By Tracey Lomrantz
Fine leather boots and bags can be a big investment, so proper care is essential to keep them looking their best. Justin Joh, owner of Manhattan's highly reputed Top Service Shoe Repair (which has certainly seen its share of Barker Blacks and Berlutis), says regular treatment is the best way to keep leather goods looking like new. 'Polish your shoes once a week, or at least every other,' he suggests. 'If you pay attention to your leather goods, they will last forever.' A few more tips:
1. Never store leather boots and bags in plastic or other nonbreathable covers'the lack of air will cause the material to dry out and could lead to cracking.
2. For a natural conditioner, use olive oil or the inside of a banana peel. Leather will take easily to these nonchemical emollients.
3. Use black shoe polish for all of your shoes, even those that are brown or oxblood. The black will settle into the leather's natural cracks and crevices and give it a beautifully aged patina.
4. Waterproof and condition leather goods before you even use them for the first time. This way they'll have an effective barrier from environmental offenses right from the start.
5. Keep white, beige, and other light-colored leathers away from denim. The indigo dye is likely to rub off on the leather and can't be removed.