To keep your style strong and simple, do these now.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. If I want to change, I will change. I believe in regular maintenance: Every 5 thousand, I change my oil; Every summer I replace the batteries in the smoke detectors, and every January, I refresh my wardrobe to make sure I’m ready for next year. The goal is simple – spend as little money as possible while making sure my dress is clean, fits well, and is ready for the elements.
Here’s what I do. What else should I add to the list?
polish your shoes
I know I say this a lot, but I want to cry for once and buy well made shoes. That being said, anything well made will last if you take care of it. While I do touch up my shoes as needed, I like to do a global polish at least two or three times a year. For me the best time to do this is on a Sunday afternoon. I turn on the fireplace, turn on a Steelers game, and turn off my phone.
Over the past twenty years I’ve amassed my essential shoe-shining kit, but I’m always on the lookout for the one great product I haven’t tried yet. If You’re New to the Shoe-Shining Game, Here’s What to Do need,
Polish daubers. Use them to apply saddle soap and wax polish. They’re cheap, so when they wear out after a few years, replace them.
Horsehair brush. You really only need one of these, but I like to have three: one for black and navy, one for brown and tan, one for burgundy.
Chamois Buffing Cloth. use this cloth after You have used a horsehair brush. It’ll give you cobbler-level shine.
Saddle soap. This is an easy to do product. Use saddle soap on shoes or boots (or saddles) that are particularly dirty or have gone a few seasons without polishing.
Shoe Cream. Apply cream with a microfiber or chamois cloth. A light coat will do to re-moisturize the leather and even out the color. After applying, give it a quick buff with a horsehair brush. Black, brown, tan and burgundy will get you started.
Wax Polish. After the cream, it’s time to apply a layer of wax. As with other products, a little goes a long way. We want complete coverage, but we don’t need heavy saturation. Apply the polish with a dauber, making sure to get into the welt (the space between the body of the shoe and the sole). Horsehair Buff, Chamois Buff. Done.
Get your staple sweaters professionally cleaned
If you’re like me, you have a lot of sweaters, and you actually wear about six of them. Whenever I wear a sweater, I always have at least one layer underneath (often two). So while I don’t worry too much about my sweaters getting ruined, they do get a little dirty during the season. A drop of coffee, a soap stain from vigorous hand washing, it adds up.
Simple solution, bust out a few of those second-string sweaters and wear them for a week while you take your first string to the dry cleaners. Cotton sweaters can be washed, but the lay-flat-and-fluff-it-later approach never gets them quite as soft as I’d like them to be. But the dry cleaner… does that right.
sweep the clothes
Coming into the new year, I like to go through my closet and see what fits, what doesn’t fit, and what needs changing. First I try on all my pants. If they feel too comfortable in the trash or the length is too short to shrink in the dryer, they go into the donation pile.
If my shirts are too tight in the collar, they go in the donate pile. I can tell myself all day long that I’ll probably lose weight, but the truth is, there’s no point in hanging onto clothes that just don’t fit. By the way, I repeat that I only change who I am need to change.
And one more thing… if I haven’t worn it in the last year at all it goes into the donation pile because there’s no point in even keeping the clothes I don’t wear.
Next I do a visual inspection of my socks, underwear and undershirt. If there’s a hole in the sock or the heel is worn thin (as in, I can see my skin through it), they get tossed. If the underwear has holes or is worn too thin, throw it away. Undershirts, we all know how their necks and pits get dirty over time, so you should replace them every year or two.
Take a Barracuta G9 to Spring
Here on the East Coast it’s cold until at least mid-April, and while it’s not cold enough for your down coat, it’s not warm enough to forgo the coat altogether. Your spring secret weapon is the Barracuta G9 Harrington Jacket. The G9 has been made in England since its introduction in 1937, and remains a timeless classic today.
Its regular cut (as opposed to the more slim cut) fits snugly over a sweater or button-up shirt. Elastic cuffs and hem and button-up neck help keep the wind out, while the weather-treated fabric will keep you dry if you get caught in the shower. The only downside to the G9 Harrington is its price, so if you want to save a few bucks, check out this option from Ralph Lauren or Amazon.