Whilst the last 18 months have put many constraints on our lives, in the realm of fashion we have seen various different resurgences happen throughout lockdown. One of these resurgences that emerged was that of the ever-luxurious material that is leather.
Now whilst leather never truly dies, it has not seen a comeback like this since the 90’s and early 00’s. Part of the reason for this comeback is the materials ability to go with everything. This has led to leather being on every street corner and in every magazine. Everyone who wants to be on trend dons leather.
Personally we at PurpleTag love leather; It’s stylish, on trend and extremely durable but we also recognise its faults, particularly in the footwear industry.
With the material in question being so popular we saw it fitting to take you through a few of our tips and tricks to help you navigate this trendy fabric; from how to style leather, how to care for leather, and how to restore it; consider us at PurpleTag your official ‘Leather Liaison’. Now I must preface before I go any further that when discussing leather I am referring to leather footwear be it boots, shoes or runners/sneakers and will aim to keep it tied to the current A/W season.
In Magazines: Leather Boots featured in Vogue Magazine last year
On the Street corners: Leather heeled boots featured in the Brown Thomas window display
Almost treated like a ritual, every year when the sun begins to go down earlier and the leaves begin to fall, people tend to immediately swap out their comfy and casual sandals and sneakers for the staple leather boot. Whether it’s knee high or doc style, leather boots are the go to infusion of leather in the A/W season and what makes leather even more enticing is how easy it can be to incorporate into your wardrobe.
The traditional leather boot comes in black and is either a smooth leather or a frayed leather that shows off a slight pattern (see below). Now an important detail to remember when either experimenting with leather or experiencing it for the first time is to try and match your leather boots to any other leather article of clothing you may include in your outfit material wise that is . This only applies if you're going for a more cohesive look but feel free to mess around with texture and possibly create something avant garde. Another great thing about styling leather is its duality in the world of aestheticism. A black leather boot can go from smart casual to edgy party boot as easy as day to night all whilst still allowing you to make a fashion statement in your own way.
Smart casual: Leather Boots styled by Rieker
Edgy party boot: Studded leather boots styled by Zara
As previously mentioned, one of the reasons that leather has become so popular recently is due to the fact that it has become a lot more easily sourced and in expensive with the likes of faux leather. Whilst this may be a horror for fashion conglomerates like L.V.M.H it’s amazing for those of who still want to be ‘en vogue’ and not break the bank. It has also pushed designers to think even further outside the box and attempt to re-invent leather in a new way.
One of the main ways in which this is done is by designers and brands playing around with aspects of leather styling, like colour, texture and even size. Some great examples of this is when brands play with the traditional leather texture and create things such as patent leather which act like traditional leather’s party girl sister. Patent leather adds a new dimension to the leather boot. The reflective material makes it eye-catching and since it's a synthetic based material it makes it a lot easier to throw in a variety of colours creating a leather that leaves behind the monochromatic nature of traditional leather. Now with the vibrancy of patent leather does come a challenge; styling. When styling a patent leather boot, it’s important to keep in mind the level of vibrancy you’re styling with for instance, take this blue patent Doc Marten boot, the bright baby blue is for sure a standout but when making such a bright a statement in order to not overshadow the boots it's best to keep the rest of your outfit slightly muted so that the public can fully appreciate the vibrancy of the boots. If traditional leather boots are too boring, be sure to brighten things up with a funky patent leather boot instead.
Breaking In Leather boots
Whilst leather boots are probably one of the most essential pieces of footwear that you can have in your wardrobe, one of the main deterrents that follows the boot is its infamy for being slightly uncomfortable when being worn over long periods of time.
Well worry no more about blistering feet and lack of circulation as we have a few tips to help you break in your Leather boots. ( These tips do only apply to authentic leather)
One of the most prominent issues when it comes to leather boots, particularly ones that have a circumference around your ankle/heel, is chafing which occurs when the leather boot and skin of your foot cause too much friction. This can lead to some nasty blisters and only seems to disappear once the boots have been broken in. One way and probably the most proficient way to loosen the boots up before they tear up your feet is to take your hairdryer and heat both the shaft and the toe area before you wear the boots as the heat causes the leather to expand and thus loosen up. It also makes the boots that extra bit warm and cozy, which is perfect for the coming months.
Another way in which you make your boots more comfortable is to roughly gauge the width of the boots shaft and take an instrument, be it an empty kitchen roll tube or a can of Pringles and then insert into the boot and leave overnight. This method https://purpletag.ie/collections/womensphysically stretches the fabric without ripping/damaging the boot, but does take more time.
Another, more traditional method is through the use of oil to loosened up the leather. This method is one of the easiest and is also a method of caring for your boots. Whilst mostly risk free be sure that you are only using oils that don't contain any hash chemical as they can sometimes cause decomposition to the leather which then damages the boot over time.
Caring For Your Boots
Now that you can wear your leather boots without any implementation of pain or discomfort you now need to know how to care for your boots. Now whilst many methods can improve the appearance of your boots, if they are in extreme disrepair it’s best that you take them to a cobbler to fully regenerate them.
One of the main issues when it comes to the wear and tear of leather is when the material begins to lose its shape. Now this is a natural progression within any boots lifetime and a way to counteract this is by using a boot tree when not wearing said boots or a more DIY approach is by stuffing the boots with an old newspaper.
Another trick to keep your leather in tip top condition is to keep boots out of direct sunlight when you can as this can dry out the leather which can make it look more weathered. As well using leather oils to moisturise and care for the boots you can also get a spray which is great for when travelling with your boots.
Leather is probably the most commandeering material within fashion. It's strong and durable but also chic and stylish. The beloved fabric will always hold a special place in the consumer's heart and now hopefully with the tips provided you'll be able to get the most out of your leather. If you're feeling stuck for a stunning pair of leather boots be sure to check out the leather and patent collection on PurpleTag.ie where we have some of the most stylish styles for the A/W season.