By now, you guys are probably getting mighty tired of hearing about my magical $8 thrifted Jimmy Choo pumps. Seriously, though, does it get better than Jimmy Choos that are 99% free? The answer, surprisingly, is … yes.
I was back at the scene of my earlier crime, so to speak, a couple of weeks ago. I’d been struck by a sudden desire to read Game of Thrones, and I figured buying a second-hand paperback was the way to go, in case the book proved disappointing. (I should not have feared; even without Kit Harington visuals, GoT is addictively good. The computer is telling me that “addictively” is not a real word, but the computer has never read GoT, so it can just shut it.) After I found the book, I – naturally – had to take a quick look-see at the racks. Lately, Value Village has been disappointing me. I did find a nice Boss silk skirt last month (and another Royal Albert tea cup for my collection), but otherwise nada. And the prices are getting ridiculous. Everything that is remotely decent seems to be at least $15 or more. Pffft!
But then! (dun, dun, dun …)
(Don’t worry, no one is about to randomly get his or her head cut off.)
After my Choo adventure, I always check the shoe section. Always. Yeah, they say lightning never strikes twice, but you never know, right? I was kind of half-assing it (because I haven’t found anything of note in a year and a half now) when I spied a pair of pointy-toed pumps. Pulled them off the shelf. Did a triple take.
I stared at my mom, who stared back placidly. She asked me if I was alright. I told her that I had found one of my shopping holy grails. I think she said something along the lines of “That’s nice, dear” but by then I was furiously Googling on my phone, trying to find out how one can spot fake Manolos.
(Let me pause here for a second. Running into counterfeit designer goods is a pitfall of shopping second-hand. Everything, and I do mean everything, can be and has been faked. Always do your homework, especially if the deal is too good to be true.)
Happily, incredibly, these looked legit. And pretty near pristine, save for a few black scuffs. My mom was skeptical that the scuffs would come out, but I was not deterred. Did I mention that these were white pumps? White patent leather pumps?
I took them home, and got down to business. I tried toothpaste, Windex, rubbing alcohol, and acetone-free nail polish remover. I scrubbed tentatively, then firmly, then even more firmly. The leather, thankfully, was not the worse for wear. The scuffs … they were a little worse for wear. Or, rather, better. Less noticeable, but not entirely gone.
I can live with this. I’m still planning to take them to a cobbler to see if anything else can be done, but I’m not holding my breath. I think they look fine, and the remaining scuffs should be pretty unnoticeable. Unless I shove my foot right under someone’s nose, which … is not happening. I think.
All in all, not bad for a $14 pair of shoes. Yep, fourteen whole dollars.
(A few words on cleaning scuffs. Always test your cleaning solution of choice on a small patch of leather that’s not super noticeable; the back of the shoe, near the heel, is a good bet. If the leather is fine, you can then go to town on the rest of the shoe. Personally, I found the best results happened with the acetone-free polish remover, but people also swear by rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer. Basically, anything with alcohol in it. For sanitizing second-hand leather shoes, here is my routine: pour a bit of Lysol all purpose cleaner on a cotton ball, and wipe the entire inside of the shoe, tip to heel. Do the same on the other shoe, and leave to dry. Repeat. Then do the same with rubbing alcohol, and repeat. In my experience, neither the Lysol nor the alcohol should damage the inside of the shoes if they are leather or even man-made materials. Haven’t tried it on fabric, though, other than labels found on the soles of shoes like the Manolos.).