Shoe-ing In

A close-up of my bridal shoe.

My favorite style of shoe has always been a Mary Jane; this goes back to my childhood (see The Goodbye Project: How Disney Record Art Affected My Adult Wardrobe). Back in 1995, when I was working on a production of Annie at the Sherman Playhouse, a fellow actor gave me a pair of Capezio character shoes (complete with street bottoms) that she’d worn for a brief run (four performances). She didn’t love the shoes enough to keep them, and with them having been modified and worn, she couldn’t do anything except donate them. Since I was living with my ex-husband at the time, we didn’t have the money to get the character shoes I’d need for the show—and so I was the lucky beneficiary.

That one moment changed my life forever.

They were the most comfortable heels I’d ever worn, and I wore them for years—not just on-stage, but in every day life. I threw out every other pair of heels I owned and lamented I hadn’t discovered these sooner. After they bit the dust (five years later), I wanted another pair, but could never commit the $80 to $100—even though I knew I’d buy them, put the bottoms on, and never have to buy another dress shoe for several years. Instead, I’d just go to some store and settle for a $20-$30 shoe that was the closest style to a Mary Jane I could find. Every year, I’d have to go in search of a new pair. They never lasted more than a season (I’m hard on my shoes, and just a note, I wear knee high boots in the colder months).

Getting married left the door wide open, though. Even though I’ve wanted black Capezios, there was no reason I couldn’t own tan, camel, or beige—they would go with my summer and early fall wardrobes, and they’d cost me just as much. And frankly? If you’re on your feet all day, there’s nothing better than Capezio—after all, they’re made especially for dancing, so they’re made to take a beating AND be comfortable. They’d make a perfect bridal shoe.

Since I wanted something slightly classier than a Mary Jane, I went with a T-Strap. The story of how I found the Capezio Women’s 700 T-Strap Character Shoe is in an earlier post (see The bag, the shoes, the garter, the wardrobe…or, why brides should love online shopping).

Everybody has asked why my shoes aren’t Ivory so they match the gown. Yes, I probably could’ve gotten ivory Capezios had I really wanted them (most color choices are tan, beige, caramel, or black), but here’s the simple answer: I hate ivory shoes. They look dirty after one wear, so in my opinion, there’s no faster way to look shabby. I do not own ivory or white shoes, and I never will, unless it is required for someone’s wedding, a play, or a work uniform. I would be spending more time with shoe polish than I’d like.

Secondly, I didn’t see the point in spending $80 on shoes I’d never wear again: ladies, do you ever really wear your wedding shoes a second time? Maybe—if they’re flip flops or something other than those dye-ables.

While Camel might be a bit of an unconventional color choice, for this event, it does make sense: it matches or complements the bridesmaids’ gowns and, although it’s not dark brown, the color is a classic which harkens to shoes worn by women during Journey to the Center of the Earth’s time period.

The only thing I was nervous about was ordering them online: what if they weren’t a good fit? They could be returned, but then I certainly wouldn’t re-order—I’d just have to hunt around for dance shops to visit and do try-on, which would require more time than I really wanted to spend.

The order page for the shoes.

The shoes had arrived by the time I got home fromProvincetownon February 15.

I was thrilled that they were a perfect—and I do mean perfect—fit (not every 81/2 I buy works; sometimes they’re slightly too big or too small, depending on the shoe). The true bonus with this: now I know when I want new Capezios, I pop online and order my size. Done in five minutes; no more shoe shopping for me!

I took them to Bethel Shoe Repair to get “street bottoms” added on Thursday, February 23. The cobbler was great about spending time with me discussing different materials and colors for the soles and heels (my biggest concern was being able to walk confidently on any surface); eventually, we decided on a thick nubbly bottom in a color that wouldn’t show too much (the insistence on color was his idea. The man truly takes pride in his product). I picked them up on Saturday, February 25, and I’ve never seen a more seamless job. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought the shoe had been manufactured that way. Thanks, Bethel Shoe Repair!

The ticket stub for Bethel Shoe Repair, where I had the shoe’s street bottoms put on.

I started breaking in the shoes on March 8—the color on this photo’s off; they look much more yellow here than they do in reality. I’ll wear them a couple of times a week and they should feel like a favorite old pair by the time September rolls around!

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