You Party Animal

It still amazes my how many people my age have no clue how to behave at parties. They’ll show up uninvited, not show up at all, get so drunk that they get sick all over the floor, or completely embarrass the hosts. I have many friends who have stopped hosting all together because they’re tired of dealing with all the undignified behavior. This is unfortunate, because parties are a blast.

In order to promote more celebrations and festivities, today’s post will consist of a guide to appropriate party behavior. The Smart Modern Woman is dignified above all else, and she should know how to behave at the party. (That way she’ll get invited to more!)

  • RSVP. You should always tell the host that you will be attending, even if it’s a causal college party. That way they’ll know to expect you and can stop worrying about whether or not anybody will show up. On the other hand, they won’t be waiting around for you all night if you decline the invitation – this is especially important if the party is being thrown by someone you’re romantically interested in. Also, if you say you’re going, you better show up.
    ***IF YOU DON’T RECEIVE AN INVITATION, DON’T SHOW UP OR INVITE YOURSELF*** If someone other than the host invites you, check with the host that it’s okay for you to attend.
  • Arrive Fashionably Late. Plan on arriving between 10 and 20 minutes of the event’s start time. If it’s a college party you can arrive up to an hour after, but be earlier if you’re close friends with the host. Never ever arrive early, sit in your car if you have to but don’t you dare interrupt the host’s preparations. If you’re running late text or call the host to let them know you’re still coming.
  • Bring Something. The host probably spent a good bit on the party so bring them a gift that you know they will genuinely enjoy as a thank you. If it’s a college party it’s always a good idea to bring your own liquor/beer and mixers. If you don’t know what to bring, call the host before the start of the party and ask if they need anything specific for the party.
  • Circle the Room. Make sure you take the time to talk to everyone. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know and participate in conversation and activities. Your job as a guest is to help the host make sure the party runs smoothly; so if you see someone standing alone, say hi. You don’t have to get into anything lengthy, just talk about how they know the hosts, any upcoming local events, etc. once you’ve gotten the group into a longer conversation keep moving around the room. Once you’ve spoken to everyone, feel free to join the most interesting conversation going on, and enjoy it.
  • Drink responsibly. It’s perfectly fine to indulge, just make sure you’re in control. You don’t want to embarrass yourself, annoy other guests, or anger the host. If you think you’ve had a bit too much, apologize to the host and find a safe way to leave gracefully and quickly.
  • Make A Graceful Exit. If the party has a stated end time, leave within 15 minutes of it. Otherwise, leave when things seem to be winding down or when the host stops engaging with the party. Always thank the host and ask if you can do anything to help clean up before you leave. Don’t forget to offer a ride to anyone who may have had too much to drink. Do not drive if you’ve been drinking.

With these tips and tricks you are sure to be welcome at every party your friends throw. So go out and enjoy their company!

A Gift For The Bride & Groom

Ah weddings! They’re a ton of fun, and a wonderful part of life. However, how do you handle selecting a gift? With so many registry items being expensive (electronics or fine china), too personal (bedding), or kind of boring (coasters) it can be difficult to decide what to actually give the bride and groom to celebrate – and not giving a gift is not an option.

Here’s our guide on selecting and sending your gift to the happy couple:

  • The registry is a guide, you’re allowed to buy something that’s not on the list – especially if you know the couple well – but if you don’t have a clue what to buy, then stick to the list.
  • Stick to home items. The bride and groom will be starting a new life (and often a new home) together, and will probably want to redecorate. Plus, it’s a nice tradition.
  • Plan on spending at least $50. This isn’t a hard and fast rule (especially if you’re still in college and on a tight budget) but if you spend less that $50 you should be getting something from their registry. Otherwise, honestly you’re just being cheap.
  • If you can’t afford $50, or anything on the registry, give a group gift. Get some of your friends together and all pitch in to give the couple one of the more expensive gifts on their list.
  • Buy the gift within 2 months of the wedding. The old one-year rule no longer applies. Get the gift within 2 months so the bride can get her Thank Yous done and start enjoying married life.
  • Ship the gift to the couple’s home. Don’t bring it to the wedding – the couple will have too much going on to worry about gifts. Be sure to include a note with your gift 🙂
  • Try to avoid giving cash. You were invited because the couple values spending time with you, show that you value them back by buying them something.
  • If you don’t know the couple’s tastes, go classic not quirky, it’s a safe move.
  • If you’re in the wedding, plan ahead. Your gift can be small/inexpensive, but should be thoughtful. Try a book of poems, or a scrapbook of the couple. Make it personal and unique and it won’t matter how much it costs.
  • Write a beautiful card/note, especially if you’re buying from the registry.

Got any more questions about gift-giving? Post them in the comments and we’ll answer them ASAP.

Ace The Interview

Job interviews are stressful enough without worrying about what to wear. Appearances are first impressions, they’re worth gold. So today here’s your guide to the most common interview attire – business professional. (Well get to other attire eventually, I promise.)

My rule of thumb is that for every interview you want to look intelligent, organized, and confident. Now how do you do that? Let’s start with the basics.

What to wear

– A suit in a neutral color: black, grey, navy, or taupe. Make sure that you buy the skirt/pants and jacket TOGETHER to ensure they match perfectly.

– A blouse or button-up in a quality fabric. Stick with a solid color (bold colors are appropriate for creatives, otherwise stick with a neutral that compliments your suit). Subtle patterns are acceptable, but don’t choose anything too bold or feminine. Anything floral or lace may come off as unprofessional – it’s unfortunate but true. You want to be respected, not diminished.

– Black or nude closed toe pumps with a slight heel but no taller than 2 inches. If it’s cold out add tights. You want to look polished, not like you’re going clubbing.

– Optional, a formal coat. I personally recommend a tailored trench or overcoat in a neutral color.

– Keep accessories minimal. Pearls are always great for a necklace. Stick with stud earrings, and simple bracelets. If you’re a creative feel free to wear a statement piece, just make sure it isn’t overpowering.

It’s all in the details

Here are some basic rules of thumb to follow when selecting what to wear.

– Fit Is Everything! Even the most expensive suit will make you look cheap if it’s too tight or too baggy, be sure the suit fits properly and visit a tailor if you can’t find something off the rack.
– Quality is an investment, and it makes a difference.
You only need one suit that you can wear to all your interviews. Save up and invest in a quality fabric, you can find inexpensive but quality options in many stores. Our recommendations include Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Gap. You can occasionally find things at Target too if you’re really in a bind.
– Look for pieces you can use in other outfits.
Blouses can be worn with slacks, and even jeans, blazers dress up any casual outfit, and pencil skirts are always in style.

Got any questions or suggestions? What’s your favorite interview outfit? Let us know in the comments!

How to Set A Table

A thorough knowledge of ettiquette is essential in every Smart Modern Woman’s life. Such knowledge allows a woman to move through her life with ease. Today we’re going to share with you Emily Post’s guide for table setting.

Table setting is an essential skill that will allow you to not only be the perfect host, but allow you to know which fork to use when you’re the guest.


Basic Table Setting

Use this guide for an informal, single course meal.

basic_place_setting

1. Picture the word “FORKS.” The order, left to right, is: F for Fork, O for the Plate (the shape!), K for Knives and S for Spoons. (Okay, you have to forget the R, but you get the idea!)

2. Holding your hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefingers to make a lowercase ‘b’ with your left hand and a lowercase ‘d’ with your right hand. This reminds you that “bread and butter” go to the left of the place setting and “drinks” go on the right. Emily Post could have used that trick–she was often confused about which bread and butter belonged to her–and sometimes she used her neighbor’s! In which case, when it was called to her attention, she would say to the dismayed lady or gentleman, “Oh, I am always mixing them up. Here, please take mine!”

Some other things to know:

– Knife blades always face the plate
– The napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate
– The bread and butter knife are optional


Informal Table Setting

informal_place_setting

Use this guide for an informal, 3 course meal.

Our illustration shows how a table would be set for the following menu:

– Soup course
– Salad or first course
– Entree
– Dessert

(a) Dinner plate: This is the “hub of the wheel” and is usually the first thing to be set on the table. In our illustration, the dinner plate would be placed where the napkin is, with the napkin on top of the plate.

(b) Two Forks: The forks are placed to the left of the plate. The dinner fork, the larger of the two forks, is used for the main course; the smaller fork is used for a salad or an appetizer. The forks are arranged according to when you need to use them, following an “outside-in” order. If the small fork is needed for an appetizer or a salad served before the main course, then it is placed on the left (outside) of the dinner fork; if the salad is served after the main course, then the small fork is placed to the right (inside) of the dinner fork, next to the plate.

(c) Napkin: The napkin is folded or put in a napkin ring and placed either to the left of the forks or on the center of the dinner plate. Sometimes, a folded napkin is placed under the forks.

(d) Dinner Knife: The dinner knife is set immediately to the right of the plate, cutting edge facing inward. (If the main course is meat, a steak knife can take the place of the dinner knife.) At an informal meal, the dinner knife may be used for all courses, but a dirty knife should never be placed on the table, place mat or tablecloth.

(e) Spoons: Spoons go to the right of the knife. In our illustration, soup is being served first, so the soup spoon goes to the far (outside) right of the dinner knife; the teaspoon or dessert spoon, which will be used last, goes to the left (inside) of the soup spoon, next to the dinner knife.

(f) Glasses: Drinking glasses of any kind — water, wine, juice, iced tea — are placed at the top right of the dinner plate, above the knives and spoons.

Other dishes and utensils are optional, depending on what is being served, but may include:

(g) Salad Plate: This is placed to the left of the forks. If salad is to be eaten with the meal, you can forgo the salad plate and serve it directly on the dinner plate. However, if the entree contains gravy or anything runny, it is better to serve the salad on a separate plate to keep things neater.

(h) Bread Plate with Butter Knife: If used, the bread plate goes above the forks, with the butter knife placed diagonally across the edge of the plate, handle on the right side and blade facing down.

(i) Dessert Spoon and Fork: These can be placed either horizontally above the dinner plate (the spoon on top with its handle facing to the right; the fork below with its handle facing left); or beside the plate. If placed beside the plate, the fork goes on the left side, closest to the plate (because it will be the last fork used) and the spoon goes on the right side of the plate, to the right of the dinner knife and to the left of the soup spoon.

(j) Coffee Cup and Saucer: Our illustration shows a table setting that would be common in a restaurant serving a large number of people at once, with coffee being served during the meal. The coffee cup and saucer are placed above and to the right of the knife and spoons. At home, most people serve coffee after the meal. In that case the cups and saucers are brought tot he table and placed above and to the right of the knives and spoons.


Formal Table Setting

formal_place_setting

The one rule for a formal table is for everything to be geometrically spaced: the centerpiece at the exact center; the place settings at equal distances; and the utensils balanced. Beyond these placements, you can vary flower arrangements and decorations as you like.

The placement of utensils is guided by the menu, the idea being that you use utensils in an “outside in” order. For the illustrated place setting here, the order of the menu is:

  • Appetizer: Shellfish
  • First Course: Soup or fruit
  • Fish Course
  • Entree
  • Salad

(a) Service Plate: This large plate, also called a charger, serves as an underplate for the plate holding the first course, which will be brought to the table. When the first course is cleared, the service plate remains until the plate holding the entree is served, at which point the two plates are exchanged. The charger may serve as the underplate for several courses which precede the entree.

(b) Butter Plate: The small butter plate is placed above the forks at the left of the place setting.

(c) Dinner Fork: The largest of the forks, also called the place fork, is placed on the left of the plate. Other smaller forks for other courses are arranged to the left or right of the dinner fork, according to when they will be used.

(d) Fish Fork: If there is a fish course, this small fork is placed to the left of the dinner fork because it is the first fork used.

(e) Salad Fork: If the salad is served after the entree, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the forks would be arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

(f) Dinner Knife: The large dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.

(g) Fish Knife: The specially shaped fish knife goes to the right of the dinner knife.

(h) Salad Knife (Note: there is no salad knife in the illustration): If used, according to the above menu, it would be placed to the left of the dinner knife, next to the dinner plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the knives would be arranged (left to right): dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife.

(i) Soup Spoon or Fruit Spoon: If soup or fruit is served as a first course, then the accompanying spoon goes to the right of the knives.

(j) Oyster Fork: If shellfish are to be served, the oyster fork goes to the right of the spoons. Note: It is the only fork ever placed on the right of the plate.

(k) Butter Knife: The small spreader is paced diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right and blade down.

(l) Glasses: These can number up to five and are placed so that the smaller ones are up front. The water goblet (la) is placed directly above the knives. Just to the right are placed a red (lc) or white (ld) wine glass. A sherry glass, or champagne flute, to accompany a first course or for an opening toast, go to the right of the wine glasses (le).

(m) Napkin: The napkin is placed on top of the charger (if one is used) or in the space for the plate. It can also go to the left of the forks, or under the forks if space is tight.

In General:

– Knife blades are always placed with the cutting edge toward the plate.
– No more than three of any implement are ever placed on the table, except when an oyster fork is used in addition to three other forks. If more than three courses are served before dessert, then the utensil for the fourth course is brought in with the food; likewise the salad fork and knife may be brought in when the salad course is served.
– Dessert spoons and forks are brought in on the dessert plate just before dessert is served.


Content and imagery courtesy of EmilyPost.com.

The Art of Thanks

It astonishes me how many people don’t write thank you notes. A handwritten thank you can mean the world. It can get you the job you want, or let your grandmother know you care. Thank you notes are more than just common curtesy, they’re a necessity. Every woman needs to know how to write a proper thank you note. Here is the format that has been most successful for me:

Dear Whoever,

Thank you so much for (insert whatever you’re tankful for here). In this sentence describe how receiving whatever it was made you feel, for example: I absolutely adore the necklace you gave me. OR I am sincerely appreciative of you taking the time to meet me. Next you write something about what you learned or what you plan to do with whatever you received. Finally, conclude with something about how thankful you are and how much you appreciate the person you’re writing to.

Sincerely/Love/Thanks again!/Gratefully,

Your Name

Obviously you can and should play with this format. These are guidelines. As with conversation, you need to focus on the person you’re corresponding with. Say something meaningful, and above all be genuine. Even if you hate the gift your Great Aunt Sally gave you for Christmas, you still love her – so express that. If you want to be a classy, well mannered woman you will use thank you notes (handwritten ones!) and use them frequently. They are so easy, and mean so much. Plus you can buy new stationery. So decide that today you’ll write a thank you note to someone, anyone who you’re grateful for.

Erm, well, this is awkward.

Awkward silences are the worst, scariest, most mortifying things on the planet. No Smart Modern Woman should have to endure conversations riddled with pauses and weirdness. Today I’ll be sharing some conversation tips with you so that you can keep the conversation going and always present yourself as charming, interested, and outgoing (even if you’re introverted like me). Conversation should not be scary. Yes, I understand there are introverts and extroverts, but even introverts can learn how to get over their shyness and manage a good conversation without sacrificing their introversion (because it can be a strength, regardless of what society says). Trust me, I’ve done it. Now, I could easily ramble off on a bunch of unhelpful tangents that would be of absolutely no help to you. Instead I will be sharing an article that helped me through sorority rush (where your conversation skills determine who your friends will be for the next 4 years – talk about pressure), job interviews, office parties, family parties (a whole different level of awkward) and even just day to day talks with strangers. First, here are 10 essential conversation rules that you should absolutely adhere to when talking with someone. These come to us from Celes+ at Personal Excellence, for the full article, click here.

  1. Be genuinely interested in the person. Who is this person? What’s on his/her mind? What does he/she enjoy doing? What motivates him/her in life? These are the questions I have for every single person I meet. Since people make up my life purpose (to help others achieve their highest potential and live their best lives), my genuine interest in people, from who they are to what they do, comes naturally.Such genuine interest, not an artificial one, is essential to making a conversation fly. Even if you execute rules #2 through #10 of being a great conversationalist to a tee, the conversation will still fall flat because there is no driving force behind the exchange. So, have a genuine interest in everyone you speak to. If you are not interested in the other person, then why speak to him/her to begin with? Move on to someone you really want to talk to. Life is too short to be spent doing things you don’t like.
  2. Focus on the positives. Go for the positive topics. Which means rather than talk about past grievances, opt for a discussion of future goals. Rather than talk about the coffee that spilled on your table this morning, talk about that movie you are looking forward to watch later in the evening. It’s okay to talk about “negative” topics (read: topics that trigger negative emotions) once in a while, but only when you feel it is okay with the other party and when it has a specific purpose (e.g., to get to know the other person better or to bond with the person).During your conversations, always adopt a forward-thinking mentality. Less complaining, more solutions. Less judging, more empathy. Doing more of the latter will make you a more enjoyable person to speak to. Doing the former will turn you into an energy vampire.Principle #4 of 10 Timeless Principles for Lasting Happiness teaches you how to see the positives over the negatives in every situation.
  3. Converse, not debate (or argue). In the article opening, I mentioned this recent conversation I had where the guy was highly argumentative. Rather than treat the conversation as a fun, enjoyable exchange, he kept picking on stray comments and turning them into elaborate me vs. you arguments, when the discussion didn’t matter to me either way. Needless to say, the conversation quickly dwindled into nothingness. His combative and demeaning tack was so draining that I didn’t even want to speak to him after fifteen minutes.A conversation should be a platform where opinions are aired, not a battle ground to pit one’s stance against another. Be ready to chat, discuss, and trash out ideas, but do so amiably. There’s no need to have a conclusion or agreement point in every discussion; if a convergence has to be met with everything that is mooted, the conversation would be very draining. Allow for things to be left open-ended if a common point can’t be achieved.
  4. Respect; don’t impose, criticize, or judgeRespect other people’s point of view. It’s fine to express your opinion, but don’t forcefully enforce it on them. Respect other people’s space—don’t encroach on the person’s privacy unless a common bond has been established. Respect other people’s personal choices—don’t criticize or judge. To do otherwise in each instance would be to impose yourself onto others when it isn’t your place to do so. Remember, everyone has his/her right to be him/herself, just as you have the right to be yourself.
  5. Put the person in his/her best light. Always look for ways to make the person look good. Give credit where credit is due. Recognize talent where you see it. Drop compliments where appropriate.  Allow the person to shine in his/her own light. A lot of people don’t recognize their personal prowess and it’s up to you to help them do that. Be their guide; be their conduit to love.
  6. Embrace differences while building on commonalities. Everyone is different. At the same time, there are always commonalities across people. For the differences, embrace them. They make all of us unique. Agree to disagree if there are clashes in ideas. As you talk to the other person, look for commonalities between you and him/her. Once you find a common link, build on it. Use that as a platform to spin off more discussions which will then reveal more about both of you. For the new commonalities that get unveiled, build on them further.
  7. Be true to yourself. Your best asset is your true personality. Embrace it and let it shine. Don’t cover it up. It’ll be pretty boring if all you do is mime the other person’s words during a conversation; there wouldn’t be anything to discuss at all. Be ready to share your real thoughts and opinions (not in a combative manner of course—see #3). Be proud of what you stand for and be ready to let others know the real you. Read: Finding Your Inner Self
  8. 50-50 sharing. I always think that a great conversation should be made up of equal sharing by both parties. Sometimes it may be 40-60 or 60-40 depending on the circumstances, but by and large, both parties should have equal opportunities to share and contribute to the conversation.What this means is that you should be sensitive enough to pose questions to the other party if you have been talking for a while. (See #9.) It also means that you should take the initiative to share more about yourself if the other party has been sharing for the most part. Just because the person doesn’t ask doesn’t mean you can’t share; sometimes people don’t pose questions because it is not in their natural self to do so.
  9. Ask purposeful questions. Questions elicit answers. The kind of questions you ask will steer the direction of the conversation. To have a meaningful conversation with the other person, ask meaningful questions. Choose questions like, “What drives you in life?”, “What are your goals for the next year?” and “What inspired you to make this change?” over “What did you do yesterday?” and “What are you going to do later?”. Try out the questions in this list for a change: 101 Important Questions To Ask Yourself.Some people may not be ready to take on conscious questions, and that’s fine. Start off with the simple, trivial, everyday questions as you build a rapport. Then, get to know the person better through deeper, more revealing questions—when you think the person is ready to share.
  10. Give and take. Sometimes people say pretty weird stuff during conversations. For example, a critical comment here and there, a distasteful remark, and a bad joke. Don’t judge them for those comments; treat these blurts as Freudian slips. Give them the benefit of doubt (unless clearly proven otherwise). I myself make random oddball comments sometimes which leave me wondering why I even did that afterwards. Usually I just laugh or shrug it off; it makes for funny conversation banter.

These rules are guaranteed to help you improve your conversation with ease. I also suggest looking into some of the links to more detailed topics covered by Personal Excellence in order to get a better handle on the topic. Finally, the simplest and best advice I’ve ever gotten on conversation- Get the person talking about themselves, and REALLY LISTEN. They’ll like you automatically. So get out there and start practicing on strangers (it’s easier to learn the techniques when you’re not worried about seeing so-and-so again), eventually it will become second nature. You’re about to be one of the most popular, well-liked, and respected people around. Seriously.

The Care And Keeping Of Shoes

What’s the point of having a whole extra closet full of shoes if you don’t take care of them? You’ll save money and constantly look chic if you take the time to maintain your footwear. I stumbled across this great article from Sadie Stein at Jezebel that shows all the ins and outs of proper shoe care, and I thought I’d share it for you.

“This is a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do situation. For years I took terrible care of my shoes. And every time I faced a cobbler’s scorn, I was shamed and resolved to do better. I’m still a work in progress, but have learned that the following really can extend a shoe’s life immeasurably. Do an inventory of your shoes at the end of a season; get them in good working order. You’ll be glad when you unpack them.

Make Friends With Your Cobbler
You don’t have to, you know, help him move, but find a shoe repair place you like, that does good work. And get in the habit or dropping new shoes off before you wear them — and then again, before it’s too late. I know how hard it is when the temptation of that new pair is calling, but those extra few days will pay dividends and you’ll have the pleasant satisfaction of knowing you’re being all responsible..

Soles!
Almost all your shoes will benefit from a thin rubber sole. It’s not cheap, but more than any other thing you do, this extends a shoe’s life. If a shoe has a leather or untextured sole, it also makes it safer for slippery streets. Some shoes will benefit from a half-sole; others may need a full one. Ask your cobbler! I even do this with my heels, sometimes.

Taps!
These are an absolute necessity for heels: they’ll preserve the toe and extend the shoe’s life, all for around $20.

Tips!
As soon as a heel loses a tip, replace it. Like, take the shoe off asap: otherwise the heel will quickly get shredded — and the sound of a metal screw on concrete is like nails on a chalkboard.

Weatherproofing
Necessary for boots, but a good idea for just about any shoe. A cobbler can do this for you, or buy a can of the stuff, grab some newspaper and plenty of ventilation, and go to town.

Polishing
Not merely an aesthetic frill — although scuffed shoes look crummy — but important to preserving a shoe from harsh wear, salt and even sweat. You don’t need to keep your shoes spit-shined, but don’t let the finish wear away. Polish them yourself whenever they get a little dull (or regularly if we’re talking your primary shoes) or, if it’s a tricky color, get it done by a pro. Buffing is cosmetic, but highly satisfying.

Heels
There’s a reason “down-at-the-heels” is an expression: nothing looks cruddier. Take them to a cobbler before they get to this point. People can do amazing things with rebuilding and repairing, but often the balance is never the same, and hard though it is to make yourself bring a shoe in for maintenance before it gets bad, this is key.

Cleaning:
Cleaning is another thing that’s not purely aesthetic: salt, especially, eats away at leather, so it’s important to try to wipe off the elements.

Leather

    • Use saddle soap. This is what it’s for, and you can get it at any drugstore or shoe repair.
    • Rub your shoe with soapy water and a soft cloth.
    • Apply saddle soap all over; wipe off.
    • If they’re aging, add some leather conditioner.
    • If you need to fix their shape, apply leather conditioner, stuff with newspaper or shoe trees, and let sit for a few days.

Suede
Suede requires special products to really keep it in good condition. These are available from any shoe repair store. You can use a metal-bristled suede brush to keep the nap looking good. For cleaning, you want a crumbly suede cleaning block (or “eraser”) that really digs out dirt.

Sneakers: Canvas or Leather
While technically canvas senaks are machine-washable, the machine is bad for the rubber in a sneaker; hand-washing will preserve their life.

    • If the shoe’s caked with dirt, knock off as much as you can, and wipe with a damp cloth to get off the rest.
    • Rinse in warm water inside and out.
    • Then give them a good scrub with a mix of water and detergent or shampoo. I like an old toothbrush; a scrub pad works too.
    • Rinse with cool water.
    • Let air-dry (away from a heater); stuff them with paper to preserve their shape if you want.

General Wear & Tear

    • Give ’em a rest. It’s not always possible, but alternating pairs gives is good for leather shoes.
    • Keep in mind that sweat can eat away at a shoe’s interior. Wear socks or liners if you can. If not, though, try to remember to swab them out with alcohol occasionally to clean the interior.
    • On the odor question: a little antifungal powder — or tea-tree-oil — should take care of it.
    • Obviously, shoe trees are a good idea, but newspaper works in a pinch. I am a big fan of old magazines stuffed in my boots. This sort of thing, of course, is most important if a boot or shoe is damp.

Long-Term Storage
In a perfect world, all your shoes are in their original boxes, maybe with a polaroid of each on the front. In the real world, just keeping them from a tangle on the closet floor is better than nothing. Shoe racks are a great storage solution, and a flat under-the-bed box saves space. While shoe bags may seem like a frill, they will help protect polished shoes in storage or a suitcase. Non-acid tissue or bubble-wrap works too. And remember: make sure shoes are dry and aired before long-term storage.”

This article was originally published here.