Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fashion Worth Fighting For

I've been a bargain shopper as long as I can remember. I rarely buy anything full price unless it's God's Gift to Fashion. I don't see the point in buying a pair of Wolford stockings for $50 when I can get last season's pair for $15. Who cares what season your hosiery is?

The great thing about New York is that those $600 shoes you drooled over last Fall on Fifth Avenue will eventually end up in DSW. I've gotten Dolce & Gabanna slacks at Filene's Basement, Miu Miu shoes at DSW, and a Via Spiga bag at Daffy's. Yes, I'm not getting a Valentino cookie on a silver tray like I would be at Saks' Shoe Salon (true story!), but I will gladly dig through unorganized boxes and sit on the floor among discarded peds to try on a pair of $100 Prada heels.

Last weekend, I went to the city's discount shopping mecca, Century 21, for the first time. (I'm kind of embarrassed I had never been down there before). It's really a nightmare, especially on a Saturday, and I actually got lost and had to ask for directions. Their tagline, "Fashion Worth Fighting For" warns that you're not exactly in for a pleasant shopping experience. The designer shoes are housed in the store's dungeon, where only a shoe-obsessed lunatic would go. I kept on thinking about that Edgar Allan Poe story where the narrator lures a man into a vast wine cellar with the promise of a cask of the most amazing Sherry. As footprint-shaped stickers on the floor led me deeper into the store, I couldn't help but wonder, if I, like the poor fellow in Poe's story, would not make it out alive.

After a couple hours of threading through narrow aisles and saying "excuse me" every 2 seconds, I emerged with a gorgeous pair of Dries Van Noten heels. For those who aren't familiar with Van Noten, he's a Belgian designer who graduated from the Antwerp Fashion Academy (one of the world's best places to study fashion) and presented his debut collection in 1986. Being the fashion neophyte I am, I discovered him when I fell for his Spring 2009 collection. I'm a sucker for anything black & white and/or with geometric patters and that show gave me a lot of both. In addition, everything he makes has such an air of leisure to it. You start to relax just looking at his clothes.

His shoes are no exception. I snagged a pair of sandals from the above 2009 collection at Barney's massive annual sale last June. They are surprisingly comfortable and look so natural on the foot. After that, I tried to look out for his shoes. When I first saw the pair I bought last weekend, I didn't know they were Dries. I was drawn to the chestnut brown leather and the simple details— the straps on the side reminded me of riding tack and the gathering on the front looked so comfortable. They were simple, yet interesting. And then I saw they were Dries. And that they were affordable. And THEN I saw they were in my size. I practically skipped to the register— an almost intoxicated grin on my face, the kind you get when you've just had a bottle of the best booze imaginable.

(Shoes! graphic © Littlehouse of Style, Dries Van Noten Spring 2009 photos from Style.com, Shoe photo © Littlehouse of Style)



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kirstyb said...

ha i love DSW lol xoxoox