Consignment: Take Care

Writer: Gabrielle Manchester

There is nothing that breaks a consignment shopgirl’s heart more than seeing a beat-up Dior bag or Louboutins with cracked heels and worn-out soles. Sadly, if an item has been well used, it is generally not suitable for consignment and must be discarded or donated. To prevent this otherwise avoidable predicament, I want to share ways to keep your Balenciaga heels—and all the rest—looking their best and in consignment-ready shape.

To get the inside scoop on extending the life of your designer shoes and purses, I spoke with my trusted local repair specialists Mauro and Adrian at Corte Madera Shoe Repair. Finding a repair professional you can count on is the most important first step you can take toward properly caring for your leather goods!

GENERAL LEATHER CARE:
Leather. When storing leather items for one season or longer, it’s especially important that you condition them to prevent cracking and splitting. If you don’t treat leather and keep it hydrated, it will dry out over time and lose its suppleness. To keep your leather products looking their best, try using Lexol Leather Conditioner.
Patent Leather. If you get a spot on your patent bag, try to wipe it off immediately before it sets. You can also rub a little Formula 409® Cleaner on the spot if it’s stubborn. To keep patent leather shiny, clean it with Formula 409 and then buff with a microfiber cloth. For a like-new finish, invest in a Premiere Speed Shine Sponge.
Suede. Before wearing, always treat suede with some type of water repellant to prevent stains from oil, water, grease, or anything similar. If you don’t treat suede, it’s very difficult to repair stains, especially with light colors. Meltonian Water and Stain Protector works well.

SHOES:
Resole with Rubber. While leather soles look chic, in actuality, they do little to protect your shoe investment. Resoling your Choos with rubber will extend their life and enhance their grip. Do it before you wear your shoes to avoid bigger maintenance costs like building up toes and soles, which is necessary if you wear through the leather. Pointy toes can even wear out in one day! Every time you pick up your foot to take a step, your toe hits the ground and drags, causing wear. For around $25 a pair, you can make your soles last 2-3 times longer (depending on how often you wear them) with Topy, a top rubber sole brand.
Keep an Eye on Heels. If you buy shoes at consignment that have been worn a few times, keep an eye on heel wear. Often, heels show wear reflecting the pronation pattern of the original owner. This can throw off your own gait. I recommend redoing the heels if they show any signs of wear. One of the major shoe no-nos for consignment is a nicked or scuffed heel. Protect your high heels with Just for Kiix Heel Protectors ($9.99 for two pairs). These clear adhesive strips create a barrier to reduce daily wear and tear and keep your shoes looking like new!
Cleaning Interiors. When you get gunk inside your shoes, it’s important to both clean and disinfect them with a water-based cleaner such as Formula 409, which removes residue better than alcohol-based products.

BAGS:
Store with Care. When not in use, store purses in their dust bags. This is particularly important if you are storing bags side by side, as it will prevent any contact wear or color transfer. Additionally, avoid sunlight to prevent colors from fading and leather from drying out.
Stay above Ground! Putting your purse on the ground is the quickest way to wear out the bottom. Instead, hang your bag on a purse hook like those made by Luxe Link (www.luxelink.com), which can hold up to 15 lbs. and can be attached to your bag as a charm when not in use. Prices range from $25-80.
Keep It Neat. Store pens, perfumes, and makeup in separate pouches to prevent staining on the interior. Stephanie Johnson (www.stephaniejohnson.com) produces a wide array of fashion-forward styles specially designed to protect your precious Prada bag.

BONUS: What do women overlook the most? Purse handles. When holding your bag, oils from your hands transfer to the handles, wearing them out. Placing your purse on and off your shoulder also wears the straps out over time. What to do? Keep them conditioned. At home, stick to a leather conditioner like Lexol. To renew the color, take your bag to a leather professional to have it properly polished and sealed, which will prevent color transfer as well.