Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Shoes Wednesday, Again

If you don't already know about Manolo's Whose Shoes Wednesday, you might want to go off and play that game, trying to recognize the celebrity or historical figure from photos of their shoes. More generally, his ShoeBlog is huge fun is you like shoes, wit, and the kind of erudition of someone who patterns his book The Consolation of Shoes after Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy. I'm considerably less erudite and witty, but I do like shoes and I try hard!

Since it's still summer (29 degrees C here today, yeah!), I'm going to sneak in another pair of summer shoes, this time a pair I found in Paris on the very chi-chi Rue St. Honore (if anyone can tell me how to add French accents in blogger, please do)Honoré, but not at a frighteningly chi-chi price. And come on, could you have resisted these?
here's a side view so that you can see the hand seam attaching the top to the soft suede that makes these so comfortable. also check out the cutely comfy stacked heel and the buckle detail

and here they are on my foot where you can see how well they accessorize a pair of jeans. In fact, I think they're called something like "Le Jean"! Imagine them with a pair of jeans and a white shirt, either crisply fitted or romantically floaty. Or with white denim capris and a navy T. Or a white, navy, or red breezy summer dress. Or . . . I thought at first that with such a strong pattern, they'd be tough to wear, but they've been really versatile and the comfort factor's a big bonus.

and one more shot just so you get how compelling that orange was when I first saw these. I know, I know, that will never be seen when I'm wearing them, but it's a detail that really pleases me.

and that hidden colour contrast lets me segue into a significant role these shoes play in my personal shoe history. See, these shoes are what I got instead of the Christian Louboutin heels my husband offered to splurge on for my birthday gift -- you know, those sexy and iconic sleek, black things that flash their red soles as you walk away from that cute guy you're flirting with (of course that would be you, sweet husband, who else would I be flirting with?!). I've admired the cleanness, wit, and beauty of these shoes for a few years now, and drooled at them from outside the Louboutin shop on the Rue de Grenelle. But they start at about 450 Euros, and that's for the older styles (which would actually have done me just fine, but there's not as much choice in sizes). Since Paul had to get me a birthday gift while we were there and since he does really get the whole concept of quality and longevity, he offered to buy me a pair. Even offered, since I couldn't stand the idea of walking in, finding what I wanted, asking and finding out the pair was, say 800 Euros -- both shops felt as if asking the price would be "pas comme il faut"--to go in and scope the prices for me. Now readers, how many of your husbands would offer to converse, in French, with potentially snooty salespersons, just to help you procure the shoes of a lifetime!

So I could have had the Louboutin heels. I mulled it over for a day or two and I still have the occasional pang of misgiving, but what I finally decided was that although I value the shoe for its classic, sexy design and although I'm sure the quality would mean they'd be comfortable and long-wearing, part of what I'd be paying for would be the recognition factor. And for my usual tribe, that would be fairly non-existent. I'm petty enough that part of the pleasure I would take in the shoes, part of what I'd be paying for, would be that people might notice that "she's wearing Louboutins, I think they're the real thing, oooh, she must have paid a fortune for them!" Tacky, I know, but if I'm honest, that's at least part of the appeal. Which is a problem 'cause where I hang out much of the time, the folks who would notice are few and far between. And when I'm in the city, my lifestyle runs to kilometres and kilometres of walking, not so good for heels. Still, they'd be deadly for the few occasions a year that I'd get to wear them out, and I know I'd love wearing them for years and years. Much of the pleasure that I'd get from them would be in the way they pleased me, that small note of "luxe et volupte" (again with the lack of accents, sorry) volupté in my life. It wouldn't all be about flaunting a brand, but I'd say the part upwards of $4-500 would be the name factor, and in the end, I just wasn't willing to pay that difference.

To clarify, it's not that I don't think the shoes are worth the money. I believe that good design is worth paying for. It's just that for me, money is a consideration, and buying that one pair of Louboutins would mean forgoing several other pairs of shoes. I admire those people who buy only one or two of the really best shoes, skirts, coats, etc. But I enjoy variety and covet new shoes with shocking regularity. So I said "no" to my black and red beauties and shortly thereafter discovered these shoes in the Stephane Gontard shop. Actually, I first fell for another pair I'll show you later, and these frivolously fun summer shoes are just the bonus I got from my Louboutin restraint -- the two pair of Gontards together cost considerably less than a single pair of the latter. In fact, maybe I should have got three. . . or four. . .

What do you think? Is this all too frivolous? Or can you relate? What splurges have you made on shoes? Or which temptations have you resisted? (and perhaps come to regret) 'Fess up -- I'd love to hear!


  1. Oh, I can totally relate! Love the shoes you chose. They are SO French! Comfy is good, comfy and really, really cute is not to be trifled with.

    Regarding the Louboutins, I get the whole "in crowd" appeal of some designer goods. And like you, very few people I hang with regularly would know the difference between CL's and Franco Sarto's. I went through my It Bag phase, (LV, Balenciaga, even a Chloé Paddington early in their popularity). But I also enjoy some variety, and there are a lot of other brands out there that can deliver the style and quality for a lot less money. There's a saying that "the poor man buys twice" but I think that's only true up to a point. So much of what you're paying for when it comes to designer goods is the status factor which I fall prey to on occasion as well. But I'm also focused on eliminating my "junk food" clothing and accessory buying, and passing on more trendy items just because they're cute and cheap. I'm not always successful.

    Right now I'm on a quest for a pair of classic pumps. Because I have a slightly wide foot, and can't tolerate heels over 3", that pretty much weeds out the Manolos, the Louboutins, the Choos and the other Sex and the City designers. In fact I'm on my way over to Ferragamo today on my lunch to check out some of their basic pumps (and to pick up my Audrey ballet flats in Chili patent!!!).

    I only know a couple of these, but to make the accent egu (é) you hold down the Alt key and key the numbers 1-3-0.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on at Une femme! Your blog is really cool and I'll be adding to my blogroll today.

  2. Thanks, Une Femme -- sounds as if you get exactly what I'm talking about. Bonne chance on your shoe hunt today, and thanks for the instructions on adding the accents -- I'm going to try that soon.

  3. Your garden sounds fabulous (reading over on the sidebar)! Mine has gone to hell since I got the dogs. Between having no time to work on it and them loving to chew on everything, I'm lucky to have a few ferns still putting up a good fight.

  4. As I sit reading your blog in my 4" heeled Frye Boots sandals, bought in a fit of nostalgia over the beloved and long gone Frye boots I wore in university, I am reminded of other long lost loved ones: the navy blue lace-up "nun's" shoes I thought a perfect match for my mini skirts, the "faux croc" (in my mind at least) shiny red slingbacks to be worn with the most conservative outfits. And a current pet pair of Italian acid-green fur boots with pointed toes and black piano keys heels!
    Frivolous? I find the sandals perfect for reading Orhan Pamuk's "My Name is Red".

  5. I think I recognize this last voice -- although if there are two pairs of those fabulous "bitch boots" reading my blog, I'm so happy to know it!
    You completely get what I'm talking about: shoes=instant attitude!
    And thanks for the reading suggestion. Haven't read Pamuk yet, and I know I'm missing out.

  6. On shoes: I, too, remember with longing the stacked-heel boots and other funky shoes that sometimes helped to get me through the day in grad school.... I really enjoy your enthusiasm about your current collection, too: it helps to me try to remember to make each object in one's life a treasured object. Bravo!

    On Pamuk: I've picked up Red several times and somehow drift away after being about a quarter of the way through, which I absolutely cannot understand about myself. Anyone up for a blog read-along?

  7. puttermeister: if you build it, perhaps I'll come along. I note, though, that you also teach lit and not sure when your term starts, but my must-do reading list is getting pretty long. Still, with a travel companion or two, it would be a reading journey worth taking . . .

    And yes, focusing on the shoes is part of my celebration of the many quotidian pleasures I'm so lucky to have. Thanks for the bravo!

  8. What about bags? Don't you love a beautiful leather bag? Lets see them I know you have them!


  9. Hey Karen, you've read my mind. I have thought that when I get through shoes, I might start on purses. In the meanwhile, someone who does purses very well is Une Femme D'Un Certain Age -- the title's French but she's in California, writes in English, great fashion-blogging -- there's a link to her site in my righthand column

  10. materfamilias, if you're interested, I'd love to have you submit this post and you other Paris shoe posts to the Fabulous! Festival which I'm hosting this go-round. The theme is Travel, and this would fit right in.

    You can sign up here:

  11. Hi lovely pics.....seawalker also available in Nike shoes...try this....

  12. i don't wear shoes. i don't have feet anymore. i just wear socks


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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