Caring For Fashion: Looking After The Clothes & Shoes You Already Own

We write a post each week about fashion and the pieces that we are lusting after. This is such an in-between time in the seasons, so I thought I would write about caring for the fashion pieces you already own and love.

We have more than enough summer clothes; winter clothes are too dark and dull to look at yet as it is an admittance that the sun has stopped shining. If I was being weather appropriate this week I would be writing a post about raincoats, wellies and umbrellas. More than once in the last week there has been a deluge that has turned our skies dark grey, our gardens green and ourselves blue. Being British we continue to dress in totally inappropriate clothing for the temperature. It is only mid-August (and a bit) so we convince ourselves that it is only mid-summer.  So here are some tips about caring for fashion and keeping your clothes, shoes and accessories fresh and clean.

Travel steamer - caring for fashion
Fridja travel steamer

Ironing clothes:

There is a brilliant travel steamer from Fridja. It heats up in 45 seconds and has enough water in the tank for 14 minutes of steaming. It is perfect for refreshing clothes when you arrive at a hotel or to stay with friends. I find it so much easier than an iron.





Washing Shoes and Trainers:

Do you want to clean some shoes similar to trainers? I bought some white slip-ons in a woven, stretch fabric from Ugg. They are not the most practical colour but they look so nice however I now need to brighten them up. I must not put them in the washing machine as that will ruin the soles and melt the glue.

Mix equal parts of baking soda, white toothpaste, white washing detergent (I use the one that I wash my woollens in) with a splash of warm water. Scrub the trainers or shoes with the mixture using a toothbrush or nail brush and then rinse once. If they have laces then soak these in this same mixture for some time and, whilst they will not be as good as new, they will be better than before.

Batiste hairspray - caring for fashionGetting oil out of clothes:

Use Batiste hair spray. Spray on the mark and leave for 10 – 15 minutes then dab it off or rinse under the tap. This method is also extremely successful with lipstick.

Reviving suede shoes:

If you have just taken some suede shoes out of your cupboard to wear and they look a bit dull try steaming them. Boil a kettle and keep boiling it whilst you hold the shoe in the steam. Please be careful that you do not burn your skin. Wear some oven gloves or similar. The steam will revive the shoes and enrich their colour. Of course for a longer term solution for black, navy or brown suede shoes there are sprays that will revive the colour. However nothing for pale coloured suede that works that I know of.

Wicker basket transformed - caring for fashion
Restory transformed this wicker basket
Dyed handbag - caring for fashion
The Handbag Spa dyed this Prada bag from Putty to Navy

Reviving Handbags:

Restory is a company that will restore special bags. When I say special I do not mean designer bags only, I mean special to you.

One client bought a wicker basket in Mauritius. Eventually the handles broke. Restory offered her three different designs. The client chose a back-pack design for her bag which gave it a new lease of life. Have a read HERE of this case study (on right). I have never used this company but I do know someone who used it on one of their grandmother’s Chanel bags. It was a great success. Restory will also restore shoes, trainers, dye bags or even repair a leather jacket. You can get a quote before the work begins and then you can decide if it is worth the cost.

The Handbag Spa is another company that offers a similar service. I had a black and white silk bag cleaned here once and it came up as good as new. I often use this bag at weddings as it is so pretty but quite delicate and I now keep it in a silk cover when I am not using it as it does attract dust and dirt.

Fabric puller from Steamery - caring for fashion
Steamery of Stockholm – fabric shaver

Restoring woollens:

Finally dare I mention winter jumpers. When you get your knitwear out of storage they may be looking a little fluffy. You need one of these fabric shavers from Steamery in Stockholm to get rid of those annoying fabric pills. This is a battery-operated fabric shaver. I use it all winter to get my knitwear looking shop new again.

There are so many laundry items I would love to buy from this website. The Linen water in Bergamot is bound to be a gorgeous fragrance. Even if I only used it on my bedlinen I can feel a Hygge moment coming on – whoops that is Danish isn’t it? Steamery is in Sweden but only just over ‘The Bridge’!

Caring for fashion is so important in these days of unnecessary waste. Look at what we already own and see if a small repair or a change in the colour will give the item a new lease of life. This is what we should be thinking about now.

For more really good tips, tricks and problem solving, click here


  1. Thanks for the tips – especially the handbag restoration link.

    Re: oil on clothes. If an item is washable, I have found Swarfega (the stuff mechanics use to get muck off their hands) to be excellent for tackling oil stains. I once got one on a new cream cashmere coat which even the dry cleaner gave up on. In desperation, I scrubbed it with Swarfega, got the stain out and wore the coat for 20 years.

    I’ve always found Swarfega great for getting grease off the Aga top, particularly round the hotplate rims.

  2. Another way to clean fabric items that can’t withstand the rigours of a machine wash is to put them into a dishwasher (on their own please not with any crockery!). This works really well for items such as baseball hats and shoes that would twist out of shape in a washing machine but check that the brim of your hat is plastic and not cardboard and use your regular dishwasher cleaner not clothes detergent.

  3. Thanks for this blog. love the dresses and had completely forgotten about Patra. Both my Mum and Mother-in-law used to buy from them and had some smart things that washed and wore well and were great value. M-in-l in particular used to swear by their silk tops/vests. I will definitely go and have a look in more detail again.

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