“Baby Shoes”… I have no memories of actually wearing them, but my mother has some old black and white photographs that proves I did. I adore those wonderful old photos, the kind with white edges that appear to have been trimmed by a pair of pinking shears. I guess I was about a year old in some of those photos, wearing a pair of white baby shoes, which were quite the norm back then. They were laced and had tiny jingle bells attached to them making a tinkling sound with each tiny baby step. Those sturdy little white shoes were designed specifically for aiding baby in how to walk correctly. Feet straight, ankles supported, little legs and feet working together to create a perfectly postured and graceful gate.
Women have always loved their shoes! When the economy tanked a few years ago and retail was having a tough time fending off the wolves, not only did the shoe market remain stable… it was the only retail segment where demand rose, bringing profits with them! Personally, I have always had an affinity for shoes. When I was on the middle school dance team, I absolutely walked the heels off my saddle oxfords. I loved them so much, I wore them almost daily! I guess I owe it to my mother for always making sure I had nice shoes as a child, though I do recall a few of her choices being more functional than fashionable. Of course, comfort and style are not always synonymous regarding shoes. The most comfortable shoes are not always the most stylish, and rarely are stylish shoes designed with total comfort in mind.
I believe Marilyn Monroe said it best, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Some believe that your shoes are one of the first things people notice about you. Shoes really do speak to people and they can totally change the attitude of every wearer and the look of every outfit. They can make you look fit, trendy, professional, sensible, modest, flashy, bold, sexy or frivolous and can be found in every style, fabric and color imaginable.
It’s so important to give purposeful consideration to your shoe selections. First and foremost, they are an investment and you want to make sure to select shoes you are not only in love with but are willing to maintain. Yep! Shoes need maintenance. Here’s a few tips to help keep your shoes in excellent condition for years of wear.
Add taps and half-soles of rubber to the bottoms, the reinforcements will add many years to the life of your shoes.
Alternate pairs. You want your shoes to have time to breathe between wearing. Also, let shoes dry for several hours before putting them in the dank recesses of your closet.
Clean the insides. This is especially important if odor is a problem. Swab them with alcohol or a drop of tea tree oil, an antifungal agent. Take care not to splash to avoid staining the leather.
Wear hose or sock liners. This protects against perspiration, which erodes insoles.
Use shoe trees. They help retain the shoe’s shape. Use forms made of cedar for the pair worn that day to absorb moisture.
Polish leather. The salt in sweat dries out leather over time; polishing regularly keeps it supple. To prolong the life of leather soles (and assist with water resistance), apply Mink Oil to leather soles once or twice a year.
While fabric shoes are a little more of a challenge to keep clean, there are several things that you can do to keep them looking great for years!
Spray new shoes with a waterproof protector. It will keep the surface from getting marred if they do get wet in the rain.
Lightly brush dirt and debris away using a light-colored horsehair, or soft nylon brush. Gently wipe with a damp, lint-free cloth.
Light dirt spots can be removed using Club Soda, seltzer water, or soda water and a toothbrush. Wipe to remove excess water and air dry. You can avoid water marks by “chasing” wet patches with a damp cloth. Heavier marks and/or stains can be removed using fabric shoe cleaner or Scotchgard fabric cleaner.
Treating with Water & Stain Repellent, or Scotchgard Fabric Protector will help avoid water spots, and reduce dirt pickup and stains.
Designers like Prada and Tory Birch, Ferragamo and Coach, dedicate their talents to creating incredible shoes that are not only well made, but also fashion current, on point and trendy. Some designers create art! Dries van Noten is a perfect example. His designs are award-winning, and he is known as, “one of fashion’s most cerebral designers”. Though his formal training was taken at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he is using his gift as an artist to create wearable art. He quickly became well-known for his timeless and classic styles that never go out of fashion. Many of his styles are modern, updated versions, though some are absolute reproductions of, vintage styles from the 40’s, through the 70’s. The price range for his shoes range between $375.00 to over $1000.00. Just goes to prove that classics never go out of style.
Women and shoes truly have a love affair, like no other! There are no limits to the ever changing, all too abundant offerings, that constantly tempt and taunt us. Irresistibly compelling us to continue to add, to our gorgeous collection of shoes. Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Cinderella’s glass slippers are two perfect examples of how having the right pair of shoes can change your life! So, chase your dreams, but do it in the most beautiful pair of shoes you own!