Day 84 of the Shoe Challenge – eBay Karma & being bitten in the bum by your own petard*

Pretty much every week you will hear me ranting about how I hate other lawyers (apart from the ones that I work with or follow on Twitter). Having spent so much time grumbling about lawyers, you’d think that by now that I’d have learned how NOT to act like a pain-in-the-arse lawyer myself. Yet somehow I just cannot stop myself getting myself into legal fisticuffs with people in my spare time.

Why is this? Willingly getting involved in legal disputes is, after all, is like agreeing to play table tennis with chainsaws.

For example, a while back on eBay I bought something described as a vintage leather dress. When the something arrived it was vintage. It was not leather. Someone had sprayed it with something that smelled like leather aftershave without the nice smell.

Leather Aroma. Yum.

Other than the smell, which literally deafened my nostrils, it was clear from the appearance of the thing that it was definitely not leather. Despite almost being legally blind I can tell faux leather just by touching it.

Faux leather is horrible, horrible HORRIBLE stuff.

I wrote to the seller. “This is not leather” I said. “How can you tell?” she said.   Instead of leaving it there I told her exactly why I knew that it wasn’t (there’s a good guide here in case you aren’t sure).

I bought it from a market in Prahran and they told me that it was leather, how was I supposed to know that it wasn’t?” she asked. I suggested that she report the person that sold it to her to the Department of Fair Trading. I even sent her a link to the Consumer Affairs Victoria site (so that she could complain) & the faux leather dress back (so that she could set fire to it).

Why did I bother?

I think that I spend so much time as a complete willing participant in the legal process that it is literally impossible to let go of the rights & rituals of legal wrangling when I am not at work.  You’ll catch me try to negotiate a settlement most dinner times with my six year old son.

Me: “Have two more tablespoons of peas and a carrot and you can have dessert.

The Noisy Boy: “How about if I eat another potato instead of the peas?

Me: “If you have a potato and three tablespoons of peas we can settle this thing once and for all“.

The Noisy Boy: “It’s a deal.”

Recently my lawyer alter-ego managed to get a good bite in the bum. I call this Legal Karma. Shakespeare would call it being hoist with my own petard.  Either way it’s a lesson in humility as I found out when I bought these Irregular Choice shoes off eBay.

For a while now I’ve been after a pair of Irregular Choice shoes.

Irregular Choice specialise in unconventional and decorative shoes and were brought to my attention by the hilariously rabid and quite probably completely insane Sugar Bum Thumb aka @FecketyFeck. With typical legal caution I asked her to preapprove my reference to her in my blog. Her reply to me was “write what you want, as long as you have me dressed in velvet with a sword“. My theory is that she and her sister frequently look at shoes online as a way to prevent them from engaging in sibling shit fights or murdering their elderly relations and burying them in the garden.

If one was going to be arrested for such a thing, one would want to be wearing a pair of Irregular Choice shoes for one’s bail application. Irregular Choice shoes feature quite prominently in the World’s Ugliest Shoes Awards. The Shoewawa blog very often dobs various Irregular Choice shoe styles in as the ‘worst shoes in history’.

Love them or hate them, looking at the Irregular Choice design range is a bit like looking at a shoe collection conceived by an eight year old girl – fanciful, girlie, whimisical and occasionally just too ongepotchket to get your head around. Creativity gone completely wild in a craft shop.

For example, one of their signature shoe designs features the Japanese tabi (split-toe) look:

Irregular Choice Tabi Toe Shoes via http://www.shoewawa.com/split-toe-shoes.jpg

Another Irregular Choice regular is the Flick Flack’ spat shoe, which is updated every season to feature a wide variety of prints, bright colors and textures.

Other distinguishing features include the slightly surreal chocolate box pictures on the soles.

Also lots of tchotchkes and bits and pieces hanging from various parts of the shoes:

Irregular Choice Trinkettolina Perspex Heel Large bow & detachable charm detail

It is fair to say that Irregular Choice shoes skate the line between fun, outrageous and surreal.  Whether or not you like them depends on how tolerant you are of  Hello Kitty.

Being an avid shoe collector, I have an eBay search saved for Irregular Choice shoes. These generally re-sell well and for not much less than the recommended retail price (ballpark £89.99 for heels, £120.00 for boots). So it was a bit of a surprise when I saw a pair of brand new in the box Irregular Choice for sale for £7  from a UK seller. There are plenty of shoe authentication forums online (e.g Purse Forum Authenticate These Shoes) but these normally deal with the higher end shoe brands such as Christian Louboutin, Sergio Rossi and Balenciaga and not say, Irregular Choice and Kurt Geiger.  So for £7 quid though I was prepared to risk it.

I bought them.

When the shoes arrived they looked quite nice – like a cross between cowboy boots, Aladdin’s slippers and a low heeled mule. At 2.5 inches high the heel is a lot lower than I normally wear even at the weekend but the brass toady lumps are quite sensuous to the touch and I liked the way that the soles have been roughly cut and then the stitching channel left unfinished.

Are they? Aren't they?!

The only thing was that I really couldn’t figure out whether or not these were actually Irregular Choice. There was a line through the brand name on the insole which was obscured by stickers:

New old stock?

It occurred to me that the shoes were old stock but I wasn’t entirely sure one way or the other so when I left feedback I said:

Not sure if these are genuine Irregular Choice but v nice shoes & excellent service

The seller wrote to me privately and advised me that he felt that my  ‘not sure if these are genuine Irregular Choice’ was unfairly derogatory to the item as he had permission to sell the shoes by Irregular Choice. At this point (to my shame) I wrote back to him and said:

Hi Ray

Not to disparage you or the shoes at all – I noticed that a sticker
bearing another brand overlaid the Irregular Choice branding on
one shoe. Happy to send a photo. Also, Irregular Choice have a
very distinctive sole usually incorporating a design. I am a
copyright lawyer otherwise I wouldn’t have brought this up with
you. You might want to check your distribution agreement with
your supplier. If it is from Irregular Choice and you can
demonstrate this and authenticate the product, I am happy to
modify the comment accordingly.

Best wishes
Law and Shoes

The seller replied to me as follows:

if you are copyright lawyer..then you would have know that Irregular Choice released these without the patterns some time ago..these are vintage Irregular Choice, this is how I bought them and have been authenticated by Irregular Choice in Brighton..if you had taken the time to remove the sticker you would have noticed this.I do not have to check with anyone, as it is Irregular Choice in Brighton (Head office who have authenticated these!!) given me full blessing to sell these. Like  I said, shame you do not know your footwear. I am fed with certain ebayers who get things wrong..sorry to be blunt, but I am fed up with derogatory remarks which are wrong. Regards Ray.”

So I thought about it and I considered that if someone was so adamant about the authenticity, it was worth investigating. So I wrote to Irregular Choice directly as follows:

Question: Hi there – I recently bought a pair of shoes from eBay which the seller says are Irregular Shoes. When they arrived I had my doubts which I expressed to the seller (priceisright4u2010 on http://www.ebay.co.uk). The shoes that I bought are accessible at this link: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320548441595#ht_2865wt_1139 Are these in fact authentic Irregular Choice shoes? I asked the seller to provide me with some proof but he just got cross and told me that I ‘didn’t know my shoes’. Best wishes Law and Shoes

The reply came back within 24 hours as follows:

Dear Law and Shoes

Thank you for your email, I can gladly inform you that these shoes are Original Irregular Choice and are in fact from Dan Sullivan’s (Creator/ Designer) first ever collection. So hold on to them they may be worth something in years to come!

So there you go. I owe the seller an apology and this is it.

The thing that bothers is whether or not I should have written privately to the seller before I posted the feedback. On the balance I think that I may have been being a legal smart arse at the time.   So the next time you see me wearing these, feel free to whack me across the latter to remind me that sometimes it is good to forget being a lawyer when buying shoes.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

* A petard is, apparently a small bomb or incendiary device. It was used by Shakespeare to blow up an engineer (Polonius) in  Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4 . Engineers are useful and hard to come by. Unlike lawyers.

Guest Blog Post – Neverwhereland’s Deadly Guide to Effective Stiletto Usage

Then she says she needs affection

While she searches for the vein

She’s so good with her stiletto,

You don’t really mind the pain

Billy Joel – Stiletto

Does anyone remember American Maid from the TV  show ‘The Tick’?  Her superpowers were non-existent but she was rampantly patriotic with acrobatic skills and the ability to disarm villains by chucking stilettos at them.  Stilettos are aggressive shoes, predatory shoes, look-at-me-or-else shoes.   The effect of a pair of stilettos cannot be underestimated.

American Maid from The Tick - Weapons: Stiletto heels and tiara

But be warned – these shoes take no prisoners – you have to work them (and walk in them properly). Here’s how:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There’s only two things guaranteed to put this woman in a bigger ‘devil may care’ attitude than normal: great hair and great shoes.

The hair is fairly mandatory, long, short, blonde, brunette and so forth, but with shoes you can portray a different character every day. The ‘you can look, but you can’t touch siren’, the business chic ‘mess with me and I’ll drop kick your butt’, the beach dude, urban warrior, even make up your own character, the possibilities are endless.

But my favourite must be the Stiletto heel, either the shoe, boot or sandal. They make a straight back straighter, a boring woman sexy and short legs enticingly grow longer, to reach the parts most men dream of.

A word of warning though, only wear with confidence, otherwise you’ll look knock-kneed, pidgeon-toed and you’ll be the recipient of knowledgeable smirks from the caring, sharing, unforgiving female community!

Put me in stilettos and HELLO this wench can manipulate, flirt, rule the world and love every moment of it. Stilettos make me look good, I know I have legs ‘to die for’, but stilettos make everyone else aware of that too. They give me a walk that accentuates my body, making it sticking out in all the right places, what more is there to say I LOVE THEM.

But if you can’t walk the walk then you might as well be in gold plated Flip-Flops and slouch you way through life.

So walk with toes pointing slightly outwards, long to medium steps, like a dancer, whether in a hurry or giving a performance, always make yourself worth watching. The secret of the hip movement is as follows, in your head move each hip in a figure eight shape. With each step movement of the leg, thrust the same side hip to the side and push the bottom cheek forward.

This applies whenever you wear stilettos, dressing up or down, they can transform you instantly, they instil ideas in areas of peoples minds long thought dormant.

The danger zone with stilettos is not only the Monty Python walk but the stockings, tights and length of skirt. One false move and the hooker syndrome kicks in.

For instance I have two pairs of black stiletto boots, (leather & suede) masses of buckles, put me in a micro skirt, I’d earn a fortune down the ‘gas works’. But put me in a ‘just above the knee’ black skirt, plain top, long necklace to finish off and I look chic, sleek and ok – I admit it – sexy as well.

Stiletto Heeled Boots x 2

I don’t think it matters if the legwear is lace, fishnet or plain if the clothing is subdued or visa versa. What is important is that the stiletto is used as an asset in the image you have created for yourself that day.

For some unexplainable reason as with all styles of shoes, some stilettos are literally a pain to wear, these I don’t even try to wear, so when did a lip look good, and plasters are such a ‘turn off’. That’s why I never ever buy mail order, when I shop for shoes I have a permanent cheesy grin, that way then assistant takes longer to lose her cool with me, try it!

I’m trying to think if I have a pair I adore the best, I don’t, I adore them all. What I do have is a staple diet of about six stiletto pairs that I can match up with most clothes for most daily situations.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

What I will say is that if you find a pair you love, safe guard them with your life, treat them with respect and they will be your best friend forever (and marry a cobbler) …

Heidi aka @Neverwhereland

Guest Bloke Shoe Blog Post – Doc Martens: For Life. An Early Review.

After much soul searching, I’ve bought a new pair of black shoes. This was a big deal for me, partly because I so badly resent buying work clothes, but also because the last black shoes I bought lasted 6years, so I wanted to get it right.

This is something of a departure from my normal blogging but I  am starting to develop a fetish for these shoes.

Design Brief

I’m an engineer first and a public servant second and I was in the market for work shoes. They pretty much had to be black, because I have to, begrudgingly, wear a suit some times. I also wanted them to last for a long time, mostly because I despise shopping so thoroughly.

Enter Doc Marten’s: For Life

Now this was an idea I could get behind.

Doc’s do a range of ‘For Life’ shoes’ they use a higher quality leather, better, welded construction and (allegedly) better shoe laces. But, beyond all this they guarantee to repair or replace them FOREVER, for the meagre premium of about $50 US.

The range is limited to the ‘School Shoes’ Docs and the classic 8-hole boot, in black and brown.

I, of course, bought the 8-hole boots.

The Author, loitering moodily around the kitchen.

Field Trials

I’ve had these for a few months now, and have worn them literally every day. Straight out of the box the leather is beautiful and supple, quite different to their normal leather which is quite stiff and blister inducing in the early days.

No one is importing them into Australia, and my local shop were too weak to even consider getting a pair in for me. Fine, it was cheaper to buy them from the US and fly them over than buying the regular Docs anyway. This meant a tiny bit of a gamble on the sizing though. I tried on a pair of the normal 8-holes in my local and got the size, then ordered them, figuring they’d be about the same.

Not quite. When ever I’ve bought boots in the past (mostly for hiking) length has been the most important factor, and yes, the length of these is spot on. But, it seems that they are higher over the top of the foot, so the perfect length boot was really sloppy; bit of a problem. I fiddled around with different inner soles and thick socks, which has got the fit right now. Also, previous experience in Canberra suggests that the absurd dry weather shrinks leather boots; my Blundstones have become oddly figure hugging since we arrived here. So I think they’ll get there.

I haven’t had any dramas breaking them in, the soft leather meant no pressure points.

The laces though are terrible. I’ve broken both of the original laces already and the second pair (which came free) is already looking shonky. They’ve used a waxed cotton, which kind of suits the ‘feel‘ of the boots, but it’s a terrible material choice. Boot laces should be nylon. This is not negotiable.

Overall though, I’m really happy with them. People have stopped arguing with me in meetings, scared by my short hair cut and Bovver Boy Boots. This is useful in the APS I tell you. They’re smart enough to wear in the office, cool enough for the pub later and would pair nicely with some leather pants, should the need ever arise.

EB