This going to be a bit of a long post due to all the pictures but, I hope you'll agree that the shoes in question are totally worth it.
I have to say that I have a great deal of admiration for all of the talented ladies (and I'm sure gents) that are successful with their thrifting efforts. I don't know if it's just that I don't have the patience to sift through the racks or check back often enough. Or maybe it's just that I don't have the best "eye" for the gems hidden amongst the dross or maybe it's just the areas where I live are not that great for thrifting fashion opportunities. I just don't have much luck finding amazing clothes when I give it a try. I wish I could.
But with vintage shoes, especially on eBay, I totally score. Luckily I don't get in the "eBay Mood" all the time because I would buy more shoes than I would know what to do with. As it is, I'm reaching maximum capacity in my house for shoes. I finally broke the guest closet rule (thou shalt leave room for guests to hang up their clothes when they come to visit) and filled the closet with some of my off-season clothes and the pink/cream/white/summery shoe stacks. And yes, my shoes are organized (somewhat) by color. I'm still not sure if this is the best system; it's settling in still.
Yes, I've taken some risks and been disappointed. But that, so far, that has been in the minority. By using the shoe length measurements and making sure the shoe is a half or full size larger than my actual size, I've found shoes that fit pretty well. I have found, for about 50% of the shoes I've bought that they tend to be very narrow and, compared to even my most delicate shoes from today, very lacking in cushioning. You definitely feel the ground when you're walking. If you can fit in an insole you'll be better off. It's a balancing act trying to get a size that fits and something you can comfortably wear.
Oh, but when you find a gem, they can't be beat. Like these three beauties; the latest just in from eBay-land. All three of them were from the same seller who bought them from an estate. As she describes it:
Locating a vintage piece that was hardly—or never—worn, however, is comparable to buying a couture item at 1/1000th the original price.
These heels are but one pair of shoes from an estate that housed hundreds of pieces of rare clothing and footwear, each worn no more than twice if at all. To say that these shoes are a luxury is an understatement: each pair is hand-sewn, bears its original toe tack and heel tap, features a hand-crafted last, and is made from fabric or leather of unsurpassed beauty and unavailable today.
All three of these arrived and they were even better in person and could be worn immediately. I may take one pair to the cobbler to get some new heel taps put on but that is about it. What's even better is that they fit like a dream. This first pair are gold, black and chocolate brown stiletto heels with square-point toe and chocolate grosgrain trim around shoe opening. The brocade fabric features an intricate iris floral pattern carefully placed so one full bloom is visible on each vamp. Hand stitched leather insole, suede heel cup and leather sole; matching fabric covered heel
The seller took some great photos from every angle (always a plus) so I have lots of views to share:
If you couldn't tell, I just worship this 50's-60's pointy toe with the perfect sculpted stiletto heel. I'm a total sucker for certain shapes of heels and this is one I just go ga-ga for. If you saw the movie Down with Love, I'm in love with almost everything Renee Z. is wearing in it.
While the shoes above were probably cocktail shoes these look like elegant luncheon shoes to wear with a smashing tailored suit. They're a dark taupe-beige satin stiletto heel with pointed toe and black passementerie trim around shoe opening and heel seam. Satin fabric textured to resemble horizontal-wale corduroy. Hand stitched French satin insole, suede heel cup and leather sole; matching fabric covered heel. And they were made in France.
At first I wasn't planning on getting these. The seller actually had a few other shoes that I wanted but they looked like they would be a bit big for me (my loss!) but then I saw these and decided I had to get them too. I think it was the blueish-grey pebbled suede that sold me. Or it was the adorable formed bow and white stitching. Either way, I'm glad I did because these are some seriously comfortable shoes. Slipping them on was like putting on custom made shoes. Lovely!
The seller's description is even better:
A staggering find--and much more so in perfect condition at fifty years old--these sumptuous pumps were worn no more than once as the leather soles and heel taps are hardly scuffed. Pumps feature glove-soft gray pebbled suede leather, peep toes and a self fabric vamp folded over and threaded through a loop to look like a buckle. White overstitching around the perimeter of the shoe opening and peep toe offsets the gray color for perfect polish. Suede leather upper with leather insole and outsole; fenton last and self fabric covered heel. A museum-worthy piece of history, documented, dated and priced.
This lady knows her stuff!
The best part about getting a gorgeous vintage piece, as all the stars know, is that someone else wearing your same item is unlikely. The down side is that, if they aren't in your size, you can't run to Zappos and pick up a pair.
These particular shoes weren't inexpensive vintage (as some other I've bought are - which is part of what makes them so great) but they were not much more than a nice pair of shoes and no where near what a pair of designer shoes cost today. And just holding them you can tell they were very well made. I know shoes can seem a riskier path to take with vintage because 1. shoes are more functional items and they can get beat up and 2. they were worn on people's feet (unless you find vintage deadstock), but it's worth it in most cases. If you have the gross out factor you can always add these really great Fresh'ins disposable shoe inserts from Kiwi. I put them in shoes I don't wear socks with like driving mocs but because they're so thin they're great for instances like this too. I totally recommend them.
So go out. Get some fabulous shoes, vintage or new, and wear them. While I love that I have these shoes now it makes me kind of sad that in their previous home they weren't worn. Don't save your stuff away, you're worth the good stuff!
So wear it!