How to Care for Suede

As much as I love the look of suede, from someone who comes from a snowy climate, I know just as well as anyone suede boots aren’t the most practical items of a woman’s (or man’s) closet. Over the years, I’ve learned how to best care for suede, and I thought I would share some of that have worked for me in preserving the look and feel of newly purchased suede!

My best tip? Protect and avoid. I just purchased this spray by Scotchguard, and I have to say, that it works pretty well (note, however, that this spray could darken the suede if you are not careful). Although this protectant is to make suede water resistant, I still would not voluntarily submerse my boots in ankle deep slush and water to be on the safe side.

Although difficult when the ground is always wet throughout the winter like it is in Toronto, but I try and avoid wearing suede boots if there is any moisture on the ground or threat of precipitation. And even if there is not any moisture on the ground, if you are a driver, beware! Those car mats are still wet! I learned the hard way with my little suede booties:
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Notice the fading on the heel of my right boot (the “driving foot”). It made me very sad when I discovered the fading, and at first, couldn’t figure out what had happened. On the bright side, I found this powder dye  by Fiebing that works wonderfully to re-dye faded suede. I was surprised that the dye was in fact liquid, but it works without napping the suede. It probably has a lot to do with this cute little wool applicator, or dauber, it comes with:

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To use this, clean the suede to remove dirt and debris. I use a brush similar to this one.  I also have an gum/eraser type (which I cannot find) but it also works fairly well to remove dirt.  Comparing the brush to the gummy, the four-sided brush is more functional as the curved edge can reach into grooves and crevices of footwear that are difficult to reach.

After cleaning the suede, dip the applicator into the dye and remove the excess. I did so by patting it into the paper I used to protect my surface.  I then dabbed the dauber on to the suede. I was somewhat light-handed, but went over the areas again later, where I felt like it could use more color. I let dry for an hour or so and repeated the steps.

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After drying, use the brush to “restore” the nap of the leather. I like to brush in one direction, and made sure not to rub too hard to actually remove the nap.


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Much better! I then spray my boots with Scotchguard to repel moisture and prevent salt stains. Because these boots are black, I sprayed pretty liberally, but still gave it quite a bit of distance between the bottle and the boot as the liquid came out in quite a strong  burst rather than a light mist.

For lighter colors that you don’t want to darken, I would give it a very good distance and spray very lightly, repeating several times, while allowing to dry in between treatments. And when I say distance, I mean like a foot and a half. The suede may darken temporarily, but as long as the suede is just slightly damp, it will likely return to its original color. Clean and protect suede regularly.

And there we go! Your suede is ready to take on the world!

Do you have tips for caring for suede?

Shop the items I used in this post and similar booties:

*This post contains affiliate links.

AFD IDIM Adventures: Red Suede Skirt, post-surgery

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T.Babaton by Aritzia Silk Georgette Bow Blouse / Talula Babaton by Aritizia Blazer / Ann Taylor Factory Signature Pumps / Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Bag /Danier Suede Skirt, thrifted / Le Chateau Ring / Michael Kors Runway Watch (Silver).

Before photo:


I thrifted this tomato red suede skirt last year (Danier needs to bring back their colored suede skirts!). It was actually this skirt and another that pushed me to purchase my own sewing machine. This skirt didn’t fit initially, so I took it to my tailor for some alterations. It needed some slimming and a bit of shortening, nothing too complex. But when I got it back, I was terribly disappointed even after making the seamstress do it again. The cost of alterations wasn’t cheap either. After that frustrating experience, I decided I was going to try and do my alterations myself. The end result after a countless number of tries, is now *almost* perfect. The difficulty in altering the skirt was mostly due to my inexperience in trying to “shape” a skirt around the body, but now that I have a few projects under my belt getting to the end result became much easier. The one imperfection is probably only noticed by me, so I’m going to try and ignore it. You can’t see it, can you? Wait…don’t tell me! Otherwise I’ll forever be trying to re-work this skirt.

Working with suede and leather isn’t easy. They are extremely unforgiving (leather more so than suede) because if you make a mistake, you inevitably have holes punched into the material that will not disappear. If you are going to attempt to work with leather, all you really need is a needle made for leather or suede and some leather glue for the hem and you are good to go. Take your time and remember, you can always make it smaller, but you can’t make it bigger…at least not without leaving a lasting mark on the material.

Despite not having a great place to thrift, leather and suede have been my best finds. I also have an electric blue suede skirt just waiting to be altered. It seems like a bit too much work for me right now, but I’m hoping to make it into a beautiful pencil skirt one of these days.

Jean from Extra Petite altered this great leather thrift find for Elle from FastFoodandFastFashion. It looks amazing!

PFC #19: Trend Benders (and some AFD IDIM Adventures)

I had this post set up for a different day but decided to use it as my Petite Fashion Challenge #19 post instead. It’s a PFC and IDIM Adventure all rolled into one. The Challenge is hosted by Angie from Pandaphilia and here is what she has to say:

Trend Benders. Pick your favorite Summer or Fall 2012 trend and make it work for you, whether it’s going all-out, incorporating it into a professional outfit or using it in moderation. For example – how would you bend this neon brights trend into something in sync with your personal style? Challenge yourself – you might even take something you think would never work on you and get creative! Extra brownie points if you can use your trend in more than one look.

A huge fashion trend going on right now is prints, particularly printed denim. Many women absolutely go crazy for  polka-dots. I don’t mind a little polka-dot here and there but I’m not head over heels for it. My weakness? Stars. I saw these Current/Elliot print skinnies and my eyes almost popped out of my head:

from Net-a-Porter

But $218 for a pair of denim that is only a passing trend? Not likely. So I took it upon myself to do some DIY-ing. I took an old pair of denim (actually they are brand new, but I got them as a gift and have never worn them), a star print stamp that I purchased from eBay for ~$2, and a white ink pad by Versacraft purchased on Amazon:  


Here are the jeans before:




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The process of stamping didn’t take long. Just press the stamp into the ink pad with a good amount of pressure and then press on to the denim with your stamp. Make sure you practice on a scrap of paper to make sure you know how much pressure to apply on both the ink pad and on the item you are stamping. When done, iron over to set the ink. Use any color that you want. Gold would look amazing. I just used white.

At first, I tried to make all the stars perfectly straight and lined up because I’m OCD like that. But after a few stamps, I realized that not only was it easier, but it also looked better if they appeared a bit randomly placed. Of course, do what you like. If you make a mistake such as put two stars too close together, you can simply scrub it away with a cloth and water and a bit of soap BEFORE you set the ink with the iron. So make sure you are happy with everything before you set! Now, if you only want the stamps to be temporary, don’t set with heat at all, and it will all wash away with some water and detergent.

And now for the photos you all came here for (denim had yet to be washed and worn so they were a bit stiff to peg so that it looked effortless):

DSC04739 DSC04725 DSC047161Talula by Aritzia Exeter Blazer (similar) /  Denim by Victoria Beckham (very old) (similar grey pair here) /  Love Quotes Knotted Tassel Scarf / AE Favorite V-neck T (similar version) /  Michael Kors Runway Watch /  Natasha Leather and Stud Bracelet from TJ Maxx, Unknown brand Leather and Chain Bracelet from TJ Maxx (see similar), Silver Bangle (similar here) / Jean-Michel Cazabat Viena Booties / Ring: Le Chateau Ring (similar).

Fun! I actually think I could have made the stars a bit closer together, but otherwise, they turned out pretty well. I don’t usually partake in short-lived trends, but this will definitely help satisfy my obsession with stars for at least as long as the trend lasts.

I proudly showed my finished project to my dad asking, “Aren’t these cool??”

Dad: “Cool. But wouldn’t they be cooler if the stars were maple leaves instead?!”

Me:  =/

Here is another version of star-print denim by AG as inspiration using smaller stars (or if you want to purchase them, they are on sale):

 Check out the other PFC entrants here!
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