Jeffrey Campbell makes a heck of a shoe. If you’re a woman and don’t know the label, I urge you, get to know the label (and I am no urger). His designs achieve that desirable but almost nonexistent mix of feminine, meets classy, meets tomboy, meets comfortable. It is the shoe you never want to take off your foot that goes with everything you own and looks ever so slightly other. His heel heights are never outrageous either, just enough to give you that boost, physical and emotional, that any beloved shoe provides.
This summer I bought Jeffrey Campbell booties in black–Barstow, they were called–at another standout in the footwear world, Shoe Market, in Williamsburg (know about this place, too, if you don’t). The Barstow looks like a brushed leather cowboy boot cut really low at the ankle with a sturdy two-inch heel. By the time I realized I wore them so often, removing them mostly to sleep, and needed a second pair, I became fairly depressed to learn that Shoe Market had long since sold out of the light-tan version of the same design. Never have I so irrationally and badly needed a pair of light-tan booties; none other could do the same job nor take their place.
I searched online. I wrote to Jeffreycampbell.com. They seemed only to exist at Shoe Market, and now they were gone. The shoe that would solve every wardrobe woe was lost to shoe oblivion.
This story does not have a happy ending, if that’s what you thought was coming, but it does have an enticing post-script. Shoe Market owners Dana Schwister and Erika Vala–who, in 1999, first opened Mini Mini Market inside the oddity that is the mini mall on Bedford Avenue between North Fourth and Fifth–knew Jeffrey Campbell when he first started his label in the early 2000s, before Jeffrey Campbell blew up and got stocked in every department store and boutique you dream of buying shoes in. And, starting way back then, Schwister and Vala struck a deal with Campbell: every season, he’d design and produce a Jeffrey Campbell shoe or two exclusively for their store. The man’s word was good as gold and, to this day, every season, you can find a Jeffrey Campbell design at Shoe Market that does not exist anywhere else on the planet.
And! Today through Monday, Shoe Market is having a buy-one-get-the-second-pair-half-off sale. Go check out the two exclusive Jeffrey Campbell designs in stock now–a patent leather black bootie that will look great dressed up or down, and a brown leather, plus black and white herringbone summer-to-fall crossover-with-a-strap-and-a-heel (which Vala says Campbell will bring back in all-black, exclusively to their store in the spring). Get both at the same time and you’ll save oodles.
It’s supposed to be lovely outside through Monday. You’ll need an attractive shoe that also feels good to walk around in, for one of the last times, before you don’t want to leave your house for many months to do anything but buy toilet paper and beer. I’m not saying your life depends on buying Jeffrey Campbell shoes from Shoe Market this weekend, but I am saying that this is precisely one of those “little things” you hear people mention that will make your life, and the rest of your wardrobe, measurably better.