How to Restore your Favourite Wardrobe Pieces at Home

Quiet weekends at home offer up the perfect moment to give the lacklustre items in your wardrobes some love. Follow London bag and shoe restorers The Restory’s guidelines to bring your well worn pieces back to their former glory. 

Our London based atelier is bustling with artisans who specialise in the art of shoe, bag and leather goods restoration. They are experts in their craft from shoemaking, millinery, colour theory, handbag making, embroidery and so much more. Each of these skills has built up our A-Team, the next generation of artisans, who use their restoration magic to make you fall in love with your favourite pieces all over again.

Whilst our services are momentarily paused and we all get to grips with a change in lifestyle, we want to inspire you to look after your items as much as possible at home. In the age of overconsumption perhaps, if anything, this period is forcing the world to slow down and giving us the time to reconsider our purchasing habits. There’s never been a better time to start investing in those items that go well beyond #30Wears, and caring for the pieces we already own.

We encourage you to take this time to do a little wardrobe refresh. Pull out all your items and have a spring clean. Gather all your favourites and separate them into sections: most loved and in need of aftercare, some wear but good condition, perfect condition – like new. Then, follow our tips to put them away with care and refresh what you can at home.

We recommend giving all your items a regular wipe down to avoid dust build up (especially when they can’t be worn) but avoid using baby wipes on any item at all costs. These contain lanoline or other lotions that can leave marks that are even harder to remove. Instead, try a damp cloth or a specialist cleaner suited to the material. Or why not take the time to make your own homemade non-toxic cleaning spray? Mix your favourite smells, perhaps fresh lemon and rosemary, with some water and vinegar to really freshen up your wardrobe.

For the trickier items such as shoes and bags, we are here to help with a handy guide to help you restore your favourite accessories back to their former glory – all from the comfort of your own house.

Restoring your bags

Condition your leather bags (and jackets!) with an appropriate leather cream to keep the leather nourished and moisturised. It’s a skin that needs as much care as our own! Make sure you buff the leather with a clean cloth after conditioning. Do not use on veg leather, suede or nubuck – if in doubt get in touch with our team of artisans. 

Put a small towel or pillow in your bags when they are not in use. Leather has memory so if it sits folded, it will leave a mark and crease which can be difficult to rectify.

Keep your bags in their dust bags if possible. This keeps them dust free and avoids any potential scratches on hardware or any possible colour transfer from other items.

If you find joy in displaying your items around your room, avoid putting leather in a spot where the sunlight catches it. This can significantly affect the leather by causing the colour to fade.

Restoring your shoes

Use an old toothbrush to clean the rubber soles of your shoes. Dip it in soapy water and get deep into the sole markings.

For suede, use a rubber brush specifically made for suede to gently brush away the built-up dust and dirt that this surface typically attracts. This will also revive the nap. An old toothbrush works for this too but make sure the bristles are soft to avoid causing more damage.

Put tea bags inside your shoes to eliminate any lingering odours; green tea, Yorkshire, lemon and ginger, the choice is yours.

Head to our Instagram highlights to discover our advice on trainer cleaning. You’ll need that old toothbrush to hand again.

Found something that you love but is missing a little je ne sais quoi? Get creative and reimagine some of your old favourites. Satin and leather items can be dyed a different colour or think about adding an additional strap or personalising your belongings with your initials.

For anything that is seemingly impossible to restore yourself, we invite you to #ChallengeTheRestory and share an old favourite item in need of some TLC on Instagram. We’ll respond with the services we can provide, from colour restoration to heel recovering. Whatever it is, we’ll come up with a solution so you can love your items for longer.


Spend a day at the atelier with The Restory’s specialist team of artisans

In need of more weekend activities? See our pick of creative courses and workshops to do at home

Learn how to spring clean your closet with Creative Wardrobe’s Charlie Collins.