12.23.2012

a Louboutin tale

$300 secondhand Christian Louboutin booties at Salvation Army, Portland, OR (photo by Jeff G.)

Here's a holiday thrifting story for you. Last week at Salvation Army on 82nd, my friend Jeff and I were browsing for white-elephant gifts for a party, when I spotted a pair of red soles in the glass display case. I had only recently learned what red soles meant, since on my salary I am not regularly exposed to luxe fashion and don't follow the doings of the rich and famous.* But I just had been watching the first season of The Newsroom on the insistence of Jeff, who is a diehard Aaron Sorkin fan, and had spotted Emily Mortimer's executive-producer character sporting a beautiful pair of classic high black pumps with red soles. I pointed them out to Jeff. He threw out the name, Christian Louboutin, so I did a little googling. The red soles, unbeknownst to me, were famous. Fast forward a few days to me standing in front of the display case at Salvation Army, heart racing.  

I asked a clerk to see them up close. They were indeed Louboutin, a pair of brown-suede platform stiletto booties—in my size. What were the odds? I tried them on. (Or, rather, I tried on one since they were shackled together for theft protection.) They hurt like hell. They were also $300. They were in great condition, only a little wear on the soles, but, seriously, $300 for a pair of used shoes? To top it off, Salvation Army was having their usual Wednesday 50% off day, but excluding red-tag items, of which these were ones. I might have been the teensiest bit tempted to own a pair of insanely-impractical-for-Portland Christian Louboutin shoes for $150, but not in the least for $300.

Yet the best (worst) part of this story is that the Salvation Army price was not just stuck by label to one of the soles but written in pen on the arch above the scuffed section, thereby besmirching the distinctive—and trademarked—tomato-red-lacquered loveliness on shoes that would not be half so wondrous without said red soles. Ergo, Salvation Army, in its efforts to hold the line at their ridiculous pricing, ruined a perfectly good pair of secondhand Louboutins.


ruined, pen-marked, red-soled Louboutins at Salvation Army, $300 (photo by Jeff G.)

Knowing I'd be blogging, Jeff took a few, quick (blurry) photos of the shoes with his iPhone under the unflattering box-store fluorescent lighting. Then I handed them back over to the clerk, who said, "You know, they look great on, but to a guy, they mostly just look like torture."


*For example, Jeff recently told me Cameron Diaz's bad-ass middle-school teacher character in the not surprisingly bad film Bad Teacher sports several pairs of Louboutins throughout the film.

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