Guides on how to care for a gentleman’s wardrobe are a dime a dozen.
There’s a distinctive gap between the two types of guides I see most often.
One type of guide is written with the aim of selling products, and might take less time but will certainly sell you products that you don’t need.
The other type usually requires a high level of fuss and fastidiousness.
I prefer to spend money on more clothes rather than dry cleaning and maintenance, and I’m certainly not fastidious with clothing maintenance.
For me, a largely hands-off approach has worked perfectly well, with minimum fuss and minimum equipment.
I go to a dry cleaner perhaps once a year.
Regardless of even the most minimalist guides saying to dry clean once per season, I don’t even do that.
My wardrobe gets plenty of air and I don’t tend to get things dirty or spill things on my clothes.
If I do, I’ll dry clean if required.
But it’s rare.
And if it’s white, and it gets a bit dirty, well that’s the nature of whites.
So long as it isn’t a dirty great grease stain or something, live and let live.
Instead of worrying about dry cleaning, I simply give garments plenty of time to air off (up to 48hrs) between wears and my storage is open air garment racks in another room.
If you have moth or moisture problems, this won’t be an option, but in Australia we’re usually pretty lucky in that regard.
Aside from that, I’ll give any tailoring a brushing with a clothes brush whenever I go to wear it, just to remove any notable lint.
I treat shirting similarly to tailoring, in that I will usually air off rather than launder, unless stains or prominent marks are notable.
This is because I wear an undershirt daily.
It’s one of those sweat blocking ones, and it’s damn good.
Resultingly, I don’t tend to be worried about sweat damage, as the undershirts take care of that.
And I wash those very often, which helps me economise the usage I get out of my shirting.
Many shoe care guides will tell you to use plenty of nourishing products, to do your maintenance process regularly, and to clean off stains as soon as possible.
It’s a lot of fuss.
My shoe care process is simple.
Trimly shoe trees inserted within a couple of hours of taking them off, and left in at least overnight.
Every three months, I’ll undertake the process of a condition and polish.
I use Boot Black Two Face lotion, also purchased from Trimly, followed by a cream polish.
The cream polishes are from various brands; Doucal’s, Saphir, Boot Black.
I don’t do them all at once. Instead, I’ll spread the process over a week so it doesn’t feel so much like a chore.
Each day I’ll do the shoes of a different colour.
One day it’ll be the blacks, another day it’ll be the red oaks (like my Thomas George boots), another day will be the other browns which range from a sandy beige to dark chocolate.
I don’t own any cordovan or suede shoes at the moment, but once I do, those will go on separate days too.
I don’t put in any more effort than the above.
Wear and tear is part of what makes clothing beautiful; in my mind, excess maintenance simply serves to delay that process and resultingly delay the lovely patina that quality clothing takes on over time.
Enjoy your clothes, rather than worrying about their maintenance.
Leave that stress for things with wheels.