For those who love the adventure of the hunt or the well-heeled collector that longs for the one-of-a kind piece; vintage shoes hold much appeal. How thrilling is it to know that you are the only woman in the city with that beaded cardigan or that crocodile skin handbag? Consignment shops and vintage boutiques are treasure chests of gems just waiting to be discovered. However, for the true vintage enthusiast, there’s a bit of education and know-how that is needed to spot the diamond in the rough, and rock that pair of heels.
Where to Go
A good way to get a feel for vintage is to take a peak online on vintage shoe websites. See what styles and eras you like and then visit a reputable vintage store. Store employees are full of helpful information and can fit you into a fabulous pair in no time.
Know Your Fabric
The material that stands the test of time tends to be leather, usually from Spain or Italy. However, there are plenty of swede, fabric and embellished pairs in quality condition. Examine the shoe carefully for tears, scuffs and discoloration.
Sure there are plenty of vintage heels for sale in mint condition. But if you budget is a little smaller, a scuff mark or split heel can be the thrifty shopper's new best friend. For that split heel, try a high heel protector which can work wonders for your heel and prolong the already long life of your heel. Scuff marks can be removed with a number of household items from toothpaste to nail polish remover, depending on material. One item to keep in mind: if a material is ripped or cracked the shoe may not be repairable.
Let’s not forget the eau de vintage, or that vintage smell that seems attached to all things second-hand. It can be removed with a baking soda sachet, simply fill an old tight or hose with baking soda, tie with a rubber band and slip inside the shoe when not in use.
Once you’ve procured that dreamy pair of vintage high heels, one of the key factors in the fabulosity of your vintage shoe purchase is storage. The most important aspect of storage is airflow and keeping your shoes as dust-free as possible. There are a number of shoe racks and clothing racks that make this easy. Some prefer to use old shoe boxes, ala Carrie Bradshaw.
While bringing new life to a classic pair of heels is exhilarating, make sure and do your research, especially if you are looking to spend. Simply stick with this guide and you will be sporting a new/old vintage pair in no time!