Tag Archives: shoes

Cobbler, Cobbler, Mend My Shoe

Time to go shoe shopping in my own closet.

So many fine pairs of shoes in there.  Many made in Italy, Spain, or Portugal.  Built to last.  Worn down by heavy use but with plenty of miles to go.  I spent a lot on them.  On purpose, you see, because I decided quality matters where footwear is concerned.  Quality is the near perfect balance of beauty plus function.  I would now like to add mileage to the equation.

I’d love to snatch up a pair of new shoes right about now.  Just one new pair for the 2018 fall season, that’s all.  What would be so bad about that?  It’s not guilt that holds me back.  It’s not money.  I give myself a generous shoe budget. No, it’s something else.  Something more global.  An overarching issue in my life right now.

In a word…clutter.

Clutter really gets to me.  General house clutter mostly.  Too many papers, books, music and stray socks.  Too many kitchen utensils, expired food pantry items, office supplies, file folders of stuff from the kids’ elementary school years, things bought at estate sales that never got cleaned up and re-purposed, Christmas gifts I never liked, clothing items bought online that don’t fit but never got returned.  Do I need to go on?

So let’s face it, I have too many shoes.  Time to purge, donate the orphans, and spiff up the ones that need attention.  I don’t like to waste time beating myself up about the hardly worn.  As Mari Kondo says, they “sparked joy” when I bought them.

I spent a few hours tidying up my closet this afternoon.  I pulled out all the shoes and boxes then dusted, and swept.  I moved the spring/summer shoes back into boxes and stacked them neatly on the top shelf.


Next, I organized the fall/winter shoes I frequently wear into the hanging shoe caddy and the rest into easily accessed boxes on the floor.


I have seven pairs I will offer to my daughter and what she doesn’t want I will donate.

Lastly, I’ve identified the ones that are badly in need of repair.

IMG_4066These are going to the cobbler.

The thought of it gives me a little thrill.  I hand over the shoes and then, for a fraction of the original cost, I will pay for the repairs and receive what will feel like four brand new pairs.  More mileage=more love.

Here are the before pictures…

IMG_4067This pair of Ink booties were a staple of my wardrobe between 2013-2015.  While at an ACDA National Conference in Minneapolis two years ago, the cap to the heel broke off.  Likely while marching back and forth daily between the conference center and hotel snaking through the infamous Downtown Skywalk.  I didn’t notice until I took a field trip to visit my old friend Christopher Hopkins (The Makeover Guy) and he detected the lopsided clopping sound which accompanied my stroll through the aisles of a liquor store as we searched for a decent pinot noir.


Here’s a pair of Chie Miharas where the heel cap also detached.  I love the textured leather, but it’s worn away on the toes.  Can it be restored?

IMG_4074Another pair of booties but this time it’s the tip of the sole that has come away.  This was my first pair of Coclicos.


IMG_4078These Chie Mihara flats have a metallic finish.  I got them a few years ahead of the trend.  I’ve badly scuffed up the toe of the left shoe with the edge of the heel on the right shoe.  Hopefully my cobbler can work with the metallic finish and maybe file down the edge of the heel a bit?

I’m off to the Village Cobbler!



In Praise of the Spontaneous Outing


Chie Mihara Nasy in navy blue and turquoise from fall/winter collection 2014.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.  I am taking time out from my sick bed to write a post and to share with you my latest shoe acquisition from Christmas morning (see above).  We Had a fabulous Christmas family reunion in New Jersey with all 20 members of the Sherlock family; one matriarch, five siblings, five significant others and nine cousins.  We drove down on Christmas Day and sailed right across the Tappan Zee bridge with absolutely no traffic.

One day we strolled along the Asbury Park Boardwalk in weather approaching 60 degrees ferenhiet.  Stopping for some nachos and beer at Pop’s Garage we met Kelly.

IMG_6402Kelly, we soon found out, was the accountant and had been pulled into service because the place was understaffed and hadn’t anticipated the rush.  She tried to warn us, but we couldn’t be deterred by the threat of slow service and delayed tortilla chips.  We sat outside at a picnic table until the sun started moving behind the building and we remembered it was winter.  Although guacamole, salsa, chips and beer were flowing, more of our gang was showing up and we needed a bigger table and a bit more shelter.  Kelly found us an empty table at the sister sushi restaurant next door.  It was perfect and so we became more serious about eating.  IMG_6408IMG_6410Fish tacos, beef enchiladas, chicken nachos, quesadillas and a pitcher of Shirley Temples soon graced the long table.  Kelly encouraged us to grab up utensils and napkins from a nearby abanodoned bussing station.  “Help yourself to whatever you can find for Pete’s sake.”

I don’t know how long we were there or what meal it was.  Lunch? Dinner? Linner?  At a certain point it was revealed that the regular wait staff had offered to take over our table for Kelly.  She would have nothing of it.  She sat down for awhile and regaled us with her employment history in and around Asbury Park.  She had done the books for just about every bar in town but earlier had done a bit of waitressing.  She was enjoying this blast from her past.

When it was time to go, most of us walked home heading north along the boardwalk.  IMG_6415IMG_6413

Although the week was filled with other great family events; the annual Christmas bowling outing, cousin gift exchange, carols around the piano, fabulous home cooked meals, an excursion into NYC to see a broadway musical…the spontaneous afternoon on the Asbury Park Boardwalk will remain a favorite memory.

Ordinary Oxfords

IMG_6053IMG_6055Back in August I had some luck at another shoe store in Florence where I found these seemingly ordinary laceless oxfords.  Cynthia Kowal runs a shop called Diva Shoes at Via Guicciardini 10/r  just off the Ponte Vecchio.  I was immediately drawn to her collection.  Oxfords were plentiful inside her doors so the only questions were; which style? and what color?  She gave me a great tip.  “Choose the darker ones.  They’ll go with everything.”  I’m beginning to think that truer words were never spoken.

I’ve been avoiding the wearing and purchasing of shoes in the colors of black and dark brown for several years.  I’ve retired my black Dansko clogs and traded them in for colorful leather shoes from makers such as Chie Mihara, John Fluevog, Art, Fidji, Liebling, Fly London and Esska.  Since I spend hours of my work life under the tent of a burgundy colored choir robe, dressing my feet with some unexpected pizzazz has been an innocent rebellion.  Ever notice that the shoe bins at most consignment and thrift shops are littered with the black and brown cast-offs from your friends and neighbors?  Walk into any Payless Shoe Store and find row upon row of generic black and brown knockoffs with very little in the way of color variation.  Where’s the imagination?  Let us take the road less traveled.  For example, here’s a pair of Chie Mihara oxfords from the  2013 spring/summer collection.  I convinced myself they must be mine.IMG_6057 IMG_6058Where do I start with the lovefest?  First of all, they are oxfords.  Secondly, they have a perfectly reasonable yet uplifting heel.  Then there’s the trifecta of materials which make up the vamp; the patent leather toe, the woven (yes, woven) blue and white leathers in the middle and then the perfectly saturated shade of complimentary blue leather which wraps around the patent leather tongue all done up with a slender black lace.  I saw these in a few different color ways that season but this version could only be purchased online at the British based women’s clothing company called Toast.  I spent a lot of hard earned choir conducting cash on these which included that shipping bill from London.

So why have you rarely seen me in these?  Sadly, it’s because they hardly go well with anything.  You might have seen this coming but I was honestly shocked.

Maybe if I was a little younger or the owner of a hipster art gallery in Portand, Oregon?  Maybe if I lived in Finland and was editor in chief of a bikram yoga magazine or a waitress in a Morrocan/Thai fusion restaurant in the West Village?  Maybe then I could wear these shoes with just about anything and get away with it.  As it is, It’s hard work avoiding the clown vibe.  Even worse, a middle aged female clown vibe.  One has to be very careful.

The trick is to make the non-shoe part of the outfit very quiet.  Business on the top and middle with the party on the very bottom.  But it can’t be business with a capital “B” as the shoe recommends a somewhat eclectic approach. It also helps if the pants are on the long side.  Let the shoes peek out.  Avoid cropped or ankle length pants (see note about avoiding clown look).  Don’t even try these with skirts and dresses (see note about not being 20 years old).  There’s not a whole lot of options left but I’ve managed to wear them now and again.

But those dark elephant grey oxfords from Diva Shoes?  They’re gonna get around town.  I’m starting to lean in to the black and brown options again.  Perhaps I cast them aside in haste.  A girl needs her go-to shoes as much as she needs a little kick of color.

Thanks for the advice Cynthia.  And…thanks for the shoes.

If The Shoe Fits, Wear It

I wasn’t always this enthusiastic about shoes.  I’ve had different shoe phases.  For a very long time I simply gave up.  I had convinced myself that I had problem feet and that shoes were not made for me.  It’s only in hindsight that I realize I had a fit issue.

In my early adulthood I staunchly believed I was a size 7.  Somewhere along the line I got measured with one of those shoe store gadgets and I took it as gospel.  I would try on shoes in size 7 and if they didn’t fit I would move on.  I have a wide foot but somehow didn’t connect it as a factor.  Nor did I consider that different brands might vary in size or that my foot might change as I aged.  I would buy the 7 and assume that there had to be a “break in” period before I could expect reasonable comfort.  The blisters would turn to calluses which would in turn protect me from the shoe.  Shoe comfort was a process not unlike breaking in a wild horse.

Pointy toe flats were in style in the early 80’s.  I was living in Boston as a recent college graduate from University of Nebraska. I was an assistant teacher in a small day care center.  I made enough money to pay the rent for the two bedroom condominium I shared with 3 other BU students.  I had a car but mostly kept it parked while I made use of public transportation.  I had few possessions as the condo came fully furnished.  We shopped at the Hay Market on Saturday mornings to fill our fridge for mere dollars.  Filene’s Basement was my go-to for clothing bargains.  I found a discount shoe store on Commonweath Avenue that had a stylish and inexpensive pair of bone colored pointy toe flats.  I bought them in size 7 without trying them on.  I guarantee they were not made of leather.

Those shoes were pure agony.  I suffered through the “break in” period like a wounded Civil War soldier biting down on a stick  during a bullet extraction convincing myself that if I could just steel myself through the pain the shoes would eventually bend to my will.  Every step I took would cram my pudgy little toes deeper and deeper into those synthetic points and the skin on top would scrape, tear, blister and bleed.  And it never got better.  I was destined to give up and return to the softer confines of a  sneaker or the safer sanctuary of a roomy clog.  If only I had tried a 7 1/2 or maybe an 8.  Why didn’t I just size up?  It didn’t even occur to me.

I’d like to say I learned my lesson with these shoes but it would be many more years before I would.  A few years back we had a fabulous shoe boutique in town which stocked excellent quality European shoes.  I found this pair of pointy toe flats with just the right bit of a heel.  With the help of the knowledgable sales person I found the perfect size.  You see, the toes aren’t meant to occupy the point but rather the part of the shoe just before things start to narrow out.  And they weren’t a size 7.  My shoes haven’t been a size 7 for a long time.  Anyway, here they are.  They are from Italy.  I love the color (very light burgundy) and the buckle. I wore these regularly back in 2010 when I was auditing a Spanish course at a local college.  They made me feel younger and a little more hip around my twenty-something classmates.  And they never gave me a blister.  Not a one.  It’s time to bring them out again now that it’s fall.

I really miss that shoe store.