Rows of platform pumps, jewel-encrusted stilettos, strappy heels and open-toe booties from the likes of Brian Atwood, Jimmy Choo and Alexander Wang line the shelves of her walk-in closet in midtown Manhattan. But that isn’t even the bulk of it.
The Virginia-born socialite — her family tree includes Thomas Jefferson and James Madison — guesses she has a few hundred more in storage and stashed away at her family’s Palm Beach, Fla., home.
“I can’t even say how many I have,” Mortimer said, estimating the count falls somewhere between 500 and 1,000 pairs. “It’s really hard to part with them. I was always sad when [I found out] my mom gave away some of her amazing clothes, but who knows if I’ll ever pull them back out again.”
Now Mortimer, who has also stepped into TV with a guest spot on “Gossip Girl” and the CW reality series “High Society,” is finding space in her closet a little harder to come by. In 2006, she partnered with Japanese handbag brand Samantha Thavasa to create the Tinsley Mortimer collection and has since filled the shelves with clutches and totes from the $225 to $415 line.
Here, Mortimer opens up about the shoe designers she can’t live without and why you’ll never catch her in flip-flops.
Brands owned: Alexander Wang, Brian Atwood, Christian Louboutin, Converse, Fendi, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Nike, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent, among others
Organizational strategy: By color and seasonal style, but Mortimer said she doesn’t mind a little disarray. “It’s weird because I want everything else in my apartment to be very put together, but I’m more comfortable with my closet being a little unorganized. I like to get in there, and I almost feel like it allows me to be more creative with what I wear.”
Shoe style: Feminine with a bit of an edge. “I’m a girly girl. I love to wear dresses, but mix it up with a shoe that’s a little funky.” Big on her list now are Alexander Wang black, open-toe, zipper-embellished booties on a platform heel. “They are just so cool.”
All-time favorite: “You can’t pick just one. Right now, I’m obsessed with these hot-pink Jimmy Choo sandals, but I really do love Brian Atwood and, of course, Louboutin. They are all so amazing.”
Most comfortable: Converse, but fit isn’t much of a selling point for Mortimer. “I would never not wear an amazing shoe because it wasn’t comfortable. Even if my foot was going numb, I wouldn’t care. I’d still want to wear it.”
Last pair purchased: Black cut-out booties on a geisha-inspired wedge by Yves Saint Laurent. “They’ll be good for day and evening, or [paired] with jeans.”
Number of pairs bought in the past year: “It varies, but I’d probably say a good 30 to 50 over the last year. That sounds really bad.”
Biggest splurge: A pair of Azzedine Alaïa shoes during a vacation to Italy. “They were on sale and still cost more than $2,000.”
Price range you stick to: $1,500 and below, “but it depends on the shoe.”
Biggest gamble: Buying Alexander Wang booties on Net-a-Porter.com without first trying them on. “I knew I wanted to get this type of shoe, but it was a different style for me, and I had no idea how it was going to look. I’m just obsessed with it [now], so that was a big score.”
Most ever bought in a shopping spree: About 10 pairs. “I’m not the kind of person [who buys a lot of shoes at once], but there’s a store in Palm Beach that used to have a great sale after Christmas. You could get really brightly colored Manolos and fun, beachy shoes. That’s when I’d go and get a [bunch] at one time.”
Best shopping cities: New York, Palm Beach and London. “London is pretty great for finding different, cool styles you can’t find in the U.S.”
Favorite shops: Bergdorf Goodman and Intermix. “I like the one-stop shopping places, but I’ll certainly go to YSL or Jimmy Choo for their shoes.”
Best qualities in a salesperson: Mortimer said she’d rather have at it alone. “I don’t like them helping me. I know what I like, and I prefer them to just let me go. I’ll probably buy more if I don’t feel any pressure.”
Sexiest style on a man: Chic sneakers with a bit of European flair. “Not like a sport sneaker, but a cool, iconic style, like Common Projects’ [chukka-like] lace-up boot.”
Hamptons must-have: Espadrilles or cork wedges. “You’re going to ruin your shoes if you don’t have wedges out there.”
Best kick-around style: Converse. “It’s really a new thing for me, but I get a lot of wear out of my Converses. I probably have 10 pairs in a lot of different styles and colors: green, white, blue, patterned.”
Trend you wish would go away: Flip-flops. “I don’t know what it is, but I just hate flip-flops, especially on men. I even have trouble wearing them [out of] the nail salon so I don’t ruin my toes.”
Best shopping partner: Mortimer said she usually goes solo. “My sister, [Dabney Mercer], is great to shop with, but I’m just busy and don’t always have the time to make it a nice, fun day and will just run out to get something.”
Shopping strategy: “I don’t shop aimlessly. I’m usually looking for a specific style, or if I have an event or something to do.”
One style you wouldn’t be caught wearing: Flats. “It’s not that I don’t think they’re cute on other people; I just can’t wear them. I don’t like the way they look on my legs, even if I’m wearing jeans. It’s just not me.”