How to Polish Your Shoes With Champagne Like a 19th Century Aristocrat

Back in the early 19th century, some of the most stylish men who belonged to high society in London and Paris made their shoes sparkle with champagne.

Of course, bubbles go better down the hatch, but some dandies — refined men devoted to embodying aristocratic lifestyle and dress — preferred it on their footwear.

Beau Brummell, royal ascot, champagne, shoes, polish, shine
Beau Brummell, a 19th century style influencer, preferred polishing shoes with champagne.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Royal Ascot

Among them, Beau Brummell, a style icon who was famous for being famous in the 1800s and popularized the dandiacal pose (think of him as the original social influencer), swore by the method as a way to make his shoes the blackest black.

During his heyday, Brummell helped define the men’s dress code standards of the Royal Ascot’s Royal Enclosure, which was established as the exclusive section reserved for the family, guests and Household of King George III, so he certainly knows how to make a style statement.

We put together a DIY video tutorial on how to polish black leather shoes at home using champagne.

1. Use a towel to remove dirt and debris off of your shoes. Clean all portions of the shoe from top to bottom.
2. Pop open a bottle of champagne and set aside some of the drink in a cup. Use a toothbrush to scrub champagne froth onto the black leather.
3. Extend the scrubbing all over, down to the soles. Repeat.
4. Swap the toothbrush for a nylon stocking for a velvety finish.
5. Scrub until you’re pleased with the look.

There are better methods for a glossy boot, but none of them involve a toast at the end. Watch below.

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