Times are tough but there’s no excuse for looking down in the heels. An unbunched sweater, polished shoes and fresh-pressed blouse are the hallmarks of someone who takes pride in their appearance, and has — if not an extensive wardrobe — a well-kept closet.
• Give your shirts some breathing room already! Cramming items together on a rod will make them super wrinkled and makes it hard to see everything.
• Natural fibres like wool, cotton and linen need to breathe or they break down; so don’t store them in plastic dry cleaning bags.
• Invest in good quality hangers (i.e. padded or wooden) that won’t distort shoulders. As for linen, you can maintain it two ways. If you favour a crisp look, dry cleaning will ensure the construction (linings, shoulder pads) and the finish stays sharp. If you love a more relaxed look and don’t fuss over wrinkles, linen can be cleaned at home and will get softer with every wash.
• Perspiration from shoes can cause leather to dry and crack. Shoes need time to recover so don’t wear the same pair two days in a row. Rotating your favourite pairs will help keep them looking better longer.
• Leather is skin and like ours, it needs moisture. Equestrian stores have a wide selection of leather care products that cost less than what’s available from shoe retailers. Buy a block of old-fashioned glycerin saddle soap but don’t use a lot of water as the “soap” moisturizes and gently cleans.
• Gather leather shoes, boots, bags and belts for regular lashings of saddle soap followed by a leather conditioner and they will look “younger” — think of it as a spa day for leather.
• Invest in shoetrees and shapers for boots to avoid the dreaded floppy-ankle wrinkle.
• Never hang knits to dry as they will lose their shape – make sure you always lay flat.
• To store winter sweaters fold them carefully and then tuck in a layer of acid-free tissue to help maintain shape and deter wrinkling (a trick fancy boutiques use). Bonus: next season it will feel like unwrapping a new purchase.
• If every winter you store your knits unprotected to avoid the cloying smell of mothballs, try a natural deterrent such as blocks of cedar. When the scent starts to fade simply sand them to renew and repel.
• Moths are attracted to body oils so if you really want to avoid a holey mess, be sure to launder clothes before storing them for the season.