I SPENT $25 on a leather satchel at a school trash and treasure sale today. I've emptied it out, scrubbed the lining clean with a nail ...

Yellow brogues

I SPENT $25 on a leather satchel at a school trash and treasure sale today. I've emptied it out, scrubbed the lining clean with a nail brush and a little warm wool wash and run the nail brush over the leather exterior. When it's dry, I'll rub a leather dressing over it, stuff it with scrunched up newspaper and put it in the sun so the dressing can soak in and do its work.

A secondhand bag is one thing but I'm often asked whether I wear secondhand shoes. I do. Secondhand shoes are not everyone's cup of tea but I've found great shoes and boots in op shops. If I like the style, and the price, and if the leather and sole still has life in it I'll give the pair a good home. My favourite boots, long retired, and a number of my go-to work shoes are secondhand finds.


My advice is, once you've spied a pair of shoes you like, check the sole of the shoe and the heel. Give everything a good shake, bend the sole and check the upper leather is attached at the heel, toe and along each edge. If you do spot a fault, don't despair, I've had shoes reheeled for significantly less than the cost of a new pair of shoes. A lot of perfectly good, and sometimes top end, shoes end up in op shops because people don't know what to do with them once a heel's broken. You'll be grabbing a bargain.

If the shoe is lacking shape, or like my most recent purchase, has moulded to the distinct shape of another person's foot - bunion included - do as I've done for the bag. With a nail brush, or cloth, use a little warm water and detergent to lightly damp down the exterior leather. Stuff the shoe with newspaper and leave it to dry in a warm spot. The leather will contract in the drying but rub with leather dressing and slip your own foot in it while padding around the house and you'll soon find the leather moulds to your foot - and its podiatry peculiarities.

But don't they smell? Honestly, I can say I've never found a good quality pair of leather shoes, or a bag for that matter, that stinks. Synthetic shoes might but I steer well clear of them - I leave them where I find them.

You Might Also Like


  1. I have no problem with second hand shoes. Though I guess it is a little gross. I should probably dettol the insides...

    I hope we see pictures of the completed bag.

  2. Though it seems impossible to me I bought a vintage balenciaga lariat leather bag three months ago at a yard sale for ten dollars. I've checked the inside and it looks authentic to me with the id number sewn in the inner pocket. Either way it's a beautiful leather bag that has aged beautifully and I wear it nearly every day. All I did was wash it with mild detergent and buff with a leather conditioner.

    I love finding second hand leather accessories because all their worn in parts are proof of their history and are much more interesting to me than something without a past.

    And I completely agree about synthetic shoes, it seems pointless to even go there.

    As always love the blog, x.

  3. just found you, love reading your op shopping wisdom. these tips on ecovering perfectly good leather stuff are awesome- thanks!