I look after my shoes well. They are regularly polished, and are heeled as necessary. Some are years old – and I don’t mean a few years. There are those which date from the last century! The oldest are from the mid-eighties. Most are ballerina style but there are several pairs of heels for ‘occasions’. The majority of ballerina shoes are by Gabor, a brand which is perfect for my feet. They always fit and are very comfortable. I have a particular penchant for coloured leather, and as I wear quite a lot of black and navy, I like the bright pop that they add to an outfit.
I’m happy to dye shoes if I can’t find the colour I want, and have even bought them with the express intention of dyeing them. Unable to find a pair in the shade of green I wanted, I bought a white pair and here’s the result. The lilac ones were once beige.
I’ve been using TRG shoe dye (available from Amazon) for some years and it always produces an excellent result. The great thing about TRG is the ease of application and the huge variety, not just of colours but of shades of colours. They also offer metallic silver, gold and copper. The bottle of dye comes with a sponge – a rough side to gently rub the shoes to remove any wax or polish and three soft sides to apply the dye. I also use cotton wool buds to access the nooks and crannies, and to do the edges. Inevitably a little dye gets onto the edges of the sole and heel but another bud, this time dipped in nail polish remover, does the trick. Any dye that gets on the metal trim can be removed in the same way. My foolproof method for making the colour really fast is to leave the first coat overnight, and then to apply a second coat which I leave for at least 12 hours. After that, a good rub with a clean, dry cloth and a wipe over with a silicone Express Shine sponge (I use these routinely on all my shoes, apart from suede ones, of course) and you’re ready to go.
Pink nubuck shoes are never a good idea in the rain, especially if it’s the sort that is dirty and splashy underfoot. In my defence, such weather hadn’t been predicted. This was late last summer and the shoes, which hadn’t been worn all that often, had remained unworn since, which was just laziness on my part but I finally got around to ordering the dye last week. Something of an improvement, don’t you think?
These black and tan ones were originally white and tan. They proved a bit trickier than most as I wanted to keep the tan trim so that they would go with a black & tan leather handbag.
I’ve dyed boots too. A tan pair had become a bit faded; they are now burgundy. Dyeing is also great for revitalising in the same colour. Dye an already black pair with black dye and they’ll looked like new.
It’s not only shoes that I change the colour of. I’ve been dyeing clothes for years, ever since I searched the shops for a terracotta coloured t-shirt for my daughter, nearly thirty years ago. I thought about the little pots of cold-water dye but the shop assistant recommended Dylon machine dye. Marvellous! It used to involve tipping the dye powder into the machine and adding salt . It could be a little messy but today it’s a simple as opening the box and putting the pot in the machine, and it works a treat. There is no residue and no colour transfer onto a subsequent wash. The colour is fast and doesn’t fade. Ideal for revitalising jeans (especially black ones which are prone to colour loss). The interesting thing is that it doesn’t coat the fabric with a flat colour but retains some of the original patterning – both these items were previously black and white.
Over the years, I’ve dyed tea towels lime green, pillowcases purple, and a white jacket brown. And numerous other things that I can’t remember! And these hand towels (there are bath towels and a bath mat too) were once white but no longer looked as bright as I’d have liked. It’s a strange hobby but very satisfying!