I'm going to be honest, I'm pretty damn thrifty when it comes to fashion. Cheap, value-hunting, whatever you want to call it. I've worked with costing, production and pricing long enough to know that I want something that isn't horrifically marked up and is going to last at least as long as I care to wear it. I have trouble justifying the purchase of any item at full-price I can reasonably find at a sample sale or the Barneys Warehouse Sale in a matter of months. I have price thresholds in my head and calculate actual potential usage versus dollars. And unlike some "value" propositions in fashion magazines, I don't consider wearing shoes that are $400 with a cost-per-wear average of $10 to be a smart bargain. I'm talking about $100 shoes for 100 days of use, probably even more. That's why I can wholeheartedly endorse my love for my Clarks desert boots. I bought my first pair three years ago at Nordstrom in Seattle, along with a pair of short black Hunter rain boots. (I know, it's absurd to think that anybody in Seattle would actually buy rain boots. I should've toughed it out in Keens like a real Seattle native...) They were grey and distressed, a hearty, thick suede. They felt like they would last through the winter. At $95, I figured they weren't exorbitant and I could always return them (thank you Nordstrom!). I had had my eye on the J. Crew MacAlister boots for some time, but they were $135 at the time, which I thought was too much.*
A month later, I wore them on a grey, rainy day, splashing in a few puddles on my way to work in the U-District. The crepe sole soaked through with water like a sponge, and my feet were wet for an entire retail shift. After letting them dry out in the mud room, they actually looked better and better as I gave them a beating. Somehow, the soles have lasted for an entire three years so far. With everything from old Trovata shorts to flannel-lined Rogues Gallery jeans, they've made the cut.
Two years ago, I came across another pair on clearance for $45 or so on Nordstrom.com. The sand color seemed awkward at first, too close to off-white, but after a few months mucking around, the color evolved into something far more palatable for winter wear, and I grew to love them. I saw Rebecca Taylor wearing the exact same pair, and I knew I made the right choice. I know it might seem like a trite choice for a classic by now, but I wholeheartedly approve and recommend them. Clarks desert boots, worth every penny.
*On a side note, they're now $148! I remember when A.P.C. New Standard jeans were $140! And right before I went to buy a pair, they hiked the price up to $155. And now they're $175!