The Sewist

I sew, knit and crochet hats. (Not all at the same time. Whaddaya think I am - a machine?)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vintage Deluxe

I first heard about these shoes when I entered the Midwest Vintage Clothing, Textile Jewelry Show and Sale (isn't that name too long? It's like your tongue is going to trip over itself saying it) in Elgin on Sept. 8. I was talking to a dealer about my penchant for vintage 1940s platform shoes in my size and price range. "Oh, they're some nice ones in larger sizes downstairs, but they're car-payment shoes," she said. Now it's been a while since I've forked over a whole wad of cash on a monthly basis to pay off a loan on an automobile, so I'm thinking these vintage shoes that the dealer's talking about are in the $200 to $300 range. Out of my affordability ballpark, but not unreasonbly for a minty pair of heels worthy of a World War II starlet.
So after spending too much time upstairs looking at clothing trim and dresses when I'm in the market for SHOES (did I say that earlier?) I mosey downstairs. I immediately spy a pair of tomato red baby doll slingbacks with white piping. They look Andrews Sisters from the get-go. So I ask the silvery-haired guy (naturally wearing the male dealer uniform outfit: a two-tone button-up shirt and a pair of jeans) manning the booth if I can try them on. "Sure, but I think my wife's holding them for another customer," he says. I slip them on anyhow. They fit better than a glove. I admire them in the mirror, pulling up my white floral-print cotton pants for a better look. They look great. Another dealer, my friend Jeannie tells me, "You have nice legs." You bet I do and they look best with these shoes! What's more, these lovely togs are in my price range - $28! I ask the dealer to consider me if the other customer decides she doesn't want these pumps. (At that point, I'm convinced one of the ladies from the Red Hat Society at the show has reserved my shoes.) I wander off and finally find the car-payment shoes (pictured above) at the Vintage Martini booth. When I see the $700+ pricetag, I realize these are the heels that the woman upstairs was talking about. I remember her saying, "He must not really want to sell them." She's right on the money. I got the distinct impression from the dealer upstairs that they're were more of these over-priced shoes, so I'm thinking who had the bulging wallet big enough to pay for others that are MIA? I see no other pricey platforms. Anyhow, I'm admiring these green babies when the Vintage Martini dealer comes over and asks, "Can I help you?" Sure, he can scratch a number or two on that pricetag and I might consider buying part of his stock that's intended for woman with big feet.
My silver-hair friend with pale blue eyes (too bad he was married. Darn!) later found me as I was looking at wares in another booth. He told me the other person came and bought the shoes. Sigh. That's a long-winded way of telling you I didn't buy a thing at the show. Not a slip, not a pattern, not a belt. Nothing!
For what it's worth, there are vintage platform shoes out there that won't cost you a finger, an eye or a nose. I personally haven't spent more than $70 on a pair ever. How do you get those prices? You have to make friends with the dealers. Send them birthday cards. Visit them in their actual storefronts. DO NOT buy your shoes off eBay. They're a rip-off! Besides, I personally like to try them on for size. Are they comfortable? Will a blister form before I even walk down the stairs? Is the heel so shaky that it will tumble faster than a Lincoln-log high-rise when I put some pressure on it? Is the strap more fragile than a brown-manila paper envelope? Important stuff...that you wouldn't begin to know if you bought your dancing shoes off the Internet.

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