Oh y’all. I feel like we have to do this again. The price thing.
Listen, we get it. Boy do we get it.
The economy is not where one might hope it would be, our homes aren’t worth the shoeboxes they contain and the days of wine and roses are being temporarily replaced by the months of malt liquor and ramen noodles (so basically it’s college, but without the risk of getting the chlams from your RA.) It is not in everyone’s budget to spend a thousand dollars or even a hundred dollars on shoes, and –to steal a line from Stuart Smalley– that’s okay.
Every superfantastic person I know is superfantastic on a budget.
That budget may allow for buying a pair of $600 shoes without batting an eye, or it may not. I can tell you the last time I spent $600 on a single pair of shoes I batted my eyes so hard I caused a small tornado in Kansas and I’m a relatively well-off girl with no kids or mortgage who writes about the damn things for a living. So trust me, we do not think you are a bad person if you truly cannot afford good shoes.
The Manolo Empire will always live by the rule that cheap shoes are a false economy, so we do not recommend cheap shoes. Ever.
We believe it is far more economical (and environmentally friendly, and ethical and stylish and…) to save and own two pairs of quality shoes that will outlive you than an entire closet of plastic and cardboard that will need replacing every year or two. You may feel free to disagree personally, but that is the stance of this blog and it’s not changing.
Does that mean you need to go out and buy every pair of $2,000 crocodile kicks I send up the flagpole? YES. Wait, I mean NO. (Wait, what? No? Really? But what about my commish? -ed.) This is a fashion blog and fashion is aspirational. There’s always an element of fantasy, of daydream and can’t we all use a good daydream right about now?
So once again, this is how most folks in shoebiz break down the price points. Remember these are the original manufacturer prices, so if you find a pair of elaphe skin Jimmy Choos on megaclearance for $90, that doesn’t make them inexpensive shoes.
inexpensive = under $100
designer = $100- $300
premium designer = $300-$600
ultra premium = $600+
“Inexpensive” you have your lower-end department store shoes, Payless, Target, Wal-Mart, teetering on the upper level of inexpensive is Nine West, DSW etc. I do not say it is impossible to find an investment shoe at this level, but I have not come across one.
“Designer” will generally get you decently-made department store house brands and your entry-level luxury lines (Kate Spade, Tory Burch and Juicy Couture) there are some excellent values to be had in this range, particularly if you pay attention to construction and not the label. If all your shoes come from this category, pat yourself on the back, you’re doing well. Stuart Weitzman, Delman, and Cole Haan are reliable heavy hitters in this price range.
“Premium Designer” is where the committed shoe junkie lives. In this category your shoes will be crafted in Italy, France or Spain of excellent materials. Most of the designers who occupy the “Ultra Premium” category have a home base here including most non-runway shoes from Manolo, Chanel, Dior, Jimmy Choo and Prada.
“Ultra Premium” is the shoe as art form. These are often made of exotic skins or feathers that are no longer allowed to be collected (they get them from the archives of old feather houses) these shoes will be limited edition and usually available in boutique only.