Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Throw Away Those Boots

Q. Hello Jordan,

I recently purged my closet with my daughter’s help, and discovered these full-leather boots, which have been sitting in my closet for over 15 (!) years.

My daughter said, “Mom, these look like galoshes. Not vintage treasures, just plain old ugly boots. They are worth exactly $0.” So I stuffed them straight into a big black trash bag…but I’m wondering: do you agree with her?

I hope you send me a reply. My daughter and I are waiting impatiently for your answer :).


Victoria D.*

A. Do not throw away those boots! I love those boots. The stovepipe shape is totally ’70s, and totally fashionable right now. Below, some evidence (courtesy of Gucci):

See?! Try them with skinny, tucked-in jeans and a relaxed-fit tee, or with a pencil skirt and blouse. Anything goes; they’re a fantastic wardrobe staple, and easily go from day to night.

Now, granted, the look isn’t for everyone, but even if you don’t find the style flattering on you personally, why not give them a spin on eBay? I once bought a pair of stovepipe riding boots on the site for about sixty bucks, and that was years ago, when the things weren’t even particularly in fashion.

Now, if the boots have been crushed into the back of your closet for over a decade, chances are that they’ve seen better days and could use a little TLC. I swung by my local shoe repair guy, who is both slightly grumpy and extremely good at what he does, and here are a few tips I picked up:

- Clean the boots with leather cleaner or saddle soap to remove dirt and build-up. Pay special attention to any spots where the leather is cracked.

- Using a soft cloth and a circular motion, apply leather conditioner and let it soak in for awhile (you may want to set the boots in a plastic bag in the sun or run a hair dryer over the boots to help the conditioner penetrate better).

- Once dry, apply leather polish (filling in the cracks with extra polish).

- Use a damp rag to apply mink oil; this will make the leather more resistant to cracking in the future.

*Email has been edited.

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