The sun was unseasonably hot, that September day. It sent sparks glinting from my golden shoes as we waited in the park, palms clammy from nerves and excitement.
From downtown Portland, we’d taken an almost-empty bus to Cathedral Park. Early, we perched under the gothic arches of St John’s Bridge as the Saturday traffic rumbled overhead. There was a farmers’ market, just up from the park; people were journeying over the Willamette.
As we waited, I couldn’t stop looking down at my magnificent shoes. How well they set off the gold embroidery of my vintage black dress. And how pretty they looked against the small bouquet of burnt orange, yellow and red that I had been holding tentatively for the past hour.
Looking back, the prospect of finding the perfect pair of shoes for my wedding day had been an exciting one. I really wanted them to be special. Which meant they not only had to be absolutely beautiful and unique; but vegan, well-made, different.
And unlike the dress, which I had a feeling I would only wear once, I wanted to be able to keep on walking in them.
Choosing the dress had been surprisingly easy. I knew I wanted something vintage; something unfussy, but with a story of its own. It came from France - Etsy is wonderful - and was lovingly tailored and made perfect by a studio in Bloomsbury.
But the shoes…
I was beginning to think I was on a hopeless quest when out of nowhere (quite possibly Instagram), a vision of gold and glitter flashed before my eyes. They were magical. Eye-popping magical. They were flat. And handmade by an incredible, female-run, ethical, vegan company. They were Solid Gold Sallys.
Could I have them? Should I spend more on the shoes than the dress? (Yes, of course.) Would they even be ready?
Shooting off a heart-in-hand email to check (plead) that they could be made and sent across the Atlantic in time for me to fly back over the Atlantic with them three months later, I just knew I had to have them.
And I have to tell you, it took all my might not to squeal at the highest pitch when I collected those gold shoes from the customs office one lunchtime. And then again, when I tried them on under my desk for the first time. And when I took them out of the box every time my husband-to-be was out of the house, taking care to pick up any tiny flecks of gold.
One of my favourite memories from our very wonderful, very magical day, was much later in the evening. The dress had made way for a denim skirt and tucked-in Wonder Woman tee, but the tiny floral hair pins and golden shoes? They stayed the distance. Wandering late from a brewery fire pit, I heard whispers behind me. Then louder, “Those shoes! How awesome are those shoes!”
On that day, I think my soul radiated just as much golden light.
So why stop at one pair? When Nicora unveiled their Sinclairs shortly after my Sallys arrived, I knew I had to have those too. Because, you know, honeymoon in New York. I’d need some lovely boots, wouldn’t I?
My Sinclairs took me all over New York. All over. On our first day in town, we walked about 17 miles: Park Slope, Brooklyn Bridge, The Highline, shore-to-shore across Manhattan, East Village, Lower East Side, Chinatown. Those boots really are made for walking.