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Renewing old wardrobe elements expands your options Cure for winter blahs may be sitting in the closet


A quick fix for those winter wardrobe blahs may be as close as your tailor or shoemaker. Begin by investing some time in your closet and run errands from there.

* Look through your shoes. Those outrageously expensive pumps have been worn once, but you pass them by every time. Too tight? Wrong color? A good shoemaker can turn them around.

George Kapoudas of George's Shoe Repair in the Read Street Market says good quality leather shoes can be stretched as much as a quarter inch, depending on construction. Because everybody's feet vary by as much as a size, it may only be one shoe that needs attention. The $2 charge brings new shoes back into circulation.

Dyeing is another option. If you're reminded of those ubiquitous bridesmaid satin pumps, think again. For about $12, the elegant mauve suede heels which no longer work with anything else in your closet can be integrated into your current color mode. The only limitation is the shade. "The dye job has to go to a darker color -- light brown to deep red, beige to dark green," says Mr. Kapoudas. And don't forget the high-fashion boots which are starting to look down at the heel. Chemicals will remove salt and stains and a new color and glaze can buy them another year of life.

* Good handbags can keep their looks for decades. "Women can get very fussy about their Guccis and Fendis and bring them to us for repairs," says Cathy Chase, assistant manager at Century Shoe Repair on Park Avenue. "We can refurbish or replace almost anything, including hardware on structured bags." Good news. Box bags like mother once carried are new again and if you have an old, expensive alligator bag in your closet, you have a winner. (Vintage reptile bags are tolerated by the politically correct crowd.) Young women who never learned to master a hand-held bag gracefully have an option: the Century people can replace a small handle with chunky Chanel-y shoulder chains or add a removable leather shoulder strap which has leash clips. Prices vary withthe size of chain and the hardware, but start at about $18.

Century can also restitch seams and replace zippers, snaps and linings. You'll have to bring in the bag for an estimate.

* Did a moth get to your Anne Klein jacket? If the jacket is a favorite it makes good sense to price the cost of reweaving. It is not an inexpensive process, beginning in the $30 range, although costs can vary greatly depending on the fabric and type of damage. Tailor shops contract the work to specialists so you may have to phone around.

On the trip to the tailor's, bring along a good-but-safe skirt to be shortened another inch. That'll lift your spirits.

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