Five Ways to Spruce Up Your Footwear

There are the usual footwear cleaning and sprucing up tips, like using shoe polish and weatherproofing spray, or making a trip to the cobbler. Here are some less obvious tips that will make your shoes look a little more loved. 

1. Magic Eraser for Suede

Use a damp magic eraser to remove marks on suede footwear. It might not remove the marks and stains completely, but it will take the edge off. Sometimes using a nail file or a bit of sandpaper on stained suede can take the edge off too.

2. Nail Polish for Patent and Metallic Leather

Regular shoe polish is ineffective on patent and metallic leather. Find a nail polish that’s a close match to the colour of the shoe and use that instead. Apply two or three layers over the scuffs, allowing the nail polish to dry between coats. Again, it might not remove the scuffs completely, but you’ll notice a visual improvement.

3. Wipes for White Footwear

I have many pairs of white and cream footwear. As a wardrobe essential for my style, they get a workout too. Wiping them down with disposable wipes after every few wears keeps them looking remarkably clean and removes scuffs. It makes a big difference.

4. Nail Polish Remover for Stubborn Scuffs

You have to be careful with this one because I’ve taken the dye off my shoes leaving big yellow marks in place of the scuffs. But nail polish remover can be very effective at removing black marks from patent and white footwear. Test the cleaning tip in a less obvious area of the shoe first.

5. Black Sharpie Pen for Black Footwear

Filling in the worn toe boxes of black footwear with a black Sharpie (or black felt tip pen if you’re not in the US) is very effective. Any scuff that you see on black footwear is worth covering with a Sharpie if black shoe polish does not do the trick.

I’ve used all of these tips over the years, but using wipes on white footwear is the one I use most frequently. Please share your own footwear care tips in the comments section below.

Roundup: Versatile Holiday Items

Before I came to live in the United States the word “holiday” meant time off, or a trip away from home. Americans call that a vacation. To them the “holidays” refers to the time period from Thanksgiving Day in late November through to New Year’s Day. It’s a time of holiday parties at work, at school, and with family and friends. People need outfits for these occasions, which can be casual, dressy or formal.

Whether it’s a formal do, a casual holiday bash with friends, a ballet, an evening at a ski lodge, or an intimate date with a loved one, it’s fun to look festive for the holidays. Here are some items that have been winners on clients recently, and that caught my eye. Price points vary and so does the level of quality. The items are versatile because some can be worn to the office, to holiday parties and events, or to other occasions.

Visit the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

Club Monaco
Raesey Pant
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Top Pick
3
Club Monaco
Tinashe Sweater
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Top Pick
7
Club Monaco
Neriek Top
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Top Pick
6
Club Monaco
Darlana Top
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Top Pick
5
Club Monaco
Lenoria Coat
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Top Pick
6
Club Monaco
Rotheo Sweater
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Top Pick
5
Gap
Sherpa biker jacket
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Top Pick
4

Fashion News Roundup: November 2017

A new subscription clothing rental service, the #1 holiday beauty trend, a brick-and-mortar Everlane store, and more news from the fashion trenches this month.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that Lucy Duff-Gordon, a Titanic survivor, is believed to be the first British female fashion designer. She was the first designer to name her fashion collections, the first to stage “mannequin parades”, and the first designer to have business branches in three different countries — with shops in New York, Chicago, and Paris.

Roundups

Fall Items

Top picks this week range from plus size toppers to patterned socks.

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COS Items

Some fab architectural COS pieces to add some arty avant-garde to your style.

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Summer Items

Some fab frocks, necklaces and tops.

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Tops & Bottoms

Fun Summer items for a range of body types.

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Summer Items

A selection of warm-weather items that covers a range of body types.

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Summer White Tops

An assortment of white tops across a range of price points and silhouettes.

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Ensemble: Leggings and The Kitchen Sink

Example

This ensemble was inspired by an outfit I recently saw on a Zara mannequin. It’s like a modern version of Madonna’s early ‘80s look. It combines leggings with lots of layers, to the point where the leggings are an afterthought, and barely visible. That’s quite the change from wearing leggings as pants. The combination is also a great way to insulate a skirt.

Although the outfit is high contrast, it has low-contrast components too. You can create a low-contrast effect from head to toe if that’s more to your taste. Leggings tend to look best in black, so including black in your colour palette helps to pull the look together.

Here are the components:

Skirt: Choose a pleated skirt, or another A-line silhouette with personality. A tulle skirt could work. Pleated skirts with less volume look more streamlined. A knee-covering length looks fab.

Leggings: Layer a pair of black ankle-length leggings under the skirt. Black pleather leggings are another option.

Tops: Zara layered a black graphic tee over a floral blouse. They tucked the blouse into the skirt and semi-tucked the tee for waist definition. Another option is to wear a black welted sweatshirt or pullover with a neckerchief for a similar effect — less bulky and no need to tuck or semi-tuck tops. Try an asymmetrical tunic pullover or a cropped pullover or knitted top too. Again, no need for tucking.

Jacket: Choose a black moto jacket or cropped black jacket. The shorter length of the jacket elongates the leg line from the hips upward.

Footwear: Choose dressy black pumps, smoking slippers, loafers or ballet flats. Black patent is fab.

Accessories: Finish off the look with a small crossbody bag with a chain handle strap. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

The outfit is an acquired taste. But if you like to wear black, enjoy leggings and have an orphaned skirt, it might be worth a try.

Ensemble: Leggings and The Kitchen Sink

A Love-Hate Relationship with Hosiery

By hosiery, I mean all forms of pantyhose. From the sheerest nudes to the thickest opaques, woolly tights, and everything in between. 

Hosiery can look gorgeous with a dress, skirt or pair of shorts. Patterned, solid, neutral, flesh-toned, dark, light, textured, sparkly, matte, sheer or opaque, hosiery adds a finishing touch to your outfit. It can amp up the polish, create textural and pattern-mixed interest, elongate the leg line, visually smooth the skin on the legs, provide contouring support, keep you warm, and look professional. 

With all these wonderful attributes, what’s not to love? 

Well, top of the list is that hosiery can be very uncomfortable. Tight on the midsection, too short or long in the leg, scratchy, constricting, and made of unbreathable fabric. Then there’s the issue of getting it on, which is generally a time-consuming process, especially when hose has contouring and shaping design features. It’s easier and faster to put on a pair of jeans or trousers. Next is the problem with snagging the hose — and once they’re snagged it’s goodbye hose. It’s infuriating snagging a pair of hose as you’re putting them on for the first time. What a waste. Hosiery can create static cling and cause knitted dresses and skirts to creep up as you stride. And they make going to the loo a mission. 

Sometimes, hosiery is thought of as dowdy and unattractive. But that’s a question of styling and finding the right hose for the outfit. The other problems, however, are less easily solved. 

I adore hosiery for all the pros I mentioned. I stick to sheer solids and tonal patterns, because to my eye the visual effect is dressier and prettier, which suits my look. I don’t enjoy or wear black opaques. I find them too dark for my style, and they make my lower legs look too narrow. I also don’t wear woolly tights because they remind me of the scratchy stockings I had to wear with my school uniform back in the ‘70s.  

As for the cons, I don’t find hosiery that uncomfortable. I quite like the feeling of the compression when I’m wearing a skirt or dress. Maybe that’s because I don’t wear pantyhose that often, so it’s a bit of a novelty when I do. I’ve learned to be patient and careful when I pull them on, and I don’t snag hosiery nearly as much as I used to. 

I’m on the “Love” end of the “Love-Hate” continuum. How about you?