Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shoe Customization: Gold Oxfords

I hate when I can't find (or afford) a pair of shoes that I totally fall in love with. Sometimes they don't have my size or they run out. Not that I usually accept those reasons at first. Typically I will still attempt to hunt them down. I'm very patient and will search all over. But if I've already done my shoe hunt and I still can't find them, I'll still try to find a way to get what I want.

The latest pair that I fell in love (okay obsession!) with were these boyish gold oxfords that Kelly Wearstler was wearing on the Domino October 2008 cover. Ever since then, I've been searching and searching for them or for a pair like them. This is how obsessed I was. First I looked at the magazine's "resources" section. Not there... hmmm... Then I tried a simple online search. Nothing. I then contacted Domino editorial. I mean they were bound to know, right? Nope! They said they were Kelly shoes that she had brought with her and that they were custom made. This gave me hope. All I needed to know was where she got them made. Time and distance are no barrier these days, right? Sadly, the Domino staff didn't know where they came from (and apparently they had received a number of inquiries besides mine).

Okay, now I was determined to find out. This was getting ridiculous. So I called her offices. Yes, yes, I have a problem, I. Know. This.

If you can believe this I actually spoke to someone on her staff (alright, I'll admit it. I made up a pretense of wanting them for a photoshoot or something. I told you, I am obsessed with getting something I want). They told me that she had them custom made somewhere in Italy or they were vintage from Europe or something but they/she didn't remember where so there was no further info they could give me.

Yeah. Sure.

I finally gave that all up as a dead end. I figured I would just need to do a search online and see if I could find a good substitution.

But you would think I was searching for the Holy Grail or something. I mean there is a serious opportunity in the marketplace because I found nothing. Well, I actually did find a lot of gold jazz shoes but not a lot of this style of oxfords.

The closest pair I found were this pair from Toast. They were pretty good but first of all they started at size 37, which is way bigger than my 35, although I did actually consider them. But they are around $300 and not quite the right color. Still, as a back up, not a bad choice, right?

Then I was sifting through the YOOX sale and found these Apepazzas. The style is pretty good, albeit a bit too pointy. They describe the color as gold. I'm not sure if I believe them, though. And still $130 plus shipping. Not that that is a huge amount, but it is a lot for a third choice.

Then I remembered I had a pair of vintage deadstock oxfords that I had bought on eBay a while back when I was looking for a off-white bucks alternative. I wasn't too thrilled with them at the time and considered reselling them. This would be a good option for another shoe customization project!

The shoes cost me about $15 and I bought black and antique gold acrylic paints, varnish and a gold leaf pen from Michaels. Total - $15.

The shape is slightly more elongated and these have holes where Kelly's didn't but I couldn't be too picky at this point.

Pristine vintage!

I love the heels on these.


I started out by testing on an interior spot if I could paint the gold right on them or if I needed to do the basecoat of black. I determined that I did need the black to get the right depth of color I wanted. I used the paint pen on lace holes which are metal.

One shoe done with the base coat.

I ended up doing two coats of the black and then I did the gold as each shoe dried. I was worried that the paint would dry and make the leather too stiff but so far that doesn't seem to be an issue.

Both shoes done...

I then did a coat of satin finish varnish to protect them. I could do a few more coats but I'm impatient. I don't put my shoes through too much abuse so I think they'll be okay.
Once they were all dry I had to lace them up. I had a vision of using ribbon laces but I still need to find the perfect color. After going through my boxes of ribbon I picked a few to use for the time being. But I think I'm going to end up getting a pair of black regular type laces for them. More cord-like.

For now I put the mauve-y wire-edged ribbons in, which I think are cute with the gold.

Bows! I edged the ribbon ends with some Fray-chek to stop them from shredding.

What do you think? Of course, they'll look closer to the "inspiration" pair when I get the black laces, but not bad, huh?

I think they are super cute! Now I just need to plan an outfit around them. And the good thing is I can swap out the laces and touch them up if I get any scuffs.

Now I have what I want (sort of), am recycling by giving a vintage piece a new life and saving myself a good amount of money. I like the customization projects I've done so far. Maybe I need to plan on doing more in 2009.


WendyB said...

I think your obsessiveness and DIY skills are admirable!

Anonymous said...

AMAZING! They look fabulous. This project is totally inspiring - I can't believe you did it only with acrylic paints and a varnish!

Now I have to go scour e-bay for ugly shoes with good build to recycle into dream shoes!


absolutely not said...

those look amazing!
can i ask though: what kind of paint did you use? did you use a special brush or anything?
i have a pair of white leather serio rossi pumps that (thanks to the gross streets of los angeles and the harsh weather in colorado) have turned a not so stellar grey.
i was hoping to do a similar customization on them. do you find that you have trouble with maintenance?
Thanks for the inspiriation!

Poochie said...

Wendy - I know. I'm insane! I can't help it.

Miss Elle - Do it! As long as you don't wear the same size as me. : )

AN - I got a tube of good acrylic paint from the craft store (Michael's) and just used some regular small paint brushes I had around the house. Nothing really special. You can click on the image and see the brands, but if you have a problem let me know and I'll grab the names off the tubes/bottles.


Anonymous said...

Definitely switch out the ribbon laces for the cord ones. They might sell me then. Currently, they're a little too bye-bye birdie for me

Poochie said...

Yep, they're a bit sugary right now. I think the more boyish laces are the way to go. I need to head out to Target tomorrow and get some. Or a shoe repair place may have some. Heck it may be back to Michael's to buy some cord!


Robo said...

After all that questing, your version turned out pretty snazzy! Prettier than the originals, I'd say.

Btw, I was browsing Piperlime, and these reminded me of your teacup Prada heels -- They're not nearly as cute as yours though :)

daddylikeyblog said...

These look so great! Make me a pair next? :)

Anonymous said...

omg that is AMAZING! i am not looking at my shoe closet to see what i can do here.

Leanne Pizio said...

Personally I like the super sugary ribbons. But I can't wait to see the cords too. I'm sure they will bring a whole new look to the gold.
I can't wait to see what customizations you do in 2009.

Poochie said...

Robo- Those are cool! Thanks!

Miss W. - Let's find you a pair and I'll paint them up. I have tons of paint left.

Jennine - As the DIY master, I'm sure what ever you make will be amazing!



I LOVE IT! You have inspired me to play alittle with my more color challanged shoes (like a my bleh baby pink steve maddens, I have always thought they would be better off metalic hot pink)!

Lisa said...

I love the step-by-step way you did this post with pictures and everything!

Anonymous said...

You're a DIY goddess, you know? I've been thinking about these for days, and had to come back & let you know.

Poochie said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm sure to be wearing these soon... and a lot!

Ashe - thank you for your lovely comment!


sd said...

i kinda sorta really love them :]

a girl said...

GENIUS! I wish I had your dedication! I hate when I see shoes in magazines or catalogs (WHY MODEL THEM WHEN YOU DON'T SELL THEM, GOSH?!) and then can't find a good alternative. Many props to you.

Anonymous said...

This is too excellent for words...

InnyVinny said...

Excellent story and equally excellent DIY!

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for those same shoes from the Domino cover - though I thought they were more of a "natural" leather tone than gold. Good for you on the DIY. I'm still on the search... but so glad I found another obsessive fan.

jessica said...

oh my gosh!!! ive been looking for these TOOO- in fact i JUST tweeted to grace bonney (former web editor of domino) if she had any idea what brand these shoes were or where i could find them!!! love your diy project but still searching for those cuter than ever shoes that mrs wearstler is sporting!