The Boot Investment

“I like my money right where I can see it—hanging in my closet.” – Carrie Bradshaw

What kind of fashion blog would this be without a Sex and the City quote? We’ve all heard about “investment pieces” and the idea that classics are worth splurging on. My number one investment piece? Boots! This may be because I live in Chicago, where we can’t expose our skin from October to April, but leather boots are one of my most worn, most loved fashion accessories.

The key is to buy well-constructed boots made of good leather that ages well. My boots are now toddler age. I have three-year-old grey and black Fryes and four-year-old brown leather J.Crew boots. They’ve been holding up nicely until just this year, when they started looking rough. Real rough. The heels were totally worn out and the salt stains that used to wipe away easily wouldn’t go away. Since I plan to keep these kids around for many more years, I required some TLC from a man named Gus. I started taking my shoes to Gus New Quality Shoe Repair (click that link for my friend Karen’s review. She’s Yelp elite, you know) in Lincoln Park.

My beloved boots, before:

I clean and weather-proof my boots multiple times throughout the winter, but there is just no getting around the layer of salt that’s spread over the city come January. It absolutely destroys everything it touches.

I’m sorry, boots.


Discoloration removed.

New heels.

Scratches gone.

New soles.

They look practically brand new! Now if that’s not a great ROI, I don’t know what is. I did the calculations and it holds. Gus cleaned these guys up, fixed the discoloration, got the scratches out, weather-proofed them, put new heels on every pair and new soles on the brown and black ones (the grey will need them by next year, I’m sure).

I’m going back to Gus in March (that may be wishful thinking, probably April) to do a thorough cleanup on my boots again so that any trace of salt is removed and they’re ready to go come fall. In the mean time, I’ll religiously clean and water-proof spray them. By the way, saddle soap is cheap and great for cleaning and conditioning leather. You can really see a difference when you use it, plus it reminds me of my horseback riding days.

Ride on!


9 thoughts on “The Boot Investment

    • I use a waterproofing spray, it’s not fancy or anything. I actually couldn’t find the can just now, so I think I have to buy a new one. If I come across a good one I’ll let you know!

  1. I love Fryes!…but not their prices. It’s ok, I still suck it up and pay. 🙂

    How much do you typically spend on a Gus trip on a pair of boots?

    • So, I actually took those boots in a couple months ago (and took pictures like a weirdo). I brought in 3 boots and a purse and I can’t remember what the cost breakdown was, but I think around $30 per boot. And that’s with having soles replaced on two pairs and heels on all three, plus a major clean up. Not bad!

  2. I think it’s great you really put a lot of love into your boots. It’s so much better to invest and really take care of the boots, rather then just toss them because they look dirty and your not sure how to clean them. boots are one of those things that fashion-wise i think can last a really long time if you get the right styles too, so thanks for this info I’ll for sure be making a trip to visit gus when my boots are ready!

    P.S. any ideas for suede? I know I know, you and mom always say not to get suede but wondering what can be done for those… =o)

  3. This is one of those things that I have every intention of doing–I buy the water-proof sprays and everything–and my execution is total failure. I have had an unopened Kenneth Cole waterproof spray from a purse (i think) sitting in my closet for three years now. Whenever I consider spraying it, I worry that I will end up ruining my stuff instead of improving it. I’m surely going to do it wrong. Lynn, you always make everything look so manageable!

    Oh, and way to work in a horseback riding reference. Obvs.

    • I wouldn’t worry about anything being ruined by the spray. It’s easy, but tedious. Especially because you need a well-ventilated area, which doesn’t really exist in the winter. You can always just take them to Gus and he’ll do it for you!

      And that horse reference is just the beginning.

Your Turn. Got a Comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s