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How to winterproof your wardrobe

How to winterproof your wardrobe

Preparing for inclement weather isn’t just about buying a bigger coat (although that does help). The right upkeep also means that clothes on the foul-weather front line do what they should – keep you warm and dry in style.

Prepping your wardrobe for winter also helps your pocket. “Winter-proofing is all about longevity,” says Thread stylist Brooke Philips. “It makes things like coats and winter shoes – which are big investments – last for this season and the next. And if you do it right, the winter after that as well.” Each of these techniques is a few minutes invested that pays back an entire season of style.

Polish your shoes

“Shiny leather isn’t just about looking smart,” says Brooke. “It protects your shoes and creates a waterproof barrier, so rain won’t ruin them.” Wet leather isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s also more susceptible to damage. Polishing your shoes at least once a month will keep your shoes supple and help moisture slip off, rather than soak in. Get the perfect quick and easy technique here.

For anything non-polishable like suede or canvas, a shoe protector spray does a similar job. How often you apply depends on how frequently you wear the shoes (and how bad the weather is) but prevention is always better than cure – you can’t always predict when a storm will hit. Once every 20-30 wears is about right.

Use shoe trees

Not that polish can completely protect you from puddles. Which is where shoe trees come in. “They’re not for stretching shoes, they’re to soak up moisture,” says Brooke. As leather dries, it can change shape; shoe trees ensure your shoes stay as they were designed. “You need wood, rather than plastic, so it can actually absorb the water and help your shoes dry out more quickly.”

You only need one set – the first two hours of drying are when damage occurs, so just switch them into your shoes as soon as you take them off. If you don’t have any to hand, stuffing your footwear with newspaper works in a pinch. But never dry wet shoes on a radiator. “The leather will dry out and crack,” says Brooke. “That destroys your shoes forever.”

Shave your knits

The bobbles that appear on your favourite jumpers are caused by fabric rubbing together, either because of wear, being crammed into drawers, or an overactive spin cycle. This ‘pilling’ turns smart knitwear into something that looks old and beaten up.

“But you shouldn’t relegate them to the ‘only for DIY’ drawer,” says Brooke. Nor should you be tempted to pull the bobbles off. “It damages the fabric.” Instead, use a pilling comb, which will slice them away gently. Or if you’ve got steady hands, a sharp razor is just as effective.