A combination of her nickname — Nitro — and an ode to “delicious fashion,” Wendy Lam’s style blog, Nitro:licious, launched in 2006 and has since attracted a variety of street-style fans. With a signature tomboy approach to luxury labels and fast fashion (she’s a dedicated H&M shopper), Lam has amassed an impressive collection of hipster-worthy shoes.
“You can wear a white T-shirt or whatever, but a great pair of shoes make the outfit,” said Lam, who attended her first industry party in 2006, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Nike Air Force 1 style.
Maintaining a collection of nearly 500 shoes — including everything from vintage Jordans and Hello Kitty Dr. Martens to Céline and Versace’s line for H&M — takes a lot of work. The New Yorker splits the shoes between her Lower East Side apartment and a dedicated shoe room at her boyfriend’s home in Brooklyn, N.Y. There, she surrounds herself with her favorite fashion and toys from Hong Kong by Clot and by Brooklyn artist Kaws.
“I love coming here to work [in my shoe closet]. It’s soothing to be with the shoes, and, of course, to blog,” she said.
Pairs owned: “500, at least. Though there are only around 200 sneakers and 150 other shoes in this closet [in Brooklyn].”
On her look: “I don’t have a style, and the brand doesn’t matter so much to me. It’s the style. I always bring back old stuff, and I do love the interesting heels because they’re like art.”
Organization strategy: “There’s always new stuff coming out, so I try to get rid of a lot — give them to friends, my mom or sometimes I’ll eBay them.”
Shoes that started it all: “I started collecting Jordans. I have some original Air Max ones from 1995. I’m a tomboy and I like to dress like a guy — comfy. That’s why sneakers appeal to me.”
All-time favorite shoe: “Nike SB Supreme Blazers from 2006. They’re reminiscent of the Chanel quilting and the Gucci stripe. These are so hard to get because they didn’t make a lot of small sizes.”
Shoe-shopping destination: “Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman. But I love to shop online actually, especially at Luisaviaroma.com and Net-a-porter.com.”
Favorite sneakers: “The Isabel Marant wedge sneakers. When I first started getting them, they weren’t that crazy popular, but after my second pair, I would get calls from my salesperson so I could reserve them in my size. They’re comfy, and the wedge makes me taller, which I love. And they’re so downtown.”
Must-have heels: “Christian Louboutin Unbout Illusion Pump in yellow. During Fashion Week, I wore them with H&M red leather pants and a big white fur jacket. I wore my summer shoe on the most extreme snow day — they’re just so great.”
On shoe collaborations: “When you can’t afford things, [thanks to collaborations], you can get the best of both. I love my Versace for H&M, Lanvin for H&M, Liberty of London for Nike and Missoni for Converse.”
Fashion idol: “Mary-Kate Olsen. I just love the whole thing about her. I got the Balenciaga cut-out boots because I saw her wearing them. They were so expensive, but I just had to get them. They’re cute, but so uncomfortable.”
Blister fix: “I’ve tried everything. I’ve done moleskin, Band-Aids, heel grippers. I even lined my Balenciaga boots with duct tape and put on Vaseline because I read that would help. For the first 10 minutes, I thought I’d found the cure. But nope, the answer is socks.”
The ones that almost got away: “I am obsessed with my Chanel combat boots. I’d been looking for them forever and couldn’t find them in my size. Then they re-released them, so I bought two pairs to be safe.”
The ones that did get away: “The Chanel gun shoes. Oh my God, I wanted those so badly. They’d be such a nice centerpiece. I’d hate to wear them.”
Most expensive: “I have a pair of Alaïa shoes. They were $2,000, but I got them for like $1,700, which is still a lot. But they make my legs look long and lean, which I love because I’m so short.”
Best bargain: “My Balenciaga platform heels that I fell in love with because I saw Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen wearing them. They retailed for around $1,000, but I found the same ones for $100 at DSW in Union Square.”