Most men know there are some things in life worthy of a little extra investment – like a watch, a barber or an anniversary dinner restaurant. However, with the availability of fast-fashion chains like Primark and H&M, paired with a constant barrage of ‘new’ trends, it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying cheap clothes and shoes that hit the mark at the time, only to throw them away a few months (or even weeks) later.
This throwaway fashion culture results in what is thought to be an estimated €140m or 350,000 tonnes of used clothing going to landfill in the UK and Ireland every year. With greater emphasis than ever on building a capsule wardrobe comprising timeless and versatile items, there’s no better time to begin investing in quality pieces that are built to last a lifetime. Yet spending more isn't enough – for clothing and footwear to go the distance, they need to be properly cared for and maintained.
Considering one of the best ways to extend the life of your clothes is to wear them on rotation (particularly your suits), garments spend a great deal of time hung up in the wardrobe. This is when clothes are resting and recuperating; you wouldn't actively buy a cheap, unforgiving mattress, so similarly avoid flimsy wire hangers. Thick wooden versions offer greater support, particularly to heavier items such as coats and suits. By not bending as wire does, wooden hangers allow garments to drape correctly, meaning your blazers maintain their tailored lines and knitwear isn't left with unsightly ‘ears’ on the shoulders.
Shoe trees are sadly not something you can plant in your back garden to give you an endless supply of brogues. However, what they can offer is structure and support when shoes are not being worn, helping preserve their original shape while preventing collapsing and premature cracking. Although plastic designs have their merits over crumbled paper or cardboard alternatives, split-toe, adjustable length cedar wood versions are the optimum purchase here. The wood not only gives off a natural forestry smell to keep your shoes fresh, it also absorbs moisture from the soles and leather.
The idea of brushing one’s clothes is still a concept alien to most. Nonetheless, this simple trick removes dust, dirt and stains, restoring pieces to their original glory. If you’re going to do it, research how to do it for each garment beforehand to avoid doing more harm than good. The general guidelines are to sweep, don’t scrub, brush in the same direction (first against and then with the nap) and apply varying pressure based on the material.
If you've recently bought your first pair of ‘investment’ shoes, look for an all-in-one care kit that will ensure you have everything you need to maintain them. This should not only contain the products to cleanse, condition and protect the shoes, but also the right tools to do so.
Wardrobe organising. About as exciting as it sounds. But put in a little effort and you’ll get it all back tenfold. Just as you wouldn't leave your week’s shopping on the kitchen floor next to the fridge, similarly, clothes – whatever their provenance – will last far longer when properly stored.