Saturday, 17 April 2010

A loooong post

The past couple of weekends I've had more time than I usually do to have a wander around the charity shops. This is one of the things I miss when I'm in Malaysia -- you have to be in the mood for it, but there's a peculiar joy in thrifting that you just don't get from your standard stroll along the high street. You never know what you're going to see.

This year I'm living fairly close to Goodge Street, so that's one of the places I like to go of a sunny Saturday afternoon. Of course the highlight of Goodge Street is Bang Bang Clothing Exchange, which is hardly a charity shop but offers the same delights of unpredictability albeit with slightly more shocking price tags.

Would you buy this pair of stripy flip-flops from Chanel for £80?

I mean, I imagine £80 is a bargain for Chanel shoes, even if they are dreadful flip-flops. (I say "I imagine" because once any sort of fashion product goes above £200 my eyes start to glaze over and all the figures look the same. Marc Jacobs bags seem pretty much as expensively unattainable as Proenza Schouler's to me, even though there's hundreds of pounds' difference between the price tags.

Below £200 things still seem expensive, but at least they are differently expensive.)

But bargainous as it may be to get Chanel for £80, would you???

I was more tempted by this silver Oasis dress, but felt £18 was a bit much considering you can get Oasis stuff brand new for about the same price or only slightly more via their sale. It just feels odd to be buying secondhand if it's not that much of a discount and it's not something a little rarer than high street clobber. (Though I do like Oasis's high street clobber ... as long as it's on sale.)

Also a) I didn't need it and b) nor did I feel that zing! that you ought to feel if you are going to pay money for something, when you are shopping for fun. If you are shopping for boring necessities like work clothes then you don't need to feel that zing!, but if you are going to buy something superfluous you do need to feel a certain thrill in it. It's not enough to say to yourself, "This fits quite well" and "Yes, I'll certainly wear it." Zing! is mandatory.

(In fact I do feel I prioritise zing! slightly too much sometimes. These purple oxford wedges, for example. Definitely zing! purchases, with nothing to back up with the zing!. I love them and am glad they exist in my closet, but I basically post with pictures every time I wear them because it is such an uncommon event.)

Fortunately there is both zing! and practicality to this weekend's purchase -- grey wedges from Kenneth Cole Reaction, bought for £12 from a Trinity Hospice charity shop.

You will guess from their heeled nature that I am hoping to wear them to work. (I don't really bother buying heels if I don't hope to wear them to work, 'cos I know I ain't gonna be wearing them anywhere else. Oh, unless zing! prevails, of course. You can never account for zing!.)

What do you think? I know they are quite informal, being wedges and a light colour, and that vaguely crocodiley strap doesn't help. They're certainly not the irreproachable black stilettos of the ideal businesswoman. But the department I'm currently in isn't excessively formal, so I think it should be OK. The irreproachable black stilettos will have to wait for the day when I don't mind excruciating footache.

I don't know why I think informal heels will be better for work than informal flats, but I somehow do. But then again, if you consider the current range of shoes I have available for wearing to work right now, and the shoes I do wear, perhaps it is not so surprising that I leap on anything that looks vaguely acceptable with desperate enthusiasm.

What I bought to wear to work
- Charles & Keith black patent heels with suede detailing: winged their way to the nearest charity shop after I discovered they were unwearable when I had tights on, because they slipped off at every opportunity, i.e. every time I took a step. They weren't that good when I wasn't wearing tights, either.
- Vincci black patent wedges: I should really just stop buying Vincci shoes and expecting them to be wearable for more than five minutes at a time, but hope springs eternal, I guess. I wore these and walked around and around the shop in 1 Utama for about 20 minutes while salesgirls stared balefully at me, and they felt OK then. But they still turned out to be too painful to walk in for more than five minutes. Damn it! These are sitting in my wardrobe while I decide whether I want to try them when I'm wearing tights. Perhaps they wouldn't bite as hard as they do on bare feet.
- Black suede Mary Janes with gold buckles and rubber soles: I must've worn these for half an hour in the department store while trying them on. I literally jogged around the accessories floor of Metrojaya to make sure they were OK! But they hurt like hell at the end of the day when your feet have expanded; I've stopped wearing them because the blisters mean my feet hurt even when I switch to other, more comfortable shoes.
- Next black and white patent shoes with block heels and bow detail: the height is great on this -- it's not flat-flat, not a kitten heel which I dislike the look of, but not actually a high heel either -- but again, they are too large for me when I wear tights, and the smaller size would be too small for me when I'm not. The patent material also means they are not kind on the feet. (Note to self: stop buying patent heels.)

What a sorry tale! Compare the shoes I actually wear to work:

- Franco Sarto black patent flats with knot detail from New York: despite being patent, these were actually wearable. In fact they were so wearable that they are now dead -- they were getting pretty gross and scuffed, and then one half got a hole in the front where the toenail of my big toe pushed into the shoe. I felt holey shoes were less than professional, so they got dumped, leaving me without any black flats.
- Nose black and white sequin round-toe flats: black and white round-toe flats have a nice classic look which is fine for work. Sequins, on the other hand ...
- Bright red patent Mary Jane flats from Clarks: from Clarks, therefore eminently wearable and comfy. Nicknamed "my Dorothy shoes", so not exactly conducive to looking like a grown-up.
- Increasingly weatherbeaten tan oxfords: I wore these incessantly over the past couple of years -- these are the shoes that are so great that a random stranger on the street actually said to me as he passed, "Those are great shoes." The fact that they are looking increasingly worn (in a cool way) does seem to make them inappropriate for the workplace, though? Plus I don't like wearing them with black tights; I worry that I am breaking a Work Fashion Rule.

So the work shoe situation is not ideal! I should really just give in and go buy a bog-standard, reliable pair from Clarks. But perhaps these Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes will do the job? Only time can tell.

I suppose even if they turn out to be impossible to walk in and/or not professional-looking enough, they are nice for days off. I wore them to a shared birthday dinner with my sister at Yauatcha today with a print dress and my primary schoolteacher polka-dot cardigan.

The necklace is a gift from a dear friend. I'm keen on it, all the more so because it's something I would never have chosen for myself -- upon first consideration I would think the colour unwearable. But it goes -- or clashes pleasingly -- with a surprising number of things, and I'm always pleased to have a chance to wear it.

Sorry for the long post, dear readers, if you managed to read to the end! But after all, what's a fashion blog for if not lots of waffling about shoes?

- Zen

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