Some people work hard and play hard. I work hard and shoe hard. As if you hadn’t figured it out by now, I have a slight shoe obsession. The number of shoes in my closet does not reach three digits; I am choosy. I like unique shoes that work for my professional lifestyle and budget. I don’t buy crazy impossible-to-walk-in styles that I will only wear once (like the pictured Chanel gun shoes that I would have bought if money were no object). I like designers that can construct a shoe that will really be comfortable, a shoe I won’t look at next year and say “what was I thinking” and most importantly, a shoe that can withstand the horrible DC sidewalks designed by men and the marble halls of Congress. That doesn’t mean that I don’t buy shoes with a stiletto heel, it just means I don’t wear them if I know I’m going to be walking on perilous ground.
So if you have been reading my musings, you also know by now that I am a big fan of Simply Soles. I found a “soul mate” in founder and owner, Kassie Rempel, and there are days that number in the too many to count that I wish I could be her.
One day last summer, she and I were meeting for drinks, but as she had just opened a new store in Georgetown, I wanted to come by and see the new digs. She had just received the fall shipment and boxes were everywhere (in the back of the store, of course). Now, I had already memorized the fall catalog and had my eye on a pair of shoes that in person, just didn’t pan out for me. But then Kassie showed me the latest Chie Mihara’s. (Disclaimer: if you are passionate about funky but functional shoes and don’t have a pair of Chie’s in your closet, I cannot be held accountable for any purchases this post inspires you to go out and make.) The Fabiola was (is) my perfect shoe. The camel-butterscotch shade is the perfect neutral hue that works for literally all seasons. The origami detail on the toe of the shoe makes it interesting. I had a store credit. I had “sole savers” points. The purchase was a no-brainer, and I never looked back.
But lately, they were showing the effects of my love. A slight denim stain on the back heel led me to take them to the cobbler. I just wanted them cleaned. I didn’t expect the entire denim stain to come out, but figured they would come back looking a little fresher. And I asked them to replace the heel pads to boot. Well, on Monday when I went to pick them up, somehow they were dirtier… like they had lived in a bin with some shoes recently polished brown. I complained that the shoes looked worse than when I had dropped them off. They asked for one more day. At COB today, as instructed, I went to pick up my babies. They still looked bad, like they hadn’t touched them at all. They asked me to come back tomorrow. No-can-do. On my way to San Francisco in the morning, and the shoes are integral to my plans to pack lightly. So they asked me to give them two hours. Fine. I had a lot of loose ends to tie up at the office before leaving town, so I gave them 2.5 hours. But when I went to pick them up, they did not hand me MY shoes, my beautiful camel shoes. No, they handed me a pair of shoes that they had dyed a color they call “sandalwood” but which I call “high gloss ugly.”
I started to cry.
Me: “I won’t wear these.”
Them: “We want to make you happy. We will give you credit for a future repair.”
Me: “I am never fucking bringing another pair of shoes to you again.” (Okay, I didn’t say that, but I thought it and rejected their credit offer.)
In the end, I asked them to dye them black. But I am sad. I have struggled with these feelings, which seem so indulgent. There are a lot of problems in the world. I know because I work on some of them. But I loved these shoes and when I wore them, it gave me the confidence to do my job a little better.
Given my mood, I guess it is appropriate that I’m getting them in black.