Rubber Soles in Wet Weather
It’s been raining like crazy in the Bay Area, which has made me appreciate how much better rubber soles are on wet ground. The leather uppers on shoes can be made to take the rain quite easily. With calf or shell cordovan, you just have to apply a thin layer of wax polish. With suede, you can use some kind of weatherproofing spray. Either will make your shoes fairly water resistant (although not waterproof), but there are some caveats. With shell cordovan, for example, small little bumps can appear after the leather has been wet, but those can be brushed out with a horsehair brush. In fact, I mostly use a pair of shell cordovan boots as my rain boots. 
While leather shoes can be used in the rain, ones with leather soles often can not. It’s not so much that leather doesn’t provide much traction (because it does), it’s more that untreated leather can soak up water and break down easily when wet. That’s why you need to give your shoes a day of rest in between each wear — it’s so that the perspiration from your feet can dry out and not damage the leather. Imagine, then, what’s happening as your leather soles are soaking up rainwater and grinding against hard pavement and possibly road salt. 
There are a number of good options for rubber soles. Studded Dainites are the best alternative if you want to keep to a “dressier” look. They’re suitable on anything but the dressiest of shoes. Commando and Ridgeway soles are similar, but are probably best kept to chunkier looking styles. Plantation crepe is fine, so long as you don’t wear the ones that are combination of crepe and leather, as the leather tips can peel back when wet. Neoprene cork and white Christy soles are also good, as they provide nice traction and don’t have leather mid-soles you have to worry about. 
If you happen to wear leather soles on a rainy day, make sure they’re dry before you wear them out again. You can set your shoes on their side to let air circulate around the soles, thus helping them dry faster. Just don’t try to speed up the process by setting your shoes near a heater. That will dry out the uppers and cause them to crack, which is much worse than prematurely wearing down the soles. 
(Photo via John Dear)

Rubber Soles in Wet Weather

It’s been raining like crazy in the Bay Area, which has made me appreciate how much better rubber soles are on wet ground. The leather uppers on shoes can be made to take the rain quite easily. With calf or shell cordovan, you just have to apply a thin layer of wax polish. With suede, you can use some kind of weatherproofing spray. Either will make your shoes fairly water resistant (although not waterproof), but there are some caveats. With shell cordovan, for example, small little bumps can appear after the leather has been wet, but those can be brushed out with a horsehair brush. In fact, I mostly use a pair of shell cordovan boots as my rain boots. 

While leather shoes can be used in the rain, ones with leather soles often can not. It’s not so much that leather doesn’t provide much traction (because it does), it’s more that untreated leather can soak up water and break down easily when wet. That’s why you need to give your shoes a day of rest in between each wear — it’s so that the perspiration from your feet can dry out and not damage the leather. Imagine, then, what’s happening as your leather soles are soaking up rainwater and grinding against hard pavement and possibly road salt. 

There are a number of good options for rubber soles. Studded Dainites are the best alternative if you want to keep to a “dressier” look. They’re suitable on anything but the dressiest of shoes. Commando and Ridgeway soles are similar, but are probably best kept to chunkier looking styles. Plantation crepe is fine, so long as you don’t wear the ones that are combination of crepe and leather, as the leather tips can peel back when wet. Neoprene cork and white Christy soles are also good, as they provide nice traction and don’t have leather mid-soles you have to worry about. 

If you happen to wear leather soles on a rainy day, make sure they’re dry before you wear them out again. You can set your shoes on their side to let air circulate around the soles, thus helping them dry faster. Just don’t try to speed up the process by setting your shoes near a heater. That will dry out the uppers and cause them to crack, which is much worse than prematurely wearing down the soles. 

(Photo via John Dear)

Umbrellas: Cheap, Expensive, and Everything In-Between

We’re back in rainy season again, and here in San Francisco, the weather was a bit wet this weekend. That reminded me of how useful it is to own several umbrellas. Not only does that ensure that you’ll always have something if one of your umbrellas breaks or gets lost, but it also allows you to have several options to choose from depending on your mood.

When buying a good umbrella, it’s tempting to get something unique and different, but I’d suggest your first purchase be one with a solid black canopy. These will go with anything, and in some cases – say if you’re wearing a somber suit – it’s the only appropriate choice. After your first good, black umbrella, you can get one with a navy or tan canopy if you’d like something conservative, or go with something dotted, checked, or striped for something more fanciful. 

The upside to decent umbrellas is that they come at almost every price point. Belt Outlet sells some basic black Totes for $15 after you apply the coupon code belt10. Fulton and Gustbuster are a bit more expensive, but remain reasonable affordable. Decent tartans can be bought through Orvis and Brooks Brothers. Those cost about $70, but they often go on sale. Wingtip, for example, has the Barbour version at 30% off with the coupon code TAKEACHANCE.

For a little more money, Howard Yount and Kent Wang sell some handsome single-stick options. Single stick means that the umbrella’s shaft and handle are all made from the same piece of wood. It’s a nice, artisanal touch, I think. (Note, whangees are not single stick because you can’t have the bumpy ridges on the handle go up the shaft for obvious reasons). London Undercover and Passoti are two other good options in this price tier.

Finally, for some of the best umbrellas in the world, you can turn to Swaine Adeney Brigg, James Smith, Fox, Francesco Maglia, Talarico, and Le Veritable Cherbourg. Those are made from better materials, often have single stick constructions, and are just beautiful sights to behold (as shown above). They typically run a few hundred dollars, but sometimes you can find “deals” (relatively speaking). J. Peterman occassionally discounts their Swaine Adeney Briggs, for example, and Grunwald sells Maglias at good prices (actual price is lower at checkout because of VAT discounts). Even on sale, they’re not cheap, but a look at some of those handles is enough to make a man dream. 

(Photos by fk118, Voxsartoria, and me)

An Affordable Rain Jacket

It’s been pretty clear skies here in San Francisco, but friends of mine back east tell me it’s still raining where they are. If the weather is still wet in your town, and you’re in need of an affordable raincoat, let me recommend the best one I know of: LL Bean’s Trail Model Rain Jacket. It’s simple, classic, and works really well if you have a certain American sense of style. You know – khaki chinos, oxford cloth button downs, Shetland sweaters, Bean boots, and the like. This ”Trail Model” jacket is made of rip stop nylon; has adjustable, Velcro cinch cuffs; and even features taped, waterproof seams. It’s great for casual, wet days, and best of all, it’s only $79. 

Getting a Good Mac
It rained all day in the Bay Area yesterday, which reminded me that spring showers are just around the corner. Soon, many of us will be reaching for the necessary outerwear to keep ourselves dry - waxed cotton Barbours, mountain parkas (which Heavy Tweed Jacket had a great article on, by the way), and heavy wool dress coats. Some of my favorites, however, include things specially designed for the rain. That is, a classic men’s trench or single breasted mac. These are arguably less versatile than the aforementioned options, as you can wear those even when it’s not raining, but I find there’s something very masculine and sophisticated about a classic men’s raincoat. As Sydney J. Harris once said in the Chicago Daily News, “Almost every man looks more so in a belted trench coat.”
In the last year, I’ve been on the search for a simple, single-breasted mac, which differs from a trench in that it doesn’t have the militaristic details of D-rings, epaulettes, and storm flaps. The one I landed on is by Mackintosh, who’s famous for making macs in a specialized bonded fabric. The cloth is heavy and not terribly breathable, which perhaps makes it less ideal for summer flash storms. On the upside, however, I think the stiffer material makes for a nice silhouette, and the overall construction is very high. They have three models: the traditional Duncan, the slim fit Dunoon, and the slim fit, but slightly longer cut, Dunkeld (which is what I have). I strongly favor longer raincoats, as I think they’re more elegant and masculine than the trendier cropped variety. Their slim fits are fairly slim, however, and it’s necessary to size up if you plan to wear a sport coat or chunky sweater underneath. 
A bit more affordable are those from Aquascutum, who I also think makes wonderful raincoats. Of those, they have four macs: two traditionally cut versions (the full-length Filey and mid-length Broadgate) and two slim fits (the Slim Broadgate and raglan sleeved Sheerwater). All are exceptionally nice, especially if you could find one with a liner. That gives the fabric a bit more heft, which in my opinion, translates to a better looking drape.  
Another company I came across was Sanyo, a Japanese brand making headway into the United States. They have near a dozen models, but most are made from a polyester or polyester blend. This gives them a certain sheen that I think is less appealing than a traditional cotton or wool gabardine (a type of fabric that’s very tightly woven). They do have some very handsome wool raincoats though, and many are sold in places that hold deep sales (e.g. Nordstroms). Finally, I like TM Lewin’s. Theirs is a bit shorter than some of the other options mentioned, but the construction is decent for the price (at least on sale). The fabric is also a weatherproof cotton, so it doesn’t have any sheen.
Of course, as it goes with most men’s coats, macs tend to be highly expensive new, so you’ll want to wait until they go on deep discount. Perhaps best of all, however, is the second-hand market. Many of the better companies – such as Burberry, Aquascutum, and Mackintosh – make near indestructible garments, and these will often long outlive their owners. At some point, such coats will make their way into thrift stores, community centers, and eBay, where folks can pick them up for pennies on the dollar. Just search around to find something that’ll fit you. 
(Pictured above: George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

Getting a Good Mac

It rained all day in the Bay Area yesterday, which reminded me that spring showers are just around the corner. Soon, many of us will be reaching for the necessary outerwear to keep ourselves dry - waxed cotton Barbours, mountain parkas (which Heavy Tweed Jacket had a great article on, by the way), and heavy wool dress coats. Some of my favorites, however, include things specially designed for the rain. That is, a classic men’s trench or single breasted mac. These are arguably less versatile than the aforementioned options, as you can wear those even when it’s not raining, but I find there’s something very masculine and sophisticated about a classic men’s raincoat. As Sydney J. Harris once said in the Chicago Daily News, “Almost every man looks more so in a belted trench coat.”

In the last year, I’ve been on the search for a simple, single-breasted mac, which differs from a trench in that it doesn’t have the militaristic details of D-rings, epaulettes, and storm flaps. The one I landed on is by Mackintosh, who’s famous for making macs in a specialized bonded fabric. The cloth is heavy and not terribly breathable, which perhaps makes it less ideal for summer flash storms. On the upside, however, I think the stiffer material makes for a nice silhouette, and the overall construction is very high. They have three models: the traditional Duncan, the slim fit Dunoon, and the slim fit, but slightly longer cut, Dunkeld (which is what I have). I strongly favor longer raincoats, as I think they’re more elegant and masculine than the trendier cropped variety. Their slim fits are fairly slim, however, and it’s necessary to size up if you plan to wear a sport coat or chunky sweater underneath. 

A bit more affordable are those from Aquascutum, who I also think makes wonderful raincoats. Of those, they have four macs: two traditionally cut versions (the full-length Filey and mid-length Broadgate) and two slim fits (the Slim Broadgate and raglan sleeved Sheerwater). All are exceptionally nice, especially if you could find one with a liner. That gives the fabric a bit more heft, which in my opinion, translates to a better looking drape.  

Another company I came across was Sanyo, a Japanese brand making headway into the United States. They have near a dozen models, but most are made from a polyester or polyester blend. This gives them a certain sheen that I think is less appealing than a traditional cotton or wool gabardine (a type of fabric that’s very tightly woven). They do have some very handsome wool raincoats though, and many are sold in places that hold deep sales (e.g. Nordstroms). Finally, I like TM Lewin’s. Theirs is a bit shorter than some of the other options mentioned, but the construction is decent for the price (at least on sale). The fabric is also a weatherproof cotton, so it doesn’t have any sheen.

Of course, as it goes with most men’s coats, macs tend to be highly expensive new, so you’ll want to wait until they go on deep discount. Perhaps best of all, however, is the second-hand market. Many of the better companies – such as Burberry, Aquascutum, and Mackintosh – make near indestructible garments, and these will often long outlive their owners. At some point, such coats will make their way into thrift stores, community centers, and eBay, where folks can pick them up for pennies on the dollar. Just search around to find something that’ll fit you. 

(Pictured above: George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

Drying Off
It started raining in the Bay Area this weekend. Really turbulent winds and heavy showers meant that every time I went out even for a few moments, I came home soaking wet. In such weather, it’s good to remember how to properly take care of your possessions.
For jackets and coats, you can brush off most of the water with your hands or a Kent clothing brush. Don’t stick your clothes in the closet afterwards just yet, however. You want to put them in an area with some good circulation, so they can dry properly. The risk with wet clothes is that they might develop mildew, which is really difficult to get rid of. A night out on a coat rack or something should be enough time to let them recover. After that, hang it in the closet with a hanger that has thick, moulded shoulders. I like the ones from The Hanger Project, but there are other merchants as well, such as A Suitable Wardrobe and, more affordably, Wooden Hangers USA.
Likewise, umbrellas should have time to dry before being furled up again. I shake mine off gently before coming in, and then open it again once I’m indoors and set it on its side. The material used for umbrella canopies are usually quick drying, so this shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.
Finally, for shoes, I brush off the big drops, stick in cedar shoe trees, and then lay my shoes on their sides, like I’ve pictured above. I used to think the last step was kind of unnecessary, until I noticed that my wet shoes were sitting in puddles when I left them on their soles. Moisture can really weaken leather, so you need to make sure your shoes are completely dry before wearing them again. Setting them on their side helps aid that for the parts that are likely to be most damaged.
Whatever you do - whether for clothes, umbrellas, or shoes - avoid the temptation to hasten the drying process by setting things near a heater. You’re likely to over-dry your items, which can crack leather and make wool brittle. Heaters can rob these materials of their natural oils, so make sure you leave everything to dry at room temperature. Being patient, as usual, is the way to go. 

Drying Off

It started raining in the Bay Area this weekend. Really turbulent winds and heavy showers meant that every time I went out even for a few moments, I came home soaking wet. In such weather, it’s good to remember how to properly take care of your possessions.

For jackets and coats, you can brush off most of the water with your hands or a Kent clothing brush. Don’t stick your clothes in the closet afterwards just yet, however. You want to put them in an area with some good circulation, so they can dry properly. The risk with wet clothes is that they might develop mildew, which is really difficult to get rid of. A night out on a coat rack or something should be enough time to let them recover. After that, hang it in the closet with a hanger that has thick, moulded shoulders. I like the ones from The Hanger Project, but there are other merchants as well, such as A Suitable Wardrobe and, more affordably, Wooden Hangers USA.

Likewise, umbrellas should have time to dry before being furled up again. I shake mine off gently before coming in, and then open it again once I’m indoors and set it on its side. The material used for umbrella canopies are usually quick drying, so this shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.

Finally, for shoes, I brush off the big drops, stick in cedar shoe trees, and then lay my shoes on their sides, like I’ve pictured above. I used to think the last step was kind of unnecessary, until I noticed that my wet shoes were sitting in puddles when I left them on their soles. Moisture can really weaken leather, so you need to make sure your shoes are completely dry before wearing them again. Setting them on their side helps aid that for the parts that are likely to be most damaged.

Whatever you do - whether for clothes, umbrellas, or shoes - avoid the temptation to hasten the drying process by setting things near a heater. You’re likely to over-dry your items, which can crack leather and make wool brittle. Heaters can rob these materials of their natural oils, so make sure you leave everything to dry at room temperature. Being patient, as usual, is the way to go. 

It’s On Sale: SWIMS Galoshes
Shrine Haberdashers has SWIMS overshoes on sale for $35, plus something around $5 for FedEx shipping (see below). That’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen these offered. The sale isn’t available on their website, so you’ll have to call their store (312.675.2105) or email them (info@shrinestyle.com) to order. 
For those unfamiliar, you can slip these over your shoes to protect them from rain, snow, and mud. Once you arrive to your destination, you can slip them off so that you’re not having to wear rainboots in potentially inappropriate places. Choose brown for brown shoes, black for black shoes, and blue if you wear blue raincoats. Shrine also has an orange version not listed on their website. Orange goes with nothing, but if you’re the type to like such things, they can provide a touch of humor. 
(Update: Shrine just told us they sold out. To all those who were able to grab a pair, enjoy your new SWIMS). 

It’s On Sale: SWIMS Galoshes

Shrine Haberdashers has SWIMS overshoes on sale for $35, plus something around $5 for FedEx shipping (see below). That’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen these offered. The sale isn’t available on their website, so you’ll have to call their store (312.675.2105) or email them (info@shrinestyle.com) to order. 

For those unfamiliar, you can slip these over your shoes to protect them from rain, snow, and mud. Once you arrive to your destination, you can slip them off so that you’re not having to wear rainboots in potentially inappropriate places. Choose brown for brown shoes, black for black shoes, and blue if you wear blue raincoats. Shrine also has an orange version not listed on their website. Orange goes with nothing, but if you’re the type to like such things, they can provide a touch of humor. 

(Update: Shrine just told us they sold out. To all those who were able to grab a pair, enjoy your new SWIMS). 

Find Cover
It’s beginning to drizzle where I live, so I’ve been thinking about umbrellas a lot. The Chinese are said to have invented the first version during the Xia Dynasty, and there is some evidence that the Greeks had them as well. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century, however, that umbrellas were first used in England, and when they were introduced, they weren’t terribly popular. Nicholas Storey once recalled an anecdote by John MacDonald, who said that when he ventured forth with an umbrella in 1770, he was greeted with a heckle - "Frenchman, Frenchman, why don’t you call a coach?!" 
Today, an umbrella can be considered an essential for most men, and there are three general classes to choose from. The first class is the cheap, flimsy variety you find at places such as CVS for about $10. Those should be avoided. They only last a season or two, and even when they’re new, they’re unpleasant to use. It’s much better, I think, to pay the extra money to get something from the second class - reliable, industrially produced umbrellas. These start at about $16, but can go as high as $150. On the low-end of the spectrum, there’s Totes, which costs about $16 (use the discount code belt10). The handle is made out of a dark plastic that’s made to look like wood. It’s not the most elegant of materials, but it’s not terrible for the price. It’s also reasonably sturdy, and quite a good value for $16.  
A slight step above are Brooks Brothers and Barbour. These have slightly better finished wood handles, nicer detailing, and tastefully patterned canopies. Brooks discounts theirs by 25% every mid-season, and about 50% at the end of the season. At their sale prices, they’re especially good buys. A step above still are Davek and London Undercover. Davek’s umbrellas are especially nice in that they come with a lifetime guarantee, and should you ever lose yours, they’ll replace it for half the retail cost. They also have a slightly more modern feel than the other umbrellas discussed here, should you prefer that. 
The third class are artisanal or luxury-end umbrellas. In England, these include James Smith and Sons (the first umbrella shop in England), Swaine Adeney Brigg, and Fox Umbrellas Ltd. In Italy, there’s Mario Talarico, Francesco Maglia, and Passotti. These umbrellas tend to be handmade out of the best materials and constructed to the highest standards. The shafts and handles are made from Malacca, whangee, ebony, chestnut, rosewood, or sometimes even animal horn. Many come with full stick constructions, meaning that the handle and shaft are made from a single piece a wood. This is achieved with a lot of pressure, time, and steam. These are the finest umbrellas you can buy, and they’re a joy to use, but they’re also quite expensive. Most of them start around $175, and they can go as high as $1,000. Should you be in the market for one, you can visit any of those makers’ websites I linked, or check out the options at Shrine, Howard Yount, Under Knot, and Rain or Shine.
In the end, whatever you choose - either a $16 Totes or $1,000 Brigg - these should keep your dry for many seasons to come. And if someone calls you a Frenchman, you can probably be sure they read Nicholas Storey or Put This On (or you’re an actual Frenchman). 

Find Cover

It’s beginning to drizzle where I live, so I’ve been thinking about umbrellas a lot. The Chinese are said to have invented the first version during the Xia Dynasty, and there is some evidence that the Greeks had them as well. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century, however, that umbrellas were first used in England, and when they were introduced, they weren’t terribly popular. Nicholas Storey once recalled an anecdote by John MacDonald, who said that when he ventured forth with an umbrella in 1770, he was greeted with a heckle - "Frenchman, Frenchman, why don’t you call a coach?!" 

Today, an umbrella can be considered an essential for most men, and there are three general classes to choose from. The first class is the cheap, flimsy variety you find at places such as CVS for about $10. Those should be avoided. They only last a season or two, and even when they’re new, they’re unpleasant to use. It’s much better, I think, to pay the extra money to get something from the second class - reliable, industrially produced umbrellas. These start at about $16, but can go as high as $150. On the low-end of the spectrum, there’s Totes, which costs about $16 (use the discount code belt10). The handle is made out of a dark plastic that’s made to look like wood. It’s not the most elegant of materials, but it’s not terrible for the price. It’s also reasonably sturdy, and quite a good value for $16.  

A slight step above are Brooks Brothers and Barbour. These have slightly better finished wood handles, nicer detailing, and tastefully patterned canopies. Brooks discounts theirs by 25% every mid-season, and about 50% at the end of the season. At their sale prices, they’re especially good buys. A step above still are Davek and London Undercover. Davek’s umbrellas are especially nice in that they come with a lifetime guarantee, and should you ever lose yours, they’ll replace it for half the retail cost. They also have a slightly more modern feel than the other umbrellas discussed here, should you prefer that. 

The third class are artisanal or luxury-end umbrellas. In England, these include James Smith and Sons (the first umbrella shop in England), Swaine Adeney Brigg, and Fox Umbrellas Ltd. In Italy, there’s Mario Talarico, Francesco Maglia, and Passotti. These umbrellas tend to be handmade out of the best materials and constructed to the highest standards. The shafts and handles are made from Malacca, whangee, ebony, chestnut, rosewood, or sometimes even animal horn. Many come with full stick constructions, meaning that the handle and shaft are made from a single piece a wood. This is achieved with a lot of pressure, time, and steam. These are the finest umbrellas you can buy, and they’re a joy to use, but they’re also quite expensive. Most of them start around $175, and they can go as high as $1,000. Should you be in the market for one, you can visit any of those makers’ websites I linked, or check out the options at Shrine, Howard Yount, Under Knot, and Rain or Shine.

In the end, whatever you choose - either a $16 Totes or $1,000 Brigg - these should keep your dry for many seasons to come. And if someone calls you a Frenchman, you can probably be sure they read Nicholas Storey or Put This On (or you’re an actual Frenchman). 

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.

We Got It For Free: Tingley Executive Overshoes
The folks at BeltOutlet.com asked if there were any of their products we’d like to review, so I asked for a pair of Tingley overshoes. Since I work from home, I rarely have to commute in foul weather while wearing dress shoes, but I know this is a persistent problem for many of our readers.
Overshoes were a popular product back when men uniformly wore real shoes to work. These days, they’re more of a niche product, appealing to a small group of people: those who are professional enough to wear dress shoes, but also work somewhere urban enough that walking outdoors is part of their regular routine.
So: on the the Tingleys. They’re not as ugly as I thought they would be. I mean, they’re ugly, don’t get me wrong, but in the context of a business suit, they’re suprisingly unobtrusive. I also found them pretty easy to get on, even over the clunky Brooks Brothers white bucks I’m wearing today. That said: in a non-black-shoe context, they’d stick out like a sore thumb.
The most attractive option in the category is Swims, which are a bit sleeker, have a flocked lining, and come in a variety of interesting colors. They’re a valiant attempt at making overshoes almost attractive. Swims, though, retail at about a hundred dollars, compared to just $35 for Tingley’s boot model, and $25 for their lower-cut option.
Ultimately, I think the Tingleys are a practical solution to a practical problem. With a business suit and a trench, they’ll look like a man trying to reach his destination dry. Dignified, but not exactly dashing.

We Got It For Free: Tingley Executive Overshoes

The folks at BeltOutlet.com asked if there were any of their products we’d like to review, so I asked for a pair of Tingley overshoes. Since I work from home, I rarely have to commute in foul weather while wearing dress shoes, but I know this is a persistent problem for many of our readers.

Overshoes were a popular product back when men uniformly wore real shoes to work. These days, they’re more of a niche product, appealing to a small group of people: those who are professional enough to wear dress shoes, but also work somewhere urban enough that walking outdoors is part of their regular routine.

So: on the the Tingleys. They’re not as ugly as I thought they would be. I mean, they’re ugly, don’t get me wrong, but in the context of a business suit, they’re suprisingly unobtrusive. I also found them pretty easy to get on, even over the clunky Brooks Brothers white bucks I’m wearing today. That said: in a non-black-shoe context, they’d stick out like a sore thumb.

The most attractive option in the category is Swims, which are a bit sleeker, have a flocked lining, and come in a variety of interesting colors. They’re a valiant attempt at making overshoes almost attractive. Swims, though, retail at about a hundred dollars, compared to just $35 for Tingley’s boot model, and $25 for their lower-cut option.

Ultimately, I think the Tingleys are a practical solution to a practical problem. With a business suit and a trench, they’ll look like a man trying to reach his destination dry. Dignified, but not exactly dashing.

mostexerent:

Slippery & wet surface..

Time to SWIM!

I’m telling ya kids: overshoes.  Class.