The sun’s out, it’s the beginning of spring, the stores are all showcasing their light, fluffy summerwear: How hard could it possibly be to find quality mid-priced, high-heeled, white patent-leather sandals?
Turns out every shoe store has its own definition of “high quality” and “affordable.” So after my whole grueling quest, I’ve decided to provide some guidance.
First stop: Marshall’s, Severance Center, Cleveland Heights
This was easy: Though Marshall’s is often a gold mine for quality underpriced shoes, they had NO high-heeled patent-leather white sandals when I went in. Sigh.
Second stop: Macy’s, University Heights
Though department-store prices are normally quite high, Macy’s sales are always stellar -- especially when you augment them with the copious coupons they’re always sending out in the mail. Also, handy tip: If you happen not to be from Ohio and have a driver’s license proving otherwise, go up to the service center and they’ll give you a coupon for 10 percent off.
The selection here were plentiful and chic, including high-heeled, Carlos by Carlos Santana (the singer, it turns out, has excellent taste) closed-toed sandals with intricate side cutouts for $60 -- a bit much, I thought; shiny, round-toed, super-high-heeled sandals by Jessica Simpson (I’m sensing a musician stylist trend here) for $69; and a pair of pointy, skinny-heeled sandals by Rampage for a low, low $30 that had possibilities.
Third stop: Aldo’s, Beachwood Place
The high, platform, stripper-style patent-leather heels here were great sitting shoes -- but walking in them presented problems. Nonetheless, they were super-cute and would definitely photograph well -- if I felt like shelling out $69 a pair. I didn’t.
Fourth stop: TJ Maxx, Woodmere
Though I was mucho impressed by their selection of purses -- $70 for a cute black Doone and Bourke handbag that normally retails for $150 and an awesome red leather clutch that was selling for $10, instead of its normal 30 -- (a perfect bag as long as you don’t mind that you can’t fit anything in it), but their shoe selection left much to be desired. They had a Steve Madden wedge heel with skinny toe straps for $34.99 -- but upon closer look, the straps looked more beigeish than white. They also had white, closed-toed kitten heels by Naturalizer for $30, but the heel wasn’t anywhere close to the skyscraper height I was looking for.
Fifth stop: DSW, Warrensville Heights
Ahh, the wonderland of white heels! There were tons to choose from, including glitzy Wizard of Oz-type heels, perfect for weddings -- but not day-to-day wear (prices: $49-$99). The same Jessica Simpson heels from Macy’s were selling for $60-65 here, and high-heeled, strappy Chinese Laundry heels were going for $50. Then I headed to DSW’s true treasure chest: The clearance rack. There I found a pair of three-inch, skinny-heeled, diagonally strapped white sandals reduced from $70 to $50. Plus, because they were on the sales rack, they were selling for 50 percent off that. Perfect!
But then I saw a pair of ruby-red wedge heels by Rampage, selling for an additional 40 percent off. And well, is it any real surprise that I spent a whopping two hours in the store? -- Rebecca Meiser