In the middle of writing this post about ShoeMint's shoe of the month club and their new handbag line, I called Corynne and asked her if she thought they had secretly sent me a free pair of shoes in the mail as a surprise. You know, like my mom would! (Also, I am of course a cheap disgusting glutton who would firewalk with Tony Robbins for a single pair of free shoes.)
Sadly, the answer was a resounding no. I might be the only fashion blogger/writer on the face of the earth who hasn’t managed to EVER get anything free.
Emily did send me some castoff swag from the xoJane office once. It’s this bizarre contraption called The Facelift Bungee that you clip into your hair to pull your wrinkles up off of your face, which I swear I’m going to wear to my ex-bf’s wedding to his pregnant girlfriend that I’m attending next week. (Also, there will be absolutely ZERO further mentions of this unholy event.)
The wrinkle-lifting device arrived in my mailbox on the same day Emily posted about her undying love for the Lavanila Coconut-Vanilla perfume she had snagged from the office. A Facelift Bungee totally beats Lavanila perfume, don’t you agree? The saddest part is I think the stupid thing may actually work:
Even though ShoeMint doesn't love me enough to give me anything, I was still interested enough in learning about them to give the whole thing a look-see and write it up. ShoeMint is a subscription-based e-store that sells their own limited-run styles of custom designed, real leather/suede shoes and bags. Almost every item they sell is exactly $79.98.
ShoeMint launched a little less than a year ago, but I of course am late to every party. I do actually think it's always smart to wait and see how a new retailer shakes out before doing any write-ups about them. (I realize this all means you may already be a ShoeMint veteran -- if so, bear with me for a minute while I figure it out.)
Here's how ShoeMint's shtick works: You visit the ShoeMint website and answer a quick personal style survey. Then choose a pair of shoes from their recommendations, and they arrive at your house within 5-7 business days. Although you shouldn't limit yourself to perusing only what they recommend for you -- that’s just a starting point for those who are unsure of where to begin.
Shipping is free, and ShoeMint then automatically gives you a $79.98 credit (the price of most of their shoes) at the beginning of each month to use as you please.
ShoeMint debuts an entirely brand new line of shoes at the beginning of every month, (always with personal recommendations!) and if there isn’t anything you want that month, you can skip it for free. You can skip months as much as you like, and cancel whenever if you don’t dig the service.
If you aren't gaga about the shoes you receive, you can ship ‘em back for free too. (There is also no sales tax unless you live in the armpit of tax-crazed California like myself. This state would find a way break in my house and tax my underwear drawer if they could.)
Normally I would laugh my buns off at an ANYTHING-of-the-month club, because it reminds me of the Columbia House Record Club, which fascinated me to no end as a kid. But I actually know of and love the stylist/designer behind the site, Nicole Chavez.
Nicole is the real deal, a celebrity stylist who has crazy good taste and stellar styling skills. (I end up thinking that most celeb stylists are actually over-hyped frauds.) Her "Ask A Stylist” column on Who What Wear is one of the only bits of fashion writing I regularly read. She has really smart, thoughtful insight on styling, clothes and fashion.
ShoeMint also has Rachel Bilson on board as a co-designer, and I hate to admit that I am such a teenybopper but DAMN if I don’t love her. She has impeccable taste. I want to dress like her when I grow up. The shoes themselves are made by Steve Madden, which I like, because I am broke but fancy, and shoes that are cheaply made end up hurting my “Princess and the Pea” feet horrifically.
The "Jamie" in black leather, $79.98.
The "Mia" in citron suede, $79.98.
The "Ariana" in white, $119.97.
I don't consider myself a "joiner" of anything. I'm still trying to figure out why I even have a Twitter account. But ShoeMint seems like a good way to try new stuff without leaving my house, spending a lot of cash, or having to do any research into what the current shoe trends are. (I am always behind the times on shoe trends, so I like the idea of having them lazily spoon-fed to me.) I'm don't go super trendy with my clothes but I love to try all different kinds of shoes.
I regularly wish I had a new pair of shoes to re-work and freshen up some of my outfits, but I'm too lazy to go out and hunt for ones that aren't ridiculously expensive. I honestly wouldn't mind a $79.98 per month expenditure that helped me style my existing clothes in a new way, especially since I wouldn't have to lift a finger to get them. I think I may already be spending $79.98 a month on a bunch of cheap junk anyways.
The "Molly" in red, $79.98.
The "Lucy" in cognac leather, $79.98.
ShoeMint is small and new, so everyone on the street won’t be all, “Oh, I almost got those same shoes at <insert ubiquitous retailer here>!” That drives me nuts for some reason. You guys know I love cheap clothes like crazy -- I get happy when people recognize a dress I got at Target, but I hate being pegged as a cheap shoe wearer.
The "Joni" in black, $79.98.
The "Frankie" in black patent, $79.98.
The "Lorena" in navy suede, $79.98.
I did a lot of research for this post into user reviews of ShoeMint. They got high marks from many bloggers about the quality of their shoes over some other shoe-of-the-month clubs, as well as high marks for their great customer service.
Shoe Mint has also just expanded to carrying handbags as well:
"Scuba" Satchel in blk/green, $79.98.
Peek-a-boo clutch, $79.98.
Studded work tote, $79.98.
"Dive" crossbody bag, $79.98.
I love a good shoe but a great handbag is my jam. The simple styling of ShoeMint's bags is clever, as simplicity is always what makes a bag look more expensive to me.
When some of their styles go on sale, ShoeMint is doubly worth checking out.
The "Patricia" in metallic suede. Sale price, $39.99.
I swore I wasn’t going to buy anything while writing this story but now these stupidly cute boots are en route to my house:
"Nancy" boot in black/white, $79.98.
Here’s how I think I'm going to wear them. (I’ll tell others how to dress properly all day long, but when it comes to myself, I just pile on random stuff that makes me happy.)
(I’m on Twitter: @IveyAlison)
Sponsored by ShoeMint