Monday, March 17, 2008

The Context

OK, so I thought I'd tease this out a bit - you know, set the stage, talk about the moment. Hopefully that's going to work for y'all. Just call it: Shoe Buying - A Serial.

Saturday was one of those herald-the-coming-of-Spring days. Sunny, comparatively balmy, calm. Every Torontonian and her sister was on Bloor Street browsing. The crowds of fair-weather window shoppers would ordinarily irritate the crap out of me but, so gorgeous was the scene, I could scarcely begrudge them. We all need a little vitamin D, ya know.

Bloor street has, square foot for square foot (ha ha, pun intended), more shoe places - in all the price points - than anywhere else I can think of. There's Town, Brown's, David's, Brown's in Holt Renfrew, Aldo, Zara, H&M, Feet First, Winners, Capezio, 9West - and I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple. It makes it very effective for the girl who wants to throw the Visa around efficiently.

I browsed at Holt's, taking inventory of the chic - absolutely unaffordable - merchandise. Good for discerning what I'm trying to imitate. I do love the artfully displayed hanging racks of Alexander Wang and Dries and Yves St. Laurent. Then I started the shoe crawl.

Let me interject, at this point, that the real reason I didn't buy the Camper sandals (see previous post), aside from the pricetag, is that they didn't fit 100% perfectly. I mean, they were 90% of the way there but I am very discerning. My large toe was just the tiniest bit over the (very narrowed curve) tip. It was entirely comfortable to wear but, even going up a size, my foot was a bit at odds with it. My feet are not ugly - I've done yoga for many years / read 8 zillion fashion mags over the last 25 years - and I know how a shoe needs to fit to maximize a) the aesthetic and b) structural support. This is why I struggle so with sandals. The most gorgeous ones seem to be the most unkind. Unkind eventually wrecks your feet, leaving them ugly and painful. The practical, yet vain, girl in me can't take it.

I should also mention that it has been years , I estimate, since I went shopping for shoes at the beginning of the season. You know I am the original bargaineer. You know I have the mortgage and the kid - I never seem to shut up about it. And, I find, that shopping in season is a recipe for spending. But the challenge with shoes, especially the summer ones, is that - by the end of the season - they are so hideously picked-over you're largely left with granny or bridesmaid options. Never was it so easy to find the shape, the size, the colour I covet. I could get used to this.

I landed at two places that really seemed to do the trick: 9West (thank you for suggesting this IWantALuxLife) and Winners (Canadian discount shopping chain in which others seem to do better than me). Each yielded 2, IMO, great pairs of shoes, for a total of 4: a sexy lady pair (for office), a flat, "perfect for my walking lifestyle" pair (which I hope manages to be hip while practical), a cherry red, (for all intents and purposes) flat, patent and an electric blue, ankle-strapped, silver heeled (small heel, mind you) pair. I intend to show each to its full advantage, on my foot, from a number of angles, to get the popular view. If you think I should return any of these in favour of the Campers, please do tell.

Additionally, I managed to find a great, mega-sale dress I will discuss in a post coming shortly.

Oh, and K, a friend whom I haven't spoken with recently, delightfully emailed to ask for a post on closet organization. I have a lot of ideas about this and I want to do it justice. Something on this topic will be coming up soon.


  1. Can't wait to see pics of your great purchases!

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing some photos too!

  3. Don't even get me started on sandal shopping. I have incredibly wide feet and grew up wearing saltwater sandals--too bad these don't really translate for adults.

    That's why I tend to shop for sandals in the same way that I shop for trousers. If, miracle of all miracles, they actually fit, I don't think twice and simply buy them. Given that it doesn't happen often, I'm never in danger of emptying my wallet.

  4. I beg to differ! - *I* am the original bargaineer! =) Oh my, it's been ages since I set foot in Holt Renfrew...Seems like they've updates a lot. Last time I was there like 8 yrs ago, Anne Klein was the star label...!

  5. Oh goody, closet organization and SHOES! Hurry! I'm going into withdrawals!

  6. I definitely need help on closet organisation - and the best way to keep it tidy, and the best way to store folded tops and tees...and shoes, shoes take up sooo much space!

  7. IWALL, Enc and Miss White: So glad I piqued your interest. New post to follow shortly...

    Ambika: What are salt water sandals? Are they like jelly babies? I like your analogy. It's the way I shop for jackets...

    Bronwyn: I love talking about closet organization. I only need some time to write it all down. Will come soon, I promise.

    Riz: Are you from Canada? I didn't know... It has changed profoundly, to be sure. Now it's all this fancy brand and that fancy brand. And they're redoing all the stores (Bloor St, Montreal downtown etc.) You have to come back and check them out! K