For a minimal amount of work and a small investment, you can keep your wardrobe looking sharp while significantly increasing its lifespan. We have some easy-to-follow tips that will put you on the right track, unless you wear a lot of satin, in which case you may require a new wardrobe altogether.
Get Your Shine Box
While you don't have to actually buy a shine box, being equipped to shine your leather shoes is a cheap and worthwhile investment. Shining your shoes not only covers up scuff marks and draws out their full color, it provides the leather much needed moisture and prevents it from drying out. Just make sure your polish and shoe colors match, and you’ll be good to go.
Find the Tree of Life
Another key to maintaining leather shoes is using shoe trees. By shoe trees, we don't mean that free standing shoe organizer that you still haven’t put together. A true shoe tree like the one pictured is inserted into each one of your shoes and is made of cedar. Besides maintaining shoes' shape and firmness, shoe trees absorb sweat and odor after a long day at the office or the much more enjoyable night on the town.
Nice shoes aren't cheap, so when you pull the trigger on a new pair, it’s important you give them some protection by applying water repellent. This will seal out any damaging moisture, and it softens the leather, allowing it to form to your foot faster. Just follow the directions on how often you should apply, and your shoes will live long, healthy lives.
Hit Up the Cobbler
While finding a decent blacksmith is a challenge in the modern world, there are still plenty of good cobblers out there. Cobblers have seen it all when it comes to shoe malfunctions, and are always cheaper than buying a new pair. Typically, your soles are one of the first things to go. A good cobbler can replace worn out soles without a problem and have your favorite shoes back in action before you know it.
Don't Brush Off the Brush
Whether you wear a suit every day for work, or just on special occasions, you need a good clothes brush. Brushing your suit after each wearing removes dust, hair, and those crumbs you’re not sure how you got. This will keep your suit looking pristine and reduce those costly trips to the dry cleaner.
Try a Tailor
Tailors aren't just for rich people who buy custom-made suits. They’re for the rest of us too, and they can actually save you money. Whether you have a small tear in one of your pocket seams or your pants are feeling a little tight in the waist, these are easy fixes for a good tailor, and using one will prevent you from having to shell out way more cash down the road.
No Wire Hangers Ever!
Just because your dry cleaner uses wire hangers doesn't mean you should. Wire hangers are great if something falls behind your fridge and you need to fish it out, but they should be avoided for hanging clothes. All they do is produce nasty creases that require more trips to the dry cleaners. Springing for some thicker wood hangers will eliminate the creasing and let your clothes know you're in this together, for the long haul.
Obey the Tag
When it comes to washing your clothes, the tag should have the final say. You may think you know what's best for your garments, but the tag will always have the last laugh if you don't pay heed. Yes, the writing is too small and the grammar is suspect, but following its instructions will help reduce fading, and will keep those clothes from suffering early retirements.
Don't Suffocate Your Clothes
If you're in danger of tearing your rotator cuff or tweaking a hammy every time you pull a hanger out of your closet, then it might be time to free up some space. Having a little breathing room between each garment will reduce the chance of mildew, and will prevent wrinkling. If space is limited, purge those unwanted items like that prom tux you forgot to return.
Next: Real Men Know Laundry
Stalk All Stains
Different stains require different treatments, but one thing that holds true for all of them is that the quicker you respond, the better your chances of removing them. For coffee, wine and juice stains, soak the area with cold water and sprinkle with a little table salt. When you get home, apply some stain remover and follow the washing instructions on the tag. If that doesn’t work, take it to your dry cleaner. They won’t judge you -- at least until after you’ve left the store.