in 2011 i went to NYC – it was there that i picked up my first pair (s) of loafers, and this stunning brogue from Ben Sherman that cost me a pinch over 100SGD. that was my most expensive pair of shoes back then, and i remember trying it on, then returning to my airbnb, then going again during Black Friday in the hopes that it would be a SALE ITEM (it wasn’t), retreating, then going one last time and somehow getting the approval of my parents to make this Huge Purchase.
the shoe brings with it a great many memories – wearing it to Night Court for Law Camp and getting told for the first time ever that i was ‘well-dressed’, which came as such a surprise to me that the memory is still firmly etched into my mind, the first time it got wet and blotchy and i was deathly afraid that the shoe had passed on, numerous afternoons spent seated with a brush and a small piece of cloth in hand as i wiped it down then applied a fresh coat of mink oil or polish…
it isn’t supposed to be a good shoe – it is corrected grain leather, and a Ben Sherman ‘fashion’ shoe rather than some Goodyear welted full grain leather Real Shoe, and it showed its age when it flopped open two months back and demanded to be taken to a cobbler.
i got it back last week (all that they could do was to glue it back, because.. it really isn’t a good shoe, which limits what one can do to fix it) and wore it out today, braved the rain, got home, sat in my tiny Goldilocks chair, took out the familiar oil and brush and gave it a nice coat of mink oil with my fingers, pressing and pushing the healing salve into every square inch of (lo-grade) leather, watching it seep in and add new swirls and dashes of dark brown to stray corners of the shoe.
this week has been the first step into working-adult-hood, and many parts of me cringe at the expenditure that awaits (what happens when my shoes go after half a decade of wear, my socks are worn out and birthing fresh holes, i have one pair of work-ready pants and one ((very dark)) navy suit and i need! more! pants! and could use one more shirt, though i will insist on my tiny, unimpressive watches, and a 20$ muji backpack till my boss yells something about having a Presentable Briefcase to house corporate documents)
i do not like replacing lost/dead items of clothing. i do not like spending money on clothing (anymore), and i very much hope that you hang in there for a few more years Ben Sherman. you are very dear to me.