Sunday, October 19, 2014

Take Care of Your Clothes and Accesories

I'm a big believer in taking care of clothing, shoes, handbags, scarves and jewelry. All of these will hold their value and appearance much longer if taken care of.

CLOTHING: Hang up your clothes inside out after wearing them. This allows the fabric to air out and wrinkles to fall out. Turn them right side out the next day, check for stains and loose buttons then hang them in a designated area so you will know they have been worn at least once.

SHOES & BOOTS: They should be wiped off at the end of the day. Don't put them away until they have aired out. Check for scuff marks or worn out heels so you can take them for repairs ASAP. Use cut to fit swimming "noodles" inside your boots to keep them upright in your closet. Save your boot boxes for storage during warm weather.

SCARVES: They are handled frequently as well as being worn next to the skin. Machine wash and air dry synthetic scarves. Always dry clean scarves that are 100% silk or have some silk in them. Wearing a scarf under a jacket or shirt collar will keep the collars clean longer.

JEWELRY: Jewelry should be cleaned every time you wear it. The exception is wedding rings. Necklaces collect skin oils, hair spray and perfume so place them in a bowl of cool, clean water then lay them on a clean tissue to air dry. NEVER put genuine pearls in jewelry cleaner because they will dissolve. Clean earrings and bracelets too. Be careful when cleaning Vintage jewelry. Sometimes the glue holding stones in place has dried out and too much water will allow the stones to fall out. Vintage pieces and pearl jewelry should be stored in individual bags so they don't get scratched or damaged.

HANDBAGS:  If you have invested in an expensive handbag you should take very good care of it. Find out if you can clean it with neutral polish or if a clean, damp rag is recommended. If you have evening bags with embellishments they should be stored in gallon size zip loc bags. Store leather and canvas bags in cloth handbag bags or use old pillowcases. You can make them pretty in your closet by tying a color coordinated ribbon to the top of the pillowcases.

Watch for sales on wooden hangers for your heavy coats and jackets. Use them for suit jackets too. Buy hangers with clips for slacks and skirts so there are no coat hanger creases in the slacks. You will want to use hangers with rounded ends for shirts and blouses. I use padded hangers for clothing made of delicate fabrics. Wrap your shoes in individual bags when you pack them in your luggage.

Invest in an iron and ironing board. You can learn how to use them by viewing YouTube videos if there is no one around to teach you. Never put a hot iron on stained fabric. It will "set" the stain and may be impossible to get it out. Pay attention to the heat settings on the iron. You should read the garment care tag before setting the temperature on the iron. Test the iron on an unseen area of the garment to make sure it's not so hot that it will damage the fabric.

Invest in a sewing kit to make small repairs and to sew on buttons. I pre-thread needles with colors of thread that match most of my clothes and keep them in a pin cushion in my sewing basket. I can make a last minute repair very quickly because the needle and thread are ready to go.

Read the washing instructions on every garment you own. It's best to dry clean anything that has "Dry clean only" on the tag. Most people wash their clothing too often which damages the fabric and shortens the life of the garment. Over drying damages and shrinks fabric too. I use detergent for dark colors to launder all of my black clothes and dark rinse jeans. I tumble most of my clothes on the "Delicate" cycle and hang them up to air dry. Jeans don't shrink as much when dried this way. I use the clip style wooden pants hangers for slacks and jeans so they will dry straight and look nice.

It takes a little extra time to care for your clothes and accessories but it is time well spent. Your self confidence will benefit and others will notice when you look your very best!  
By Pamela Owen

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