In our society it's all too easy to look down at a pair of shoes or a tattered leather handbag and think, "I need a new one." With the fast pace of the fashion world a shoe is often out of style before it's sole is worn thin. With the climbing (and inflated) prices of quality footwear, handbags, and clothing, it's critical to make friends with a talented tailor and a knowledgeable cobbler.
Back in 2009 I bought a pair of patent grey flats from Coach to celebrate my 20th birthday (see them in action here). Little did I know they would become a staple in my wardrobe, and perfect for almost every important function to come. When a little more than a year later they were ready to be retired, my mom suggested I ship them home for her to repair. A little more than a week later my shoes were returned to me with a new breath of life in them. New soles and a new heel were all they needed to get back on the street.
With cooler weather approaching I grabbed those same flats (once again, hanging on for dear life), as well as my Frye wedges, Harley boots, a pair of grey leather boots, and two handbags and headed down to the cobbler. My cobbler, George, works out of his home, which allows him to charge unbelievably low prices compared to cobblers downtown, and is the most charming gentleman. He lead me into his workshop and we got down to business. I pulled each pair from the bag and we launched into discussions about each and what I'd like and what he felt comfortable doing. It's important to build a relationship with them; they should make their knowledge available to you, and you should make your desires known to them. In the end, I returned home with one of my bags, which I elected to contact the manufacturer about at George's suggestion. The total cost for the repair on four pairs of shoes? $45. Good luck finding a new pair of shoes for that price!
The Coach flats I bought were $168 + $15 for the first repair + $12 for the second = $48.75 for each year I've owned the shoe. My Harley boots were $180 + their first repair at $16 = $49 for the four years I've owned them. When faced with the option, buy leather and repair, repair, repair. But don't wait too long to have them repaired, once the rubber part of the heel or sole wears thin, you need to get those babies to a cobbler ASAP or you risk damaging them beyond repair. I hope you take a look at some of those old gems with fresh eyes!