I found my Holy Grail item in 2011 while watching Skins, a British drama about teens in Bristol during their sixth form at college. During the second episode, we meet Cassie Ainsworth, an eccentric blonde who reminds me of Luna Lovegood: a bit mad with a whimsical, feminine fashion sense.
In one scene, we watch Cassie dance on a park bench in Bristol, overwhelmed with life and seeking an out. The shot lingers on her gold Mary Jane heels for a while — that is, long enough for 14-year-old-me to fall helplessly in love with them. Sigh.
Over the past five years of searching, I’ve become sure that these aren’t just any gold Mary Janes: the coloring and material aren’t gaudy like the glitter oxfords available every year around the holidays, nor are laces on Mary Janes easy to come by. And trust me, I’ve looked for these shoes everywhere: flea markets, eBay, thrift shops, Etsy, you name it! I’ve even tried making my own — but, for better or worse, Cassie’s shoes are simply too unique to replicate.