What's Old Is New

Live and Let Dye. (Or, Live and Rit Dye?)

With shoes or guys, I’m pretty convinced that there is no such thing as the perfect one. And, it’s fun and sometimes tiresome, to try a bunch on. But when you find one that’s close, you just know it. With shoes, the day that you find them – your entire day is better. You daydream about outfits or events where you will wear them. And, you can even try them on in front of your mirror and twirl and glide. It’s quite romantic, really.  

The benefit of shoes over guys, of course, is that you can have many great ones. And getting rid of them doesn’t require tissues, champagne, boring your friends, re-reading texts, evaluating where things went wrong and coming up with a (very accurate) self-assessment of why you deserve so much better.

On the other hand, what if you didn’t want to throw them away? Sorry, I meant the shoes, the guy is done – we have already mourned. 😉 What if you have a great kind of fixer-upper pair – a pair that once made sense for your style or was for a specific event – but you have no skills or equipment? I recently found myself in this position. 

I had a perfectly functional pair of lavender shoes. And, for some people, they were great. In fact, some people liked them more when they were lavender. But, I am at a point in my life where I want to be really true to who I am, or have become. Bold, loud, fun and unapologetic about it. 

Lavender no longer fits with my wardrobe or style. I really don’t have many light colored clothes and these felt more suited for a prom or wedding. I decided that I would color block them something bright like hot pink and red. I also have no skills, so I went to my local cobbler.    

He has a thick Russian accent and smokes unfiltered cigarettes as he speaks. I have complex feelings about him smoking amidst the chemicals from shoe repair but I am there for a purpose, so I walk in. 

“I would like to dye a pair of my shoes.”

“Okay, I have not dyed for 7 years. People do not dye their shoes anymore.”

(Great. So, now I have an outdated pair of shoes and an outdated remedy.)

I pull them out of my bag. 

He looks me in the face and says, “You are looking for a problem. Nothing wrong with the shoes.”

I want to be clear. When a big guy with a Russian accent is blowing smoke in your face and telling you that you are looking for a problem – the right thing to do is to walk away. Maybe even leave the shoes on the counter, but just walk out. Instead, I really wanted these done so I said, “Oh, come on. Can’t you just try it? If it’s terrible, we can just dye them back black and be done.”

He told me that he would do them for $29. I think because he had not dyed anything for 7 years, maybe he thought that was market? I told him that I would pay him $40. Then I show him my design and how I wanted different colors. He started taping each shoe with the associated dye number. The whole time he is mumbling that he does not know how everything is going to turn out and he can’t guarantee the colors – and then, wham! Clarity. Taping stops. He realizes that $40 is not worth it. That I am not worth it. That my lavender shoes are not worth it. And he tells me that he will mix the dye for me and that I can use the back of his shop, but that he is just not going to do it. And, I knew that he was done. That the only thing that he would be willing to give me was a drag of his cigarette. And so I left.

I walked home thinking, why couldn’t I dye them myself and make them black if I fail? Outside of how I had never dyed anything?

I came home and sat the shoe down next to me on a chair. I then proceeded to stalk Rit Dye like it was dating someone new. I found that there was a way to dye satin shoes without immersing the whole thing in a bath and just using a “brush” method. But, because the shoes were already purple, getting the red and hot pink was going to be really hard, so I might have to settle for wine and dark magenta. Deal.

I bought two colors (Scarlet and Fuschia) and some painters tape. Next step, tape them in the opposite places – damn, color block idea – and brush away. And wait to dry. As it turned out, I didn’t go deep enough with the Fuschia so I had to do it again to get a deeper color. And wait. Dyed the other side Scarlet. And wait. Removed the tape and ended up with these pretty ladies that go with so many more of my things. And they are totally unique and fun.

Maybe, I’ll add a picture to this post after I wear them.

Until then, excuse me, while I twirl and daydream about outfits.