When we were in Europe, I tried to convince Blair that this was the time to invest in good quality leather at a reasonable price. Everywhere we went through the cobbled lanes of Barcelona, Venice and Athens, there were amazing shoes shops that were not Betts or Zu. They also were not selling horrible plastic shoes for over $100.
I bought a leather jacket in Barcelona. I also bought a leather wallet in Venice. Both of them are beautifully made and the jacket has that leathery squeak that no pleather can replicate. The wallet stinks just like leather should.
I urged Blair to buy himself a pair of buttery soft leather loafers. They were all under EU100. They were all beautiful. Blair complained that they were way too expensive, which made my brain hurt when I tried to explain that these were real leather shoes and they were a BARGAIN.
When we were kids, Mum drummed into us the importance of quality over quantity. Spend a bit more, and get something that is well made and will last forever. I totally agree with her until I walk into Big W and can get five pairs of shoes for less than $50? OKAY!
Anyway, I bought a pair of soft suede boots in Barcelona. They're like slippers that look like stylish winter boots. I clomped those babies all over Spain, Italy and Greece without one blister. They kept my feet warm and dry and when I came home I saw all the stiff ugly boots in the shops that are made out of petroleum products and I felt sad for all the poor sweaty feet in the badly made shoes.
Mum spent some time when she was younger living in England. She had a chest of drawers filled with beautiful fabric that she'd brought back from the UK. In that arrogant way that children have, I used to go through it and take whatever I wanted to make clothes for myself. I never felt the need to, like, ASK. I remember one bolt of really gorgeous soft hounds-tooth fabric that I made into a pair of flared pants. I mean, they were KICK ASS pants and I wore them endlessly, but I doubt that's what Mum had in mind for that amazing fabric that was probably thirty years old by the time I got my crafty mitts on it.
She also had that all-important and closely guarded "mum" possession, the very expensive Good Scissors. We had our own cheap scissors in the playroom but they were blunt and the blades were sticky and covered in dried glue. We would sneak the Good Scissors out of their special plastic holster and use them to cut paper and cardboard, which you were most definitely never supposed to do.
In the end, Blair never did buy a pair of gorgeous European shoes. He did, however, find a wool jacket. It was EU6 and made in China. It's actually a good cut, fully lined and reasonably well made. The label says that it's pure wool. None of the buttons have even fallen off.
Thanks to the freak EU6 jacket that turned out to be excellent, I will never convince him that quality costs more. Which is probably why I keep finding him cutting wire with my good scissors.