Desperate for American Songbook stylings, I’ve taken to watching the Lawrence Welk show–a program I loathed as a child (sample reason: one ex-Welk star remembered her mother peeling potatoes to the program). Amidst the madness of polyester tuxedos, saccharin themed shows (Springtime! Westerns! Salute to the Movies!) and pubescent sister acts (singing “Sisters” a song more typically delivered by old salts like Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury), I’m finding singers and song numbers I actually enjoy (my own snowbound Spring madness?!?). Absent of any jazz inflection, certain Welk singers resemble contemporary cabaret artists–successfully delivering tunes through a veil of champagne sweetness.
If I were a guy, I’d be broke. At least that’s what I think each time I look at websites selling beautiful, handmade/handsewn leather shoes for men like Leather Soul Hawaii, Ben Silver, Alden Shoes of Carmel, Harry’s Shoes and even Sierra Trading Post. For the most part, there’s a radical absence of decent shoes for women not made out of molded rubber, hemp canvas, nylon webbing, patent leather, metallic leather, nubuck or other synthetic leathers.
Actual text for a close-out style of Tevas for women from STP: “Female touches include colorful shoelace eyelets and decorative lining.”
Since I have relatively small feet, I’m unable to order men’s shoes which typically start at size 7 (I’m a men’s size 6 or 6.5!). Shoe sizing effectively restricts my footwear selections to a few choice vintage/ebay finds and a rotating platoon of Sebago loafers (which size down to circus monkey numbers).
What I want to purchase is a lovely, rugged oxford or brogue made out of scotch grain leather with a double leather or dainite rubber studded sole. If I had untold sums of spending money, I’d just order up a custom made loafer or derby from JM Weston. But Weston, with it’s French pedigree and Madison Ave storefront, is so elitist that I’m not even sure they would post me a catalog.
Several years ago, I stumbled on a Manchester Guardian article about the UK footwear firm, Tim Little. At the time, Little was selling no compromises, scaled down versions of their men’s style shoes for women. For several years, during the Tim Little Christmas sale, I would purchase a pair of Littles (one time it took the shoes three months to make their way from London to Oregon since I had requested the cheapest, “ground” shipping option). Now, for some reason, they’ve dropped their women’s line and erased its presence from their website (perhaps because shoes without colorful eyelets or decorative linings no longer sell well).
I understand that at least one of the Tim Little storefronts has some women’s shoes in stock. I recently purchased a pair of oxfords on steep discount. I encourage you to contact Little and inquire about this phantom line of shoes. Mention the Mockingbird or Road Runner II styles so they know you’re not nuts or making things up.