For the Love of Shoes
I believe in not sacrificing good looks for comfort, and Stuart Weitzman is the master at achieving such results. I can buy his shoes sight unseen (and I have), although I prefer to walk into an actual shoe store. Not just any store, though....
I remember it like it was yesterday. Pulling into the parking lot on George Street, walking to the back door, and being buzzed into a long, drab hallway. As my mother and I walked down and around the corner, the view opened into a plethora of women's shoes. Where are we? I thought. My mother, who I could tell was in her element, greeted those inside like she was a queen...not arrogantly but confidently...like she knew she belonged there. I accompanied her for years before I was able to actually receive my first pair of shoes from Bob Ellis. By then, it was in my blood. I was hooked. Bob Ellis was like family.
For years after I moved away from Charleston, I did not buy shoes unless and until I returned home to Bob Ellis. Each time we returned, we entered the same way - through the plain, uninviting George Street back door instead of the grand King Street entrance. I think my mother liked feeling like this was her place. Familiar. Like if she used the front entrance, she would be a guest.
Like all high-end shoe stores, frequent visitors are always treated like family. It keeps us coming back. We had our own personal shoe guy, Wayne. When we walked into the store, hellos were exchanged and maybe a simple, "I am looking for a black high heel," or "I need a dressy sandal." Wayne would return with no less than fourteen boxes of everything from a flat to a boot including the dressy sandal and black high heel. We sat. He brought us shoes. What a marvelous experience!
Although I no longer wait to return to Charleston for my shoe needs, I still prefer the Bob Ellis experience. I have found that in Main and Taylor at North Hills. Jeff, my new shoe guy, always greets me, asks few questions, retreats to the back, and returns with stacks of shoes that he knows I will love and have to pray over before making any final decisions.
Beautiful shoes are as much a part of me as the hair on my head. Ironically, I no longer wear the shoes shown above; however, I have been unable to part with them because I appreciate their elegance, femininity, and sheer beauty. They remind me of happy times. They remind me of home.
You know I still cry each time I read this knowing how you and your mother shared the Bob Ellis experience. There is just something about shoes! My daughter and I share a shoe bond which is a third generation affinity as my mother, still at the age of 86, can not resist a pair of great shoes. Living in Myrtle Beach when I was a pregnant shoe snob, there was nowhere to buy really NICE shoes. Pregnant and deserving of the perfect pair of flats, I headed right down Highway 17 to the only place on our coast that could slake my desire for stylish, and by my standard, expensive shoes--Bob Ellis. After being confined to complete bed rest for what seemed an eternity, it seemed the appropriate if not necessary first excursion. The shoes were exquisite. Ivory leather with a pointed toe and sling back---they looked like money on my feet. The young clerk told me my foot would never be the same again after pregnancy and I would not be able to wear them later. I chose to ignore him; how could he know anything about my skinny feet? Turns out he was right; I could not wear them very far into pregnancy and never again after. But even now, I am happy I bought them and can still feel the how pleased I was to slip them on my feet. Best money I ever "wasted".
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