“Wanna know if a guy is well-dressed? Look down.” — George Frazier
It’s true. A man is often judged by his shoes. Women readily admit to this. And watch the interviewer’s eyes track down the next time you’re on the job search.
And since a good pair of quality kicks can be a pricey investment, you’re gonna want to make sure they last as long as possible.
So I spoke to Fred Reali, master clothier and style expert at Hamilton Douglass Clothiers. He’s the guy high-powered execs turn to when they need to get outfitted with everything from custom suits, to one-of-a-kind ties, to the dress shoes that announce their status to lesser men.
Here are his tips for keeping your wing-tips tip top:
Like man’s best friend, if you love your shoes and take good care of them, you’ll be repaid with years of loyal service. There’s a huge return on a gentleman’s investment in acquiring and caring for a few pair of fine footwear. While they may not last a lifetime, with proper care and routine maintenance you can log substantial miles and years in a good pair of shoes.
Consider these pointers for extending the life of your loafers or beefing up the performance of your brogues:
1. Invest in the best footwear you can afford - and re-sole and re-heel them as necessary, just like routine maintenance on your automobile. Regular tune-ups and even re-crafting over time will restore and extend the youthful vigor of your favorite shoes.
2. Always rotate your shoes, allowing at least a day of rest between wearings. Let them rest on a good pair of aromatic cedar shoetrees. They’ll prolong the life of the shoes, absorbing moisture and odor and maintain the shape of the leather.
3. Shoehorns make putting on your shoes easier and protect the shape and construction of the back of the heels.
4. Polishing your shoes every three to four times you wear them with a good cream or paste will make them look good and help you to put your best foot forward. Brush off the road dirt first, then wipe clean with a damp cloth or saddle soap before polishing. Allow the polish to set for a few minutes and brush to a shine with a horsehair brush. Then buff to a perfect polish with a soft cotton cloth.
5. If your shoes are wet, don’t force dry them next to heat. Stuff with newspaper or cedar shoe trees and lay them on their side so the soles can dry quicker in room temperature.