maura @ 5:23 pm
I needed new work shoes recently. Because I hate shopping (and fear change), I just wanted to get another pair of my same old Dr. Martens black wingtip oxfords that I wear practically every single work day between October and April (except if it’s a skirt day — then I wear Dansko Mary Janes). Since I am decidedly Not Good at Fashion it’s just easier to have few choices, and those Docs are just nice enough to make it seem okay to wear Docs when I’m trying to look all professional, while still being super comfortable w/that bouncy air sole.
As you can probably guess, if I’d just bought another pair of the same shoes I wouldn’t be writing this right now, would I? Of course Dr. Martens has changed their styles in the past 5* or so years. And you can now buy gray suede wingtips and purple suede wingtips, but not just plain old black leather wingtips unless you have bigger feet than I do. Which is to say that they’ve decided that only men deserve plain black wingtips. The purple are gorgeous and tempting, but really they are far too expensive for something I decidedly wouldn’t be able to wear every day.
* This is totally an estimate — in fact I have no idea when I got those old shoes. Maybe they’re even older? Which makes it even more amazing that they’ve lasted this long.
So I somewhat sadly ordered up a pair of very pedestrian Gibsons in black, those most basic Dr. Marten’s ever. I used to have them in the mid-calf boot version in green, which I’d gotten for something insane like $5 somewhere like Marshall’s a million years ago, but like so many of my shoes I had to get rid of them after Gus was born and my feet got permanently bigger, sigh.
Then the Gibsons arrived, and they looked and felt, well, weird. A little too big, a little too clompy. I suspected that the next size down would be too small, but these were so big that I felt like I had to try on the smaller pair. There’s a Dr. Martens store in Manhattan, so one day after a meeting a few weeks ago I made the trek. Damn, those wingtips that are too big for me look even nicer in person. I moped around for a while looking at all of the options (the store was very crowded). I picked up a pair of gray Gibsons and a pair of green ones, both of which are pretty but not what I need.
And then I saw them: plain black oxfords, but with slightly different details that makes them look a bit smarter. Black stitching on the sole rather than yellow. Only 3 holes for laces, with the grommets on the inside rather than the outside. Black leather interiors rather than tan. All of which combine to give the shoes a bit more formality and make them seem better for work to me. And they’ve added a bouncy insole as well!
Reader, I bought those shoes, even though it meant I had to send the other ones back through the mail. Strangely enough they even fit better than the mail-order shoes, even though both are Gibsons. Which is something else that totally gets me down about shopping — that sometimes even the same size in the same brand has a totally different fit — but that is another rant for another day.