Many believe the fashion world to be an intimate clique; off limits to the everyday man. While we work hard to dispel this myth and prove that style is accessible to everyone, we can’t deny the existence of ‘the knowledge’.
The equivalent of a black cab driver knowing the back routes of London, the knowledge is the insider’s know-how for getting it right first time, or fixing it when something goes wrong.
But the knowledge isn’t always glamorous. Yes, it pays to have your tailor and barber on speed dial, but sometimes it calls for a little DIY.
With that in mind, here are some of our favourite weird and wonderful quick fix clothing and shoe hacks.
1. Freeze Smelly Shoes
We’ve all got that one pair of faithful old trainers or brogues that we just can’t bear to part with. Sadly for others it can mean they have to bear the stink a well-worn pair of shoes can kick out.
Long-term over the counter solutions like Odor-Eaters insoles or spray work wonders but if you’ve run out (or there’s a particular funk after a long day) harness the power of the freezer.
Put the shoes in a zip lock bag and expose them to sub-zero temperatures overnight. This kills bacteria lurking around and reduces the smell significantly.
The same can be done for jeans because – as we all know too well – washing those should be kept to a minimum.
2. Sharpen Razors On Denim
As highlighted in our guide to the 12 grooming mistakes you don’t know you’re making, blunt razors are the main cause of burning, itching, stinging and redness when shaving. To reduce being left literally red faced, you can temporarily extend the life of your cartridge or disposable razor with this simple trick.
Take an old (but clean) pair of jeans and run the razor up the denim around twenty times quickly, then repeat this on the same strip in the other direction a further twenty. Both times make sure you’re pointing the razor in the direction you are going (in other words, don’t shave your jeans).
This trick mildly sharpens a dull blade but also realigns the blades, fixing any kinks or bends, making for a smoother, more even glide across the face.
3. Hair Dryer Creases Away
Hanging your shirt in the bathroom while you shower is one of those weird style tricks that has gone mainstream. But what if your shower is on the blink, someone else is in there or you need to change quickly?
Slightly dampen the shirt with water and use a hair dryer (held about two inches away from the garment to avoid burning it) to apply heat.
It’s always good to remember not to put something on immediately after it has been ironed because this can actually cause new wrinkles to form. Wait around five minutes and you’ll be good to go.
4. Use A Salad Spinner To Dry Hand Washed Clothes
Congratulations on reading the care instructions of your garment carefully; unfortunately, now you get to wash them like you’re in the 1800s.
The major gripe with hand washing clothes is how wet they are left – and wringing them out creates far more wrinkles than is necessary. Skip waiting four days for something to dry by popping them in a salad spinner and putting those arm muscles to good use.
5. Remove Sweat Stains From Shirts
Yellowing around the collar or under the arms of your favourite crisp white shirt usually signals the end of its lifespan, and it can be a heartbreaking time.
To make one last ditch attempt at bringing it back to its former glory, use a combination of natural ingredients to attack the discolouration.
Soak the shirt in a bowl filled with one cup of vinegar and two cups warm water for twenty minutes. Remove and squeeze until damp (or use that salad spinner), then lay flat on a towel.
Next mix half a cup of baking soda with one tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide (a natural whitener) to form a paste. Spread this on the stains and massage in gently. Allow the mixture to work for at least twenty minutes (longer for very heavy staining).
Finally, throw the shirt in a wash with the rest of your whites and marvel at the results once finished.