Friday, April 23, 2010

Black Shoes DON'T Go With Navy. They Just Don't.

Several years ago, a secret underground movement began: a movement to persuade all Americans that it was perfectly fine to wear black shoes with navy clothing. This movement has been so successful, in fact, that if you are under the age of thirty you are probably furrowing your brow right now, wondering why I might think that was not okay.

If you've read my writing blog (or know me in real life), you might think I'm just a bit of a stickler. But the truth is, I'm not a color purist. I'm really not the kind of person who fusses much about appearances, and I haven't an artistic bone in my body. What's more, I LIKE the new acceptability of brown and black together--I love my chocolate-brown suit with a black blouse and black shoes. But certain lines must be drawn, and this one is definite: black shoes do not go with navy clothing.

Perhaps you're thinking that it should be a matter of personal choice. I don't disagree. The problem is that since the Myth that Black Goes with Navy has begun to seep into popular consciousness, it's almost impossible to find a good pair of navy shoes.

Earlier this week, I had occasion to wear a suit. A navy suit. Suits aren't often required in my current profession, so I hadn't worn the suit in a couple of years and it had slipped my mind that I hadn't been able to find any good navy shoes the last time around. Reluctantly, I put on some black shoes and set off for the city, worrying about them every step of the way. But on the train, I had a revelation: I work in the same building as Macy's (formerly the flagship Marshall Field & Co.). I can buy new shoes!

This shouldn't have come as a surprise to me. After all, it's not the first time I've had to go emergency shoe shopping at work. So there I was, all relieved. I could just pop into Macy's and buy a pair of navy pumps!


Obviously, I'd forgotten the Endless But Unsuccessful Quest for Navy Heels I'd undertaken a couple of years earlier.

The first shoe clerk I asked at Macy's told me they didn't really have any navy shoes (more on the whole Macy's experience to come in my next post). The second was able to find me a few options, but said that they really didn't have much navy. "It's odd," she said, "because I get a lot of requests for navy dress shoes."

I laughed and asked her whether those requests mostly came from women my age. The poor girl looked hesitantly at me--she was approximately half my age and probably wasn't sure whether or not "women my age" was an insult. I didn't want to leave her hanging, so I added "We haven't really bought in to that whole 'black shoes go with navy' thing." She smiled and said, "Yeah, that could be it." And then she found me some lovely navy slingback pumps that know...THE SAME COLOR AS MY SUIT.

So what's your take? Do you wear black shoes with navy? Was it a tough adjustment? Or are you too young to know better?


Jen said...

I have never bought into it. Thankfully, my feet are the same size the ever were and I have every pair of shoes I have ever owned (plus living through the wedding years). Thankfully I have a Nordstrom close by because Macy's is not a place to shop anymore. Marshall Fields knew how to help a customer, Macy's does not. The Macy's here is like going to WalMart.

RockStories said...

Jen, I'm so glad that you said that! That's exactly what I was talking about when I said I'd be posting soon about the whole Macy's shopping experience. This was my first visit since the changeover and I was shocked by the decline.

Jen said...

I look forward to reading it. I loved Marshall Fields. They knew how to take care of their customers. I don't know why they couldn't pass that knowledge on to Macy's.

Sheila Sultani said...

When I worked for the Government I had a favorite Navy blue suit, it was almost impossible to find a pair of shoes that matched. I had three different navy blue pumps and they all looked like crap with it - I tried red once but never even considered wearing black. I think it's more of the no matchy matchy outfits than it is anything else.