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I am not a shoe girl, never have been.
I think after my folks stopped supplying my every shoe needs I bought whatever annual basic (black) dress and casual shoes from Payless or Kmart. This was LOOOOONG before Payless had good shoes, or at least good looking shoes. They were the Walmart of shoes I would say, back then. So there was definitely no finesse or style to them, or to me, in the footwear department.
Parade of Shoes in Chicago circa 1993. I not only began to notice shoes, at Parade of Shoes I could afford 'em too. I still remember starting to wear heels, and my favorite gunmetal t-strap mary janes, and mules and finally having shoes cluttering the floor of my closet.
But. Then. I Grew Up.
I lost that lovin feeling but about once a year I found a pair I loved. For you adoring shoe fans...I'm talking CROCS! Birkenstocks! Get the picture? UGH. I weaned myself off of the Crocs a few years ago and onto Birkenstocks. There was a brief but raging debate on which was uglier...feel free to weigh in below in the comments.
Last year I started to pay more attention to my appearance in the jewelry department, now it is Spring and I need sandals. I have red Fake Keens that are uncomfortable (thanks for nothing Airwalk from Payless!) a pair of sensible and snooze worthy black sandals for dresses annnnnd The Birks. I wore the Birkenstocks for the past two years but wanted something BETTER. And prettier. I know it wouldn't be too hard so I began to look.
Nope. Nothing. Not at Target, Fashion Bug, Kohl's, Thrifting or Consignment boutiques.
I only need one pair, but I need them to do everything. And I am prepared to pay for it.
I headed to the Silcott Shoes store in charming and delicious downtown Valparaiso, Indiana. Located at 11 Washington Street and right next to fabulous Bangles where I got my Happy Purse, they are a short walk from our house. I wanted to buy locally and although I had wandered in there once or twice before, this time I was ready to spend about a hundred bucks to get the right every-day-all-summer-long-walk-for-miles-and-look-good-with-skirts-or-capris-every-day-sandal. I knew they had good shoes like Born and Keen and Birkenstocks.
Brent Silcott was covered in paper when I strollered my two girls and our jogger into the store. Even though I waved him off until he finished, he was very attentive and interested in helping me. Our first order of business was wedging my stroller through the hallway overflowing with shoe boxes and into the back where the ladies shoes lived. My jogger is a Phil and Ted and has the same footprint as a basic stroller...but I couldn't fit. Brent was very willing to help me make it happen, but I gave up and parked it in the men's area where I ended up trying on my shoes. I really appreciated how accommodating he was and I love the intimate feel of the store, but there are probably lots of mamas who cannot shop with their kids (we don't wanna, sometimes we hafta) and the store is stroller FRIENDLY but not stroller accessible. *sigh*
Anyhoo, we spent good time figuring out and trying on several sandals. I stressed comfort as my first priority and knowing that was very interested in finding a pair of Born sandals. I still fantasize over the wonderful black Born loafers that got lost with all my other winter shoes when we moved to Valpo. *sniff* As we talked Brent's expertise really came into play. He established that I needed an ankle strap (since my ankles are so dainty I am sure. Not because I have big flat no arch feet that otherwise couldn't keep a sandal on. I am sure it was my daintiness in the ankle dept.)
The most comfortable option was the Born "Anah"
(Plus they had gorgeous soles...crazy huh?)
I love the Belinda tho, just couldnt' afford to spend a lot on a heel I might not wear often.
I wasn't sure if I could get into the hurrache look of the Anah. I am a simple girl, I like balanced smooth and even in most of my everything. My loud comes from red lips, red hair, oh yeah and my filterless monologues of the moment. Brent helped me go through catalogues, was willing to order something for me as long I I committed to buy something even if the order wasn't it for me. He was direct and honest and helpful; everything I want in buying local!
BUT. It might take a week to get the Keen Circle of Roses in for me to try on, and I was afraid we would have snow by then. I am a RIGHT NOW kinda girl. I wanted to shop around and maybe give Zappos a try. Next day delivery, free shipping even for returns...I was tempted by the souless lure of online shopping. So I left.
I came back! Even thought I could find Keen and Born sandals new on Ebay for half the price, or get fairly immediate satisfaction from Zappos...I came back to Brent at Silcott Shoes.
I just kept remembering how patient he was with me and the stroller. How it seemed he would let me bash into the wall a million times even thought I might not buy anything at all. How even though it is a very high end (but sensible) shoe store, he didn't look at me like a crazy nutjob when I stressed what a big deal it was for me to spend this much on a pair of shoes. That I needed them to be every-day-all-summer-long-walk-for-miles-and-look-good-with-skirts-or-capris-every-day-sandal. I was impressed by how Brent taught me about my feet and the shoes we looked at. I wanted to spend my money with a person I could see and touch and tell people about. I wanted to be Facebook Friends with my shoe store.
I also figured I should shake my boring feet up with the Born "Anah" braided sandals instead of the Keens which started to look....boring.
I hustled back sans stroller and spent a little bit more time with Brent. We decided I needed a size nine instead of the tens we tried and he gave me a good discount. When I told him I found them cheaper on Zappos he looked them up agreeing to price match. I was mistaken, or in my sandal shopping mind numbing frenzy got confused, Zappos was the same price...until Brent gave me a discount, then they cost more! He also gave me a $10 coupon for next time. And there will be a next time.
I wore the sandals out of the store, and you can expect to see them on me almost daily.
Unless it is a Birkenstock kind of day.
Silcott Shoes has those too, dontcha know?
P.S. Silcott Shoes have an AWESOME selection of men's shoes too...right up front and tailored to the way men shop. Brent also said many women bring home shoes for their men to try on, then can bring them back and exchange 'em for another pair. Although it is a shoe selection for the man who enjoys shoes, the customer service is tailored to them man who does NOT enjoy shoe shopping!
P.P.S. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post. But if they gave me a free pair of shoes that would be awesome. (Hi Brent!) When you wander in there, please tell them it is because of Heather's Blog....you will get 10% off your purchase and I might advance my shoe collection too.
Share your ugliest shoe confessions in the comments....
(I know you are there you lurkers...I have stats that tell me you like me enough to read me, just not enough to comment....Please make my day eh? Comments matter.)