, is a civil servant and lives near Belfast with her husband and their ten-year-old daughter.
TOTAL COST: £20,000
Four women reveal the eye-watering sums they’ve spent on their fashion collections – including Nicola Crawford, 44, (pictured) who has spent £20,000 on 364 bags
For my 40th birthday, in October 2016, my lovely husband flew me to Paris for a weekend, where he whisked me to the flagship Chanel store and treated me to my most prized handbag: a classic black shoulder one with a gold chain strap.
It cost £2,500, and the whole experience — including being served champagne while we browsed — was a long-held dream come true.
I already had a lot of handbags when I met my husband, so he’s always known about my obsession. My collection currently stands at 364 handbags and includes lots from the high street, such as the first one I ever bought — a plain black shoulder bag from Primark for a fiver when I was 18. My most expensive bags are under lock and key in a safe. The others are stored neatly in boxes under the bed, on top of wardrobes, in the attic and at my mum’s house, all of them in boxes, dust bags or tissue paper. I keep a spreadsheet and a notebook listing each bag and where it’s stored.
When I was a child, my mum had a fuchsia pink bag that I adored, and I’d walk around the house with it, admiring myself in the mirror.
After starting a part-time job in a shop when I was a teenager, I was able to buy my own bags — and I’ve never stopped.
My first designer one was by Chloe, bought in a sale 14 years ago. Since then I’ve collected bags by Louis Vuitton, Prada, Kate Spade, Lulu Guinness and Michael Kors.
I’m a fussy customer and it’s taken me 20 years to amass so many bags. I like them to match shoes or an outfit that I already own. I never throw any away.
If I see a designer bag that catches my attention, I will save up for months to treat myself. The money I saved during lockdown meant I was recently able to buy my 363rd bag: a cream Chanel one with a top handle, that cost more than £1,000.
Next week I’ll buy a £1,100 green crocodile Mulberry, my 365th bag, meaning I’ll have one for every day of the year — a real milestone.
I’m already thinking about which one I might like for my 50th birthday in 2026. My dream bag is a Hermes tote, costing at least £7,000, but I’ll need to win the lottery for that!
And then, of course, there are leap years — which will be the perfect excuse to buy just one more . . .
DRESS SHOPPING IS MY HOBBY
Rachael Cresswell, 40, is married to Daniel, 38, a fisheries officer. They live near Paignton, Devon with their four boys aged seven, five, four and two.
TOTAL COST: MORE THAN £10,000
Rachael Cresswell, 40, (pictured) who lives near Paignton, Devon, has spent over £10,000 on her 400 dresses
As a mother of four little boys, it would be easy to descend into a daily ‘mum uniform’ of jeans and jumpers. But I’m determined to maintain my femininity. Even when I’m playing in the park, am on the school run or out in the rain, I wear a dress. And with more than 400, I can wear a different one every day of the year.
Most of my recent purchases are floaty and floral, maxi-length with a boho feel and a big swishy skirt. My favourites include two sparkly, embroidered frocks from Needle & Thread which, at £200 and £400, were a birthday treat to myself when I turned 40 last October.
My husband Daniel loves that I’m so feminine, and our boys tell me I look like a princess. But my four-year-old, Cole, is brutally honest if he doesn’t like a dress and will tell me: ‘Don’t keep that one, Mummy, it doesn’t suit you!’
The most I’ve spent was on a Needle & Thread dress that cost £500. It’s lilac, flowing, with beautiful embroidered flowers.
Dresses only really became an obsession when I had my first son seven years ago and realised I felt more like me whenever I wore one. Since then, adding to my vast collection has become a hobby, and each month I either splash out on a pricier dress (costing £200 or more) or several cheaper ones.
I love the current collection of Oliver Bonas summer dresses and I also recently bought two frocks from Free People, one of them a retro paisley print at £100 and the other black linen and backless that was in the sale for £40. Others, such as my second-hand Topshop dresses, cost as little as £4 from car boot sales.
I fund my dress habit by selling pieces I no longer wear on eBay.
I also snap up dresses that go viral in order to resell them. For example, when Giles Deacon launched a range for H&M in 2015, I bought several garments and sold them on, often for as much as £100 profit.
I love tracking down celebrity favourites, too. Just before we got married in October 2012, I saw the actress Blake Lively wearing a beautiful Jenny Packham dress, which I then imported for £300 from the U.S. as a second wedding dress.
On another occasion I drove 132 miles to Cardiff to buy a dress from the Karen Millen store there — the only place with one left in my size — after I’d seen Leona Lewis wearing it on The X Factor.
Dan and our respective families just find it amusing.
Half of my dresses are stored in a walk-in wardrobe, and the rest are in the loft. I rotate them seasonally.
The boys love it if a parcel arrives for me and will say: ‘Is it a new dress? Can we see it?’ They think it’s hilarious trying them all on.
I EVEN WEAR HATS TO THE SUPERMARKET
Nicky Miller, 46, is a milliner and lives in Glasgow with her two children, aged 23 and 17.
TOTAL COST: £15,000-£20,000
Nicky Miller, 46, (pictured) who lives in Glasgow, has spent around £20,000 on her collection of 400 hats
I love hats so much that I retrained as a milliner three years ago having previously worked as a hairdresser, a dental nurse and on department store beauty counters. Since then I’ve sold more than 1,000 hats while steadily growing my personal collection: I now own around 400.
Even as a child I always wore a straw or sailor hat. My mother, who has a great sense of style, chose them but I gladly wore them.
When I left school, earned my own money and was finally able to go to France, I fell in love with berets and there was one almost permanently on my head for years. I still adore them and have lots in various colours.
Hats are my trademark, and whether it’s a felt trilby or wool fedora in winter or an elaborate Ascot style hat in summer, I’m rarely without one.
There’s a beret with a veil on it that I love so much that I have it in black, navy and red. I wear it with everything, even my joggers on trips to the supermarket during lockdown.
I also adore vintage hats with sumptuous velvets and decadent fur trims, most of which I buy from eBay and second-hand fashion shops. A particular favourite is a vintage cocktail hat with a flat style black cap and black iridescent feathers that sweep down onto my face. It was a steal at £25 from a second-hand market in Glasgow and I’ve worn it to black tie events in the past.
Taking inspiration from my grandparents’ generation who always used to wear hats on a Sunday, I’ll often wear a beautiful button hat if I’m having Sunday lunch somewhere particularly lovely.
Half my hats are in the spare room at home and the rest in storage as they take up so much space, especially as I keep my more ornate occasion hats in boxes.
The most I’ve ever paid was £400 for a royal blue teardrop shape hat with a big bow for a wedding three years ago. But it was worth it as it made me feel fabulous and helped me stand out from the crowd.
Hats are such a conversation starter, too. Strangers often come up and say: ‘I love your hat.’
Many people tell me that they don’t think they suit them, but there really is a hat for everyone as long as you get the right shape and style — and it’s probably in my spare room at home.
MY FAMILY CALL ME IMELDA MARCOS
Rebekah Prince, 43, is director of a consultancy helping companies with legal compliance. She is single and lives in Cheshire.
SHOES: 500 pairs
TOTAL COST: MORE THAN £50,000
Rebekah Prince, 43, (pictured) who lives in Cheshire, has spent over £50,000 on 500 pairs of shoes
I spend around £5,000 a year on shoes and own around 500 pairs — so many that my family call me Imelda Marcos. I store them in a large walk-in wardrobe (a spare room I converted) as well as in my bedroom, with specially built shoe shelves. I have a penchant for designer labels and adore heels from Louboutin, YSL, Dior, Mulberry and Alexander McQueen, which cost upwards of £500.
The most I’ve ever spent was £995 on a pair of elegant, grey, handmade ankle boots with floral details by Cesare Paciotti, during a weekend in Rome in 2016.
Other than trainers for the gym or walking boots for the charity treks I often do, you won’t find any flats in my vast collection.
Why wear something frumpy when I can wear a leg-lengthening heel that helps me exude confidence and glamour?
I wear a different pair most days, and because I rotate them, I rarely need them re-heeled.
I can track my obsession with shoes back to junior school where I was bullied aged nine or ten for wearing trainers with a Velcro fastening while all the other children had laces. When I was a bit older my parents bought me shoes from Kickers and Wallabee, which were the fashionable footwear for kids at the time, and suddenly I was the coolest girl at school.
Being young and naive, I interpreted this as meaning that popularity came with being fashionable. So, in my teens, I got weekend jobs in a nursing home and waitressing in a diner to earn money to buy trendy clothes.
Aged 15, Mum and Dad bought me a pair of shoes with high cork heels which I absolutely loved, and from then on I was obsessed.
While my weight may have yo‑yoed over the years, there are no thin or fat days with heels. A killer pair in a gorgeous colour with statement stud details can transform a simple, understated black outfit and get me noticed.
However I’ve had to put my once favoured six-inch heels into semi-retirement because although I loved wearing them clubbing in my 20s and 30s, they’re not practical for teetering down the cobbles to my local pub.
I’ve also changed my buying habits. Where once I’d buy Louboutins brand new, I’ve got wise to the fact that a lot of women wear them once, discover they can’t walk in them and sell them for a third of the price on eBay.
I’ll never stop buying shoes as I love the way slipping on a gorgeous pair can transform my mood and confidence in an instant.
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