A Passion for Patent Leather

Over the past few months, I have found myself a renewed fan of patent leather. Yes, that shiny material best remembered from my private elementary school days, has shown me its mature, sophisticated side and I am completely enamored. Gazing at patent leather shoes in stores or online brings back that child-like attraction to shiny things. I have several pair, and wearing them--even in neutral colors--gives a fun pop of texture to my other pieces and a little bit of personality to my entire look.

The tricky thing that I have found about wearing this material is that it very easily gets nicks and scratches, and shows them--which can take away from the beauty of the shoe. So it was important for me to determine the best way to care for my lovelies and keep them fresh and wearable.

The first step to caring for patent leather is cleaning. Wiping the shoe with a soft cloth and warm water or even a mild soap after wearing will keep dirt, dust, salt, etc. from seeping into the material, and will help to preserve the leather.

Protecting the leather is easy with products made from liquid silicone. They lubricate the leather and aid in prevention of scuff marks and scratches. Some suggest using petroleum jelly for this purpose, but it is more likely that the shine will last only momentarily, then lose its sheen and the leather will end up appearing more dry than before. Linseed or mineral oil are more appropriate substitutes.

Mark Removal
A great trick for ridding patent leather of those nasty scuff marks, is to use a Q-tip or cotton ball with a small amount of acetone nail polish remover to gently buff it out. Wipe off the excess remover with a paper towel. Shoe polish in the same color of the shoe works in covering any unsightly marks that can't be buffed out or removed.

Finally, proper storage is a key in keeping patent leather scratch free. Shoes should not touch each other during storage as this can lead to marks. They should be filled with paper or shoe-fillers in order to maintain the shape and prevent the leather from creasing.

Professional Care
When all else fails, a great shoe-repair shop is your shoes' best friend. There will be access to materials and products that may not be easily attainable or cost effective to purchase. They'll also be able to take care of more serious damage that the average care routine won't cover.

Careful attention to these steps has kept my shoes in good condition and allowed me to fully indulge in my passion for patent leather, including perusing the beautiful collection of patent leather stilettos and pumps at Macy's by designers like Marc Fisher, Jessica Simpson, MIA and GUESS.