The peril of saving apparel to wear later

No matter how diligently we exercise and watch our diets, our shapes change as we age. We get shorter and wider as muscle tissue shrinks. Even our feet flatten and widen from wear and tear.

Losing an inch and a half of height bothered me. Needing shoes a half-size larger wasn’t troublesome — except for the never-worn snazzy boots bought when I was still an 8B.

A long time ago, when I worked in Evanston and Lands’ End had an outlet there, I snagged a pair of Blondo black leather boots for $20. Since they retailed for more than $100 and were my size, waterproof, and a nice midcalf length, I couldn’t pass up the deal.

I put them away until the boots I had been wearing wore out. By the time I wanted to wear the new ones, they didn’t fit.

It was hard to shove my feet into the boots. They felt comfortable with only thin socks — not good for keeping feet warm in winter.

I tried a lot of the online advice about stretching leather boots: Freeze water in plastic bags inside the boots. Spray alcohol inside the front of the boots (alcohol is the main ingredient in stretching liquids) and wear them. Put them on and blow the hair dryer on them. Hold them over boiling water for three or four minutes and then put them on with socks; repeat, increasing the thickness of the socks each time.

With heavier socks, my feet still hurt in the boots.

I offered the boots to relatives, but they’re too big for one sister and a niece and too small for the other women in the family.

Not wanting to consign the boots to a thrift shop, I put them away in a box, which I came upon last week while cleaning out a closet. And discovered that the left boot feels okay now with crew socks, and the right boot isn’t bad. Go figure.

I’ll wear the boots around the house for a while and decide whether they’re comfortable enough to walk outside in.

Cowboys, whose boots are legendary, expect new leather boots to be uncomfortable at first and to need breaking in.

“The thing about new boots, as with new jeans, is that they will take some work. . . . [I]t’s really all about getting a tough piece of hide to slowly conform to your feet,” says online retailer Heddels. “A great course of action is to start wearing your boots around the house in small doses. The boots will hurt for a couple of days no matter what, but if you space out that wear time over a longer period and in the comfort of your own home, it won’t be so bad.”

The Heddels website, by the way, advises against the heat and moisture break-in methods because they can damage leather. It also says that if you have to go to “extreme measures” to stretch boots, you’ve bought the wrong size.

Since the boots weren’t the wrong size when I bought them, I’ll forgive myself that. But here’s a lesson to take from this experience: Use a new apparel purchase soon. I know people who buy multiple colors of an item they like. That’s a good idea only if you wear everything immediately. If you save it for later, it might not fit.



I already admired Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar before they dropped out of the Democratic presidential race, and my admiration has increased. I’m glad Tom Steyer, about whom I know too little to have an opinion, dropped out as well.

Their departure lessens the number of candidates vying for the moderate vote on Super Tuesday — a good thing if the goal is to stop democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. It helps the so-called moderates consolidate around one candidate, presumably Joe Biden.

In other words, it looks like these three did the right thing rather than the selfish thing.

“Our goal has always been to help unify America to defeat Donald Trump and win the era for our values,” Buttigieg said when he announced he was quitting the race. “So, we must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our country and party together.”

Now if only Michael Bloomberg would get the message.

I didn’t mention Elizabeth Warren because she isn’t in the moderate lane, but the sooner the Democrats can stop attacking one another and start supporting one candidate, the better.



“[Y]ou could pluck someone off the street at random, and they would be a better president than Donald Trump.”
— Rep. Adam Schiff of California, quoted by Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian

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