Friday, 16 May 2014

(Still) desperately seeking small shoes…

A month ago I wrote about my efforts to find a pair of pretty shoes. All I want is a classic kitten heeled, pointy-toed pump. But most shoe shops only stock shoes from size 36 up, and I am a 35. At least, I thought I was a 35… I have 35s that fit me, and I even have 36s that fit me – but my 35s are Fit-Flops and Birkenstocks, and my 36s are all boots.
I was very excited about visiting Pretty Small Shoes, in Bloomsbury, which sells shoes in all sorts of small sizes and a wide variety of styles, mostly at £130.00. But – sorry, lovely girls who work in the store – the shoes are so cheap looking and so unbearably uncomfortable that I was hugely relieved to find that none of the 35s fitted me (they were TOO BIG!) – and doubly hugely relieved to discover that the styles that I had pretended to like were not available in a 34 or 34.5. Phew! After politely trying them all on, I would have had to tell the girls that the shoes were actually so tacky that I couldn’t be seen in them, and would rather live on in my Birkies and Fit-Flops, never to be seen in an elegant kitten-heeled, pointy-toed pump.
But failure always makes me more determined to find what I’m looking for, and, after a bit of online research I discovered that  Harrods stocks plenty of size 35s in ranges from Stuart Weitzmann, Miu Miu and the like…
So last Sunday Steve patiently accompanied me on a trip to Harrods’ shoe department.
As someone who normally picks up shoes in little boutiques or natural shoe store type shops, I had forgotten how arduous shoe shopping can be. You can’t just “pop in” for a pair of shoes. These days shoe shop assistants do not just disappear to the back of the store to rummage among the boxes; they have to search on the computer for stock, then, apparently, go out the back door and walk round the block a few times while you sit twiddling your thumbs with one shoe off…
And, in Harrods, this process had to be repeated in each separate concession.
We tried Stuart Weitzmann, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton – all highly expensive, but, by now, remember, we’re realising that finding a pair of shoes to fit me will be a once in a lifetime event.
The conclusion was that I am not a 35 – not in pointy toed pumps, anyway. 
One helpful Harrods' shoe man said I could have shoes specially made in a size 34 or 34.5 by Stuart Weitzmann - they could arrange this, and the price would be the same as the on the shelf price of a 35... but I would have to pay upfront (£330), and, if the shoes didn't fit me, or hurt, there would be no refund. I had also missed the boat for their latest order for small shoes and would have to wait until the Autumn to go on the list, and another 12 weeks for the shoes to arrive. "Does Madam have an event in mind for which she needs the shoes?" 
In Harvey Nichols, where we repeated the torturous experience, we learned that there is in fact no such thing as a 35… “Our shoes tend to get bigger the lower they go,” the Jimmy Choo assistant explained. The smaller your feet, the higher the heels need to be if a shoe is to fit you, it seems. I tried on a very pretty size 34 in a flat shoe – just to see if it would fit – and I could get my thumb in the back! "If it had a higher heel it would be smaller" the assistant explained.
Now looking for a 34 - we thought 35 was hard enough to find - by the end of our trip, we had established that Jimmy Choo and Miu Miu do make 34s… even if their shops rarely stock them.
Salvatore Ferragamo’s shoes start at a 34.5, and St Laurent’s start at 35.
Net-a-Porter stocks some 34s, and even has a few pairs from Jimmy Choo and Miu Miu in just the style I’m looking for… Will they fit? We’ve decided to order some in to find out… And, if they do??? Well, I have saved £1000s on not buying pretty shoes for all the decades that I’ve been an adult –so if I find a pair that fits and feels comfortable (that is essential) I think I deserve a treat…

UPDATE: Neither Jimmy Choo's nor Miu Miu's 34 fitted me. They were TOO SMALL!! This when I am "normally" a size 35 in other brands and styles. I have since found two pairs of slingbacks in 35s, both of which fit thanks of course to the adjustable strap... And now a friend has introduced me to Shoes Of Prey - who will make shoes to order, in sizes down to 31. They have just the kind of court I am looking for - and have agreed to let me send a measurement of my foot to make sure they give me the right size. They're in Australia so it will take some time to sort this order out - but I hope to have a pair in time for Christmas!

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