So you’ve just invested in a new wardrobe (presumably inspired by Ape’s priceless sartorial advice). You’ve got the shoes, you’ve got the suit, you’ve got the accessories, and everything in-between. All of it is of the highest possible quality your budget will allow and timeless enough to see you well into the future.
Congratulations are in order, but you’re not done. After all, there’s little point in buying quality garments if you’re not going to look after them. Here’s everything you need to keep your signature pieces in peak condition.
Iron and Ironing Board
Name a more iconic and crucial clothes care duo (we’ll wait). It can’t be stressed enough how important a good iron and ironing board are. Skimp on either at your clothes’ peril. We’ve all been in hotel rooms with skeletal ironing boards, trying to smooth the creases on a work shirt before an important meeting – it’s infuriating. It’s also no coincidence that according to YouGov polls, ironing is Britain’s most hated household chore.
Like your clothes, it pays to invest in quality. You might have been sleeping on the latest iron technology, but we can assure you it has come a long way. Self-cleaning systems and anti-scale plugs help avert burn/dirt mark disasters whilst a host of temperature settings make dealing with different fabrics easier and more effective.
Do yourself a favour and get an electric steamer iron (avoid the ones with tanks), like the Tefal Ultimate or Philips Azur. On the ironing board front, prioritise heavy-set, substantial board padding and a sturdy frame. If you’ve ever wondered what the Porsche of the ironing board world is – it’s a Brabantia.
Not as crucial as the previous duo, but if you’re serious about looking slick and you’ve got the budget, it’s worth buying a garment steamer. Not only will it freshen your clothes in an instant – working wonders on items that have been in storage for a while – but it can also reach wrinkles in hard-to-iron areas and is quicker than getting the ironing board set up if you’re in a hurry. Again, Philips and Tefal make solid options.
“What about a lint roller?” We hear you cry. Well, in a needlessly disposable age, the last thing the world needs is rolls of spent, slightly furry plastic-coated paper destined for landfill or the sea. Not only that, the rolling of adhesive is plain unsettling, pulling at the sensitive fibres of that lovely cashmere jumper you’ve just bought.
Get yourself a clothes brush or two (soft and hard depending on what you’re brushing) and massage the lint away without disrupting the fibres. The brushes will last longer, you won’t be caught short with an empty roll and they will help extend the lifespan of your garments in the process.
Shoe Care Kit
You need one of these and it needs to be fully-stocked. You can pick up fantastic little sets in charming wooden boxes at most traditional shoe shops, but if not just arrange everything in a sturdy box. You’ll need various shades of polish, a selection of brushes (applicator, general brush for dust, suede brush, small detail brush) and some rags or a cloth for shining. We’d also recommend all-weather sprays and protectors for delicate fabrics like suede and nubuck.
Thin, stringy metal shapes posing as clothes hangers should make your skin crawl. Even plastic is not good enough these days. Instead, opt for smooth, sturdy wooden hangers with a cloth bar across the bottom for hanging trousers.
Not just for your prized Goodyear-welted footwear but your luxe white sneakers too. Shoe trees stretch a shoe, helping to retain its shape and prevent creases in the upper, but also absorb moisture and control odours. Opt for cedar wood versions that are adjustable so you always achieve the perfect fit.
You can go the extra mile by storing footwear in shoe bags and their original boxes to stop them from collecting dust and dirt when not in use.
Save your back and the backs of your shoes, thereby increasing their longevity, by using a shoe horn. In the long run it’ll help preserve the shape of your footwear and reduce scuff marks.
Clothes Horse / Dryer
Something else you shouldn’t skimp on. A sturdy, fold-out clothes dryer is a device that, when purchased, you will wonder how you ever lived without. Aim for something with plenty of drying room but also dedicated space to hang garments which require a hanger. Heated versions are great for speeding up the drying process.
Storage is a crucial part of caring for your clothes. With the UK experiencing such seasonal extremes, you will often only utilise half of your wardrobe at any one time. The other half should be stored properly in order to protect your prized garments from dirt, dust and pests – all of which conspire to reduce their lifespan.
There are a number of handy storage items available on the market, including traditional garment carriers, airtight vacuum containers, anti-moth bags and soft-sided, foldable boxes. Mix and match to your specific requirements.