The first time I attended Lucky‘s annual Lucky Shops event, I left my credit card behind and allotted myself $350 spending cash. Although this hard budget helped with a few important things, like saving money for rent and groceries, it filled me with shopping FOMO. Nervous I might blow my whole wad on the wrong thing, I tentatively wandered from vendor to vendor, determined to squeeze the life out of each dollar.
Closing my first lap on the booth-filled venue, I noticed the most of amazing pair of lace-up black booties at the Rachel Comey stand. A little bit grunge, with subtle floral embroidery running up the sides, these shoes reminded me of something that Angela Chase would’ve worn with her plaid flannels and ditsy print dresses. But the style wasn’t a total ’90s throwback, either; the slim laces, delicate hardware and thinner soles made it a sleeker, more modern alternative to chunky Doc Martens. Eagerly counting everything in my closet that would match—summer shifts, skinny jeans, cutoffs—I lifted the pair up and spotted a $325 pricetag. Then I did something incredibly stupid: I set them back down and decided to keep looking.
At the end of the day, I left with several pillows for my couch (later ruined by an unfortunate soy sauce incident), a serving tray (used for tea once, now holds my cat’s dishes), a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans (buried in the "I don’t wear this, but I’m going to hoard it a little longer" drawer) and a shopping mistake that’ll haunt me for the rest of my life. As it turns out, my dream boots weren’t just backstock from past Rachel Comey seasons, but one-off samples that never got produced! For several years now, I’ve been periodically been checking every website and boutique that carries the brand (and Etsy, and eBay) and still haven’t found something that comes close. My only small consolation is that I am not alone in my search for the one that got away; several of my co-workers have passed up the perfect purchase as well. I’ve included some of their best stories in the slideshow above—click through to commiserate! (Except for Kristie on slide four, you lucky dog, you.)