I was moving along my day when all of a sudden the strap to my everyday handbag broke! What to do with broken leather at a moment’s notice? I pull out my boots for the first wear of the season and notice the heel has worn down. The weather changes – you adjust to a different handbag, the boots come out, the shoes need to be sturdier. This is the time to make sure you have a reliable shoe and leather repair source.
I have been going to Rago Brothers – a family run local cobbler – for their expertise and quality craftsmanship. They were the ones I turned to when that handbag strap broke. They are the ones I visit when the season begins and my boots need attention. When I last interviewed Tom Rago about the importance of maintaining our shoes and boots, he put it this way: “General maintenance is important to keeping shoes looking new. You take your suit to be dry-cleaned every two-three times you wear it; you should do the same with your shoes.”
Find a local resource to help you when you need to repair your well-loved shoes, boots, and bags. They need our attention and this is the season. Your self esteem will get a boost from the care, and you will feel more confident, knowing that you are preserving your things longer and saving yourself from buying new all the time.
Photos taken by my dear friend Patricia Saxton!
Credit: Patricia Saxton
Last Sunday I was at a college tour with my son Cameron and as I looked around at the other parents and their kids – I stopped in my tracks: I saw a really stylish mom wearing a dress with fitted, ankle-length boots to die for! They were black with a kind of mesh material and I was mesmerized. I saw this mother and son pair several times throughout the day and each time I noticed something else about these boots. I smiled to myself, too, because we were in the heart of Manhattan and only in New York would you see a mother dressed this way for a college tour!
Of course, I did pay attention at the tour. I paid attention when we checked in and listened to the student panel; I paid attention when we toured the dorm; I paid attention (especially) during the admission and financial aid discussion; and I paid attention when we walked the streets and talked to the many student tour guides who shared their admiration of the school. But, those boots! They stayed on my mind throughout the day.
I find inspiration in everything around me. I see something in a window, in a magazine, or in this case, in the heart of Washington Square Park, during a college tour. Fashion is more than the clothes. It is about self expression and finding a way to be in the world – to be the me I want to be. Everything spurs my imagination. This is how my mind works!
Credit: Patricia Saxton
I miss you! I have been having some technical issues with my social media settings. I plan to be up and running – and posting – again very soon! Stay tuned … Love, Melissa
Two years ago my friend, the very talented artist, illustrator, writer, and designer Patricia Saxton took these photos of me with my boots. I am happy to report that two years later – thanks to caring for them and protecting them against the elements – the boots are still in good shape; in part because of the Kiwi shoe polish, in part because of shoe repairs at the cobbler. But mostly, because of my Dad. As a kid I would polish my Dad’s shoes. I would line them up with newspaper and spend time in front of the television polishing them to their shiny core. The black shoes, the brown shoes, and the cordovans. It sounds rather like a Charles Dickens tale but I remember it was quite satisfying and something about it must have stuck because now I do it for my own boots. And this is the season. Just as I am tucking my open toe shoes and sandals away for winter hibernation I am also evaluating the state of my boots and shoes and seeing what needs to be prepped for the upcoming weather and months.
This tradition has not only protected my shoes and boots but has also allowed me to hold on to what I own. We all know that shoes and boots can be expensive and few of us have the resources to replace them every year. That’s where polish and care come in; you can preserve what you have and save yourself a lot of money. And unlike other wardrobe items, shoes and boots are classics that rarely go out of style. They are worth the care.
Photos by Patricia Saxton
My mother Claire, and me
This week I was reminded of something my mother taught me: when it comes to clothing, almost good enough is not good enough for you! I had purchased a turtleneck sweater (my favorite piece of clothing!) in a deep, lush eggplant purple. It was part lambswool and the color and feel were divine. But there was one thing wrong – it was a longer, tunic style. I don’t wear tunics. I tried to imagine how I could shorten it, speaking to friends and experts. What it came down to was that it wouldn’t look right after altering it and I would be left with a less-than-perfect sweater. I then tried to see myself in a tunic and style it in various ways. It became clear – I was putting too much thought and effort into this. The thrill was gone. I returned the sweater and exchanged it for a a gray-knit dress that was more ‘me.’
You should love what you own. Truly love it. When you are shopping for something new, make sure it is worthy of you. Make sure that it brings out the best in you. Make sure it is as special as the things you already own (which hopefully are worthy of you, too!). If not and if you don’t love it, then lose it! My mother was right.
Last month, Turning Fashion Inside Out celebrated its 3-year anniversary. To honor the occasion, my dear friend Kylie sat down with me to talk about creating this blog and what it means to me. Watch closely and you will see how Kylie turns the tables on me …
TFIO Logo by Patricia Saxton, Saxton Studio; Interview Photography by Lisa Reznik, Editing by Odeon Films; Filmed on location at Mondo Summit
Photograph: Patricia Saxton Background artwork: Patricia Saxton
Who says fashion can’t be functional? While at my friend Patricia’s house, I found the most adorable tape dispenser hidden inside a stiletto heel.
What do you think?