Well, look what arrived in the mail just before Christmas. My very own pair of made to measure brogues.
Yup, that's made to measure as in made to fit my wonky feet exactly by Selve, a shoemaker who customise shoes to the customer's specifications, not just in size, but in everything from colour to heel height.
I chose brogues as they are timeless and will last me for years, I hope. I thought a very dark brown would be more useful than black as I am trying hard not to wear black clothes all the time, and especially not outside of work.
And aren't they just heavenly?
Look at those bee-yootiful soles...works of art, they are.
I was thrilled when Selve offered to make shoes to fit me as my feet are different sizes and, with my abnormally narrow heels skinny calves & high insteps, I find it almost impossible to buy shoes that fit correctly.
When I last had boots made to fit, the whole process of measuring me up was more complicated but it's been considerably progressed by technology, and only takes an hour or so. After the initial appointment, your specs are kept on file so subsequent orders can be taken by phone or e mail.
So, I stripped off my tights and my feet were measured at 5 points using a 3D noninvasive foot scanner.
which creates a 3D image of the feet, ankles & calves.
My measurements were compared to Selve's library of lasts, and the software progamme then recommends the correct shoe size(s) for each foot.
Leila from Selve then brought out a vast array of shoes in different styles, sizes & widths so we could check that the computer's measurements were accurate, as fit can be a very subjective matter, depending on what the individual customer finds comfortable.
Then, I wandered around the showroom, looking at the myriad styles on offer and bearing in mind that each shoe can be almost entirely customised once the basic style has been fixed on. With a choice of heel, color, fabric, lining and style, the customer's finished shoe can bear little or no resemblance to the Selve basic model.
The shoe above could be made in leather. It could have no contrast trim, or equally the contrast trim could be in suede. It could have one of many different heel types...you could make it look entirely different. For example: the shoe below could be made in red patent leather with shocking pink trim and a two inch heel...
Admission: about five years ago Selve made me a pair of leather boots for a piece I wrote in The Observer. I'm pretty sure I have the boot on the right below. Thing is, by the time I had chosen black leather, nixed the patchwork, changed the heel shape & heel height and raised the instep, it's hard to work out just which boot I started with..
I decided to choose a classic pair of brogues from their extensive mens collection. This should have been pretty simple, as I just went with the standard Selve brogue style and had only to pick the fabric & lining but this took me forever as I couldn't decide between leather & suede or the colour.
I could have ended up with something like this:
and I played briefly with the idea of silver or black patent brogues, but then my sensible side took hold, and dark brown was fixed upon. Then I just had to wait for my shoes to arrive in the post.
If you are tempted, (look they even do a bespoke over the knee boot):
their next appointments in the UK are from January 11 - January 13, 2010 from 9 am - 6 pm, at 34 Bruton Place, London W1J 6NR
www.selve.co.uk (They used to have a London salon, but the lease ended & they are doing trunk shows over here for the time being.)
In the US, please check out their website www.selve.us or visit their salon in lovely Red Bank, NJ.
(Regular readers will know that I spent several months in NJ this year &, when Selve got in touch to see if I cld do an appointment in Manhattan, I was amazed to discover that their only US salon was 10 miles down the road from the boys' house. Serendipity, obviously.)
For more pictures by me, including their bespoke traditional mens & golf shoes go to my flickr set here. I wrote about Selve handbags here.