Let’s be honest: after thrifting a like-new Burberry trench back in May, I knew it would be a hard score to top. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, and all that. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been very lucky in the last six months, and have found some wonderful things … just not new-Burberry-trench level of lucky. Until last month.
Last month, I found these:
Unlike other dedicated thrifters I follow on IG, I’ve never seen *any* Louboutins at the thrift store before … real or otherwise. I was fully prepared to conclude that these were of the knock-off variety — because, really, what are the chances? — but I decided to investigate nonetheless. Only one of the shoes was out on the racks, with a sticker directing me to ask for its mate — which sticker just so happened to cover the embossed logo on the inner sole. I waited to flag down a Value Village sales associate, and got busy with my Google-fu, trying to quickly find tips for identifying authentic CLs. After a few minutes, I was finally successful in my first endeavour, and was told to follow the person to the back of the store. This was the beginning of an amusing episode.
The employee went into a no-entry area. I waited (and Googled). After another couple of minutes, she eventually came out with the second shoe, which she proceeded to hand over with palpable distrust. Under her watchful eye, I tried on the shoes to make sure they fit, then had a close — and very quick — look at the (un-stickered, thankfully) logo on the second shoe, while under the continued eagle-eyed supervision of the VV sales associate. The logo, along with the other signs (like stitching, leather quality, and soles) looked good. The employee asked me if I was going to buy them, and I said yes. She took the shoes from me, and escorted me back to the front of the store to a cash register, holding on to those shoes very tightly. In fact, she only allowed me to touch them again once I actually paid for them. The whole thing was a bigger production than shopping at any luxe boutique I’ve ever visited. It was funny in retrospect, though I was a bit mortified at the time.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t 100% sure of the CLs’ authenticity when I bought them; I hadn’t had enough time to properly research them (and I wasn’t going to get more time if the VV employee had anything to do with it), and although they looked legit, there was a chance that they might have been a very, very good replica. I ended up taking the risk because I felt the odds were in my favour based on my preliminary research, and because I figured I could return them within 7 days for an exchange otherwise. I wouldn’t recommend taking that kind of risk unless you’ve got the benefit of a similar (or better) exchange/return policy, or unless the price is low enough that you wouldn’t feel guilty “throwing away” that amount of money.
These CLs were priced at $90, which is quite high for a thrift store, but very reasonable when considering the original retail price (over $1,000 CDN). They are in great condition except for a couple of minor knicks on the heels, and have the protective red rubber sole (Chic brand) already attached, which saves me an extra $30-40 in cobbler’s costs. I paid $60 after a 30% coupon, which makes them an even better score. My subsequent research confirmed that they are authentic, so I’m a happy camper.
I think it’s fair to say that Louboutins in a classic colour and in my size (40) are a rare find. This particular style would not have been my first choice because of the platform and 5.5 inch heel, but thrifters can’t be choosers. I was briefly tempted by the idea of reselling them for a profit, but I think I’ll be happier holding on to them; they complete my thrifted shoe trifecta — Manolo Blahnik (times two), Jimmy Choo, and Louboutin — and I may occasionally dare to wear them in public and feel like an Amazon. Unless someone is willing to trade me a pair of black Manolo Blahnik Campari pumps (size 39.5), in which case I’m all ears 😉