Today, Jennifer Davis is a vision in pink — pink heels, that is, and hot pink to be exact. Despite arriving to her downtown office on a bicycle, and in unusually cold weather, Davis is smiling, poised, and elegant from the top of her blonde head to the pointy, patent tips of her “Barbie shoes,” as she calls them. “Everybody’s kind of shocked when you’re in heels on a bike, but it’s not that hard,” she says. “It’s a nice way to connect with people or make them laugh. It’s fun.”
Davis, who’s the founder of the luxury real estate agency Domicile, wears heels all the time, whether she’s heading out to dinner or climbing the stairs of a building she’s selling. Nowadays, she works a lot with investment firms and individuals looking for commercial properties on King Street, although she does some residential selling too. One of the things she prides herself on is helping small, local, and regional businesses find spots on King. “I love this street,” she says. “One of my goals, if I can, is to keep sort of ‘Main Street’ stores on the street, from Savannah Bee Company to Alex and Ani … things you don’t find in malls, so that Charleston remains different.”
So as not to hobble herself as she goes about her workday, Davis sticks to a reasonable heel height, usually around two inches, but heels they are — almost always. The only time she’s gone around in flats for more than a workout was this past summer when she tore her meniscus. “The doctor said, ‘The one thing you have to get rid of is those shoes,’ and I said, ‘Tell me anything else.’ But I made some concessions while I was recovering, which took about two or three months,” she says.
Asking her to pick a favorite pair of shoes is almost like asking her to pick a favorite child (of whom she has four — it was to support them that she went into brokerage in the first place). “I’ve had so many favorites,” she says. But one pair does win out: a classy, camouflaged pair of pointy-toed Pancaldi heels with a square, flat bow on the toe. They’re a bit worse for wear, faded in spots and with frayed threads on the toes, but, Davis says, “I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them.” She’s worn them all over the city, up and down ladders, in and out of buildings that are under construction or dilapidated, empty shells.
She remembers wearing them on top of what is now The Gap (which she now owns — the building, not the store) and the boutique hotel Restoration on King, about six or seven years ago. The building was still under construction, and she wanted to go up a ladder to take a look at it. The men she was with told her she couldn’t go, to which she said, “What do you mean?” Then she climbed up the ladder. “I hear it all the time, ‘You can’t go up there.’ And I guess that’s what [those shoes] do — they give me more power to say, ‘Yes I can.'”