I continue to work my way through my 10-sample set. Should have something to say about these fragrances soon.
In the meantime, we’re up to London this week for a flying one-day visit and surely I’ll have to write about that…
Today, however, it’s Chelsea boots because on and off I think about them. I would say they are my favourite style of boot. I have really good knee-highs (one flat, one heeled) and low lace-ups. But, I haven’t been able to find Chelseas I love in the right size for years. I wore the last pair, from Clarks, to bits. They were fine but not perfect (gusset wasn’t tight enough, went too high on my ankle).
Thing about Chelseas is they can be dressed up or down; well-designed ones can work with a dress (and I don’t mean a tunic). The best ones manage to look both rugged and refined.
I’ve looked at Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, White Stuff, Joules and others but nothing has been exactly what I want.
I have issues. My feet are small (UK 3, US 5). The best fitting shoes I’ve ever found were from French brands (ie, Freelance) or made in Italy. An aside: Years ago, we (my father, son and I) visited Florence together. On one of the last days, we took a long walk in the Boboli Gardens, exiting on to a street full of shoe shops. As my son was of an age when he was strapped into the buggy and usually slept when in it (particularly after running around in a big park) we stopped in a shop that had a great window display. My father left with a pair of shoes (I think only one, but I may be wrong); I left with two pairs and a pair of brown suede boots that I wore until they had holes in the soles (the shoes included a pair of loafers which have disappeared and a pair of ballet pumps which I still have and are still fine — we’re talking over 15 years ago).
I used to buy a lot of shoes from Zappos when we visited the US. We haven’t done that in years (ie, visit the States) so that’s not on the cards. I love the brand Canadienne (have another pair of great knee-high boots from them) but it’s not really available here.
Blundstone, an Australian brand, makes nice Chelseas, but their sizing doesn’t work for me (not small enough; pic from their website).
The brand that has – as far as I can see now – the Chelsea boots closest to my desired design are offered by Dr Martens. Not the ones with the classic DM tread sole but those that with the thinner, more refined sole, the Flora (the Graeme in men’s, I think – if I had larger feet I’d wear men’s Chelseas as there are more available that are close to my desired style; again, pic from their site).
However, whereas DMs used to be reasonably priced and almost everyone I knew no matter how little they earned wore them that’s not the case anymore.
Now, DMs are beyond trendy and cost not the earth but way more than I think they should.
Even after trawling through the 1,200 pairs of Chelseas on the Zappos site I still found that this type of DM is as close to what I want as possible. I guess that’s saying something. There was a pair of Sebagos that were close but they strangely lacked pizzaz – you know, when an inanimate object gets close to ‘right’ but still lacks that ineffable oomph. The Floras have that pizzaz.
Another aside: I don’t like zippers on my ankle boots unless they were meant to have zippers (ie, not on Chelseas, not on low lace ups – I have a pair of fur-lined Skechers for our ‘winter’ with non-slip soles and they have zips and that’s ok).
I did a big cull of shoes over the past few years. I now have an upstairs closet with less than a dozen pairs of shoes that are beloved but don’t get worn much (heeled stuff, summer stuff). Downstairs, the boots live in the closet under the stairs (knee highs and lace ups). The walking shoes with Vibram soles live near the door. The ‘winter’ boots and the Chuck Taylors (what I mostly live in during spring and summer) are tucked under the cabinet in the kitchen – for some reason.
My yearning to buy a pair of Chelseas waxes and wanes. Right now, it’s waxing. I find that I look seriously at the DMs around every six months. So, I guess it’s that time again. We’ll see where this goes.
What about you? Is there an item of clothing you’ve been hankering after but haven’t found that perfect specimen?