Easy (and Cheap) Wardrobe-Saving Tips

When you love clothes and shoes and dressing as much as I do, you spend nearly as much time thinking about the preservation and presentation of your pieces as you do actually wearing them. After all, the devil is in the details.

My Christian Louboutin Pigalle 120s

I don’t care if your shoes are from Pucci or Payless…if the heels are worn down and scuffed, it kills the whole look. That  Armani suit? Wrinkles will destroy the facade every time.

For most serious fashion addicts, the kind of sartorial degradation I described above rarely occurs—most of us have an eye for detail that extends to clothing preparation—or at least a good dry cleaner. But sometimes, not everything can be laundered, pressed, and starched to perfection. Or maybe you’ve never thought about what you should do from day one to preserve your most beloved wardrobe staples.

These are my tried-and-true tips for looking after your carefully curated collection—and looking great even when you don’t have an iron.

My Top Wardrobe-Saving Tips

1. Meet your new iron—a refillable spray bottle.
I have spray bottles at home and I always pack an empty one when I travel, because 99% of the time misting your clothing with plain old water is enough to remove wrinkles. Forget hanging outfits in the bathroom and “steaming” the wrinkles out while you shower—you’d have to shower for hours in a sealed room to actually get most wrinkles to fall out.

When traveling, as soon as I’m in my hotel room, I unpack, mist anything that’s wrinkled, and hang it in the closet. By the time I need to wear my clothes, they are wrinkle-free. The only clothing this trick isn’t good for is formal wear and suiting…though I have misted silk dresses without issue.

Weiman leather wipes

Leather wipes—great for shoes and handbags!

2. Your leather shoes have dirt on the heels (and need a serious shine). Enter leather wipes.
Most women never have their boots or shoes shined, and unless they are going to the repair shop each season, honey, they need it. Of course, I can hardly see y’all pulling out the black polish and brush, so instead, go to Target and buy some Weiman Leather Wipes (or any leather wipes). They are fantastic for removing grime while also moisturizing and shining your leather (not suede) shoes. They are also superb for cleaning and conditioning leather handbags.

The other day I pulled a out a pair of five-year-old boots for the first time this season, and—SHOCK!—they had some mud on the heels (where on earth did I wear them last?). Anyway, a quick wipe and they were clean and off to work I went.

Save Your Sole Red Sole Gift Set

Save Your Sole Red Sole Gift Set

3. Enjoy wearing your new designer shoes a couple times. Then have protective soles put on them, immediately.
When my Louboutin Pigalle 120s arrived in the mail, I absolutely could not wait to wear them, so I did. Then I watched as my beautiful red soles began to show bald patches, despite the fact that I literally only wore them twice. So I ordered red Vibram half-soles from Save Your Sole and took them to my trusty shoe repair to have them put on. Turned out that the soles I ordered were a little too thick, but my shoe repair stocks red Vibram soles anyway (natch). Now I wear them with confidence  knowing they’re protected, and that we’ll make a lot entrances and lovely memories together.

Actually, my Loubis aren’t the only kicks in my closet getting that kind of TLC. I have protective soles put on ALL my shoes and boots, and I have the heel tips replaced regularly. As a result, I’ve never parted with any of my higher-end shoes—proof that expensive shoes are usually worth the investment, and taking care of them means you’ll probably have them forever.

Another tip: Take shoes to the repair in the opposite season that you wear them. Boots should go in for heel tips/soles (as needed) in spring or summer; sandals and open toes in fall or winter. That way you’re never without your go-to pairs when you really need them, and they are fresh, clean, and ready to go for next season.

4. Now that the outside of your shoes are covered, protect the inside with crystal foot spray.
Even if you didn’t gift yourself some Choos, that’s no matter. If you bought cheap shoes, it’s even MORE important that you start using Crystal Foot Deodorant Spray, stat.

Crystal Foot Deodorant Spray

Crystal Foot Deodorant Spray

Cheap shoes are usually lined with synthetics (ew), which means your feet sweat and there’s no where for that sweat to go (double ew). If you wear shoes without socks or hosiery, or even with them, eventually they will begin to smell—oh, how to put it delicately—a little less than fresh.

If you’ve invested in an expensive pair of shoes, you can safely use crystal foot deodorant spray—which is 100% natural, colorless, and odorless—every time you wear them. Just spray on the bottoms of your feet and put the shoes on. It’s OK if they’re a little damp; it goes away in a few minutes and you can wear them for 10 hours and you will NOT have stinky shoes or feet!

For years I sprinkled Gold Bond powder in my pumps since I loathe the feeling of sweating in my shoes—but eventually it cakes and really does a number on leather-lined shoes. Crystal foot deodorant spray is like the best invention, ever. Trust, kiddies. You need.

5. Your black trousers are covered in lint—and you don’t have a lint roller. Think: water!
One of the things I love most about upscale restaurants is that they offer black linen napkins to their patrons. Makes sense given most men wear dark trousers, and black pants and skirts are the foundation of nearly every woman’s closet. Whether you’re covered in lint from that pesky white napkin, or you’re traveling and forgot your lint brush, have no fear: you are a human lint brush!  Here’s what you do:

A. Go the closest bathroom.
B. Place your hands under running water, then wipe them over the linty areas.
C. Rinse your hands to remove the lint you picked up, and repeat until you’re in the clear.


What are your wardrobe-saving secrets? Do share!

Comments

  1. says

    This is such a great post. I didn’t take the time to clean my boots last spring and seriously regretted it when I pulled them out last month! I definitely want to try those leather wipes!
    Erin’s latest post: Sunday Catch UpMy Profile

  2. says

    Great post V! I couldn’t agree more about the shoe advice— especially addressing the soles and other repairs in the opposite season!
    As for the lint suggestion— I have never tried this! I am going remember it because I feel like I get the lint surprise more than I like!
    Alexis Grace’s latest post: Belly UpdateMy Profile

  3. says

    Love this post! I shop at thrift stores all the time and the secret is wrinkle free clothes. It will make you look a million bucks. Haha I’ve tried the shower trick more than once :/.
    Great simple tricks to keep you looking chic .
    Heidi
    :)

  4. says

    Read this earlier today at work — Thank you sooooo much for sharing these super valuable tips!! *bookmarked*
    I had some major “Ah-ha!” moments while reading this. Especially when I read about the Crystal Foot Deodorant Spray… since I 99.9% of the time wear flats with no socks (of course!) *runs out the door to go buy*
    Thank you thank you thank you!!!

    • says

      Jacklyn, seriously, the spray is nothing short of a miracle. It has even “revived” older pairs of mine. I buy mine online…just click the link above. But if you find it in a store, please let me know!

  5. says

    Great tips Vahni! I’ve gotten shoes re-heeled, but I haven’t gotten the soles protected yet. Also, I need to get the leather wipes and that Crystal foot spray ASAP. Thanks so much for sharing your tips!

    I don’t really have any tips, except to really do rotation of your shoes & clothes to save wear and tear. At my previous job, my co-workers asked how is it that my shoes seem to always look great. Besides protecting the leather and suede of my shoes, I try to rotate them as much as possible. Then the wear isn’t as great because I’m wearing them fewer times than they need to be.

    xoxo
    Cyrillynn
    Any Second Now’s latest post: Vote 2012My Profile

  6. says

    I’m definitely hunting down some of that Crystal foot spray that will make life so much better. I’m with you on looking after shoes, it makes a huge difference and having found a great shoe guy I can’t move because then I’d have to find another!
    I love how no topic is beyond you, you cover everything and you do it so well.

    P.S.
    I discovered that Goo Be Gone is great for removing those pesky black marks off of patent shoes
    Bri’s latest post: Cable Knit to LeatherMy Profile

  7. says

    Loved reading this and awesome tips. I always protect everything I own, which probably why i’m still able to wear them a decade later. Nearly all my shoes and bags are stuffed after wearing and given a wipe down-esp. if you’ve been doing the wedding thing and got your heels stuck in the grass, my sequin numbers get a plastic cover to prevent damage and also to not get caught on anything else in my closet and I’m just like you with the spray misting!!! It works a treat doesn’t it?
    I do find it disappointing that if you have spent hundreds on designers heels, that you have to re-sole them so soon. A sales assistant at Harvey Nichols suggested re-soling on a new pair of Jimmy Choos asap! That ended up being a non-purchase.

    Good to see you back Vahni, hope you’re well.
    x.o.x.o
    A Brit Greek’s latest post: FIRST LOOK: KARDASHIAN KOLLECTION FOR DOROTHY PERKINSMy Profile

    • says

      I know I’m preaching to the choir where you’re concerned…you’re so on top of these kinds of things!

      As far as the designer heels, I do find that a few aren’t worth the money. But most are, and the need for Vibram soles is usually because the soles are leather and not plastic. I’m OK with that, because in the long run, my quality, all-leather pairs are more comfy and they are the ones I can’t bear to part with. I have gotten rid of every single pair of Aldo shoes I’ve ever bought except for one oddly high-quality OTK boots. All the rest ended up being so uncomfortable, and at $100 a pop, that to me is a major rip-off. Now, I’m all about the cost-per-wear justification!

      Filakia…

  8. says

    Wonderful tips! I’m bookmarking this for future reference as this is something I need to pay more attention to. One thing I will say I’ve noticed about soles of shoes though – in London I tend to change in and out of my heels into flats for walking on the pavements and travelling on the tube (it’s a style choice – kudos to all those ladies who manage London’s pavements and the escalators in the tube without breaking their ankles for the sake of looking sharp in heels) – I’ve found the soles of my heels are remaining pretty pristine as a result!
    Veshoevius’s latest post: La Tormenta – The Tale of A StormMy Profile

  9. says

    Interesting tips! I’m going to have to look for that shoe spray. Mostly I take care of my clothes by washing the ones that can be washed in cold water and letting them air dry. When I’m done wearing something I hang it up, or drape it over the back of a chair. I put shoe horns in my shoes between wears, and have them polished and protected once a year. All my boots have boot forms in them while they’re in the closet. I have good luck with most of my shoes and clothes lasting a long time.
    Heather’s latest post: Updating Red JeansMy Profile

  10. says

    One good thing about having a half sole done is that, especially with Louboutins, they don’t like rain…much.

    Leather soles normally will get wrecked if you get caught up in a heavy shower, but because of the red sole they just get trashed because the sole absorbs the water then makes the paint strip off.

    Putting a protective layer will help against this.
    Arash Mazinani’s latest post: The Art of Facial Hair & MovemberMy Profile

    • says

      You are so right about this. I noticed the very same thing! That’s a bit disappointing, and if the Pigalle 120s weren’t so incredible on IRL, I’d be furious.

  11. Leigh says

    Good tips all around! Actually I have a couple of pairs of shoes I need to put protective soles on STAT! (Luchesse Cowboy Boots). And a new tip for pilled clothes in return! If you need to get rid of pilling on a sweater (guilty as charged) take an old razor (after sanitizing of course) and put a stiff board of some kind inside the sweater. Lay it out on a flat surface (your bed will work fine) and drag the razor over the fabric one are at a time making sure to stretch it slightly as you go over it with the razor (depending on how bad you may have to do it several time per area removing the lint each time). Works like a charm on most of my stuff, just don’t use a brand new razor, one wrong move and you could slice the fabric!

  12. says

    Oh these are amazing tips V!!!!
    I work in corporate retail and that is one of my pet peeves in the office I see DAILY. We are selling fashion to the masses yet there are girls in my office wrinkled like they just rolled out of bed or wearing shoes that look like they have been through both World Wars. However most of my work fashion crushes, much like you, are impeccably styled right down to the smallest details.
    Katy’s latest post: Confessions of a Mommy: Sh*t Boomer SaysMy Profile

    • says

      Aw, thank you! You cracked me up with this: “…shoes that look like they have been through both World Wars.” Um, yeah. If your heels are shredded, it’s time to let them die already!

  13. THE-LOUDMOUTH says

    Saving this post for sure! That foot deodorant spray sounds too good to be true, and I didn’t even know you could get heel tips replaced. In the past I’ve had to fix them ghetto-style with tape. Eek!

    • says

      Really?! You didn’t know about heel tip replacement? Well, that you have learned about made the effort of this post worthwhile! No more ghetto tape heels, girl! Nooooo! ;)

  14. says

    Such great tips – and thanks for chatting about us! There is nothing worse than walking outside in a new pair of heels and watching the sole discolour with every step. I make sure I get all of my shoes resoled now with Vibram before I wear them to make sure they are protected – especially my Louboutins! Thanks again V…

    • says

      Thanks, Amanda! I had to mention Save Your Sole or I never would have known about the red Vibram soles. And the sole paint. I know one day I’m probably going to need it.

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