The Walpole Daily Practice | Looking after your best things with The Restory
Who started this whole lockdown determined to crack on with a big project like learning a second language or writing a novel? I blithely said I was determined to finish reading Proust (started it 30 years ago, so progress had not hitherto been very promising), but over the weeks I’ve downgraded my ambitions and now I’ll be happy if I end lockdown having learned how to stick on my own false eyelashes.
However, I have managed to get on with a few things around the house: A few weeks ago I began to sort out, and do some running repairs on, my good clothes, albeit not very speedily. I’ve found it oddly satisfying to sew on missing buttons and reattach sequins, fix hems that have been down for ages, steam out creases and sponge off marks from suits, and gently wash and pack away my cashmere (I have followed scrupulously this Johnstons of Elgin advice – good cashmere is beautiful forever if you look after it, particularly if you can keep the moth-bastards away. If you are unlucky enough to get a moth hole, send it immediately to the cashmere hospital at Johnstons for repair).
It’s a central tenet of Walpole’s luxury philosophy that luxury items should not come with built-in obsolescence – a thing of beauty ought to be a joy forever – but even things that are built to last and made from the best materials by skilled craftspeople need a little TLC if they’re worn and enjoyed. And an investment purchase pays back with interest if well looked after as well as well-loved.
I am about to repeat the ‘renovate and repair’ process with my bags and shoes (oh, all those lovely high heels – I can’t wait until we’re able to go to parties again): I’ll do what I can at home, but put the rest aside to get a repair quote from The Restory, so my most treasured bags and shoes will be ready for the Big Unlock. If you ask The Restory for a preliminary quote you can sign up for priority access and then be the first to know when they’ve reopened (soon, I hope) and get an exclusive 15% discount (or you can donate the price of the discount to the Duty To Care charity if you wish). I’m fairly handy with a needle and thread, but shoe and bag care is not my forte – I asked the team at The Restory for their advice on the kinds of things I could do myself:
The Restory’s Guide to at home shoe and bag care.
Use an old toothbrush to clean the sole of your trainers. Dip it in soapy water and this will allow you to get deep into the sole markings.
Your shoe laces, particularly trainers, attract lots of dirt and dust that isn’t as simple to wipe off. Remove them and leave to soak in soapy water. If white, add a little stain remover. Be sure to iron out the creases once they’ve been in the wash.
Avoid using baby wipes to clean your leather shoes and bags at all costs as this can do more harm than good. Try a damp cloth or specialist cleaner suited to the material.
For suede shoes or bags, we recommend using a rubber brush specifically made for suede. This will not only help remove the dust and build up that suede typically attracts but it will also revive the nap.
Condition your leather items with an appropriate leather cream to keep the leather nourished and moisturised. (They need it as much as we do!) Make sure you buff the leather with a soft cloth after conditioning. Do not use on vegan leather, suede or nubuck, if in doubt get in touch with SERVICE@THE-RESTORY.COM.
Put tea bags (any kind will do) inside your shoes to eliminate any lingering odours when storing them away.
Use shoe trees to preserve the shape of your shoes to ensure they don’t get squashed at the bottom of the wardrobe.
Polish any hardware on your bags with a dry cloth to keep the shine as much as possible.
Put a small towel or pillow in your bags when they aren’t in use. This will prevent them from folding and creasing which is difficult to rectify.
Keep your bags in their dust bags if possible, this will keep them dust free and avoid any potential scratches on hardware or any possible colour transfer from other items.
On the subject of sustainability (because by looking after our things, we stop them ending up in landfill) The Restory has a really interesting partnership with Vestiare Collective at the moment – have a look at instagram @vestiareco or #fashionshouldfeelgood – the beautiful films showing how high-end bags can be brought back to life are by @nicolemarkhoff