Shoes 201 – Shoe Care – Suede Shoes

This is an excellent video and article by videojug about the proper care, cleaning and revival of suede leather shoes. Peter Schweiger,  the 5th generation owner of the British bespoke shoemakers James Taylor & Son, , demonstrates the techniques.

How To Clean Suede Shoes

How to Clean and Care For Suede Shoes - Video

How to Clean and Care For Suede Shoes – Video

Step 1: You will need:

  • 1 suede protector spray
  • 1 suede cleaning brush
  • 1 small knife
  • 1 nail brush
  • 1 sponge
  • 1 shoe tree/ white tissue paper
  • 1 crepe rubber/ pencil eraser

Step 2: Introduction

Suede is a kind of leather with a soft raised surface called a ‘nap’. It can spoil more easily than leather so needs a special level of care. It makes sense to always spray new shoes with a protecting spray.

Step 3: Protection spray

These sprays can be bought from footwear shops, and will protect your shoes from the water damage and staining. Before applying the spray, lightly brush your shoes to remove any dust or dirt. Always brush in the same direction to lift the nap. Make sure you follow the manufactures instructions on the side of the aerosol can. Shake well, spray away from your face, and as with all aerosols, only use in a well ventilated area.

Step 4: Scuff marks

Even with a protection spray, shiny marks can still appear if you scuff suede shoes, flattening down their surface. Restore by brushing back and forth with a suede brush. If the shoes are very worn, scrape with a sharp knife to lift the nap.

If your suede has dirty marks, try removing them with one of the sides of a suede brush

Experts recommend using a little crêpe rubber, or even a pencil eraser to ‘lift’ the marks from you shoes. The dirt will transfer from the suede to the rubber

Step 5: Removing mud

If your shoes get muddy, wait till the mud dries, then use a stiff brush, such as a nail brush to remove the dirt. Move with a sweeping action, and keep all your strokes in the same direction. Work all the way around the shoe, including the edges of the sole. Pay special attention to any dirt stuck in detailing.

Step 6: Wet suede

If part of the shoe gets gets wet, the water can leave a tide mark and dry a different colour. So wet the shoes all over, sponge off any excess water and insert a shoe tree to keep the shoe in shape as it dries. If you don’t have a shoe tree, stuff the toes shoes with white tissue paper, or any white paper to hold them firm.

Don’t use newspaper if your shoes are very wet, as the print may leech into the shoes

Leave the shoes to dry overnight. Then gently brush to restore the texture.

Step 7: Stains

Stains like oil and grease are almost impossible to remove.
Work into the area with a suede brush to see if that lifts the stain, treating it as you would a scuff.
If not, remove the laces, and wash the shoes with a little water and a stiff brush.

If this doesn’t work, it may be time to say goodbye to your dirty shoes

Step 8: Storing suede

When you’re not wearing your shoe, wrap them in tissue paper and put in a shoe box, heel to toe. Don’t keep them in plastic bags or airtight boxes and avoid humidity, which can make them mouldy and avoid bright light, which can discolour suede. Keep them in a dark dry place.

Kingpin Clothing Sale at CAFTCAD Movie Wardrobe Sale – Saturday June 4th, Toronto

CAFTCAD Wardrobe Sale

CAFTCAD Wardrobe Sale

I will be at the CAFTCAD Movie and Television Wardrobe Sale this weekend with a full range of designer uniques, vintage clothing and gentlemenswear. If you are in the Toronto area, please do drop by for a sartorial chat and do a little treasure hunting.

CAFTCAD puts on its bi-annual movie and television wardrobe sale in Toronto on June 4, 2011, from 9 AM to 5 PM at the Pinewood Studios sound stage, 225 Commissioners St. The clothing you can find at this sale is truly amazing.

Hope to see you there!

Style Site of Note – A Suitable Wardrobe

Will Boehlke is the author of a men’s style blog that provides gentlemen with the why’s and wherefore of classic men’s style. A Suitable Wardrobe has been covering off the various elements of classic style since 2006 in a blog that is a rich resource for those of us wanting to know the best way to polish Cordovan shoes, (don’t forget the deer bone!) or the need for a man as he matures to move from belted to braced trousers (stop hiking your trousers up all day!) Will even notes some men that have good style, like André Churchwell.

A Man of Style - André Churchwell

A Man of Style - André Churchwell

And for those of you that can afford bespoke shoes and suits (and Will would argue you can’t afford not to!) you should visit his online store.

Gentlemens Shoes 101 – The Slip-on

The slip-on, or the loafer, is an innovation in gentlemens shoes from ’30s Norway. They are a laceless shoe that is based on the basic moccasin construction. Originally worn by Norwegian farmers, the slip-on was promoted in the United States by shoemakers, including Maine bootmaker G.H. Bass, who sold them as ‘Weejuns’ adding the distinctive diamond cut-out strap across the top. This leather slot remained ornamental until prep-school boys in the ’50s began inserting pennys into them, creating the term ‘penny loafers’ a term which is still applied to Bass Weejuns and similarly styled slip-ons. The popularity of this casual, or leisure, shoe has brought the English and Italian designers, among others, to raise this once haughty slipper to the ranks of classic gentlemens footwear.

While at first only used as a house shoe, the Slip-on, is perfect for a gentlemens leisure activities, and some very stylish Slip-ons are even suitable for some work environments. This pair of Slip-ons featured in Mister Crew has a spectator design:

Leather Slip-ons in the Spectator Style

Leather Slip-ons in the Spectator Style

and of course there is the often duplicated, but never replicated, Gucci Slip-ons, like these burgundy ones from the 80s from Rice and Bean Vintage:

Vintage 80's Gucci Burgundy Leather Loafers

Vintage 80's Gucci Burgundy Leather Loafers

where Gucci has made the Slip-on a mainstay of their design innovation, almost to the point you’d think they have something about tying laces…

Gentlemens Shoes 101 – The Monk

Ah, yes, the stylish buckle bound Monk, the gentlemens shoe with a dash of sass. The range of design flare that the Monk creates makes it a more formal than the Derby, yet less formal (and some say stuffy) than the Oxford. Rooted in the footwear of actual European monks, the style does not use laces like the Derby and Oxford, instead relying on a strap and buckle. This buckle may be a fully functional, as with this Monk in black leather from Ferragamo,

Black Calf Skin Monks by Ferragamo

Black Calf Skin Monks by Ferragamo

which is closed by a full-sized strap and buckle, to this pair of caramel leather Monks by Church’s,

Caramel Leather Monks by Church's

Caramel Leather Monks by Church's

which are virtually loafers, save for the very stylized brass buckle and strap to each side. Whatever their particulars, Monks are definite asset to any gentlemen’s wardrobe as they give you the ability to take any outfit and give it an element of panache that should be every gentleman’s signature.