I recently went to the most expensive mall in America. I know I exaggerate things a lot, but I’m fairly certain this is a fact, as Bal Harbour Shops have pretty much every designer I’ve ever heard of and some that I hadn’t in its directory. Seriously.
And can I tell you how many adorable couples I saw strolling through the shops, ladies attempting to be nonchalantly perusing the non-sale items, whilst their boyfriend or husband carried anywhere from 2 to 5 bags from previous stores. Or perhaps they actually were perusing nonchalantly and it was just me who was trying not to repeat this scenario too many times: “gosh, these are such cute sanda– HOLY CRAP THESE ARE 1500 DOLLARS!!! THAT’S THREE MONTHS OF LIVING EXPENSES!!!” It’s hard to fit in with the rich and privileged when you’re busing out the “OH MY GAHD”s every 5 seconds at prices and cute things which the lady next to you is wearing and looking to replace because hers are “so last year,” or some such nonsense. Sigh.
I guess technically things out-of-fashion could be called “so this year,” since new collections from anybody who’s anybody are for the Spring of 2015 or whatever. This is not something I comprehend.
I got excited in Saks when there was an extremely long row of shoe racks with bright red signs atop them saying something about “take an additional 40% OFF!” Wow! I thought, 40%! That’s pretty significant. Surely I could find something special for special occasions for myself and not break the bank or become homeless. Plus it is technically still my birthday month and therefore I must deserve a special treat. Surely. I find the size 6’s, as I am blessed with such a perfect shoe size as they always have it and it is always on display. I see an adorable pair of shoes with the red sole, and we all know what that means. Christian Louboutin said once that, “Black soles are for widows, beige soles are for the Milanese, but red soles are for those who flirt and still have time to dance.” Hello, does this not describe me? I am not a widow, not from Milan, and I dearly love to flirt and have often been caught dancing at my desk (since I endeavored to stand at it all day…more on this another time perhaps). Does this not qualify me for some precious red-sole action? I think so. I pick up this single red-soled beauty, knowing that I have only to raise my eyebrows at the help to retrieve its mate to complete my pair, and turn it over casually to glance at the price as I am in the process of bending over to slide my foot into this glass slipper.
I choke for air and think I might faint, while trying to maintain composure and pretend it says 50 cents like everyone else in the store seems to do. I know the average going rate for these things is $800. That means that many are over $800. Let’s review that $800 is over my monthly rent (I’m lucky) and if I lived in a more normal apartment with a normal rent-rate, it would probably and possibly still be at or above my rent (I love Raleigh). That means I’d have to live out of my car for at least a month if I were to trade these shoes for that expense. Could be worth it. I sigh again and put them back on the rack without putting my foot in it. I suddenly feel as if my feet aren’t $1250-clean-enough. Glancing through the rack to two elegantly, yet casually dressed Spanish women doing their best to help our economy, I decide we are not in the same league whatsoever and move on, leaving my dream shoes to some other perfect-foot-sized woman, who perhaps has a higher credit limit than I. I walked out of Saks, resolving to be happy with my trusty Rainbows and DSW sales.
Later I am reflecting on the outrageous prices of all of these boutiques and marveling at how they can stay in business. I look at price tags (if one can even be found) and am shocked and often scoff at the price. The question of “who would pay” such prices is really irrelevant, as the brands wouldn’t have the esteem or success that they do if people didn’t pull out the plastic to make the $1250 red-soled pretties their own. My question is, why? What is it about the red sole that makes them so amazing? Why are they more than my ridiculously comfortable black Also pumps (yes, with a widow-black-sole)? Why can’t I just break out the red nail polish like he did back in the day, and make mine look-alikes? Why do I feel weird at the prospect of buying a pair of hot-pink-soled heels from ShoeDazzle?
The answer is obviously in reverence. Or something. There’s a reason that only Upper East Side high school girls buy prom dresses from Oscar de la Renta, and that Christian Louboutin is known as the most extraordinary shoe designer of his time. If his shoes weren’t amaze-sauce, they wouldn’t be as special. Or something. My reaction to the red sole is evidence that whoever is in charge of marketing for these beauties is doing a good job. This is me giving a raspberry (I’m such a lady) to them for preventing normal gals like me from owning gorgeous footwear like that.
Happy last day of my birthday month!