Ramona, my Fashion Consultant and Transformation Expert and I had a few stops planned for the day. And I felt the need to look smart and have some great advice along the way. Ramona is the proprietress of “Explore your Feminine Side” in Atlanta. Two things quickly here:
- Having a GG with you while shopping is a real plus. Girls have a shopping sonar that I for one do not possess. This is a real time saver. A little easier to navigate fitting rooms too. Additionally, shopping with a friend makes the effort more sociable, and so much less furtive than crossdressers sometimes make it.
- Looking your absolute best really helps free your mind for the tasks at hand. If you can, do seek professional help. It really makes a huge difference. Thanks Ramona!
Now, back to the shopping. The one chore I simply could not fall short on had to do with the shoes. When I mentioned this need, Ramona suggested that if we could not fill the order at the mall, that DSW would not fail us.
I had dressed for the occasion in a manner that no self-respecting, hyper-shopping, genetic girl would do. Stiletto boots, dressy sheers (Donna Karans thank you very much), the little black skirt at 5 inches above the knee and the leopard print trench coat. We had poor fortune at Lennox Mall. I am a girl on a budget, and the clearance racks had been pretty expertly gleaned. I made a couple of mercy purchases just to work on purse handling technique, but found nothing I could not live without. OK, the lace blouse is indispensible.
We were already 3 hours deep into a mall walk but the gams were still game, the purse not completely pilfered and my shoe closet still lamentably sparse. We decamped the covered parking comfort of Lennox for the more exposed and less upmarket confines of Buckhead Station, home of our nearest Designer Shoe Warehouse. The torrential rain stopped long enough for us to make the dash across the parking lot without my makeup melting away.
For those of you not familiar with this mega-church of stacked heels and pointy toes, imagine an enclosure larger than a football field filled with shoes. Upon entry I swear I perceived the curvature of the planet. I would not have been surprised to hear the alarming “beep beep beep” of airport people movers. Far in the distance, at the very horizon loomed the big clearance racks.
“Is that where we start Ramona?”
“Yes Petra, you learn well, your instincts are good”
Very nice smiles and a “welcome ladies” from 2 of the SA’s on the long walk back for the beginnings of my revenge. Revenge I say because I can barely find men’s shoes in my size, but 8 ½ represents a pretty rich seam in the realms of heels. 3 solid racks of all the odds and ends that made it through a season without finding a decent home. All the sad orphans. It simply breaks ones heart. I start now to understand the maternal feelings that most of my ex-girlfriends have about their shoes, and shoes they have yet to own.
It was relatively easy for me to harden my heart and not come home with armfuls for one reason, and a reason I will encourage all of you to borrow. I went shopping knowing exactly what I was after. In this case, the perfect black dress pump. True and shameful. Strappy sandals and boots I have. Wine shades and browns. Peep toes and patterns. But I have somehow missed on the one pair I would want to wear on the trip through the Pearly Gates. Never too late to atone though.
The clearance racks were not the sweet spot for the perfect pump. The classics never fall that far from grace. But the variety and value for the girl who has everything (except an entirely ruined credit rating) was spectacular. Anywhere from 30-70% off regular DSW prices which are ~ 40% of the department store prices on highly sought after designer labels. I timed myself – it took a full 25 minutes just to consider and walk away from everything in my size.
With resolve and a heavy heart we strolled back into the main pews of the cathedral. Our SA Stephanie was enlisted to do a little of the leg work, and set about it with charming determination. A quick note here on the staff. In broad daylight I think Helen Keller could clock me. Perhaps I am a little hard on myself, but you dear people know what I mean. In any event, my dressing and my gender are, it seems, on planet DSW a complete non-event. Just a gal looking for shoes. And a gal slowly disappearing behind the stacks of boxes served up by Stephanie in her desire to make me even happier.
Many contenders failed in the qualifying rounds owing to the wrong taper on the heel, or too round a toe. The "A Team" was assembled consisting of the BCBG, the Steve Madden and the Nine West and a death match ensued. “R” counseled patience.
“Walk them around the shop. Don’t just go home with the best looking one”.
This struck me as the “get to know them slowly before putting out” equivalent of shoe adoption. And sound advice too. A decent shoe store is one place you are certain to have floor height mirrors in abundance, and that is an opportunity not to be missed. Additionally, one can never get too much practice delicately lowering ones skirted butt onto a try-on stool. The society for the preservation of modesty would have been proud. I really don’t think I flashed anyone.
Ultimately, the Nine West won the pageant, and there is no saying why. Just an understanding between feet and shoe that words cannot adequately express. Either of the runners up will be able to fulfill the duties of my beautiful new matte finish 4” dress pumps should they be stolen.
These are perfect shoes. I am delighted. And I lament the years that we have not spent together. But I am born anew, possessed of the glowing zeal of the newly converted and ready to provide all the loving care that these darling shoes so richly deserve. I think I want them to have lots of siblings too. And I know where to find them.
I will end this minor pilgrimage by lighting a candle for this Shine of Shoes, our first of 14 Stations of the Crossdresser, the miraculous, the bountiful and all-forgiving Designer Shoe Warehouse. To find a shrine near you, just visit the store finder here.
And so to you dear friends … what Station should we genuflect at next time? I breathlessly await your suggestions…