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Shoe Fix

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I would love to have Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe wardrobe. Manolo Blahniks that she strutted down Manhattan’s streets, coordinated with outfits from her sprawling designer wardrobe and referred to like old friends (“my Spring ’98 turquoise peep-toes”). Ah, to have such a shoe wonderland in my closet! (Ah, to have such a fantastically socialite lifestyle to go with it!) No, I do not own 200 pairs of colorful stilettos. While I do find occasion to wear high heels (usually to church. I’m serious.) my basic shoes are ballet flats because my everyday uniform is jeans, cami+sweater and ballet flats. So I own a lot of ballet flats. (I guess I could say that I’m the Carrie Bradshaw of ballet flats, if that’s not too sacrilegious.)

A little while back I bought a cute pair of Sketcher-type flats that, I thought, would be good for days when I wander outside to garden or something. And they were cute, but here’s the problem: they were a sickly nude color. Chinese color theory states that “nude” is a sexy-hot color to wear because it implies nakedness (duh). But when you’re pasty-whiter than the nude colored shoes on your feet, “nude” doesn’t look as “sexy” as it does, “go get a spray-tan.”

But this was not the first pair of wrong-color shoes that I’ve bought. No, no, no. So I have a little trick that saves nicely designed shoes from the Goodwill pile: I paint those bad boys. With minimal supplies and a few hours of drying time, this shoe-fix is a great idea to keep in your arsenal of recycle-reuse brilliance.*

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Materials:

acrylic paint (this is the basic 2 oz. bottle of paint from the craft store and there are different brands on the market. It is worth your money to buy the slightly more expensive brands because the cheaper brands simply water down their paint and then you have to paint more coats. No money savings at all.)

shoes (I recommend a canvas, fabric or suede shoe. Different materials will absorb the paint differently, so know that before you dive in.)

Paintbrush

Masking tape

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For this pair of shoes, I chose to paint the fabric portion a dark chocolate-espresso brown and the suede trim black. I first painted the fabric portion brown and let it dry thoroughly. Then: I got to taping. Using masking tape, I taped over any section that I wanted to protect from the black paint that I’d be applying next. Just as when painting a room in your house, taping is a tedious step that saves lots of time and energy later. I was careful to tape the tag, the buckle, the sole, and don’t forget to tape a nice, clean edge on the inside of your shoe. Finally I painted the suede trim with the black paint and let dry thoroughly. Remove tape: wow.

A coat of acrylic paint will obviously change the texture of your shoes. Once done, I wore these around the house for a day to soften them up and break them in again. If you have a pair that you’re not wearing, this easy fix is worth a try. And you can call them by name: your “Winter 2011 rose-pink redux flats.” So very Carrie.

*Now dear reader, please do not paint your $400 Jimmy Choo stilettos and then blame me for the poor result. This shoe fix is a good option for your humbler pair of shoes, like the Keds ballet flats that were once fashion-black and are now winter salt-gray.