Spring cleaning your clothes: Part 1. Shoes, boots &

April 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

All this talk of another recession – mere months after the last one – has us shaking in our boots.  So its high time we learnt how to make our boots last a lot longer with some tender love & care.  This series of posts will be sourced from various books, websites & Grans (as well as using my own noggin) and neatly compiled into easy to read and hopefully enjoyable posts!  Enjoy Part 1, I’m starting with shoes and working upwards to hats.  Hopefully just in time for the royal wedding, if anyone’s lucky enough to be invited.  Although I’d imagine a new hat would be required for such an occasion.  Nevertheless, on we go.

Your shoes are stacked up high at the bottom of a cupboard, yeah?  Thrown carelessly under the bed?  Uh-huh.  They’ve seen better days, right?   This post is for you.

I have decided to get all my winter boots re-heeled this year, before stowing them away.  It would be a great idea to have your boots fit and ready for next Autumn/Winter as you’re less likely to go straight out and new a new pair when the time comes.  If your boots are losing height or flapping at the soles no DIY job will do, I’ve tried super strength shoe glue but their just ain’t no gripping!  Take them to someone in the know.  Now Timpson’s will do this effortlessly and there’s probably one on every street but try to find a local independent cobbler.   However, if your boots are just looking a wee bit shoddy then a home-job will surpass.  Begin with a good polish.  Look for the correct colour tone and remember, shoe polish IS NOT a cleaning product so make sure your boots are pristine and dry as a bone before continuing!  If you’re low on polish I’ve been told that banana peel can have the same effect.  Also a useful alternative for yellow shoes, no?  Seriously, if you do need yellow, shoe polish is now available in an array of colours.  Once you’ve vigorously rubbed (easy) the polish over your shoes, allow to dry on newsprint then buff with a clean dry cloth.  If your forearms are throbbing, you’ve done a good job.  Stuff your boots with newsprint and store away in shoe boxes.  Follow the same routine with your high heels and don’t leave it too late – the ‘crunch, crunch’ as you walk into a swanky bar is not attractive.  I am guilty of this nonetheless.

Trainers, plimsolls and fabric based shoes are wonderful because you can simply throw them in a pillowcase and into the washing machine at 30 degrees.  Take out the laces first and wash separately otherwise they’ll tangle around the shoes and fray, but if you’ve made this mistake already – tut-tut – not to worry, just pop in a fresh pair of laces for a nice ol’ change or some pretty ribbon.  Burn the ends to stop them fraying, but please be careful!!

Next.  What’s the point in having beautifully shiny shoes if they smell like crap inside… Use some lemon and bicarbonate soda, just kidding, don’t.  Really.  Otherwise your hard work vigorously polishing shoes will result in a foamy, lemony mess headed for the bin.  The real shoe fresher in question has changed my life for the better and can be found here.  I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say all your shoe related bowling alley wishes will come true…

Did I forget anything?  If you have any er, shoe related queries… please don’t hesitate to contact me!


Out with the new(ish), In with the old. A seasonal guide to organising your clothes

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today I decided enough was enough.  I’m through with winter and the hats, gloves, scarves and coats it has entailed.   No longer will we cover our perfectly put together outfits with a big winter coat.  The sun is shining and surely three days of wearing sunglasses in a row is as good an indication as any that Summer is here baby!!  Plus, I saw a bee only yesterday, a sure sign.

Does everyone endure the yearly ritual of ousting winter apparel in favour of floral prints and playsuits, rattan and straw items deemed only suitable for Spring/Summer wearability?!  I certainly do, and it’s jolly well exciting too.  I reminisce over the life and times of each article as it’s placed neatly in drawers or suitably hung on vintage padded hangers.  I feel like I’ve gained an entirely new wardrobe in a number of minutes.  If you don’t partake in this systematic process, it’s time to begin!  Trust me, as you nervously stow away the jumper that is definitely too thick for a warm summers day but might be suitably cosy around a camp fire  – PUT IT AWAY, there are no ifs in this game.  Think about how each piece has brought you joy, and PUT IT AWAY.  You’ll feel better for it, forget about it and next year you’ll fall in love all over again.  For example there’s the FAUX fur coat which I wore to death.  It kept me warm on those cold and dark mornings and on one occasion got mild abuse from a passer-by in the street; “fur kills animals”.  Erm… I think you’ll find firstly, that im not wearing real fur, and secondly that fur does not kill animals.  No idea.  Then there’s the collar, my one true love… I am cautious about stowing away this beauty, but over-worn is an understatement.  There’s no point wasting valuable wardrobe space for items that probably wont be worn until the fist hint of snow, which in all honesty could be next week.  Fingers crossed that isn’t the case.

Storage is key here so you may want to invest in vacuum pack bags or simply utilise an old trunk.  And don’t use black bin liner – they are THE worst idea for both storage and transportation!!  They take up huge amounts of pace and look bloody awful and can be mistaken for rubbish, which is what they’re for.  So don’t use them, and I’ll tell you why…   As I was heading back down to Uni after a Summer at home, I’d left all the bags I wanted to be packed away in the car at the top of the stairs for my Dad to move.  The car was so full I had to leave a number of things behind which was rather annoying!  Anyway, we arrived in Glasgow and began unpacking the car and I spotted a bin liner and a box which I didn’t recognise.  It turned out to be utter rubbish, not belongings that were unessential in my new abode but literally RUBBISH!  We’d driven 400 odd miles with rubbish that had taken up valuable space in the car.  Ridiculous.

So, begin by packing away thick WOOLLEN CLOTHING ie jumpers, polo-necks, winter-knits, cardigans, knitted hotpants?  They were around for a bit, no?  It’s best they’re at the bottom so that the other items squash them flat.  Aha.  Next, pack away any LEATHER CLOTHING which you definitely won’t be wearing at the height of (a very sweaty) Summer!  I have leather trousers, a skirt and shorts which will be sorely missed but i’ll have the pleasure of them next winter.  Keep the leather jacket though!  You may also want to put away any PRINTS such as brocade, tartan or anything that’s more suited to Christmas parties etc…  Lastly pack away accessories such as scarves, winter hats, gloves, ear-warmers, muffs, ski-bands, thick legwarmers/tights.  Obviously if you own any FUR garments, chuck em’ in there too!  I tend to pack away very sparkly accessories too, which are more suited to Christmas time.  Pop a couple of lavender bags in there to keep the moths at bay and you’re all set.

Of course it’s brilliant to have a wardrobe which takes you season through season and from day to night, but I pack away my things mostly for the excitement of opening them up again next year.

Is it too early to fish out my flip-flops?  Yes, yes it is.

Next post:  A guide to looking after your clothes…

New year, new start.

January 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, in my quest to create the perfect wardrobe I have decided to de-clutter my own somewhat… Much like the fine line and tough call between best before and expiry dates, clothes too have a shelf life. When you’ve put it on, thought about wearing but swiftly strewn to the floor on more than one occasion then it’s time to take a trip to your nearest charity shop or sell a much-loved, but entirely wasted wardrobe item. It’s dead stock and it’s taking up vital space. If you cant see the wool for the tweeds…GET SELLING!

Ihave also decided that I will only deserve a new piece of clothing, which will contribute to my 30 piece capsule wardrobe, once I’ve sold another. I may only purchase items that are, pound for pound, the equivalent of what I have accumulated in my eBay-sales generated paypal account – the balance of which currently sits at £124.42. I have had many an eBay related chat lately, mainly because it takes over your life, what with the listing; watching, responding, posting and feedback giving – sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it for the 0.99p profit I generally make on most items.

I am currently caught up in a dispute over ’Grey patent granny chic vintage style Gabor loafers brogues flats’ namely; shoes. I’ll do anything, ANYTHING to avoid bad feedback but I’m losing the will to live. I also had to sit an eBay exam recently for describing a ‘chanel-esque bag’ as exactly that.  Moreover, much like bread, we seem to be suffering from parcel paper shortages so I need to find a solution to that, and soon. I know brown paper was perfect for wrapping Christmas parcels, perhaps with a wee tartan bow, but seriously people – some of us have a business to run and those bubble wrap envelopes just aren’t economical. But we’ll see how the next batch goes…  Anything that doesn’t sell on first attempt will be re-listed but failing a second chance offer will be sent packing off to my charity shop of choice, Shelter, and hopefully into the hands of a new owner who will cherish the item I so wistfully abandoned to the wayside. This way, I feel like I really am recycling my wardrobe.

I’m getting rid of pieces that I know are very cool and would sell very well in a vintage shop but don’t quite qualify as wall-art. And I have held onto items purely for their aesthetical value… on a hanger… on a wall. Weird. Sometimes on a hanger…on a picture. Weirder. My chosen piece is a gorgeous piece by Christopher Kane for Topshop circa 2005 in pastel peach reminiscent of the Edwardian age, with a modernist flash of neon green in the oversized zip. But we all have our own take on art. Funnily enough this dress was bought from eBay in the first place. But it looks great, and can be yet another storage solution to consider if you’re running out of room in the usual places where clothes are stored.  Please remember though the risks associated with placing pretty dresses out in the open, namely those fibre eating bastards we call moths. You can buy mini lavender bags from John Lewis and attach them to the hanger to keep the pests at bay! Happy selling!!

Less is more

November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

For the past month I have been living somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle. Before moving into my beautiful new flat, I spent one month with friends and family alike living out of one trusty suitcase. It was liberating. I have since reclaimed all of my belongings from various locations. As I unpack bag after bag of clothing, and come to terms with all that I have hoarded over the years, I can’t help but feel utter shame. So, in my quest to compile the perfect wardrobe I have decided to de-weed and downsize my own. I have always enjoyed the less daunting prospect of a compact wardrobe that a suitcase provides. Of course, I enjoy the other benefits that usually come with a suitcase; travel, warm weather, new & exciting cultures and delicious treats to tempt the taste-buds! I’m a Taurus, and was recently informed by my colleague that this particular star-sign is motivated only by the senses. In this instance I would have to say I agree! Not only do I love living out of a suitcase, but I also love collecting them. I hope to one day own the complete Louis Vuitton luggage set but until then I’m happy with my vintage finds. Not only do these suitcases make for the perfect travel companion, but I also use them to house belts, clutches, hats and gloves – they are a perfect storage solution and look great piled up at the end of your bed.

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