If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that yesterday I went out to buy a pair of black trousers from H&M, and came back with a new pair of Louboutins instead. (Not from H&M, I hasten to add. If H&M suddenly started selling Louboutin, I’d have no money left at all…) And this, my friends, is why I’m not normally allowed to go shopping on my own. Whoops…
In my defence, I have been lusting after these particular shoes ever since they came out. They’re the Jefferson Plato slingbacks I wrote about here , and which have been top of my nautical shoes Wish List for so long that even Shoeperman can now look at a pair of nautical shoes and say, “Oh, look, those are a bit like the Jefferson pumps you want!” (Yes, he spends too much time listening to me talk about shoes, poor man.) I didn’t think I’d ever own a pair, though: I actually found the red version on sale in Neiman Marcus last summer, but they were a size 38 (I wear a 37), and even the sale price was astronomical, so I tried to forget all about them and content myself with the red copycat versions I found in Ross this year, which are a half-size too small and hurt my feet every time I try to wear them).
Anyway! On Friday I had an appointment with the optician, after which I had a quick look around the nearby shops, and spotted a pair of black pants in H&M, which I didn’t buy, but couldn’t get out of my head afterwards. (This is one of my golden rules of shopping: don’t buy it, and if you’re still thinking about it when you get home, go back and get it at some point. If it’s worth the journey, it’s worth the purchase.) By Saturday, I was actually feeling a little more ambivalent about the trousers, but I had a bit of time to spare before Terry and I had to leave for my parents’ house for dinner, so I jumped into the car and off I went.
Well, I got to H&M, found my trousers, but decided that before I bought them I’d just have a quick look around some of the other stores while I was there. I was on my way back to H&M when a thought popped into my head. “I’ll just have a quick look in Cruise,” I thought. “Just for the window shopping.”
Now, our branch of Cruise happens to be an outlet store, which makes it even more lethal than most as although the stock is normally a few seasons old, that brings the price down into the almost affordable range: i.e. it’s still expensive, but it’s the kind of expensive you could just talk yourself into finding acceptable. I try to avoid going in, because it could so easily bankrupt me, but I look at shoes the way other people look at museum exhibits, and sometimes I like to pop in there just to stroke them (Fun fact: when I was laid off from my first journalism job, I actually applied for a job as a sales assistant in Cruise, partly because I was considering a career as a fashion buyer or something, but mostly for the staff discount. I was offered the job, but turned it down in favour of another job offer which came in at the same time, but to this day I sometimes think of the staff discount and sigh).
So I headed to the store, and soon found myself standing at the shoe section, picking up shoes, gazing at them lovingly and then reluctantly putting them back down again having realised that they were in a size 9. (This is the one saving grace of this particular store: because it’s an outlet, it carries very limited stock, and my size 4 is almost never available.)
I had just reached the second last rack when I glanced over to the final shoe display in the store and saw this:
Well, as soon as I laid eyes on it I could tell that it was either my size, or something very close to it, so I ran over and grabbed the precious, precious shoe, probably pushing people out of the way as I went: sorry, fellow shoppers. Without even looking at the size or the price, I put it on and… it fit. Perfectly. Only then did I allow myself to look at the price. £187. Oh, my. Sure, it’s a lot, but considering that these were my dream Louboutins, and that just that morning I’d been considering buying a pair of Kurt Geigers for £150, it didn’t seem too extortionate, so I’m only a little bit ashamed to say I didn’t even think twice: I grabbed an assistant, garbled my request to have the other shoe brought out, and before I knew what had happened, I was handing over my card and taking custody of the Jefferson pumps: the Holy Grail of nautical shoes.
It was only as the assistant was ringing them up that I looked at the size on the box. They were a size 47: my size. “They’re the only pair in the store,” the assistant told me. “You were lucky.” And I really think I was: I mean, what are the odds? My dream shoes, in my size, on sale at a price I could afford? Never happens. Will probably never happen again. It was almost like it was meant to be.
(They have a 5.5′ heel, but are amazingly comfortable to wear, which is a very good thing because I predict that next Spring/Summer, these will barely leave my feet…)
Oh, and I never did get those H&M pants…
(Of course, my timing isn’t the best here: the weather has turned chilly – I’m actually writing this surrounded by piles of winter clothes, as today is the day of the Great Wardrobe Switchover – so I’m going to have to Shoe Challenge these ASAP. I’m sure the cold toes will be worth it.)