Thursday, August 20, 2009

ModernGear Shoes: Giving my money the boot

This is going to be the fall and winter of THE boot. I have decided. I thought last year would be the year I'd find the boots I have been dreaming of, but it just didn't happen so I was relegated to wearing my probably 8, maybe 10-year-old square toe mid-calf zip-up boots. They're in fine shape but their silhouette isn't exactly timeless, and isn't exactly of-the-moment, either, when boots are decidedly more biker-babe.

I also have a great pair of Fly London wedge-heeled black leather boots but as you probably know I am a 37-year-old woman with the ankles of an 80-year-old woman, because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis. High heels are out, and I can't even walk in wedges anymore.

So my search for the perfect boot factors in more than heel height, shaft height, quality of leather, etc. It becomes about whether or not I can do up a zipper on a cold, rainy afternoon when my hands are stiff. It becomes about whether the pull-on boot's ankle part is so tight that I can't point my toes with my partially fused ankle to negotiate that tight turn. It's a complex procedure, and it's going to be a long hunt.

The quest started out innocently enough with an online visit to Now, I loves me some Gravity Pope - have since they first opened up in Edmonton, and am not sure how many pairs of shoes I have bought from them (in retrospect, probably not that many but how many I have tried on and coveted - now that numbers in the triple-digit territory).

I even wrote about the clothing side of Gravity Pope in Vancouver for the Globe and Mail's Style Section, when the soft goods store opened up - read about it at, excerpted below:

Zen and the art of shopping

Though it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, sometimes shopping can be less than soothing.

Jostling for space with other bargain hunters among racks overflowing with the latest must-haves and shouting to the salesperson over blaring music are not exactly conducive to a chilled-out experience.

Once in a while, though, you walk out with bags in hand and a Zen-like smile on your face, having lost all track of time in a boutique that has got it right. Like the new Gravity Pope Tailored Goods clothing store.

The 1,800-square-foot space is the sister shop to the popular Gravity Pope shoe store next door and joins Gravity Pope clothing and shoe stores in Edmonton and Calgary.

Walk in and the first striking features aren’t the Tocca dresses or Paul Smith cardigans.

White Carrera marble floors glisten and gleam. Light from the mirrored, spinning chandelier bounces off the walls. Two reupholstered Louis XIV chairs sit against the back wall underneath iridescent aluminum light fixtures, grouped as an installation piece, while a dapper antique mannequin from Paris stands watch.

I clicked on, and immediately headed over to the casual boots section. I decided to document the process by taking screen shots of the boots I liked, and then call and see which ones they had before I went in to the store. Here is how it went, and my feedback from trying on.

These ones they didn't have in stock:
These ones they did.
Oh Steve. I couldn't even get my foot into this one! Are you making these for insect-thin supermodels only?

These might have been good - they sure look good, but the leather of the shaft is quite soft and they flop over. Now, due to my lack of flexibility in hips and back, to say nothing of the fact that my five-month-pregnant belly gets in the way, and I can't casually slip on a boot when sitting down or crouching. Rather, I have to step into said boot, and then sit down and wrestle them on. The Sendra boots would just flop over, making it impossible to step into them. So, they're out.
I was familiar with this Fiorentini and Baker boot from my friend Lainey's site, but they fit about a half-size too big. Darn it - the buckles opened up and the boot shaft split to make for easy donning, but the size 36 was just too big and they don't have them in 35.
Then I slipped on these beauties. And despite an initial slight struggle to get them on (during which the great saleslady gave me a secret tip that actually worked...), well...I was stepping into something comfortable and chic and suddenly, all was right in the world. I was not a young fashionable woman in the body of an old geriatric, I had the potential to dress like I wanted to. I could be a French gamine with knee socks and ruffled dress, I could be a biker babe with tucked in skinny jeans and an equally hot leather jacket, I could be a pregnant mama in maternity tights and a plaid tunic. I envisioned all the outfits I wanted to put together with style, with sass,
with personality and yes...with $710 boots.


Cough, cough.

(Sound of crickets.)

Slight glitch.

Luckily, Gravity Pope has layaway. A 20% deposit later and they're now on the shelf in the back room with my name written on the box.

Sure, I'll continue looking as I start saving, but I think I'm done for. I figure I will finish making payments on them by the time the snow melts next spring...Anyone need an article written or an essay edited for cheap?!

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