Dealing with Bad Weather
Every year starts off with a few months of bad weather. First there is snow, then the snow turns to slush, and finally the slush gives way to showers. Depending on where you live, these conditions can put a real beating on your clothes, so it’s good to know how to best take care of them.
Salt Stains on Shoes
The best care is preventative. There are a number of treatments that can give your shoes a superficial layer of protection. Use a thin layer of wax polish on calf leather dress shoes and mink oil lotion on work or hiking boots (you can buy both at most shoe repair shops). Note that you don’t want to use mink oil on dress shoes; if you do, your shoes will never take a proper shine.
For added protection, use a pair of overshoes. Swims makes an attractive flocked version that slips on easily, while Tingley makes a very affordable (albeit less attractive) model. You can read Jesse’s review of Tingley here.
If you’ve picked up salt stains despite these measures, however, you need to treat them as soon as you get home. Mix one part vinegar to two parts water (or half and half for more serious stains). Brush off your shoes with a horsehair brush to remove any dirt, then dab a soft towel in the solution and gently use it to wipe off the stain. Once you’re done, use a clean damp towel to wipe off any vinegar residue. Leave it to dry for 30 minutes and repeat as needed. You want to work through this slowly, patiently, and gently; rubbing too hard can also damage your shoes. Once you’ve gotten the stain out, apply leather conditioner, polish, and wax again so that they’re protected next time you use them.
If the salt has raised the leather on your shoes (ie given it a welt), use a bottom end of a spoon and press down on the leather.
Drenched Shoes
If you’ve been going through a downpour, your shoes are probably soaked through. Again, the best care is preventative, so follow the steps above. You can also spray a suede protectant on suede. Suede should be fine in the rain, though I wouldn’t advise using it in the snow.
Once you get home, stuff your shoes with newspaper and lay them on their side (as the soles need to dry the most). You may want to change the paper every few hours just to make it effective. After they’re dry, stick unvarnished cedar shoe trees in them and leave them alone for two days so they can fully recover. Resist any temptation to set them near a heater. Doing so will only dry out and crack the leather.
Mold
If wet clothes or umbrellas aren’t allowed to dry properly, they’re at risk of developing mold. Once mold grows, they can develop a smell that can be very, very difficult to get out.
To prevent this, brush off your jackets or coats with a clothes brush once you get home. I use a separate brush for this from the one I regularly use to clean my clothes. Once the snow or water has been brushed off, hang your garment on a sturdy wooden hanger (ideally with wide shoulders) and leave it in an area with good air circulation.
For umbrellas, gently shake them out a bit, but be careful not to ruin the ribs. Once you’ve gotten most of the snow or water off, leave them completely open and let them dry in a place with good air circulation. Again, don’t set them near heaters, however, as you risk damaging the canopy. Most umbrellas are made with materials that are designed to dry quickly, so this shouldn’t take too long. Once it’s dry, neatly furl the umbrella and store it away.

Dealing with Bad Weather

Every year starts off with a few months of bad weather. First there is snow, then the snow turns to slush, and finally the slush gives way to showers. Depending on where you live, these conditions can put a real beating on your clothes, so it’s good to know how to best take care of them.

Salt Stains on Shoes

The best care is preventative. There are a number of treatments that can give your shoes a superficial layer of protection. Use a thin layer of wax polish on calf leather dress shoes and mink oil lotion on work or hiking boots (you can buy both at most shoe repair shops). Note that you don’t want to use mink oil on dress shoes; if you do, your shoes will never take a proper shine.

For added protection, use a pair of overshoes. Swims makes an attractive flocked version that slips on easily, while Tingley makes a very affordable (albeit less attractive) model. You can read Jesse’s review of Tingley here.

If you’ve picked up salt stains despite these measures, however, you need to treat them as soon as you get home. Mix one part vinegar to two parts water (or half and half for more serious stains). Brush off your shoes with a horsehair brush to remove any dirt, then dab a soft towel in the solution and gently use it to wipe off the stain. Once you’re done, use a clean damp towel to wipe off any vinegar residue. Leave it to dry for 30 minutes and repeat as needed. You want to work through this slowly, patiently, and gently; rubbing too hard can also damage your shoes. Once you’ve gotten the stain out, apply leather conditioner, polish, and wax again so that they’re protected next time you use them.

If the salt has raised the leather on your shoes (ie given it a welt), use a bottom end of a spoon and press down on the leather.

Drenched Shoes

If you’ve been going through a downpour, your shoes are probably soaked through. Again, the best care is preventative, so follow the steps above. You can also spray a suede protectant on suede. Suede should be fine in the rain, though I wouldn’t advise using it in the snow.

Once you get home, stuff your shoes with newspaper and lay them on their side (as the soles need to dry the most). You may want to change the paper every few hours just to make it effective. After they’re dry, stick unvarnished cedar shoe trees in them and leave them alone for two days so they can fully recover. Resist any temptation to set them near a heater. Doing so will only dry out and crack the leather.

Mold

If wet clothes or umbrellas aren’t allowed to dry properly, they’re at risk of developing mold. Once mold grows, they can develop a smell that can be very, very difficult to get out.

To prevent this, brush off your jackets or coats with a clothes brush once you get home. I use a separate brush for this from the one I regularly use to clean my clothes. Once the snow or water has been brushed off, hang your garment on a sturdy wooden hanger (ideally with wide shoulders) and leave it in an area with good air circulation.

For umbrellas, gently shake them out a bit, but be careful not to ruin the ribs. Once you’ve gotten most of the snow or water off, leave them completely open and let them dry in a place with good air circulation. Again, don’t set them near heaters, however, as you risk damaging the canopy. Most umbrellas are made with materials that are designed to dry quickly, so this shouldn’t take too long. Once it’s dry, neatly furl the umbrella and store it away.

Three Post-Christmas Sales

Brooks Brothers’ after-Christmas sale has started, and if you shop today, you get an additional 20% off. That puts the jacket you see above at $191. I bought it last year for about the same price and it’s a great piece. It fits slim and the corduroy mockneck collar is a nice, unique detail (the first reviewer’s post says everything well). The product shot isn’t that compelling, but if you can find it at your local Brooks Brothers store, I encourage you to try it on. 

Additionally, CLAD Men has discounted some items by 60%. Most of the brands are a bit iffy, but they carry Incotex, DS Dundee, Bill’s Khakis, and a few other worthwhile companies. These Incotex flannel trousers, for example, are about $110 right now. Incotex has a really wide range of fits, and I don’t have any personal experience with these, but shipping is free and returns seem easy. 

Finally, the Dandy Store has a 30% off storewide sale. I don’t know where they source their ties, but their socks are from Bresciani, one of the best men’s hosiery companies in the world. That gives me a bit more confidence in their other products. 

The covert coat at Men’s Flair
Q and Answer: How Should I Dress in the Rain?
Steve writes: I live in Vancouver; can you suggest how I should dress for the rain?
The answer is yes.  We can suggest how you should dress in the rain.
You’ll want to start with an umbrella.  I really love the ones at Howard Yount, which are lovely, with solid wood handles and beautiful hand-sewn canopies.  They also cost $165.  If that’s out of your range, there are plenty of other options, just go with something simple.  There are usually good choices at a luggage shop.
On your head, you can wear a hat.  A wool flat cap is a great choice.  If you’re going to wear a proper hat with a brim, this is a good time to do it, especially if it’s not too blustery.
You’ll want some kind of covering for your body, of course.  A classic trench coat or Mackintosh is a good option here for pairing with more formal clothes.  Khaki is the traditional color.  There are plenty of choices for more casual wear - I like waxed cotton, and own a Barbour Beaufort, which I bought on UK eBay for about a hundred dollars.  A number of companies also make lightweight, packable rain coats, which are very useful for climates like Vancouver where rain and cold do not always go hand in hand. 
For your shoes, you’ll want to avoid leather soles.  When leather soles get wet, they wear much faster.  Shoes with rubber or dainite soles are best.  Alternately, you can wear rain-specific shoes like Bean Boots and switch them when you get where you’re going, or cover your dress shoes with galoshes.

Q and Answer: How Should I Dress in the Rain?

Steve writes: I live in Vancouver; can you suggest how I should dress for the rain?

The answer is yes.  We can suggest how you should dress in the rain.

You’ll want to start with an umbrella.  I really love the ones at Howard Yount, which are lovely, with solid wood handles and beautiful hand-sewn canopies.  They also cost $165.  If that’s out of your range, there are plenty of other options, just go with something simple.  There are usually good choices at a luggage shop.

On your head, you can wear a hat.  A wool flat cap is a great choice.  If you’re going to wear a proper hat with a brim, this is a good time to do it, especially if it’s not too blustery.

You’ll want some kind of covering for your body, of course.  A classic trench coat or Mackintosh is a good option here for pairing with more formal clothes.  Khaki is the traditional color.  There are plenty of choices for more casual wear - I like waxed cotton, and own a Barbour Beaufort, which I bought on UK eBay for about a hundred dollars.  A number of companies also make lightweight, packable rain coats, which are very useful for climates like Vancouver where rain and cold do not always go hand in hand. 

For your shoes, you’ll want to avoid leather soles.  When leather soles get wet, they wear much faster.  Shoes with rubber or dainite soles are best.  Alternately, you can wear rain-specific shoes like Bean Boots and switch them when you get where you’re going, or cover your dress shoes with galoshes.

It’s On eBay
Invertere “Buffer Coat”
Invertere - properly spelled all Welsh-y (or possible Celtic-y) with an accent mark that I’m not sure how to make on my keyboard - was a UK-based outerwear company, and this was their signature product.  A true classic.  Sadly, they went out of business five years ago or so.
Starts at $64.95, ends Sunday

It’s On eBay

Invertere “Buffer Coat”

Invertere - properly spelled all Welsh-y (or possible Celtic-y) with an accent mark that I’m not sure how to make on my keyboard - was a UK-based outerwear company, and this was their signature product.  A true classic.  Sadly, they went out of business five years ago or so.

Starts at $64.95, ends Sunday

Cheap, high-quality, ethical, American-made outerwear guide from Commerce With A Conscience.

Cheap, high-quality, ethical, American-made outerwear guide from Commerce With A Conscience.

It’s On eBay
New Phineas Cole Sportcoat (44L)
Starts at .99, ends Sunday

It’s On eBay

New Phineas Cole Sportcoat (44L)

Starts at .99, ends Sunday

I love the way that Mark from Dallas has transformed the most basic ensemble a man can wear - blue blazer and tan pants.  Not just the gingham shirt, but a pocket square in a completely unexpected color.  Rather than picking up colors from his shirt and tie, he’s picking up the color of his pants and his skin tone.  Well done!

I love the way that Mark from Dallas has transformed the most basic ensemble a man can wear - blue blazer and tan pants.  Not just the gingham shirt, but a pocket square in a completely unexpected color.  Rather than picking up colors from his shirt and tie, he’s picking up the color of his pants and his skin tone.  Well done!

David, from Canada (and Hong Kong) looks lovely in this photo, doesn’t he?
Another great example of patch pockets, soft fabrics and natural shoulders making tailored clothes a little less formal, without making them any less elegant.  Also a lovely example of the Churchill dotted tie in white-on-navy, which is about as versatile a tie as exists in the world.  I also love the pocket square, which (unlike most pocket squares) actually takes the formality down a notch.  It’s poking out of there saying, “hey, don’t sweat it, we’re all friends here.” 

David, from Canada (and Hong Kong) looks lovely in this photo, doesn’t he?

Another great example of patch pockets, soft fabrics and natural shoulders making tailored clothes a little less formal, without making them any less elegant.  Also a lovely example of the Churchill dotted tie in white-on-navy, which is about as versatile a tie as exists in the world.  I also love the pocket square, which (unlike most pocket squares) actually takes the formality down a notch.  It’s poking out of there saying, “hey, don’t sweat it, we’re all friends here.”