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    Help stocking up on shoe/clothing care/maintenance products

    I've spent perhaps $2k-$3k on clothes/shoes in redoing my wardrobe. Surprisingly, they sent me home with my items without telling me how to care for everything. You wouldn't do that if it was a puppy, would you? Would you? So I need some help.

    Maintenance
    Calf shoes: I need shoe care items for AE calf shoes in black, merlot, bourbon, walnut, brown. Do I need polish, conditioner, creme, all three, or something else? Allen Edmonds brand, or some other? What about 'emergency care' items, like when people say they've scuffed up a shoe? What about edge dressing? I have a few brushes for polishing, but if I wanted new ones, who makes a good budget brush? I'm sure what I have now is cheap and it seems to work great.
    Suede/canvas shoes: I bought Tarrago nano protector for the suede shoes and canvas Sperry's. Will I need to re-apply on an interval? Can the Tarrago nano protector keep white sole edges white on sneakers?

    How do I care for my suits? What items do I need? Dry cleaning is harsh, and ironing is bad. I don't trust myself to press properly. I have a Conair (no, not that one) steamer.

    Storage
    I have several 34S suits where the stock hanger from J Crew extends well into the sleeve. I've heard about the Hanger Project. Do they really have something the right size for 16" shoulders? Is there a cheaper option?

    I have cedar shoe trees for the AE calf shoes. Should I put something in the snuff suede Neumoks too? They're unlined so I tend to think they don't need anything. For calf shoes, do the cedar shoe trees go in as soon as I get home and take them off, or do they go in the next morning after they've aired out? Are the one-piece Jos A Bank shoe trees bad for my shoes?

    What do I do with my Dalton boots, once I get them? Do they need a tree? What goes in them after a wear, if anything?

    Anything else I'm missing for care or storage that you find invaluable? I'm OK on shirt/pant hangers and tie storage.

    #2
    For the calf shoes: I just spent about $100 on Saphir products from Kent Wang's website. Hanger Project has a chart on their site somewhere of which color polishes match which AE finish and great how-to guides for shoe care with all of those products. I would have ordered from Hanger Project themselves, but a lot of the Saphir stuff was backordered. All in all, I got the Renovateur, which acts as a cleaner/conditioner, and then creme and wax polishes for the three colors of AEs I have. I think you can get away without the wax polish if you aren't interested in a mirror-like polish job. All my brushes are Kiwi brand.

    Comment


      #3
      Maybe it's the military-esq training but Kiwi polish has always been my favorite for black shoes parade gloss. I used Kiwi neutral for my brown shoes. I water proof my boots and use mink oil for my Clark's and timberlands. Never really used anything else. Good brushes one black one neutral, few old socks as rags, a good vintage horse hair brush (vintage 50's from a dead family member in my case) and a small brush for brougues.

      Oh and one of the best tips for suits and blazers. Wear them.

      Finding a consignment or vintage clothing shop may be of help. I found a small women's consignment store tha sold me nice jacket hangers for pennies.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by marathon View Post
        I've spent perhaps $2k-$3k on clothes/shoes in redoing my wardrobe. Surprisingly, they sent me home with my items without telling me how to care for everything. You wouldn't do that if it was a puppy, would you? Would you? So I need some help.

        Maintenance
        Calf shoes: I need shoe care items for AE calf shoes in black, merlot, bourbon, walnut, brown. Do I need polish, conditioner, creme, all three, or something else? Allen Edmonds brand, or some other? What about 'emergency care' items, like when people say they've scuffed up a shoe? What about edge dressing? I have a few brushes for polishing, but if I wanted new ones, who makes a good budget brush? I'm sure what I have now is cheap and it seems to work great.
        Suede/canvas shoes: I bought Tarrago nano protector for the suede shoes and canvas Sperry's. Will I need to re-apply on an interval? Can the Tarrago nano protector keep white sole edges white on sneakers?

        How do I care for my suits? What items do I need? Dry cleaning is harsh, and ironing is bad. I don't trust myself to press properly. I have a Conair (no, not that one) steamer.

        Storage
        I have several 34S suits where the stock hanger from J Crew extends well into the sleeve. I've heard about the Hanger Project. Do they really have something the right size for 16" shoulders? Is there a cheaper option?

        I have cedar shoe trees for the AE calf shoes. Should I put something in the snuff suede Neumoks too? They're unlined so I tend to think they don't need anything. For calf shoes, do the cedar shoe trees go in as soon as I get home and take them off, or do they go in the next morning after they've aired out? Are the one-piece Jos A Bank shoe trees bad for my shoes?

        What do I do with my Dalton boots, once I get them? Do they need a tree? What goes in them after a wear, if anything?

        Anything else I'm missing for care or storage that you find invaluable? I'm OK on shirt/pant hangers and tie storage.

        You may be lucky (if you see it that way) because I seem to be just a couple steps ahead of you and just did the research on a number of these items, so I can tell you what I've found and maybe save you some trouble. I can also go further in-depth on a lot of these topics if you need more, but I'm trying to be somewhat succinct.

        Shoe Care:
        This is the most contentious and varied topic of your requests. But I think the video Fred has linked from Leffot is the best: http://vimeo.com/73165825. Through this video, a post on The Shoe Snob, a post from Rider Boot Co. and poring through styleforum, AAAC and others, here's what I've pieced together; these are minimums.
        You need at least one big shoe brush for brushing off the dirt, dust, etc. from the shoe and heels/soles. Some also use this brush for the buffing stages, while others use old shirts or the shine cloths/rags available everywhere. Because some use this brush in buffing etc., some people have separate brushes for their different colored shoes. I don't know that that is necessary based on what I've read. However, you do want your dauber (the smaller) brushes separate for blacks and browns (all variants); again, some have separate brushes for each shade, etc. If I had cordovan, I'd probably have a different brush for that, too, but some just use their brown brush. Edge dressing seems to vary - I got some because that's how I came out on it; some people just use the same shoe polish on the soles and heels and seem fine with it, while others use dye that is available (I think edge dressing is probably just dye or watered-down dye). For edge dressing, you'd need black and brown, and a neutral/natural/clear if you have any soles like that.
        You definitely want polish and conditioner/cleaner, but I don't know that you need all the variants of cremes and polishes, etc.
        Your nice shoes should have trees-put them in when you take the shoes off as the point of the trees is to dry them out since your foot sweats in the shoe (avg about a cup/day). Your Dalton boots should also get trees just like the shoes - the trees with the knobs on top are somewhat specifically made for ease of getting in and out of boots. As I"m sure you've seen, there are tons of tree variations, but I'd suggest you read this which covers all bases: http://www.theshoesnobblog.com/2012/...hoe-trees.html.

        Suit Storage:
        You want to use garment bags for your suits/sportcoats, with breathable being the best. The vinyl ones will keep moths out, keep dust off, etc, but aren't the best since you want the suits to be airing out as well. In that same vein, many seem to say have some cedar in the bags to absorb some smells. I found some gusseted cotton bags with a clear front and cedar inserts on amazon for $9. I can shoot you the link if you want it. It sounds like you know what you need on the hanger front. The price point on those Hanger Project things seems steep to me, so I'm going with what I've got from stores and can find cheaper elsewhere as long as it has that bulbous end for the shoulders.

        Suit Care:
        You need a suit/clothing brush. With this, a steamer or pressing, and hanging them, you shouldn't need to dry clean them except sparingly (maybe once a year, some folks even less than that up to not dry cleaning at all-before dry cleaning, all your grandpa would use was a brush and pressing). You should use the suit brush to brush the suit/sportcoat and pants before and after wearing, but mostly after wearing and before putting back into closet/storage. This can actually be the same kind as your shoe brush, but don't mix them lest you want some shoe polish on your clothes. Kiwi sells a 3 pack on Amazon for about $13. Be careful using your steamer with a fused suit. See http://putthison.com/post/3895929178...r-like-the-one.

        All of this comes from reading A LOT on this subject, and not from first-hand experience, so others may think differently.

        Comment


          #5
          Saphir products hands down, I have Meltonian, Kiwi, Lincoln, Kelly and they just don't seem to be as good.

          Saphir conditioner, rennomat for stripping off wax and the wax+ dye cream. It should last a long time, I believe they use mink oil though so that might not sit right with some people.

          Shoe trees in everything leather

          hangers...Amazon.

          Comment


            #6
            Put the trees in your shoes as soon as you take them off. I am not a shoe care expert or anything but I seem to get by with the following which all came from Amazon for $20 shipped:
            2 of 100% Horsehair Shine Brush (One for black, one for browns)
            1 of Meltonian Shoe Cream Polish Black 002
            1 of Meltonian Shoe Cream Polish Neutral 001 (for use on all brown shoes)
            1 of Meltonian All Purpose Shoe Cleaner & Conditioner (first apply this, let it dry, then apply the cream, buff with the brush)
            All products are applied using scraps cut off from old t-shirts.

            For garment care, Dappered had a short but sweet article on it here.

            Comment


              #7
              I'll share my current setup as I recently stepped up my maintenance game. I was actually planning to do a little write up already, although I don't have all my stuff here yet.

              Shoe Care
              I go Saphir products all the way with their full line up rennovateur, creames, waxes, and suede care. If a shoe is one of my nicer ones I will pick up wax from the manufacturer if I want to maintain their specific color. I buy most of my product from A Fine Pair of Shoes because I think it usually comes out cheaper minus VAT, even with shipping, and I pick stuff up occasionally from The Hanger Project. If you buy from The Hanger Project, you can get free shipping if you buy only shoe care products OR if you are mixing it with a hanger order you can get 10% off if you use the Style Forum coupon code (AskAndy's code is no longer valid)

              Saphir Valet
              To start, I picked up this Saphir valet stocked with brushes and product:

              On sale at No Man Walks Alone for $276.50 http://www.nomanwalksalone.com/index...-products.html
              Or at a A Fine Pair of Shoes for £145.00 (Ex. VAT) http://www.afinepairofshoes.co.uk/co...-petite-modele

              Suede Care
              AFPOS also has a handy Saphir Suede Starter Kit, but you can take a look at the contents and assemble your own:

              £27.50 (Ex.VAT) http://www.afinepairofshoes.co.uk/co...phir-suede-kit

              Hanger Project Horn Backed Suede Brush
              I also recently purchased, what I understand to be the best natural hair suede brush, from Hanger Project. Still hold onto/get a crepe brush though, for nubuck care.
              Horn Backed Suede Brush $35.00 http://www.hangerproject.com/suede-cleaning-brush.html

              With the Saphir valet I knocked out one of the partitions so the front compartment can hold 4 cremes now. I have a second box that I keep all my suede/nubuck products in, as well as my overflow waxes, saddle soap, and surplus of rennovateur.

              Hangers

              Hanger Project - Suit & Jacket Hangers
              I just received an order of hangers from the hanger project and they are absolutely top quality. Are they $25.xx worth? Well that is debatable. But if you're buying $500 suits, it is probably worth it. It just hurts when you haven't been buying these as you build your wardrobe and need to buy a bunch at once. The suit hanger and the sport coat hanger are equal in size and quality and great. I am in a similar boat as you and wear a size 36 most of the time. I find jackets with roughly a 16.5in shoulder width fit me perfect. The Hanger Project's small size hangers measure 15.5 and fit my jackets well. I think if you're talking 34 and your shoulder width sweet spot is around 16" that you'll find they work equally as well for you. The shoulder on these is 2.5in and I have to say, they look sexy as hell hanging in my closet.
              Suit Hanger $24.95 http://www.hangerproject.com/hangers...t-hangers.html
              Jacket Hanger $22.95 http://www.hangerproject.com/hangers...et-hanger.html

              Hanger Project - Travel Hanger
              What I can't recommend, however, are the travel hangers at around $15.xx. I find that they are way too skinny and while they are curved like your shoulder, they offer no where near the support of the large shoulder on the classic models. I bought five or six of these trying to save a buck compared to buying all of the nicer ones and I just don't see a real advantage of these for the price. You won't have the problem of them poking out the arms/shoulder because they are appropriate length, but as it says in the info, they are only 50% thicker than most standard hangers.
              Travel Hanger $15.00 http://www.hangerproject.com/hangers...el-hanger.html

              Only Hangers Petite Sized Deluxe Suit Hanger
              I just ordered from them today because, after hanging my jackets with the Hanger Project stuff, I realized I still need more wide shouldered hangers. Trying to find an alternative, I googled a little harder and found these guys. They are 15" long with a 2" shoulder (VS 15.5" long and a 2.5" shoulder on the standard HP stuff). This may actually work better, at least length wise, for your size. Like I said, I haven't gotten these yet but they're in Florida (as am I) so I'd be happy to report back when I receive them. Price is very reasonable at $6.95 each and shipping for 15 of them only ran me $15.00. You can get 10% off if you use the coupon 'hangersale'
              Walnut & Chrome Petite Deluxe Suit Hanger $6.95 http://www.onlyhangers.com/Prod-31-1...ut--chrome.htm

              Only Hangers Petite Sized Dress / Suit Hanger
              I haven't actually ordered these yet, because I wanted to see the quality of the suit hangers, and it wouldn't save me any shipping combining orders. I would use these for shirts since they do not have wide shoulders but they measure 15.5" long. Keep in mind though, that even Kirby from the Hange Project says it doesn't matter too much if your hangers protrude past your shoulder point on your shirts because shirt fabric is way more forgiving than jackets. These come in bundles, the 'dress' hangers (without bars) run $1.60 - $0.99 each and the 'suit' hangers (with pants bar) $1.68 - $1.04 each. They are sold in bundles of 25, 50, 100 and the price dips the more you buy.
              Walnut & Chrome Dress Hangers $39.95/25, $64.95/50, $98.95/100 http://www.onlyhangers.com/Prod-31-1...ess-hanger.htm
              Walnut & Chrome Suit Hangers w/ Bar $41.95/25, $67.95/50, $103.95/100 http://www.onlyhangers.com/Prod-31-1...anger-wbar.htm

              If you are going to mix and match between the two brands, you might want to get the Hanger Project stuff in Alfred finish since that is their chrome hardware choice. Only Hangers doesn't offer brass hardware. Only Hangers does offer a natural finish, which I didn't link to. I will try to do a comparison of the Only Hangers stuff with the Hanger Project stuff when I have both in hand.

              Shoe Trees
              You're going to find that most shoe trees, especially in America, are just rebranded Woodlore of varying quality. I'll list my three choices of Woodlore products. I don't have any fancy Saphir trees or Lasted trees yet (trees designed specifically in the shape of your shoe's last) so I won't be able to comment if those are worth the money.

              Savingss: Woodlore has BOGO on the standard combination trees right now. HayNeedle pretty much always has a 10-15% off coupon floating around and has free shipping. Amazon currently has a 20% off coupon that works on most Woodlore products.

              Basic Split Toe 'Combination' Tree

              These are the most rebranded shoe tree from Woodlore, as far as I know. I prefer these to the solid, non expanding model that Jos A. Banks retails. My goto source for these is Nordstrom Rack, which retails these for around $10-$12. Some people complain about the quality, but to me they are perfectly acceptable for my casual shoes. Better quality, less knots, and smoother wood can be found by purchasing them from a real Norsdtroms for $20.00. If you buy Woodlore branded ones, they usually retail for around $25.00.
              Nordstrom Rack $10-$12 No Link
              Nordstrom $19.99 http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstro...4-001b2166c62d
              HayNeedle $25.99 http://www.hayneedle.com/product/woo...treesetof2.cfm
              Woodlore $24.95 http://www.woodlore.com/bogo-mens-co...qty-1-2-pairs/
              Amazon $19.95 http://www.amazon.com/Woodlore-Combi...words=woodlore

              Boot Tree
              Pretty self explanatory. Fixed toe but it is larger and fills out the toe and vamp better on boots. I use these in all of my boots (except chukkas). I only know of these branded by Woodlore and Zappos. I occasionally get Zappos branded ones since Zappos is an Amazon company.
              HayNeedle $26.99 http://www.hayneedle.com/product/woo...treesetof2.cfm
              Woodlore $24.95 http://www.woodlore.com/mens-cedar-boot-tree-pair/
              Amazon $25 http://www.amazon.com/Woodlore-Mens-...words=woodlore

              Epic Shoe Tree

              This is what I put in my more expensive dress shoes. Double tube design and the way the toe is cut, as well as more shaped for a left and right foot, these are supposed to be a step above the classic combination. They also fill out the heel much better. Retail price on these is around $30.00
              HayNeedle $26.99 http://www.hayneedle.com/product/woo...treesetof2.cfm
              Woodlore $29.99 http://www.woodlore.com/mens-epic-tw...hoe-tree-pair/
              Amazon $30.00 http://www.amazon.com/Woodlore-Epic-...=woodlore+epic

              Whew, that took me a bit. Hope it helps.
              Last edited by VespaMatt; February 18, 2014, 04:38 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Oh, and I guess I hit a word limit. I think someone else mentioned these but here they are with a link.


                Garment Bags
                I used these garment bags by Dazz, sold on Amazon. Ships Prime. Around $12. I keep all my nicer suits in these. I had a moth problem about a year ago so I am super paranoid. They have a cedar insert but they're not very big. Material and quality is good for the price.
                Dazz Garment Bag $11.99 http://www.amazon.com/DAZZ-Gusseted-...ment+bag+cedar

                Also, your question about when to put shoes trees in: I always understood that you let them air out about 15 minutes before placing them into the shoes.
                Last edited by VespaMatt; February 18, 2014, 04:35 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great post VespaMatt!!!

                  I have a lot of shoe trees, so I'll just add to what he said. Woodlore Epics are my favorite of the Woodlore/AE/JAB trees and they are what I have the most of. I have a couple of the Saphir trees from NMWA. They are very similar to the Epics, but are sized a little better IMO since they are by EU size instead of a more general alphabetic size like Medium. I use C&J trees in all my C&J 348 and 337 last shoes. While they aren't technically "lasted" they are a really good fit for those models. In my other C&Js I use Epics or Saphir. I don't have any of the Alfred Sargent lasted trees so I can't really speak about them. I have two pairs of Vass and both came with lasted trees, one a 43 P2 last, and the other 43.5 U last. True lasted trees are really the optimum way to go IMO, but they are generally not available for most shoes.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Does anyone here keep shoe trees in their unlined suede chukkas? I have two pairs. With both pairs, after the first wearing I inserted shoe trees. It may have been a mental thing, but I swear the next time I put them on, they felt slightly stretched out. Since then, I have been inserting the toe portion of the trees, but have left the heel portion out of the shoe. Curious if others have had a similar experience, or if it's just in my head...

                    BTW, I have a pair of unlined suede balmorals (Neumok), and haven't experienced the stretching. I have kept shoe trees in those since day 1...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by sabrown View Post
                      Does anyone here keep shoe trees in their unlined suede chukkas?
                      I keep trees in everything.

                      PSA - The NMWA sale is ending in a few hours. If anyone wants Saphir trees (out of my size now) or their Saphir shoe care kits, they are still at a really good price. Click on the item to see the sale price: http://www.nomanwalksalone.com/index.../#shopproducts

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I think Fred convinced me to pick up a pair or two of the Saphir shoe trees to try with some of my shoes. I would love lasted trees but unless they are included in the purchase price, they are typically really pricey. I have a couple pairs of Alfred Sargents on the 109 last and to purchase the trees from a Fine Pair of Shoes separately would be approx $130 a piece. I was in the market for the AS Armfield, which AFPOS sells with a free set of 109 lasted trees and it was worth it for me to get those rather than the $50 or so discount I'd get at other sites, but of course when I finally went to order in my size they were sold out.

                        I'll have to look into C&J trees for the couple pairs I have.

                        Originally posted by sabrown View Post
                        ...With both pairs, after the first wearing I inserted shoe trees. It may have been a mental thing, but I swear the next time I put them on, they felt slightly stretched out. Since then, I have been inserting the toe portion of the trees, but have left the heel portion out of the shoe. Curious if others have had a similar experience, or if it's just in my head...
                        If the shoe runs small, a shoe tree can stretch them. I know there are a few members on here that can attest to that. They are spring loaded so if they're put in too small a space, depending on the tree, it will expand some. I can tell you that I personally own quite a few Cole Haan driving mocs (I cannot justify spending more than Cole Haan clearance pricing on a driving moc, when I know even the best have the same little nubs that just wear out) and I always buy a size 9 instead of my usual 9.5. With a 9.5 I had too much heal gap and the sales associate at Cole Haan explained they would stretch. If I wear them straight out of the box I get blisters as they stretch, but if I leave my regular split combination trees in them for a couple weeks, they stretch to the *perfect* size.
                        Last edited by VespaMatt; February 18, 2014, 09:31 PM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Oh, and I ended up contacting Hanger Project after my post. I was probably hard on the travel hangers since they are TRAVEL hangers, but I originally thought their recommendation as good for smaller closets meant they'd work almost as well as the full sized models. I'm going to try to exchange the travel hangers I bought for full sized jacket hangers and pay the difference. A single travel hanger might be good for when you travel, but I really don't recommend it as part of your home closet.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks Matt. I do have to really compact my trees to get them in my shoes. I'll have to pick up a smaller size sometime and see if that takes care of it. At least you helped put my mind at ease for now. Sounds like you have a pretty nice shoe collection too... Maybe you should put up some pic in the "Current State of the Collection" thread!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              shined my black strands for the first time tonight - feel like they turned out pretty well for a first-timer:

                              Comment

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