As a grad student on a tight budget, I wear my shoes until they die. Until they choke, foam at the mouth, and, tongue sticking out, die (did you catch that pun in there?–good stuff).
Cruel, you say? Perhaps. It’s true that not many women have the stomach to wear their shoes this seriously. Well, I’m here to tell anyone who can’t finish the job, I’m more than happy to finish it for you. Anyone else with enough guts to join me, head over to My Sister’s Closet Consignment Store (in Minneapolis or St. Paul). There are plenty of high-end designer and vintage shoes–in mint or near-mint condition–who need someone to love them to death. If you need extra motivation, MSC’s Summer Clearance Sale is going on right now (through next Monday), which means that every item in the store is 50% off! That’s what brought my mom, aunt and I into MSC this afternoon where we found some amazing deals on designer shoes.
MSC's St. Paul location, at 1136 Grand Avenue
First, a bit about the store. My Sister’s Closet has two locations in the Twin Cities–one in St. Paul on Grand, and one in Minneapolis on Hennepin. They offer high quality clothing, shoes, and accessories–both vintage clothing and current designer brands–without the expensive prices.
We visited the St. Paul location today and were impressed by their diverse collection and the number of well-dressed, bargain-hunting women looking around the two-story store. Their ground level is devoted to contemporary clothing–you’ll find lots of items from staple brands like JCrew, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor–as well as discounted high-end designer items. For example, we saw cute designer handbags in great condition (and each for $70 or less) from Coach, Gucci, and Prada.
I love to mix and match vintage and contemporary pieces, like this vintage '60s dress and contemporary Banana Republic cardigan (both items at My Sister's Closet). All you need now is a cute belt and, of course, some shoes!
Look for a spectacular selection of vintage items on MSC’s second floor. We saw several beautiful ’60s dresses, many with recognizable name-brands. One dress had a tag that read “The Dayton Oval Room,” which, as all Twin Cities gals will understand, really took me back (Oh, Daytons. You are dearly missed). There were also a few wedding gowns, so if you’re a bride on a budget, be sure to check this place out.
Sigh. If only Dayton's was still around...
Now, on to our booty. I may have walked out with far too many items to mention here. But, the highlight of our bargain-hunting was two amazing pairs of designer shoes. The first is a classic pair of Ferragamo “Vara” heels in a deep navy suede:
I love the signature Ferragamo Vara bow and buckle. If you want to put money on one item in your wardrobe that'll still be in style a decade from now, these shoes are a sure bet.
Ferragamo has been issuing versions of the Vara Pump season after season since it was first created by Ferragamo’s eldest daughter, Fiamma, in 1978. As a kid, I remember admiring my grandma’s favorite pair–a vivid cranberry that looked so regal with the brass Ferragamo hardware. In case you’re wondering, the Fall 2010 collection features a black leather version:
Ferragamo's Vara shoes, Fall 2010. Same demure heel, same ladylike bow, same ballet inspired shape.
These shoes retail for $395. But, at My Sister’s Closet you would have seen them listed for $36–already a steal–then, with an additional 50% off all items for MSC’s Summer Clearance, they were $18. All said and done, that’s 95% off! And you can’t even tell that this pair has been worn. They look even better on my feet, if I do say so myself:
I'll always think of my Grandma when I wear these iconic shoes, and my wonderful mom, who bought them for me.
The second amazing find of the day were these darling peeptoe slingback demi-wedges (that’s a mouthful!) by Miu Miu:
I think the best feature (if you had to pick only one) might be the demi-wedge:
See the little scoop bridge of the demi-wedge? Love this retro touch.
Miu Miu shoes sell for anywhere from $400-$1000+, but this pair was listed at $148 at My Sister’s Closet. Then, the 50% off for the Summer Clearance brought them down to $74. When I mentioned how much I loved them my bea-u-tiful and generous Aunt Jacqueline insisted on buying them for me (ok, ok, I confess, she didn’t have to insist too much). Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dear mom and Jacqueline, you’ve made a poor grad student’s fashion dream come true. The Vara pumps will accompany me on every interview I do this year (and hopefully give me the poise and eloquence of my mom, aunt and grandma!) and the Miu Miu pumps will accompany me every other minute of the day, even to bed. Kidding, kidding. But I do love them that much, and for starters, they will go perfectly with the dress I’ve been planning on wearing to an upcoming Bar Mitzvah on Labor Day weekend.
To the women who gave up these shoes up for consignment–without ever wearing them, it seems–I thank you. May the consignment shopping good karma that you deserve come to you soon! In the meantime, rest assured that your Ferragamos and Miu Miu’s have found a happy forever home.
And to the rest of you reading this who live in the Twin Cities, I’m confident there’s a Happily-Ever-After Shoe Story waiting for you, too, at My Sister’s Closet. If you get a chance to check them out, check back with Good Taste and let us know what you find!